Post Mortem Prototype 1 “Light’s out!”




Working up to the final Pitch gave us some bumps in the road. We started with this game play video: (First Gameplay)

We spoke with our professors and they didn’t see the fun in our game. It was very task driven “Get out of the maze” game. They suggested that we add some kind of skill or something the player can get better at. We decided from this feedback to add a movement mechanic to the game.  The player has to keep the light bulb moving and not run into anything or else it will fall over and shatter. When we played the game with a ‘keep moving’ mindset, I felt like the fun came to life. We also receive feedback from our E.P. about an element of surprise might add something to the game. We brainstormed ideas and inserted a random lightning bolt effect that would strike at random. The player would see a target of the striking point and be given a sound cue to the lightning, giving them the choice to be hit by it or to run from it. When hit the player could have a variety of different effects: teleport to random location, super bright, burn out bulb.

We spent a bit getting all of our new features into the game and this is the final game play video. (Final Gameplay)

Today we gave our pitch to our client and they said they really liked the game. They had a few issues with the difficulty of not hitting walls mechanic, but overall they liked it.

We spent the rest of the day doing a postmortem (see photo below) We spoke with the team about the milestones that we made in the game and then discussed the good and bad things that happened in the game. Some of the good things were: Our team worked hard and got tasks done on schedule, Our team was willing to make changes and adapt to new information, we had very little communication problems. Our bad points were troubles with applying art to the game, our dust bunny not being playable, the sound on the game play video wasn’t the best for the presentation, and the pictures for our team slide could have been more uniform. Most of the trouble we had came from the integrating the art into the game. The code didn’t handle the right sizes and the collision didn’t handle the collision map that the artist produced. They wrestled with it for a couple of days until we had to make the decision not to use it in the game play video and to just use it as concept art.



Below is the progression of our One Page. We started off with a minimalist design. Only having a few key bullet points with some art from the game. Our E.Ps didn’t like it and wanted more info. We moved on the number 1 which got rid of the background, game a iphone game play example and shared some details. We spoke with a professor about that one and she said it was too wordy and not fun. This finally lead us to the final one page that has big art and fun words to convey the game.




OnePagerFirst OnePagerLightsOut2 OnePagerLightsOut Final


Overall, This couple weeks have been a great experience.  We had a super talented team that were up to the challenge. We worked hard and I think we came up with a successful product.


Matt Jensen giving our pitch: Link

I can’t wait to see what next week brings.

White Box to Testing

We are two weeks into our prototypes and things are starting to come together.

Our Engineer, Siddharth, laid out a framework of a maze that you can move a character around via clicking. The Collision is a simple check if anything is between point A and point B and go as far as you can. It isn’t the exact control style we would like for a finished product, but the for a prototype to show an example video it works well.  He also added a light that would only show around the character, batteries that would increase the light around the character and a goal that would terminate the game. We were super pleased that after only the first sprint we had a playable game.

Our two artist have been hard at work creating character art(Sherry) which includes the light bulb, batteries, and a dust bunny enemy, and environment art(Shane) to make the walls of the maze into obstacles. I’ve seen great progress from our whole team.

Matt and I have been preparing the presentation for our game. I took on the task to get our game ported to an android phone that we would have playable at the presentation. I spent quite a bit of time trying to get the android sdk to work with Eclipse to communicate with MOAI, and I have yet to have success with it. I’ve put that project on the back burner while we get more of the presentation done, namely the slides and the one pager that we are planning to use when presenting.

Today we had a good class work period where we got the mechanic of the light diminishing into the game, we have the environment art done and our engineer and artist are working to get that in the game. We have the characters done for the game and have some extra concepts for our slide show. We ran some play tests with some of the students from our class and got a little feedback on the difficulty level and the diminishing light mechanic. After the art is put in today, we are going to get some more play testing in this Thursday to get some more feedback from our classmates.

I have been learning a little bit at a time what it means to be a Producer. I’m accustom to having my hands all over the code, and am finding it difficult not to be next to our engineer working with him. Though it has been helpful that I have sat down and worked out some logic blocks that were in some of the code. Organizing this project has been fairly simple because the scope of the project is relatively small. The list of tasks for our artists and programmer were fairly straight forward and they completed the tasks on time and really well. I’m pleased with our team.

Moving forward, I hope that through play testing we can make the few tweaks necessary to the prototype that will give our clients the best game possible.

Start Chasing the Dream!

To start out, here is a little about me. I’m twenty six years old, married with a one year old son, and a Graduate Student in the University of Utah’s EAE: MGS Production track.  I just graduated from the University of Utah’s Computer Science program with the EAE emphasis. In the Undergrad program I learned a lot about the beginnings of game design and the game development process. We even created a XBOX 360 Indie game, Avatar Trials: Ninja Uprising, as our senior project. It now is in the top 300 XBLIG games. We are super proud of how well it’s done. (Link to Avatar Trials) (Undergraduate Blog)

While in my undergrad, I spoke with lots of the graduate students about the EAE:MGS and I knew I needed to be part of this program. The biggest decision was to chose a track. I was a computer science student so the logical choice was to do the Engineering track. As I progressed in my senior year of my undergrad I started chatting with some of the producers in the Cohort 3 and Cohort 2. The opportunity for organizing, designing, and focusing a team on the game idea intrigued me. I was also told how much it would be a valuable asset to a producer to understand programming and the programmers on their teams. I took a step into the dark and chose the production track and so far I’m excited and glad that I did.

So I’ve made it through the first week of school. We have already been separated into small prototype teams and have pitched our game ideas to the faculty. Our game idea is essentially a mobile maze game. You have to get your character from the start of the maze to the end.  The difference is that you have to complete the task in a dark maze. Your character is a light bulb that illuminates the immediate area around it. As time progresses your light bulb gets dimmer and dimmer until it goes out and you have to restart. The next difficulty factor is that you have to accomplish a task to have the exit of the maze be opened. This will either be collecting an amount of a collectable or finding a button or switch in the maze. Some of the extras we want to add that we will if we find there is time are: power ups, level enemies (like the ghosts in pacman), multiple levels.

After pitching the idea we were given feedback that the dark might get disorienting and could lose the interest of the player. So some of the ideas that we have talked about implementing to see how they work and if we like the mechanic are, first having your character being a string of Christmas lights so you will be able to see the way that you have come for a short distance, or being a black light and you illuminate the walls around you for a short amount of time so you will see more of the route that you have taken.

For our first short sprint we have a couple of tasks laid out. We are going to get a simple maze concept programmed. So a movable character and collision with a placeholder maze. We are also working on studying up on MOAI to handle the lighting issue of our game. we are looking into a way to use actual lighting or using layers and opacity to handle the problem. On the art side we are getting some concept art drawn up of our character as well getting the aesthetic feel of the game through the environment art. This next week we will be deciding more on the art direction so the artists can work on some more polished art that can be iterated on. Also hopefully we have some answers to the lighting mechanic issue so that we can move forward and start having a prototype we can play around with.

I feel that the scope of our game idea allows us to have more time for expounding on our mechanic and also trying new things. I am confident in our teams abilities to work and have a great prototype in the end of the four week process.