Team Post Mortem

Here are some notes that I took during our Post Mortem with the whole team and the Professors.

We had a good moment before IGF.

We have involved people in class but it’s causing us issues. Stuff isn’t getting done. Communication is an issue. We need to watch out for it. What as a team do we do that we need to have better communication?

During the beginning of the semester the engine caused problems.

Lack of commitment. The art help get us going.

People liked hansoft

Overwhelmed people others are doing ok.

People liked the prototype process. Jose and Ryan really liked that. They didn’t like that we didn’t integrate into the process.

Overall – Positives
All excited about the art.
Sorted out some of the problems with engineers.
Great razor
‘Friday engineering meetings were good.

Overall – Negatives
Design has been a concern since the start of the game.
The design approach needs to be changed.
How the design is managed needs to be changed.

We need to figure out how to get all the engineers into the project and working on the different parts. Engineers don’t want to build something that is going to be disappear or not going to be relevant. Somethings need to be thrown out.

I think that was a productive post mortem. We talked about the problems we were having as a team and what we need to do next semester to fix them. We have a list of different things that need to be worked on to increase team productivity and overall game awesomeness. Knowing who are target audience is something that should drive our design. If we are just building the game for us, it’s going to continue to look like several different games.
Keeping the Demon theme in the spring semester instead of constantly changing it. Everyone was onboard with the demon theme before. We had great concept art and high morel. When we switched to a more tech theme, it was cool but not many people were interested in it as much. Once we talked about bringing the demons back everyone was happy about it but not excited like they were before. Keeping the theme during the spring semester would have allowed for more art iteration during the summer. We would have seen the problems with the tube being to rocky before we had our new lights out mechanic.
Overall, my team is pretty great they are doing some awesome work on the game. There is just some quarks to work out in the process of making this game.

EAE Day

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.

The week before EAE Day

It is the night before EAE Day. Our team has worked so hard this past year to get the game ready to be shown tomorrow. It is quite exciting to showcase the game that we pitched to the industry panel almost a year ago.

This week we worked on getting the prototype builds that we create a few weeks ago into a working version of the build. There are a few different tiles that we have included. Each are randomly turned 90 degrees and placed. This provides the tube with it’s new unique look. Shelwin and Sty developed a shader that fades in and out the tiles when the player turns them off and on. The shader looks really cool and adds the juice that we have been looking for.

For tomorrow we have our lights out build and possibly our detonate build that we can play test with the crowd. We will be holding tournaments for the people to play against each other. We got some awesome prizes that we can give to them.

For producer art class we had to create an animation where we had to interact with object. I decided on a squirrel and a lamp. With iteration I found that it would be fun to see the squirrel knock down the lamp. I had to use a camera rig to get the shots that I wanted.

Here is the animation that I created. Please enjoy!

Topher

Build Review Meetings

The build review meetings every week can be a bit of work. For each build review I would come in Monday night to help the producer that was going to give the presentation the next day. The videos would be placed in the template that I created for the weekly build reviews. I liked creating the videos and showing them off to the class. On the 2nd week of doing the build reviews, I created a temple that any producer could use for them presentation. It had our title side, razor, updates, video spots and future updates. I would inserts the videos for the producer and let them use my laptop to present the different changes.

The weekly build reviews are nice to hear about the other games. After the 2nd or 3rd week we caught up with the current status of the games and the usefulness of the presentations diminished. Having the build presenations every other week would increase the effectiveness and allow the engineers to have more in class word time.

There should be a compromise that is made stating that we give the professors a new build every week but we only meet as a class every other week to discuss major improvements or changes in the game. It’s a win/win. The professors have the game builds every tuesday allowing more time to talk to all the teams. The engineers and artists have more time to work on their tasks during class time.

Prototyping

Finally submitting to IGF after working on our game for 8 Months felt pretty great. We wanted to start our iterative process. We looked at everything that we would like to fix before EAE day. One thing that stood out from the meetings were the ability to make tiles matter more and to continue to work on the 3 C’s (Character, Controller, Camera).

Our team didn’t know in what direct we wanted to go. We held a bunch of design meetings and we came up with a rubric on how we wanted to score different iterations that we wanted in the game. The rubric is as follows:

What works in the game. A rubic on what on how we can pick new features.

  1. Tube
    1. Dynamic
      1. Unique
      2. Chaotic
    2. Exploration of Space
  2. Minions
    1. Comedy from Model / Animation / Sound
    2. Relationship / Identification to the character (Aesthetic)
    3. Star of Show
  3. Indirect Damage (Core Mechanic)
    1. Enviromental Damage
    2. Espionage / Challenge
    3. Skillset of Foresight

 

Resonates

Survive Player, Can you survive the world

Can you survice the Hostile Territory

Die the least, Die the slowest

Use Minions to Indirectly damage opponent.

Use Minions to make Hostile Territory.

 

We took the runic and ask each member of the team if they are interested in coming up with a few ideas for a new iteration. The iteration had to include making tiles matter more and had to fit into what is currently working. We got 10 different ideas that we wrote up on the white board. We discussed the white board ideas and I started to combine the different ideas that had similar mechanics in it. After the combination we had 6 combinations left. The team took a vote to pick and we have 3 out of the 6 builds.  We have Lights Out, the ability to swap out the tiles, and detonate, you permanently delete the tile. We will see how it goes next week.

Submitted to IGF

Wow! That was fast couple of weeks. There was so much that the team got done in just a few couple of weeks. We were able to implement Allen’s level design that pushes players together so that they will compete more. Rob’s tube design is still a big hit with anyone that plays it.

The camera is feeling better now that we decided which way to go about it. We choose to go with the Third Person fixed camera. The difference is that it will go though objects and parts of the tube. There is still a lot of work that needs to go into the camera to make it smoother and less frantic. We have been getting great feedback about it and we are pressing forward.

Before we needed to submit to IGF, we had to present the new build to the professors. We had to quickly build the presentation that we wanted to show them. I also put the finishing touches on the trailer that we needed to submit with. Roger said that we are the most improved game and that the trailer was put together very well. The professors liked the frantic pace of the game but it seemed to lack progression. Our team was pumped after getting the feedback.

Allen and I worked on filming the different parts of the trailer that we wanted. We started off with an establishing shot of the tube then transitioned to several different gaming mechanics. We finished off with 2 of our minions flying by and announcing when we will be releasing the game.

The last 2 weeks we have been working really hard to get the build done in time for IGF. Every member of the team was helping and contributing to getting the game done in time for the IGF Submission. I hope that we can continue to be hard working and continue to get stuff done.

 

 

2 Weeks! Panic!

We have 2 weeks to finish our game until we need to turn it in to IGF. We have all the information into the IGF and we are just waiting on a build. We have setup our website at hostileterritorygame.com. It’s a great website where you can find everything HT related. Soon it will have the latest build as well. You can download a version for Mac or PC.

We did have to move back our Alpha date due to issues with the camera and other design concerns. The camera has continued to cause us problems since we have moved from Unreal to Unity. We have been playing around with different camera styles lately.

We had a great play test session with a bunch of our friends that we invited. The play test session started when I was talking with Tina from 404Sight. We haven’t really played each other’s game that much. We thought that if we didn’t play each other’s game that much that other people in the cohort haven’t either. We created the night in 2 weeks where we invite a bunch of people to come play test our game and just have some fun. We worked on a build that had a few different cameras in it. We used the play test to see what mode people liked the best. The third person fixed camera was by far the most liked version. The other third person camera was 2nd but the clipping caused the camera to jerk to much. There were some game play issues that we found out as well. We are trying to figure out how we can fix that and make it less confusing to the player.

The play test session was big and better then we thought. We thought that the cohort would be playing each others games and a few of our friends. What it turned into was a small EAE day where we had many different cohorts and friends come in to test out our games. We were able to play each others’ games but not as long as we wanted to. It was a giant success and we will have to do another soon.

Another big thing that we got in the build before the play test was our new tube design. The tube now has ridges, cliffs and valleys and it rotates! All this together allows for a dynamic environment that changes when you play it. pasted_image_at_2014_10_02_10_17_amRob worked overnight to have this in the build the next day. We were able to play test it and see how people liked it during the play test. We have a lot in store in the next 2 weeks it’s going to be crazy!

We have a theme!

After a long few weeks we have a theme! It is much better then the theme we currently had that no one was really into. We decided to revisit another theme we talked about last semester when Roger shot it down. The theme is all about demons. We pitched the idea back to the team. Everyone still likes the idea and wants to move forward with it. The new theme takes place in Hell where you are a demon trying to capture as much territory so that it can damage your opponent. The demons use their minions that are attached to their body to capture the territory.

The artists were super charged at getting our first concepts for the new theme. It’s nice to see what the tube, tiles and our character will look like. It has brought up the moral of the team. I have included some awesome concept art and models.

Mark Concept Art Seperated Minion

Those just 2 pieces of concept art that we got. The game is starting to look good and interesting. More to come!

Hostile Territory

We settled on a name for the game. The team really likes it! I think it’s a pretty good name for what we are doing. As a matter of fact, I think I described our new iteration to the game yet. What used to be blink gun is now Hostile Territory. We have kept the best elements of blink gun with the ability to have a dynamic environment to solve puzzles and added split screen multiplayer battles. It is a hit with the industry panel and many of our classmates.

Hostile Territory is a multiplayer third-person shooter game in which players battle each other in a dynamically changing and rotating environment. Controlling the environmental enables the player to attack their opponent indirectly. Thus, territory control and the changing environment helps to create new avenues for strategies as well as remove problems associated with traditional shooter games such as camping.

Some of the features are:

  • Third-Person Perspective — A 3rd person perspective is used in order to help with platforming and moving about within the environment. It is also being implemented so as to show off the game’s art style.
  • Controlling Environment — Environmental control influences the game. When a team holds territory they gain the advantage for the reason that when a player is in opposing territory, they take large amounts of damage!
  • Double Jump — Player is able to jump twice using the space bar.
  • Rotating Gravity Environment — The environment rotates in a clockwise motion. Objects not held to the ground moves with the gravity shift.
  • Dynamic Changing Environment — The objects within the map change as the team controls the map, exposing more of their environment.
  • Create Viruses and Bugs to kill Your Opponent — The more kills you accumulate it unlocks viruses and bugs that you can unleash on your opponent.
  • Split-Screen — Play on one single computer

We have worked on a tube tile system the places different tiles around the tube with the concept art that Mark has provided. We are able to capture different tiles and damage the other player. We got in multiple different weapons and a few platforms.

We are in talks for what the theme could be. More on that next time.

 

Getting down and dirty

We are starting to production process. I setup the hansoft server and gave the team rights to access it. I started off with just having the next week in there so that the engineers had something to reference this week.

Rody, myself and the rest of the design team had a meeting where we talked about the different elements of the game. We broke down each and every part into an action that I put into Hansoft. Brad put together the flow diagram that we came up with to explain the different screens and how they worked in our game.

The next day I met with Mark to talk about breaking down the different art pieces and scheduling out the time they needed for each piece of the art that was needed for the game. It came out pretty close to the IGF date but I think that we can make it. Mark felt the same way.

With Hansoft implemented I started having meetings with the different engineers to talk about what they have been working on, any issues that they were having and what I can do to help them. We also would talk about their days and any suggestions that they would like to be added to the game. The first 2 weeks have been good. It has improved the communication between the engineers and increased the productivity. They like having the meetings to talk one on one. I think I will continue them.