The time has come again. It’s EAE Day. This time we are the higher class!
The Hostile Territory Producers started earlier in the week to prepare for the day. We came up with a build and two different game modes. We talked about what we needed and what we would like from EAE Day. Casey wanted to do a tournament and give out prizes for the winners. The professors approved the idea and we got prizes. Allen volunteered to meet me on monday to setup for the day. Triston, Sam, Sty and Skip also joined us in setting up our booth. The booth setup went pretty well. We got everything setup and ready to go a few hours before the event started. We were able to test our build and find some problems that needed to be fixed.
Sam and Skip were able to change a few issues with the build in a few hours. Throwing minions wasn’t too hard anymore. It is key that we can throw a bunch of minions to capture the territory in our game. The tweaks felt good and allowed for the fast paced gameplay that we wanted.
The professors came over to all the game booths before we officially opened. Each of them really enjoyed our new mechanic and told us what a great job we did by switching to it. It takes a lot of work to pivot a few weeks before EAE Day but it was worth it. We will be uploading the new build to IGF shortly.
We started EAE day with people playing our game and forming a line. Each person would play a few rounds then continue to move on to the other games. A few of our first players were these little kids that kept playing against each other. It was nice to see the express on their faces when they were playing. One of them ask me how much it was. They were pretty cute. Our reception to the game was pretty much the same. Most of the people really enjoyed the mechanic but had problems with the camera. Despite the camera issues we got great comments on our art, being able to swap the tiles and the overall progress of the game. We will continue to work on the 3 C’s (Camera, Controller, Character) so that it is smooth to wall walk and capture tiles.
At the end of the night we had to shut down each computer one at a time due to people continuing to play it. We had one tournament last night that I ran. Casey didn’t show up until later in the night. He was drunk and wasn’t able to perform his duties.
Overall, it was a very successful night. I’m happy that everyone liked playing it and that we didn’t stop having people wanting to play our game. I’m excited to see what we can do with our game before we have to publish at the end of next semester.
We finished our 2nd prototype today. It was much different then what we had to do for our last one. We had to pick an 80s arcade game and find fix something about it that we thought it needed. We decided on Space Invaders and that we were going to fix the management of the game.
The original is great but after a round of killing all the aliens on the screen it would lose some of the initial value. You could hide the ship underneath the several different shields and pop out to kills some aliens to hide again. There was no consequence to camping underneath. By adding some of the city management from Missile Command, we forcing the player to act fast or risk losing there cities. Instead of just lasers being fired at you city destroying bombs were coming at you too. It creates a morel dilemma where the player has to decide if they want to risk the ship or let the city be destroyed with millions of people in it. Missile Command is another game with this kind of morel dilemma. The original shield mechanic wouldn’t have worked with the newly added cities and the bombs that would destroy them. A new moving shield was created that you could only move when you were over the shield and allow you to collect the bombs that were coming down. In the process of trying to figure out how the shield worked, we went though several different iterations. We tried putting the shield on top of the player, making the shield bigger, having 3 defined cities and allowing the player to move the shield independent of the ship. Some iterations came about from play testing with ourselves to see how it would work. Making the shield bigger and having the player below were great but it made the game much easier and was not solving the problem we set out to do. Other iterations like the multiple smaller cities came about when we play tested it with people or classmates outside the group. Players would find that they would park the shield over one city, sacrifice the other 2 and not have to worry about the cities anymore. Without trying all those iterations we wouldn’t have came up with the shield that is in the prototype build of the game. It also provided the juicy moment for our game where you would collect 3 bombs in a specific order on the shield to launch missiles to damage the space invaders more. It is your moment of revenge when you could use their own bombs against them. To increase the juicy moments of the game there are more improvements and iterations to do. We could like to include some missile mechanic fixes, possibly different types of bombs, possibly a health bar for the spaceship. With this 2nd prototype we didn’t have to do a fomal presentation or one page like the last one. We had an informal review with our Executive Producers and a informal peer review with our classmates. How this worked is that while another team was talking to the EPs then we would be listening to our peers about the game that they did. We had to give insightful comments about their games. Not everyone but some of them. Its something that we will do when presenting different features or prototypes in game studios. Both presentations went pretty well. The EPs liked our game more then our classmates did. Overall I like our game a lot, it is fun yet challenging. I think that we may continue with it and see what other features we can put in it. You can check out our game at 22.214.171.124:8888. We would love to hear your feedback for features, bugs or general awesomeness. I have included our post mortem about the different stages of game development good and bad.
p.s Here is an easter egg from our game.
As we end our first prototyping round and go into our second. I can remember how unsure the night before our class was. I was even more unsure after the first class of what I should do, How I should do it, What sort of process do I go though to make a video game. I felt clueless. I decided to go about this project like most projects I do at work. This time with more people to work on it together. I had to merge my IT background in with my how I produce films. I continued to merge the 2 together and I felt like didn’t know what I was doing. I was ok with feeling like I didn’t know what I was doing until next week because I will get my other producer like everyone else had. Each time had at least 2 Engineers, 1 Artist and 2 Producers. The other producer that was supposed to be on my team had to take care of family things and came back the second week to drop out of the program completely. From that point it was Mark Jarman (The Artist), Vinod Madigeri (Engineer), Saumya Mukul (Engineer) and myself. With this crack pot team we started our journey to the land of game designers.
Back to the first day. After an hour of orientation we were turned lose to make a game for the clients, Amy and Corrine. The team I was on started spinning off ideas that we could do that met the type of games that they would possibly like. We then had to pitch the idea to them on thursday to see how they would like it. We had a few great ideas but none of them were super great. Mark presented some ideas that he has had for awhile but hasn’t been able to make. We went with one of the ideas about a guy that is sleep walking at his job on a construction site. The idea came about from a Bugs Bunny cartoon where Bugs’ gets knocked by a construction worker and starts walking around a construction site. We worked on some expectations for the team and the producers at needed to go to classes. When we got to class we introduced ourselves but we were put into the fire again. We had to pitch our newly formed ideas to our production professor, Amy. We started and Amy called for Corrine to come and listen to them too. None of us were prepared to pitch our idea an hour after we came up with it. We took it as a challenge and try to best describe our games. I got a lot of great feedback. Some game ideas died that day and others changed for the better.
After the talk I thought that they didn’t like the idea. I started to think of different skins we could put on it or a different story. We decided to change it to Maddies Super Awesome Pastry Shop. It had the same mechanic but different art and reason why you had to help Maddie. We created all the art for the presentation we needed and the engineers started to code. I gave the presentation about Maddies and they liked the other version better. By putting a bow on it we pidgin holed ourselves in that small market. After talking to Amy and Corrine more, the problem really was is that I didn’t explain it well it enough to get the point access about why the guy was sleeping. We strengthened the story and allowed for the possibility of a construction worker sleep walking. Luckily we didn’t much time, our pivot was so early that the engineers were still trying to understand the language and the concept art we did the day before was wasted. That was the first rule of three that we went though.
We do readings though out the week in a few different books. one book, The Art of Game Design by Shelle, told me to say that I was a game designer out loud 3 time to let it soak in. Even though I didn’t feel like I knew what I was doing our game was being created and several other groups as well. Amy, our production professor, had to repeatedly tell us that even though it didn’t feel like we knew what we were doing. We all had working prototypes and that we will look back at these days of free time. I know what she is talking about now. There is a lot of stuff to do and little time to do it all.
The Nocturns Ad, It was my first One Page.
In the final week we had to do a dry run of the presentation. I worked on the presentation for hours. It was going to be my best presentation ever until I froze at the start and forgot some of the things I was going to say. I got some feedback that was really helpful. I redid a bunch of the slides made it more simple to get the point across and less for me to memorize. There wasn’t much for me to remember. I just talked about the project like I do to my friends. It became second nature and my presentation was about 3 minutes and 30 seconds long. There was plenty enough time for questions and answers. I left much better about that presentation then I did the other one. I felt for once that I explained the game the best way I could. Everyone commented on how well I did and that they would want to play the game.
In the end I did so three iterations on the One Page, Presentation and the overall story of the game. I found it funny that even the EAE homework follows the Rule of Three that is found in a bunch of games.
Here is the trailer for our game.
The Noturns Trailer