Quick Mario Storyboard

In one of Tony’s lessons we had to pick a game and draw a storyboard for it. I did a very simple one for a level of Mario, where you get powers, defeat enemies, grab the flag and run into the castle.

This was an experiment in game storyboarding as opposed to film. I focussed on the actions and general obstacles and goals of the level, rather than specific details and timings.

I drew this on Photoshop and enjoyed drawing an existing character without trying to draw a copy of the character’s style as it is only a storyboard.

I liked the bright outcome of this drawing.

mario

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Game Jam Assessment

We did an assessment in the style of a Game Jam (but as individuals) in silence these past 2 weeks to test our ability to put together a top down game.

The aim of the game is to get your character from the start to the goal without being shot by enemies who face you and shoot, before the time runs out.

sprites

In the game we had to include a player, 3 moving enemies, obstacles, walls, a goal and a timer. Each of these has their own necessary programs you need to apply to make it them work.

  • The player must move with arrow keys, and collide with everything on the map.
  • The enemies must have Waypoint movements, and the ability to autofire bullet projectiles at the player, whilst using a line of sight to track the player when they’re within their view.
  • Obstacles must have colliders attached to top the player moving through them, just like the walls.
  • The goal must be a trigger which would send the player to the next level
  • Finally the timer must count down in seconds visibly, and when it hits 0 the level restarts.

scripts

I had my notes to help and it went really smoothly. The main problems I had weren’t with errors in the code at all, but with accidentally putting the codes on the wrong assets, such as when I grouped my enemies and applied my line of sight code to all 3 and the empty game object they were children to- I kept getting the error saying I hadn’t defined my target in the inspector on one of the objects my script was applied to, and figured out it was on an extra object by accident. Working out the kinks with Unity whilst making this has helped me understand the correlation between script and game due to the engine way more.

build

I also used 2 scenes in my game; Level1 and Level2 (which was a home screen you reach when you complete level1 to return to the start). I added these to the build and put the ‘button‘ script  on a button in Level2 to load Level1.

button

In the end my game worked perfectly and looked how I wanted it to. I spent a while putting the walls in the perfect position and scaling everything how I liked it at first, then began to code. I commented on my code too to explain what each section did before handing my account back over to Ant. I am happy with how it turned out and I’m proud that I can put a game together as it’s something I didn’t know before this course.

Fox Game Update

gameshot

Since adding the enemy and goal to my game, I’ve added some new features. I added in walls to my scene with a box collider and rigidbody2D attached to them. I discovered that if I set the black walls further back (-10 in Z axis), they fell behind the camera so were invisible to the camera in game, but still acted as walls to the player. as the walls became invisible in-game, I added some decorative white doorways to show where you could enter and leave each room.

To the Cat enemy I added 2 new scripts, Autofire, and Waypoint 1 (these are scripts to make the Cat shoot a claw bullet, which I added to prefab after making it in Photoshop, on an automatic timer, and make it run backwards and forwards in the living room whilst shooting.

cats scripts

I set up a second level (where I moved the Cat, giving it new Waypoints, and the Swag Bag positions) and then added the scene to my project. I made a build with level 1 and 2, then went on to code the next level to be triggered when you collide with the swag bag.

I used a script to achieve this I called ‘newlevel’, which I attached to the Fox player :
newlevel

Because the ‘nextLevel’ string is public, I can write the name of the next level in the box below the script which appears on the inspector; in this case I typed “Level2”. It worked after some difficulty putting things in the right place, including the tags I applied.

Tags separate assets into groups. In this case the tag for the bag was ‘goal’ (as seen on line 10 of the script on the picture). Ant’s tutorials covered these, and they were important, because the walls and bullets have colliders too so the level would be won every time the fox collided with anything, not just the bag, if i didn’t specify the type of object which would trigger a next level when collided with. This simple line changes the game completely!

Hardware Limitations and Breaking Expectations

Today we are thinking about the way hardware, particularly the controllers, for games can affect the design of the game. A lot of the time it is a decision of whether the developer will fit their games into the limitations by cutting or changing controls, breaking the limitations by using the quirks of the controllers to their advantage, or designing the game based totally on the unique functionality of the controller/console.

The first game that came to mind about using the controller’s uniqueness to the advantage of the game was let’s Tap for Wii. The Wii remote was a revolutionary step for Nintendo, which influenced other consoles making motion sensor controllers. Games like WarioWare, Wii Sports, Wii Party, and Mario Kart for a few examples showed users how to use every function of the controller to do so many different things, including adding attachments (steering wheels, rackets etc.) to the controller to make the experience more specific tot he game. Let’s Tap was a simple idea- place the Wii remote face down on a cardboard box, and tap the box to make the figure on the screen run and jump through different levels and races. This idea is used in touchscreen games sometimes where tapping the screen makes the player move, but Let’s Tap just used the remote’s sensitivity to control the game. The game is targeted at all age groups, and can easily be picked up. One simple instruction to follow “tap” is universal and easy to understand.

Let's_Tap  nintendogs

Nintendogs for the original Nintendo DS was limited to a few buttons, but was one of the earliest games to grace the Dual Screen handheld. The touchscreen was probably the most used control on the entire game. When using the touchscreen for  menu, you could watch over you dogs on the top screen (just like the Gameboy Advance screen), and it was the same for almost all activities on the game. Most of the time you would use your stylus to care for your dogs, from scrubbing them down int he bath, to holding their leash whilst walking. You could even train your dogs to do tricks and throw them frisbees with the touchscreen, then enter them into competitions as their skills progressed. The DS also has a mic which you could use for the first time to train your dog to recognize its name in your voice. Nintendogs took total advantage of the new screen, rather than rely on the Gameboy-esque buttons. In fact it almost ignores the buttons altogether. This game is directed at young children, so the lack of buttons is helpful to teach them to just touch what they want, so gets younger audiences to play DS.

The Sims series was something that only used one main control on PC, the mouse. It is aimed at 12+ year olds because of some of its grown up content. For a game that is based on human lives, the daily routines of a household of people in a town of characters with individual traits, it seems odd that everything is based on a selection, but multiple choice just works so well for the franchise. Yes, you can make a person, in recent games more unique than ever, and raise them, letting  them form deep connections and complex careers (and even have babies) but you can’t live an entire life through them. You can’t type in something to say to another Sim, you need to pick a topic. You can’t write a book which other Sims will understand, so you jut let them write their own in ‘Simlish’. The multiple choice game-play eliminates the idea of such complicated personal touches, and the fact that they speak a made up language helps the player only want to make the characters bring emotions to other Sims, rather than know exactly what they are saying. Movements are even multiple choice, where you select where you want to go and how you want to get there, rather than use arrow keys. This places the movement in a queue behind the actions the player is already doing. This makes the game manageable, and takes away being able to have 100% control, so it almost feels like you’re controlling the events of a reality TV show.

sims.JPG

If Sims let you move your sim in real time with your arrow keys, they wouldn’t be able to complete the actions you’d set (talk to a sim, go to toilet, go to ed) because they need to interact with the object. There is no use for the keys if they have no tasks either, because you still have the option to click and select a destination. Without the use of cheat codes and mods there’s not much use for any of the keyboard keys. If there are shortcuts, they can still be completed through selection- which explains why they have mobile apps and games on consoles too (which are more limited)

Enemy and Goal

The next steps in my Fox Game were to create the enemy and the goal. My enemy is a house cat. The cat should hunt the intruding fox in the house. Its paw is forward for when I do my projectiles.

cat

I also drew my own ‘swag bag’ as the goal for the fox to pick up each level. Part of my code works so it will delete as the fox collects it.

void OnCollisionEnter2D(Collision2D coll)
{
Destroy (gameObject);
}

swag

Both of the new assets were done in Photoshop and are now Prefabs in my project.

Bouncing Ball Arena

In Ants lesson on Monday we were given the task to have a prepared bouncing ball (with a twist) ready to enter into an arena he built with everyone else’s balls.

I struggled a bit to come up with an idea and my unity at home had errors which didn’t show up at college, so I could bounce the ball, but couldn’t test any effects before the time we had in lesson to complete it.

code1The start function of my script for the ball was what got the ball to actually bounce on the platform, which is what Ant supplied to start us off. The ball needed a Rigidbody to have a mass and gravity, and to be able to collide with the plane, with force of 200 in the Y axis.

 

code2

The Update function of my code holds the effect I added to my ball to make it different from the others. I originally intended to have my ball spin around constantly on the spot so it looked normal, so when it landed it would bounce in other directions because of it spinning as it hit the ground. I tried to find code for this and found a simple programme for the rotation of  a ball.

When I used the code the ball would fly off the screen quickly to the side. Turns out this was the ball orbiting the centre point horizontally with a large radius. I changed around the settings to get the transform and rotate settings I now have in my code, so the ball would fly in small circles vertically with a translate of only 1 (as the original was 50) in X.  This made the ball fly in circles rather than spin, which I actually preferred.

spin

 

I didn’t have clear intentions with the ball bounce so I just kept trying things until I got something I liked. When Ant made the arena with all of the balls it was fun to see how they all interacted and the ideas everyone came up with; like size change, colour change, explosions and other original ideas. There was even a perspective camera so you could see from everyone’s balls’ point of view at different times during each round.

Fox Game

In our last programming lesson we started making our own individual games. Everyone had to come up with a theme for a birds-eye view game where their character had to reach a goal without being hit/shot at.

Luckily Kyle and I had some practice when we started our partner games with setting one of these games up. This time around I had to do it on my own.

In the lesson we started by writing 3 lesson objectives for ourselves. I decided to draw 2 elements of my game on Photoshop, and come up with a conclusive idea for the game.

I came up with my idea: to have a fox which comes into the house at night to steal something or reach a goal without being hunted down.

Then I drew my fox character on Photoshop. It was a simple design made to look like it had dimension by painting it in gradients.

fox

Finally I painted a lot of the house (without walls, which would be added in as assets) and I’m still working on that, but overall I like the style I’ve went with, I just hope I can learn how to code it and bring the whole project together nicely.

floor

 

Partner Game: Mobster Madness

I have been quite absent from my blog recently because with the coding exam approaching I realised I needed to try by best to focus on getting some skills in programming. Ant set us a task to make a game in pairs to help us have a project which would include a lot of the skills we’d need to know to make a game, so I have spent a lot of time trying to complete that task with Kyle.

Our initial idea was to have  a birds eye view of a city with a gunman and a target. The gunman would be a mobster and the target would be someone they’re hired to shoot who is running through some civilians to a building which the mobster should not allow them to reach.

We created 3 prefabs- Mobster, Civilian, Target- and had them as coloured dots for a while so we could set up their programming in a level. As it is birds eye view, the building prefab we made afterwards (which had no code, just a rigidbody2d and box collider, applied) could be just rectangle. We set out some buildings, placed in the characters and Kyle did the waypoint movement of the target, so he would follow a path to the building he was headed to.

Kyle then worked on the player movement, and I repainted the prefabs in Photoshop, along with painting a ground.

We managed to get a bullet to shoot from the player but we have spent a lot of time searching for ways to get it to actually collide with any other objects. That’s our main issue right now. We would like to be able to make the Mobster face the mouse direction, as the bullets follow the mouse, but have him still move with the arrow keys. We’re also working on getting the civilians to spawn and move automatically into the scene, as they’re obstacles you cannot shoot.

mobster-madness

We also have a menu built in to the game now and we used the same format as we did on Bass Booster and the space game we did with Ant a while ago to get the button to trigger the next level. Once we get the bullet to work we should be able to use the same principals with the game’s levels; Shooting the civilian restarts you/game overs you, shooting the target moves you on wards, and not shooting him in time before he reaches the building restarts you.

I like how the game is going so far and I hope I learn from doing it.

Game Jam Final Day

Sunday was for finishing the game off. We had a lot of code left to do including the random generator which Luke kindly helped us with. It made the waves spawn in on the bass strings and fly along the level left. Then we programmed the waves to be a trigger to kill the character, Rick, on collision. Over time the waves get faster also, and will only spawn on 2 strings at once, never more.guitargameplay
I had to animate Rick on Sunday to make him bounce as he stood, so he wasn’t static. I selected each limb on his body separately and imported each file into flash on the stage as separate files. I animated each piece frame-by-frame and exported it. Ant then turned this into a sprite sheet and imported it into Unity. This replaced our static character with a moving one.
animation
Jack created a main menu page and I wrote instructions on it, we named the game Bass Booster, and I did a game over screen. I took inspiration from the Donkey Kong game over, as I edited Rick to be injured and bandaged up accompanied by the game over text. Kyle then put a button on the page and it linked back to the menu.
menugame-over-screen
On the menu there were two buttons, one leading to the game, and one to a credits scene we made.
credits

Jack’s music was imported after that. he edited his tracks into a compilation and we put them on loop in the game, so it had variety. He then chose tracks to put on the menu, credits, and game over screens.

Kyle and Ant fixed bugs in the game to stop Rick jumping off screen. Then, finally, we were pretty much done! So, afterwards, we uploaded the game onto the Global Game Jam and sat down to watch Ant live stream our games, one team at a time, on Twitch.

Overall I really enjoyed the weekend and I’m proud of what we accomplished. I wish it could be refined a little bit more, but for two days we made a whole lot and it is a completed game which sounded a bit impossible before now.

Game Jam Day One and Two

 

 

Though I’m only 17 I joined in with the #NGenGGJ this weekend. To do a Waves themed game me and my group decided to do one based on sound waves.

Our game is themed as a bass guitar having sound waves travel down the string. I am the artist so I designed “Rick the Pick” our character, and the game background of the bass guitar.

On Friday night I drew a lot of ideas for the features of Rick around an empty plectrum, then decided with my group if they liked the same ones as me and designed the ideal design based on that. I drew it out in Pro-marker pens and then scanned them in.

concept

At college on Saturday I used my Rick design to paint him digitally. I completely covered the entire thing on Photoshop by digitally painting over him to make him look how I envisioned him when I first drew him. I am new to Photoshop this year but I used the graphics tablet to draw some of it using the pen which made it feel far more familiar to me. I am very pleased with how he turned out and the college even tweeted me out- which was cool.

I then designed the game scene, a horizontal front facing bass guitar- cropped to the strings and pickups.

guitar-1

In game there are 4 Strings over the top of this, but they are platforms, so are separate files from Flash that Kyle made. Kyle, Jack and Owen did the code, Jack did music and is working on a main menu, and I did the art and may do animation on my character. I am happy with how it is going so far and everyone’s work looks great.