Monday, 27 June 2011

General thoughts on game design

Sometimes it really boggles my mind some of the things that are overlooked in games. It is fair enough if you think about how much goes into them, it would be easy for someone to leave something out or not think of something. But you'd think along the way someone might go, hey, I can't tell who is who here.

Reading a review on Brink has got me to thinking about not only game design principles but animation ones as well. A lot of them tie in, and can be lost when people are focusing on making something mechanically playable, something that works, they may forget a few other really simple things.

Strong silhouettes. They go a long way. This is a key animation principle. Maybe I'm just taking this knowledge for granted having already studied animation, but it seems a pretty obvious design element when making something someone is going to look at. In a game you want them to be able to instantly know what something is and be able to tell it apart from anything else in the world.

Most games do this great in other ways, you can almost always tell what will give you health, what is probably going to kill you. I can only think of one game off the top of my head (doesn't mean all other games dont't do it to some degree and that there aren't ones that do it as well or better) but Team Fortress 2 has great use of silhouettes. I can tell immediately who is who just from, the silhouette. Which is such an important thing. Games not necessarily require that, but I think looking at some animation principles and combining those really couldn't hurt.

Maybe it's silly, but I really feel I have some advantage having studied animation before I came into games. More knowledge can only be a good thing. Everyone loves that guy that brings 5 dishes to the table.

Now I'm hungry.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

What it looks like.

Up Up Ready Prototype vid from Francis Fitzgerald on Vimeo.

Up Up Slide art style

So I have now pretty much done my art, at 3am. Before I go to sleep gonna put up some of my stuff, how it looks and stuff.

Things to do
- walk cycle for character
- have the birds turn around
-sleep (probably first)...(maybe)..

Anyway, time for me to take a break.

General Up Up Slide update

So it appears I have been mostly documenting stuff either in my required project journal thing or in this book I carry around and scribble in when ever I think of something or need to work out a problem. I am all kinds of visual and kinetic. I need to write stuff out and look at it. Anyway, this is just a regular update of sorts.

So my original idea of having the player slide off of the platforms has come to, hurdle. The rotational collision in Flash is kind of silly so I can either put more work in and find a work around probably using matrices or I can just put that on hold and work it out later when I have more time and feel like continuing this game. (possibly in a whole other program, maybe I'll use it to teach myself a new language, that isn't AS3 and is in no way related to Flash at all) *cough* So I have come up with a better idea.

By better I mean I can implement it now (and have) and it still keeps the game how I want it to be. The player feels like they have to keep moving. So I have birds flying about that knock you off platforms, this rises the anxiety meter I have, (of course you can reduce it by finding anxiety pills, I'm not mean or anything) which when it becomes too high, you die and respawn back down the bottom. I don't have a set amount of lives yet, kind of an infinite tries thing. Also I want to have it so if you stand still for too long it starts to rise as well. All this will mean the player has to keep moving or, die. Or faint whatever.

Things I need to do
- stop procrastinating (yes, this blog is great procrastination)
- get more enemies in (I want some birds with more A.I., so they swoop and stuff)
- get a menu working
- have some set lives as well as the meter (If I have a menu, guess I should get this happening too)
- artwork! (usually I do this earlier, but I kind of liked how it looks right now, but admittedly the birds should be more bird like. Adding enemies has me convinced it needs a new style now. Now it looks dodge.
- another level could be cool
- polish code and game

Enough procrastination now, time to code it up!

Oh here is what the level set up looks like now. Also, check out previous posts for some runthroughs of the game.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Getting all the game run throughs.

I have enemies now that knock you off platforms, a pickup that restores your anxiety meter, and a ladder at the end which is how to "win" the level. Not that anything happens yet.

Next up, something happens when you win, some menu's and artwork times.

Up Up Slide - Enemy test from Francis Fitzgerald on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Up Up Slide Level Runthrough

Video of a quick run through of the first level setup in my game.

Up Up Slide Level Test 01 from Francis Fitzgerald on Vimeo.

Level setup

Been awhile sine I updating anything about the game I am working on. So here is some stuff. Got collision going and character movement, jumping and such. Needs some tweaking to get the jump to be just right. I have an anxiety meter set up and a HUD class to control it and anything else I see fit to put up there. Pretty pleased with the progress, tomorrow I shall throw in some enemies, get some things to trigger anxiety changes and throw in some anxiety pills to bring it back down. Sounds like a plan. If I can fit all that in with filling in paperwork for an assignment due Thursday. =/

But less about that and now to some images of my level setup. I do have a video of a quick playthrough currently uploading but probably won't finish anytime soon (free Vimeo account and apparently my internet is slow tonight) so I'll post it tomorrow.

This one here was my first setup I did tonight, then something funny happened and I had to redo it...

Got pretty close aye? So this is the one I got going now, I think.

Anyway, got to get up in4 or 5 hours, time for a bit of sleep.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Code and Level setup thoughts

Code set up thoughts
So the classes I have so far (although they don't do anything yet) are:

Manages everything for the game, the main class

Manages the character, movement, update etc

- LevelMain
Manages the different levels – has arrays of Blocks, and any other level
object such as enemies, collectables, special types of blocks etc.

This has the code for the collision with the blocks. I decided to have a collision function in the blocks themselves that build the level then have an array of them updating in LevelMain. If I need a different type of block or perhaps an enemy I'll just have the specialised code in a class specifically for them and then have arrays of the in LevelMain.

Level setup thoughts
So at the moment I have the basic beginnings of the first level mocked up. The platforms are not angled at this time. Either I am going to have as the player gets higher they start to angle a bit more and throw in some more enemies etc or the first level will be simple un-angled platforms but the 2nd will have a bit of an angle maybe an enemy.

These two thoughts sound pretty much the same but I kind of mean them in different ways, such as in level 1 they could start angling, it would be more of a as the next lot f platforms show, they start angling more to increase difficulty or I could have the good couple of minutes (or possibly minute) to finish of the first level till the 2nd comes along with a bit of a change then.

I was also considering whether to just get rid of the angled platforms all together, but, then the name doesn't really make as much sense (though slide could be when enemies go and slide you off those tiny platforms) and my original concept and what I think makes it a bit more unique to say doodle jump, will be gone. So, no I think I'll keep them, just bring them in with time to get the game more and more complex as time goes on.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Genius game idea.

So my game won't have lives or health per say. Since it is based on a fear of the ground, there shall be anxiety levels!

If you stand still for too long it gets higher, when it gets too high, you pass out, and lose. So to keep it low, you need to keep going up.

Also, to get lower anxiety levels, there shall be anxiety pills here and there to help reduce it.

I think this is it.

Accidental Cool Game Style

I accidentally made something cool.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Working out some game problems/thoughts

So now I am in the stages of putting this game together, and working out what to incorporate exactly and general mechanics there are a few things I need to iron out so to speak.

 First of all, during class learning about AI, I started thinking about having more of an obstacle then just jumping platform to platform. So in my original game idea I wanted to have boulders falling and sliding down the platforms knocking the player off. Which, is a good idea, but, now I have a premise and such, where are these boulders coming from exactly? I either need to come up with a reason for them, or just ditch them.

In addition to or just instead of the boulders, whilst watching the AI lecture, I decided upon having an actual enemy. Now, what would fit in hanging around up in the sky? Birds. I have birds flying around. Easy. They fit, I can do that.

Now, my game so far, has no health or lives in theory. Certainly no health, the birds knock you off the platform, simple as that. The idea is that you are trying to climb higher, them knocking you off poses as a threat to this.

So, lives, do I want that? If you fall off a platform, does the player just die? Or maybe lives is a good idea. Then I have a collectible.

I need possibly one other good one, or a trigger of some kind.

I have been given a few good ideas -

-pogo stick
-jet packs
-hat with propellor

Need more thoughts on this.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Further research

Looking into how Black Isle tackled Character Development in Fallout and Planescape Torment, I have managed to gather two main differences so far.

Fallout you can choose a character and a corresponding backstory. As well as the ability to modify further or just create your own completely. Planescape Torment, you never know your actual name, and in the beginning you know absolutely nothing about yourself.

The twist here is, in Fallout, from what I have gathered, the characters backstory is not really important, or vital to the story or the development of the character. While in Planescape instead of using his amnesia as a good reason to not need to provide a backstory, the whole point and development of the character is finding out who he was, and how he reacts and develops from that. So it is like reverse development but at the same time he is also developing further himself by what he finds out and how the story unfolds.

Been reading a bit of Henry Jenkins - - quite interesting.

I think I have a more focused view for this particular assignment now, the different approaches with Fallout and Planescape Torment. Had a quick look at Icewind Dale, it looks a bit too different perhaps to keep this really focused.

On a side note. A previous thing I wrote about The Bedroom Coder.

The Bedroom Coder

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Up Up Slide

I finally have a name AND a premise for the game I am working on. Or should be working on really, been caught up with other assignments. Like 3d stuff, go look at my 3d blog. (self advertisement ftw)

But really, the game I am developing for my Flash class as my 3rd (and final) assignment, finally has a name and a reason for why the player is just going up and up and up. I don't really NEED a reason for the assignment, but I want to design games, so I should do just that, not just make a thing that does a thing. Anyway enough rant.

Up Up Slide is a pretty obvious name I guess, the basic gameplay is you jump up to higher platforms which you can slide off of if you're not careful.

Premise :
You have developed a rare fear of the ground. The closer you are to it the worse you feel. Your solution - go up. Up and up. Don't stop going up. Whatever you do, don't slide down. Down is where the ground is.

Basically that is it. Possibly need to look up to see if this is a real phobia, doesn't need to be but if it is using the actual name for it would be cool.

Still thinking about how it will work. Rotated platforms, maybe have applied gravity or just apply an angled force when the player stops moving. Going to start putting together some prototypes, get this thing done. May keep working on this over semester break, make it into something amazing. I really like this concept.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Thoughts, updates, that sort of foolery

So I haven't really had much headway into the whole research thing, though games now installed (which just reminded me to post about my idea on my class site) and screen capture program installed as well so I can go back and watch my gameplay and reactions to it without having to worry about it forgetting things later. I talk out loud to my computer all the time, just the audio alone would be gold.

Topic is refined nicely to character development through narrative over a few of Black Isles games, sounds good to me. Now less talk more research.

On the Flash game front, no progress other then name possibilities. Harder Faster was one but that'd be a little daft. (seewhatIdidthere) Up, up slide sounds nice, that is all it is really. Up, up and slide down.

Mechanics thought of the day, platforms are rectangles, have them at dif rotations, work out the slide factor based on the angle they are at. Obviously.

On a side note, I loved my notebook to death, so I had to tie it back together with twine, for realz. Anyone want to buy me a sexy new journal off eBay? <3

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Critical Games Research

So, I was going to research morality, but as I have had it pointed out how broad a topic it really is I am defining it a bit more. I am going to look into character development over a series of games developed by Black Isle studios.

So the games I am thinking are...

First and foremost, Planescape Torment -

Fallout, which actually was created before Planescape -

Icewind Dale -

I may look at the sequels for these as well depending. Though this feels like a bit of variety in the games and I happen to own all of them, so that is rather convenient, looks like some nice game play over my "holidays" which feels more like assignment week.

Guess I better get looking at all this stuff.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Research assignment

Thinking about researching the progression of morality in games, mainly RPG's I think, it seems to be becoming a more popular thing. I wanted to look at something involving RPG's as they interest me most and I want to look at how they have progressed but that would be too big a topic for this assignment. May have to branch out to more then just RPG's for the morality factor, but it would be interesting to look at.

Side note for myself, things to look at later

Monday, 4 April 2011

Game Concept for Flash

 A jumping platformer always heading up, with the idea to jump up to a new platform continuously (obviously), the catch is to prevent the player from being able to stop and think or pause or anything, all the platforms will be at a slight tilt so if the player stops moving they will slide off and die.

Also, there will be falling boulders that will slide down the platforms and hit the player thus knocking them off the platform to their death.

Jump pads and other collectibles will be included in various places, haven't quite worked that out yet, but they'll either help or hinder you depending.

If a player lands on a platform and does not immediately jump they will begin to slide off it, the player has till they have fallen off to jump off the platform or try a mini jump to stay on the platform longer. This means that the game requires the players full attention and they have to be constantly doing something to prevent death.

I was thinking of using this as my final Flash assignment, and I have now been given the go ahead, so I should start creating this very soon. I just need to work out the premise for it.

A boy chasing his lost helium balloon in a construction site may not be the concept I am looking for.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Tumble Town

I made this last year as my last assignment for my programming class. At this moment it is the game I am most happiest with, it is some of my best coding at work so far.

I was going to embed it, but due to it being more of a widescreen game, it doesn't quite fit on this here blog space. So check it out there.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

So I have put nothing up here...

So I figure I should probably actually put some stuff here. Since this is more of my general blog with idea's and such and possibly assignments I have done and stuff in any subject, as well as any games I produce, I figure why not put up this CGI assignment. This way my blog looks less neglected or something like that. Also if I lose it, it is here. So whatever.


Tuesday, 1 March 2011

What is this?

What is this you say? A blog? Following my programming endeavors? Why, yes, it is. This, right here, is motivation. Maybe.