Saturday, November 30, 2013

Homework 13 again

Still working on the music and HUD for our fully functional first person cube.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Homework 13

So for this week I'll be in charge of creating a full functional first person cube complete with parented camera, gun, and appropriate physics with each. Also, I'll be working on the game's musical theme as I have been.

Homework 11

Chapter 15

  1. This isn't really a question, but I'll attempt to "answer" it anyways. A goal with no obstacle leads to easy or empty achievement. Game design aside, people like to be challenged. People like overcoming challenges. People like challenges so much that they like being challenged in their proverbial entertainment medias. So within game design, it is intrinsically important to have a challenge or obstacle the player can overcome to make the goal or achievement feel more worthwhile and satisfactory.
  2. I pretty much just answered that in question number one; but basically, the main character personifies the player/user in the virtual realm. The main character's feelings, desires, and goals essentially become the player's as they control the main character. When the main character has a goal or objective, the player then makes it his or her own objective and therefore seeks to complete it. The main character cares about the objective because -- bluntly -- he was programmed to. Although given a character within a story, one could argue that the plot is what drives the main character and is why he cares about the objective.
  3. So within our game, the obstacles between the character and the goal are essentially the enemies and various hacking devices. Enemies literally stand in your way and you find a violent or non-violent way through them. While hacking serves more as a means to an end.
  4. Yes, through the implementation of increasing damage dealt by and health of enemies encountered and  harder difficulty of hacking mini-game depending on what floor of the building you have reached. Also, boss battles and optional difficulty levels would have to be included. 
  5. I would say ultimately, no, our character does not transform. But he does complete his objective despite rigorous adversity as he grows in power and skill throughout. 
  6. Infinitely. One obvious example would be the fact that our game world merely consists of an office building. The player never actually gets to leave or traverse outside of the building. That fact alone would make our game world more simpler than the real world.
  7. Well he's not going to go down after one bullet like most human beings, that would just be un-fun gameplay. And I think that's really the only transcendent quality we are giving him.
  8. We haven't really worked out all of the finite details to our game's story, but it would probably have to be why exactly he is he infiltrating and taking down this evil company. We don't know, no one knows, not even him!
  9. Our character is an emotionless, trained spy; he is a mechanical weapon used by the organization he works for. He does not question. He does not wonder why. He just simply does. The player essentially becomes this character and follows suit. This leaves the player closer to the character and allows the player to imagine their own reasons why or to just simply do as our character does and follow orders.
  10. Yes. Our ideas for the story should inherently drive the player to want to play our game beyond blind, mechanical fun. Our story will be motivation and our gameplay will be inspiration.

Chapter 16

  1. The player will be able to roam freely within the building but may never leave. Sort of like Hotel California, but less lovely. The player should feel free within our office building because it provides just enough sandbox to encourage creativity, but not too much to avoid overwhelming confusion.
  2. I just answered that again in the previous question, but to restate basically, the player cannon leave the building, but it will not make the player feel trapped. It will more than likely make them feel more guided and centralized on the task at hand.
  3. Ideally, I would like the layers to have fun and immerse themselves in our game. I've played games before that were more narrow-minded, and it usually became a whole other game to me to try to find errors or bugs that made the game seem silly instead of its intended seriousness. 
  4. Yes, much like what I talked about previously, the player isn't going to feel like they're forced into this building because it's all they know and they will focus on the task at hand. Just like Plato's allegory in the cave, our player will only know his world of shadows (or in this case office buildings filled with evil executives).
  5. I mean, the interface has less to do with what we as designers want the player to do. Our interface is all very standard and what we expect out of the player is all very standard, we just have to make sure everything runs smoothly so that the player can get an enjoyable, immersive experience.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Homework 9: Balance

So balance... It's intrinsically clear that balance is a significant aspect of a game. Our game will be implementing a variety of balancing techniques of which are listed within the balancing chapter in our book.

First of which I would like to note is challenge vs. success. I've been concerned with this notion for a while now, actually. I was worried that with the simplicity of our game, challenge would be lacking; however, the book suggested a brilliant option widely used by many popular games: optional difficulty level. I think that our game could really benefit from this kind of enhancement. With optional difficulty levels available for the player, challenge will be less of a concern, and our team can focus on other, more pressing mechanical issues.

Another type of balance that I would like to point out is the meaningful choices. I previously discussed the possibility of a stealth vs. firefight option available throughout are game; I would like for this choice to significantly impact the player's overall gameplay. If a player is choosing firefight, I would want to give him a horde worth fighting. Transversely, if a player chooses stealth, the actions and reactions should be stimulating and rewarding. It could be possible for this choice to affect the gameplay of the boss fights. If there's no consequence to the choice, then there is no point to the choice for the player.

I am also concerned with a particular balance issue in regards to typing skill for the hacking sequences. Our team has not yet conceptually worked out the entire scope of the hacking minigame, but it will require finesse in order to maintain balance. If the typing challenges are too difficult, it will slow and dull the game, however, if the typing challenges are too easy, it will become annoying and pointless. Typing is a skill and will vary greatly from player to player; it is also worth mentioning that is very hard to determine the extent of a person's typing skill. That being said, maybe the typing minigames should have less to do with skill and more to do with chance. It would take the variability out of the hands of the player.

Out of all, I am most concerned with the replay-ability of our game and its relevance to balance. I think that, ideally, our game should be replay-able. The ultimate premise would be: traverse the office floor dispatching with or sneaking past enemies, hacking terminals, cameras, ect., taking down the floor-boss, and advancing to the next level to eventually defeat the final boss and escape the building. Given that our game could have potentially (and hopefully) random-generated floors and enemies, our game would have replay-ability. However, without infinitesimal variety, randomness will eventually become patterned (at least to the player). So, to avoid this, there should be some sort of balanced growth throughout the replays. Something like weapon upgrades, or super-powers, or unlocking harder difficulties or rewards, ect. Whatever the case may be, I feel that for our game to be repeatably enjoyable, this aspect should be carefully defined and processed.

Balance is truly one of the most important aspects to a game. In our case, it can either come to define or debunk us.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Homework 8

  1. The space in our game is theoretically continuous. We won't know for certain until the final details have been laid-out. But for now, our goal, I believe, is for a continuous game space.
  2. Our game has 3 dimensions. Being a First Person Shooter, this is practically self-sufficient.
  3. The boundaries of our game space are the building's walls in which our game takes place in. The game starts within the building and the game ends when you escape the building.
  4. Our main character's actions (or verbs) include but are not limited to: traversing through the building's floors, sneaking past or shooting enemies, discovering weapons and ammunition, hacking terminals in order to advance, overcoming a "boss" per floor, surviving the various threats, and finally escaping the building upon completion of the game.
  5. For the most part, each verb can only act upon one object with the exception of hacking. It is a possibility (and it has been greatly brainstormed) of having a variety of hacking objects other than terminals. It is all conjecture at this point, but it is a great possibility. 
  6. Once again, this aspect is completely conjecture; the idea of goal achievement can be oriented in a multitude of ways. Ultimately, there is one goal: defeating the enemies through hacking and shooting to escape the building. The methods with which the user may take to achieve that goal will have a larger scope depending on the available time and creativity of our team. Honestly, it's an afterthought; there's a lot of other essential work that takes a higher priority. I'd rather have a solid, simplistic game, than one with grandiose goal-achievement features that  doesn't mechanically work.
  7. The player controls one subject in our game who, as of now, is an unnamed, cipher-spy with lethal and hacking capabilities.
  8. The toss-up between shooting and sneaking is being theoretically provided in our game at this point in time. This ideal allows for familiar side effects of passing through the level stealthily or plowing your way through, guns ablaze. Since stealth is obviously more ideal for a spy, certain rewards would be allotted to the player for such behavior.
  9. The operative actions in our game include but are not limited to: traversing through the building's floors, sneaking past or shooting enemies, discovering weapons and ammunition, hacking terminals in order to advance, overcoming a "boss" per floor, surviving the various threats, and finally escaping the building upon completion of the game.
  10. The resultant actions in our game include but are not limited to: possibly choosing stealth or fire-fight and possible hacking variants rewarding different consequences.
  11. All that I've previously stated is how I would like our game to perform. And all of these ideas are currently under our general scope and understanding of blender. It's now all about time management and appropriate division of labor among team members.
  12.  Ultimately, there is one goal to our game: defeating the enemies through hacking and shooting to escape the building.
  13. I suppose a short term goal could be survival, while the long term goal would be ultimate mission completion (traversing and escaping the building)
  14. We plan on having a brief yet explanatory comic-like intro cut-scene. Placing the user within our player's perspective and providing proper motivation and place-setting. This will be slightly interactive to provide means of a tutorial while also dictating the fundamental goal of the game.
  15. If I had to place foundational rules within the game it would have to be the mathematical hit points associated with localized shooting damage from or against the player, as well as hacking minigame success based upon an assessment percentage.
  16. These rules will be enforced through the story-line, battle sequences, the vague mortality of the main character, use of a heads-up-display, and general boundaries of the game space.
  17. Our game currently develops the real skills of fast, accurate typing, mouse pointing and clicking, and fast, appropriate key-presses. 
  18. As of now, our game does not currently develop any virtual skills. That's not to say that it cannot or will not, but it is not currently implemented within our game or within our ultimate concept of our game.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Homework 7

Link to blender file on google drive: 

In this homework, we were given four tasks: parenting, animation, linking from another file, and materials. I accomplished all of these tasks and took three pictures depicting key individual milestones. This first picture shows the parenting aspect between the cone and the cube.

This second picture portrays animation, use of materials (as made apparent by the color), and even movement (for fun).

The third picture shows an odd looking device joined to the red cone. That device is my palmpilot object from a previous assignment linked and used as a proxy within this homework assignment.

Materials were easily selected and objects were named. Animation was all about key frames and the location, rotation, and scale of each key frame. The rotation of the child object around the parent object was initially stumbling, but once I dedicated the cone's origin to the cube's center, it was easy to translate rotations relative to the parent cube. Linking the palmpilot was extremely secondary. It was very simple to just link the object in and press ctrl+alt+p to make the object a proxy. From there, I just joined the palmpilot to the cone. After I was done, I decided to add some controls to the cube for proof of parenting and general fun.

Overall, how this particularly fits into the larger picture of our game is subjective at best. It, much like the other homework assignments, is just another proof of concept. If, say for instance, we wanted some sort of flying insect (or whatever) to fly around a character and move with relation to the character, this would be how to do it. Once again, the possibilities are endless when it comes to concepts.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Homework 6

 1.       For each of the four elements of the Tetrad, explain how it is addressed by your game. If one of the four elements is not used, please state this.
Mechanics: So for our game, we plan to to make use of the first person format in a seemingly free-ranged setting. The perimeters exist as an office building that the player starts off in, however, we want the player to be able to roam within the office building constraint. Our gameplay will consist of shooting various enemies and hacking your way to the top of  the office building. The hacking will be a typing based mechanic completely forwarded through use of the keyboard only.

Story: Lots of ideas have been thrown around for this so far. I conveyed to the rest of my team the importance of this element. I pointed out that it gives the game a driving force, a sense of motivation to follow through with the game and its mechanics. One of the more solid ideas for a story developed off of the plot from iRobot. I love the idea, but we'll need to find a way to maintain originality if we decide to keep that basis as our story.

Aesthetics: There have been a lot of ideas for this as well. Three out of our four team members are skilled in this field. That being the case, our game will certainly have a well designed and consistent aesthetic appeal. In terms of artistic style, we are leaning towards a more cartoon/comic/quirky style; though we want to maintain some realism to provide balance for our realistic setting and mechanics. Sound and music design will be upbeat, overdriven, and somewhat futuristic/progressive.

Technology: Well, for one thing, we are obviously using the blender game engine on various laptops and desktops. Paper, pencils, ect. Also, for audio and midi recording we will be using an Mbox2 interface and Protools 8LE. Any other technologies aren't intrinsically important  enough to name.

 2.      Do the four (or less) elements work towards a current theme?
Essentially, yes. Our developing theme is a thrilling infiltration and escape of a futuristic, evil-spy-network company.

 3.      In your own words, describe the meaning of a "theme", and how does it differ from an "experience" (see book for examples in Chapters 2 and 5). To me, a theme is a focus. It's like the chorus of a song. It's your ultimate mission statement. It's what you want to relay to your audience.

 4.      What is your game's theme?
A thrilling infiltration and escape of a futuristic, evil-spy-network company.

 5.      What are the elements in your game that are meant to reinforce this theme? 
 The hacking mechanic, spy guns, the music, and hopefully the art style.

 6.      What is it about your game that you feel makes it special and powerful?
The type-based hacking mechanic should spice up the cliché fps and give it some more versatility. Also, the aesthetic appeal should be refreshingly charismatic and quirky.