Thursday, November 10, 2016

Homework 11: Game Design

          The assignments this week is to identify 2 games that i consider very good and enjoy and therefor play a lot. And then 2 games that are not very good and therefore didn't play much at all.

  1. Great games
    1. Paper Mario 64
      1. Paper mario 64 is an increadable game that i still enjoy playing to this day. despte the game being over a decade old. It has a really cool "space" where the world is completly open to the player. The places you cant go at the beginning are reasonably blocked off and tied to actual story progression. Then once unlocked, you can freely move back anf forth to your favorite places in a world that becoes bigger and bigger as you play.
      2. The "time" of the game is mostly free wandering with combat as a turn team based fighting style. The player has a lot of control over how long the game takes in combat and generally in the game itself. All of the the text is stoppable, and most of the enemies are stoppable. There is also no day or night cycle.
      3. the objects attributes and states of the game are all themed around the idea of the world being paper. The story itself is a combination of a story book and a play. all the objects are made to look 2D with small intractable objects being 3D so that you kno they are important. The attributes are the same as most open world games, health and money and speed, as are the states with combat or noncombat.
      4. There are a very large amount of basic actions in the game, from item choices, fight or flight, and just talking to characters. However when it comes to "strategic" actions there are actually some really cool choices. The player when they level up can choose to increase their action points, health, or badge points. The action points are the cost of skills and ablilities in combat, health is well health, and the badge points is how many points you have available for badges. Badges are all of the passive or active skill and buffs your character has, what moves you can use, and even strategic information like enemy health. Then as you progress you gain companions in the game that you choose which is the one you start combat with and you choose which ones to "upgrade" and give new abilities to in the game.
      5. As far as rules go, they are very basic and easy to understand. Combat is turn based, you can only "fight" the enemy characters and everything else is very basic, to the games benefit.
      6. Skill isn't a very big part of the game at first, and most of the game can be done with out a lot of it. However it does reward mental skill in quick math to know how much damage is needed to kill one thing or another. And an item that you get very early on is the luck star that makes so that every part of combat if you press a button at a specific time you can increase your outgoing damage or decrease your incoming damage by in some cases a significant amount, and no social skills.
      7. Chance plays a very small factor in this game. your attacks do a set amount of damage, and enemies do a set amount of damage to you.
    2. Ty the Tasmanian Tiger
      1.  The space that Ty exists in, is Australia. The game is a semi open world, where the player can randomly wander from place to place and back as many times as they want as long as they use these rambow colored portals that areound the hub world. Some portals you have to progress to get too, but once unlocked you are able go back to any place you have already visited. 
      2. There is no time limit on the game, but there are time specific missions and trials for the player if they wish to challenge themselves. Everything else time has no relation and time does not pass during the game.
      3. As far as objects in the game, all objects are 3D models with some physics and collision. Though you can only interact with things by talking to other characters or attacking. The states and attributes of the game are surprisingly nonexistent. Everything has the same basic state for almost the entire game as well as the same attributes, and it works well and is still enjoyable.
      4. The actions avialable to the player are also pretty simple. Your character can talk with NPC characters or attack the enemy NPC characters by biting them (you are a tiger) or using your boomerangs (which are your primary way of attacking). As for Strategic actions its hard to tell if this is really strategic or not,but the player is encouraged (not forced you can playe the entire game without doing this though it would be very difficult) to find secret "golden cogs" in order to allow a machine to produce new "special" boomerangs. If the player chooses to go after a lot of these then the character ends up with a decent assortment of weapons to play with and help progress
      5. The rules of the game are pretty standard here as well, where the player can do pretty much whatever they want in this single player experience. You cant kill allied NPCs and if you loose too much health you die.
      6. This is an old game and a pretty simple one targeted at a younger audience. So most of the game requires almost no skill other then the mental ability to explore the very large and complex maps and find everything and some basic platforming skills. Other than that most basic enemies you just have to stay moving and attack them once or twice.
      7. Chance doesn't really exist in this game at all. Everything is set, from the enemies to the rewards to the levels.
  2. Not so great games/ games I didn't enjoy
    1. Superman 64
      1. This is a game that is hard to describe in terms of game mechanics why it is bad, because of how little there are. Your character is mostly invulnerable and can fly through an infinite blank city. And that's about it. The space you exist in is this city and what i believe is a lex corp building. There are no discernible features about anything or information for the player that i was able to find. Though there was a coop vs. mode that consisted of flying though small levels on hover chairs and shooting at each other.
      2. Time is not a factor, there is no time limit or anything else really.
      3. The objects are N64 3D models with some color but not much else other than blank buildings. The attributes and states don't exist. your character, superman, exists and so does 1 car and 2 goons. And the empty city. You can find power-ups randomly in order to use the rest of superman's powers but they are temporary and scattered though the empty blank city.
      4. The only actions available to the player in the single player is that of flying and picking up the car. That is it. in the vs. mode you can fly and shoot at each other.
      5. there are no rules in the single player, but the multiplayer is just a death-match.
      6. There is no skill involved in the games single player or multiplayer other than remembering where the map.
      7. If there is chance in the game its in parts of the game that i never got to because the beginning part of the game has nothing in it an no way to progress that i found
    2. goat simulator
      1. The space of the game (and its 3-4 iterations) is an open world free walk around that takes place in a small town. You can move around freely, though some places may need some creative platforming to get too. 
      2. The "time" frame of the place is fixed. No time really passes and the player is allowed to spend as much or little time messing around in the game area.
      3. The objects are all 3D models with some random physics which are, by design, supposed to interact and not make sense and even break the game. There is really only the play/wander state that player starts in, though the player can find secrets around the map that allow them to have or use power ups of different kinds and change player attributes.
      4. When it comes to actions, the game is pretty much a rag-doll simulator. The got can lick things and get its toung stuck to them, jump, or rag-doll. If you gain power-ups (by finding them as secrets) the player then can do random things like use a jetpack or drop random goats from the sky.
      5. the rule set is nonexistent. it is a free roam where you are encouraged to break the game by exploring and messing the objects. there are no rules. Though you can get combo points for doing different random things.
      6. The combo system allows some form of skill if your want ot make the biggest combow possiable, but really you can break the game by piling some objects in a small room and jumping for a few minuits in order to get the biggest combo.
      7. There is no chance in the game. Everything is either you do it or you don't.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

HW10 Interfaces

  1. list ten examples of interfaces between people and the real world.
    1. 5 Senses
    2. Road Signs and Street Lights
    3. Sound of the car engine when you turn the key
    4. Sound waves (noise)
    5. Light waves (color)
    6. Language
    7. gravity (when you pick something up it has weight)
    8. Temperature

  2. Give an example of a good interface between player and game. Explain why it is a good interface
    1. Playstation 3 controller
      1. the design is simple, easy to hold in your hands with the buttons easy to reach
      2. the controller cna vibrate. giving better feedback when somthing happens in the game
      3. has 2 control sticks to allow the player to move and look in 2 directions 
      4. has a light in the middle that changes color depending on the battery of the remote
  3. Give an example of a poor interface between player and game. Explain why it is a poor interface
    1. N64 controller
      1. the controller has 3 handles not 2, so you can only hold on to 2 thirds of it at a time
      2. there is only 1 stick so the player can only look and move in 1 direction
      3. provides no feedback

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Homework 9: balance

Address each of these aspects as it relates to your own team game. Homeworks are individual. If a particular item does not apply, say so. Each item must be addressed, and the answer should use complete paragraphs.

      This assignments is about reading chapter 13 from our class textbook on game design. and interpreting which forms of game balancing mechanics are applicable in our game. There are a lot of things to look at regarding balance, and the book ivides them for the most part into 12 different catogories.

      The first topic of course, is fairness. The book discribes fairness by dividing it into symmetrical and asymmetrical games. A symmetrical game is one where every person has the same reasources and powers, while an asymmetrical does not. Since our game is a single player game that is ment to focuse on stealth against an AI then the best would probebly be asymmetrical. Where the AI has the ability to catch the player and imprison them. This way the player actually has a reason to hide from enemies and would build some tension and difficulty.

     The next topic is that of Challenge vs. Success, keeping the player from getting board with an game that is "too easy" while not making it so hard that that player is frusterated. THe books sudjustions for this are a variaty of methods such as dividing gamplay into levels and increasig the difficulty in the later ones. THe genneral plan for our game i sto actually do that. THe game is divided into 7 days, with a goal of killing at least 1 person each day. As the player kills more NPCs then the hard the game becomes. With the NPCs grouping together or hiding from the player so that it is harder and harder to kill them. The challange will come from trying to kill as many people in the orphanage with out getting caught, while to finish the game you only need to kill 7 people.

      After that is the idea of Meaningful Choices. Allowing the actons the player makes to have some significant effect on the rest of the game without creating some Dominate strategy. However for our game, since it is a stealth and murder game, the choices will likly not be more than what weapon the player uses to murder characters, or how they choose to be stealthy.

       Skill vs. Chance however is a component that every game has to have in one way or another, and is pretty straight forward. As our game is stealth based, with the intent being the playes skill at evading dectection, then putting to much chance in the game would be very frusterating for the player. The NPCs will have slightly predictable movements that they go through that the player would have to notice to get past, with the ways of murdering characters being a players choice not a random event.

        This goes directly with the balancing type of Head vs. Hands. Our game is a thinking game, ment to draw out tension before short violent outbursts involving the death of an NPC. Most of the focus would be on planning out how to murder your target without getting caught. While allowing the player to attempt to elude capture by running away and trying to loose your pursuers.

       Unfortunatly the next balancing topic of Competition vs. Cooperation is almost entirly out of the question in our game as it is a single player working alone in a closed environment. The actions and the results of those actions are the players choices alone.

       When looking at Short vs. Long and balancing them, the goal for this game is to have 7 levels that essentially will only take as long to complete as the player takes to kill NPCs and get blood back to the Flower. If a player wishes, then can attempt to kill the first NPC they find and try and get away with it, or instead try and plan out the safest way to approace the problem.

        Rewards in our game are a bit less straightfoward than many of the other things in the game. By design the player is a child in an old run down orphanage, killing people in order to feed the Flower Below then orphanage. What we have decided is that portions of the game are going to be blocked off depending on what day it is and eventually the player gains access to more and more parts of the map. then they can obtain different weapons depending on where they are, and more ways to kill people. Though at eh same time for each kill that you feed to the Flower, we are thinking about gving the Player slight buffs or powers to play with.

     Punishment in our game is also a bit different as the way it is set up is the player cant be caught killing a person. If they are the day will reset and they have another go. But at the same there has to be a reason for they player to be stealthy. our solution to that is that the adults that are in the orphanage will take away weapons from the player if they see them, or punish them by sending them to their room if they are acting strangely or disobediently. This punishment will have the affect of setting back the players plans without having the entire level reset if they have spent time working toward a goal.

     As for deciding if our game should involve more Freedom or a more Controlled experience, due to the limitations of time mostly. the game has been limited to 1 building and the grounds around it. To keep it from feeling confining the building will have 3 floors and many rooms, as well as a playground area and some room around it blocked by a fence. Within these confines the player is only really limited by skill and intelligence. There are areas that thy will not be able to get too early on, but as long as they don't get caught, with can wander freely.

      As far as Simplicity vs. Complexity, this is a difficult one. The book describes 2 categories, Innate complexity and Emergent complexity. Innate complexity is when there are lots of exceptions to rules that make the game very difficult to play. While the Emergent complexity is described as balanced surprises, things that keep the game interesting every play through. The hope is that our game presents a variety of ways to play, enough that many play throughs are warranted, while still being simple enough that we have the time to finish it.

Finally, when looking at Detail vs. Imagination the book has some interesting suggestions. The first is that when making a game, only detail what you can do well, and has the very helpful advice that if voice acting is hard to pull off, then Subtitles are a very cheap and easy thing to implement that allows the player to let their own imagination fill in the voice of the characters. our current play involves voice acting but we may simply limit that to the important parts of the game and let the imagination of the player give them personalities. The other bits of advice are less easy though, giving details the imagination can use or that inspire imagination are very vague statements. Both use chess as an example of creating a fantasy of war that I honestly never even would consider even when i was younger. The best i can think is that things like weapons or poisons would be easily identifiable without details of how they work. A bat is something you just hit someone with and a vial of poison will kill someone sneakily. The player would know that and it requires no more effort than creating the items to implement.

HW8 From Blender to Unreal to Git

            In this assignment, we had to create objects in Blender, Import them into Unreal, and then Describe them and how they are used in the game. So I created a classroom desk chair like this.

            Its pretty basic y design as it based it off of old desk chairs that i found in the storage of my old middle school. The setting of our game is supposed to be in a old and run down orphanage so it seemed appropriate for a small classroom that was planned to be made. I have yet to figure out the UV unwrapping so it can be textured unfortunately but i am still working on that. Bun in the meantime i made this.

            I have been working on a door, but haven’t really found anything I like. Especially since like I said before I can’t figure out UV unwrapping for textures. But I have this which would be an old wooden door to work with. And after fiddling with it for a little while i think this will work at least for now.

          I was able to successfully import both of them into Unreal as objects. Though I think there I saw lot am going to have to mess with on the door. 

        After all of that. I added them to the file where the rest of my eam has already been busy making plenty of objects ot work with and use for our game.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

HW5 Game Assets

        Things are now coming down into the actually development of the game and in all honesty things are a little bit overwhelming. I believe i have a lot of Unreal figured out now, but at the same time have no idea how to implement any of that into an actual game. I guess though the best place is to start with some basics.


          So how about a table and a fridge for the kitchen of the orphanage. The current plan is to have the game in a very old orphanage, but new enough to have running electricity and plumbing of a sort. What you see above in the picture is the 2 geometry shapes that i made using the Unreal editor and how they look.

           As you can see, I made the table a bit small, with only 1 central leg holding it up. This may change later to have 4 legs so that the table is easier to hide under, but currently fits as a small old wooden table similar to one I have at home.