Category Archives: Rapid Prototyping

Lazy Bug Update

Lazy Bug has been on the Windows 8 store for about a month and a half!

We have over 200 downloads and 110 likes on our Facebook page. Our app is slowly growing in popularity. We recently received editors choice on Best Windows 8 Apps. Our review was great, the editor gave us a 10 out of 10.

editors_pick

We will be meeting soon to work on another update of Lazy Bug to include several of the ideas that the professors gave us and feedback that we got from play testing. Keep an eye out for the next version of Lazy Bug!

Prototype 3: Get the F@#! Off My Lawn

For our third prototype, we had some specific requirements.

  1. Audience: Indie, A focus on innovation
  2. Tech: Use a game engine
  3. Aesthetics: Indie
  4. Play/Theory: Using the lens we picked. It will be our driving force for the game. We picked the lens of Endogenous Value.

The 3rd prototype will be like the 1st one where we do give a presentation but like the 2nd one where we have to have a prototype in the first week. We want to be able to iterate multiple times though out the process.

We used Dr. Altizer’s Design Box method to develop our game ideas. The Design Box Method brings together Tech, Aesthetics, Play/Theory and Audience in a four wall system. With the inside, we came up with game pitches or razors that are meet the conditions. You add more specifications on the 4 walls and continue to reassess the game pitches and if they still meet the criteria.

After a few iterations we came up with a 3D Trick or Treat type game with a halloween twist. We liked the halloween twist but Rody (My great co-producer) and I were concerned that it might be over scope for the 4 weeks that we have. The team decided to sleep on the idea and confirm it before design class. Rody and I came up with several different game ideas that we could also pitch to our team the next day. We emailed out the first to the group. We held our cards on the other ideas incase the first one was shot down. When we met together they shot down the first idea we had. We then used our other ideas we developed the day before. Everyone really like the idea for a Tower Defense style game. We decided to continue with the theme of Halloween we had before. To give our game the indie vide, a grumpy old man will be killing kids to keep them away from the house.

Here is our description.
Get the F@#* Off My Lawn! is a tower defense defense game that places the player in the role of a grumpy old man who desires to prevent children from reaching his house door on Halloween night. The player will attempt to prevent the children from disturbing his peace and quiet by any means possible through levels that will increase the challenge for the player.

The game was well received by the whole class. They though it was an interesting that you were killing kids with different lawn tools. Not many games have you kill kids to gain points. We wanted to cross some boundaries with our indie game and I think we did. That was the general trend amongst the teams. Most of them had challenging ideas that changed the traditional way we think of things.

That weekend we played a lot of different tower defense games so that we could determine what they did great and what we would like to change. I created a blog post about that.  We came into tuesday with some great information about how we wanted our game to work. We picked unity as our game engine. The engineers started to play with it and get familiarized with it.  We had our first playable by the end of the 2nd week. The playable was more of an animation of game play. The engineers had some problems with how the pathing should work. They had to code in each path the creeps were going to go. It took some time but we had creeps moving across the screen.

On the start of the third week we had some disagreements that hindered the work and we were able to resolve them. We had a 2nd playable by the end of the 3rd week. It was more of an actual playable game. There were some code merging problems in Unity it caused a slow down in the development of the game. The professors called it a tech demo rather then a toy or game. We decided that we needed to work hard for the next week to get our tower defense game ready for the final week.

On the final week we did a bit of crunching. Sty and I worked on Unity to make the game more user friendly. Rody and I created the one sheet and final presentation to give to the class this week. The game was still well received by the whole class. We did some play testing afterwards with a few of the producers and anyone that wanted to try it. We got some suggestions like add more blood and gore.

IMAG0349

Overall the project did well. We hit some road bumps along the road with engineering, communication and animation issues. The product that came out was totally a prototype though a rough one compared to other games that were published during the same time. Even though the game had it’s issues I think we stayed true to the indie vib and what our lens was.

Load Missile into Bay 1!

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.

SpaceInvaders-Gameplay

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.Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 10.28.46 AM 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.Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 10.29.47 AM 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 155.97.16.41:8888. 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.

Space Invaders Post Mortemp.s Here is an easter egg from our game. Easer Egg

The Rule of Three

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.

Screen Shot 2013-09-28 at 5.58.17 PM

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.

Maddy

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.

 

Original Designsleepwalker environment

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.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