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Monthly Archives: September 2014

The gameplay footage of our first prototype game, Paddlebash

This week was a roller coaster. We did not finish our  game in time for the dry run pitch on Tuesday, so I had to wing a presentation without gameplay footage. We couldn’t get much feedback since there was no game to show. I had a stern talking to with my group afterwards, since I had been setting deadlines all of last week and no one really cared about them or about finishing our game.  Some of our engineers just gave up and went  home without telling the rest of our group, basically screwing us, I was ready to make heads roll.  Wednesday was crunch day, we had to finish this game before our actual game pitch to all of the EAE faculty. We worked all day and by evening our game was almost complete, people were tired and tensions were high, some people started fighting and arguing, I told them all to shut the hell up and finish the game, we have no time for dumb quarrels. We had a working game with no sound by the end of the night, so I stayed in the lab well past midnight with my tech artist and we took game play footage and inserted the sound effects ourselves in Adobe Premier Pro. Presentation day came, I was running on 3 hours of sleep (and no I don’t drink coffee), but I was ready to nail this pitch out of the park. Our pitch and the other groups pitches all went really well. Everyone took the advice they got  during the dry run and really polished their games and pitches. This first prototype was definitely a good learning experience, I know so much more on how to approach a prototype as producer, what my strengths and weaknesses are, and what to do differently next time.

 

 

Running into some major obstacles. Mainly that Monogame on android is garbage. Lesson learned, next time do some more research on platforms before committing on one.  Our artist works at Avalanche studios full time and takes a bit longer to get us our art assets so me and the technical artists stepped up to help him with some of the workload. The photoshop painting classes I took back in high school has finally become useful.  Most of the assets are done so its basically just waiting on engineers. I should learn how to code soon so I can help my engineers in the future when we run into issues like this. I set deadlines to have a completed game by the end of the weekend since we have to dry run pitch

So the 2nd week of school has past. This week my group started getting the foundations of the game together. Engineers are figuring out the code for the accelerometer and started building the game and the artists are creating concept art and animations. As producer….I don’t really know what I’m supposed to be doing. So far I’ve been organizing and managing the team trying to make our work more efficient. I’ve been using Trello to set up to do list and delegate tasks but that doesn’t take too much work to be honest. A lot of the time I am just sitting there waiting on my engineers and artists. I’ve been taking on the role of game designer too because I want to be useful to the team and I think I have some good ideas for the game.  I do think my undergrad in management does help me with managing the team and project efficiently, maybe that’s why I find myself with a lot of extra time. Hopefully after I’ve gotten better at art and coding, I can help out my team more.

But Wait….

Our game needs sound!  That’s exactly where I can step up! Those  years of audio engineering  and music production at UConn will help a lot here. I created some game sounds that we’ll need for our prototype by using sounds clips I found and modifying them in Adobe Audition CC (I crammed on the tutorials for a whole day  since I usually use Pro Tools or Reason).

Sounds files below.

 

On Friday we had a guest speaker come in, Andrew Witts, an EAE alum who now is a designer at Ubisoft Montreal working on the game Rainbow Six: Seige. It was pretty inspiring to see and hear what he had to say. This was a person who just 2 years ago was in my shoes. Now he’s working in a job that I can only dream about. His lecture was on how to be a game designer, which is what I want to work as one day(hopefully). The key points I took away from his lecture was that your game play should answer a question, function before form, and to be extremely proactive in looking for opportunities. oh and also his saying, ” Keep calm and harden the fuck up” since game design is tough shit. Andrew is definitely an example I will look to for my own career journey.

In line of what Andrew said about taking any opportunities you can, me and my fellow producer Nick went to the bar to mingle with Andrew, Cohort 4 and even some cohort 3 grads.  I learned a lot of things about making it in the game industry, how to be a good designer and producer, tips for the thesis project from the older students. Networking and social opportunities like this are just as important as classes and projects, this is that business school mind set of mine. Beer is just as important as our computers.

So I survived first week of my crazy adventure of becoming a game producer(hopefully). I’ve been in Salt Lake City for about a week and a half and I’m adjusting pretty well. The city is beautiful, campus is nice, and the people here are friendly though the area can be a little boring since it is a commuter school, but I’ve been told  soon I’ll have so much work that I wont have to worry about being bored.

So the first week of class were more of introductions, except Rapid prototyping, but I’ll get to that in a sec. I am currently taking; Game Design, an academic class with lots of theories and discussions; Rapid Prototyping, making game prototypes every 4 weeks; and my Production track class which this semester is art for producers.  I do like the variety of class we have and will try and learn as much as I can from them all, but my main focus will be on our core class, Rapid Prototyping.

First off, for Rapid Prototyping, we get a computer lab with our own personal workstation. 20140826_123915[1]

GTX 770, I7, 32gb of RAM, 500gb SSD, 800mbps internet connection, Logitech peripherals. Badass right?

So for this class, they put us into teams of 6 and threw us into the fire. They let us randomly choose a toy, said we had to pitch a game prototype based on the toy in 2 days, and left us there. Our toy was a Paddleball, and our team went straight into work mode. Over the next 2 days we designed a prototype, came up with some concept art and delivered a pitch for our game Paddle Bash.

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Paddle Bash

Sadistic Paddleball

            Think back to the days of being a 10 year old kid, playing with simple games, and killing bugs in your yard. Our game, Paddle bash brings together those experiences into a mobile game.

            In this game, your mobile phone becomes the paddle and you tilt the screen to aim where the ball lands just like with a paddleball. Using the ball the player eliminates bugs that come from all sides of the paddle before they can reach the piece of candy that the sadistic character you play as taped to the paddle.

            Now like myself, most people suck at paddleball and can only keep it bouncing a few times. So we’ve eliminated the task of keeping the ball bouncing on the paddle. Instead we want the player to focus on aiming the ball to land consecutive hits on enemies to build a score multiplier. As the multiplier increases, the speed of the game increases.

            There are also different enemies that appear that require different methods to eliminate them.

Enemies Elimination Method Abilities/Bite
Standard 1 hit 1 bite
Strong 3 consecutive hits 3 bite
Captain Eliminate 3 other enemies then 1 hit on captain. 1 bite, increases other nearby enemies to have +1 bite
Teleporter 2 consecutive hits 2 bites Teleport across points on the map
Rager 2 consecutive hits 2 bites speeds up all other enemies around it upon death.
Thrower Hit an enemy it throws midair. Runs around map throwing enemies towards the middle.

           As the player builders their multiplier, powerups are unlocked that assist them in eliminating enemies.

Name Effect
Big Ball Larger hit area
Bronze Ball Eliminate any enemy with 1 hit
Blackhole Ball Pulls enemies towards impact point
Burning Ball Sets enemies on fire, makes them running off the board igniting other enemies they come near.

With this game we hope to appeal to a broad audience of casual gamers, since at one point we were all 10 year old kids in our backyards killing bugs.


As the Producer, my job was to pitch the game to our class, cohort 4, and our Professors. I wasn’t exactly sure what the right way to pitch a game was, so I just did what I did in pitches during business school in undergrad. My pitch and our prototype idea was well received, I thought there were a lot of things I could have improved on in the pitch, but I had many of my classmates come tell me it was the best pitch of the class, and my professors telling me job well done. A nice little confidence booster to wrap up the first week of class.

Now the real work begins, we have to make this game by the end of the month….