18 days and counting…

Like the rest of my blog posts this is going to be short.

But to start out here are some awesome animations that we have added.

https://gfycat.com/GrizzledTintedAlpineroadguidetigerbeetle

https://gfycat.com/WarpedAcidicAmericanlobster

I have been pounding through a couple levels for the final build. It’s coming along, but it’s not a quick process.

I’ve been tasked with putting together the final level. This is to be the longest hardest level in the game, but it still needs to be possible. When putting it together it rose a lot of questions with what we could do with the final level. Mostly I wanted to make a boss level of sorts, but it’s not going to happen in the time we have. So I’ve been creating and iterating on the level. I feel like it is in a good place.

My favorite part of the level is the ending jump puzzle that I’ve creating.

Puzzle

 

The team has been hard at work putting the final touches on the last of our levels, some new animations, some passes on UI, and just making our game shine as much as possible.

Another big news is that Epic Games gave our team a $13,000 grant. We are honored and stunned to be chosen for their help.

 

One Week and Counting

We are one week away from the IGF deadline and things are getting crazy among the members of Cohort 4. We are all working hard and spending extra hours in the lab to get things up and running for next weeks submission. Our team has been working hard getting the final touches on our game. We are adding art, effects, cutscenes everything we hoped would be in the game. The most recent addition to the game is adding the Boss that I’ve been working on and iterating on for the pass couple of weeks. We had a good change to the levels taking out all the slow tiles. We had lots of feedback that the normal tiles felt enough like slow tiles. With that change, we changed the boss to change Fast Tiles and Normal tiles to slow tiles.  To make the boss actually affect the game, I had to do another pass on how the boss works. So I wrote an algorithm that will search for spots further ahead in the level according the speed of the player and it will launch bomb attacks to change tiles to impede your progress.

This actually went really well with the theme of net neutrality. The boss or the big cable companies are trying to control and slow down the connection of the once free running user. So instead of trying to kill the player the boss is trying to convert everything to their slow throttled internet.

Another feature I had to add was that the player could convert the tiles back. We are still in discussion on how this is to exactly work, but the boss/enemy has added a great level of depth to our game.

It’s been a great week for 404sight.

Next post will be: IGF submitted…now what O_O

Brushing it up for end of semester.

 

Our team is getting ready for the end of our first year in grad school. Our game of premonitions has three levels or iterations. We have a hallway run through while everything is exploding  and the floor is falling(the premonition ability shows the player what floor tiles are going to give out), a small room that lasers that run through the room in sequences (the premonition ability allows the player to see the laser patterns before they activate),   the last is a stairway that has spikes in the floor that are traps (the premonitions will show the player where along the stairway he will die).

I’ve been working on the stairway iteration and making sure that the mechanic will function in the level. I’ve set up the design, traps, and coding of the level. The part I’m not working on is the base premonition mechanic. Below is part of one Blueprint I created in Unreal 4 for the stairway level.

MYBLUEPRINT

Our game has a semi-theme and style. We are going for a more Cartoony, comic book style or art, and we are thinking of using a super hero theme. Our professors tell us that we have a good start, but because we are a student game, we need to have something to stand out. Like super heroes fighting obesity or something like that. Taking a topic that people know about and use the game medium to get people thinking about it. We haven’t found that piece yet, but we’ll get there.

As far as normal producer tasks, I have been getting more of that experience from The GApp lab. My team just got approval on our Alpha and we are now working hard for the next month to get a polished awesome beta. I’m super excited for another year of learning and growing!

And then there was one.

Monday’s pitch to the Industry panel went better than expected. We had a lot of positive feedback from the panel on both games, and the producers that pitched our games did a great job at getting to the point of what our games were so that the panel could riff off of our ideas and give us some good suggestions. After the pitch, it didn’t seem obvious to which game we should pick. The Tuesday after the pitch we had a long discussion in class as a full cohort. Even after the discussion with the cohort and the faculty it didn’t seem obvious what we were going to choose. Yesterday I was still unsure on whether we were going to chose the button game or the premonition game. Both have tons of potential. Both have flaws that need to be worked out. I have seen button since it was a small idea and prototype from our first semester and kept with it up to the point of becoming a pitch and second prototype to the industry panel.  The premonition idea was a good idea that our team has crunched on for 2 weeks and have made a great prototype of the idea. They both really could be great games, but the professors gave us until today to make a decision: Choose a game, keep prototyping both ideas, disband the team. I did not want to get to today and decided to keep prototyping two ideas. It was completely dividing our team and I wanted a cohesive idea that we could all get behind. With a lot of contemplation and some good advice from a c3 producer, I made a decision about which game I was going to fight for. I weighed the options and chose to NOT vote for the button game though I was attached to it. I thought that the only way I would have wanted to choose the button game was too completely change it, which wasn’t good for the team. I went to class this morning ready to face a team divided on the issue. We gathered for our stand up and started with: “Maybe we should just list pros and cons of each game.” Then It was mentioned, “Let’s just do a vote.” It was agreed and the team got ready for a vote.

“How many want to do the button game.”

Not a single person raised their hand. I was shocked and also very happy that the entire team got behind one game to move forward. Finally with a game, we set out on a long 2 week break which will give us time to think about our decision and get ready to start working on our thesis project! The first decision we are making is what Engine to use. WE are trying to make a quick decision to start the learning process, but we’ll see how quick it happens. Also we are going to try to do something really risky and rewarding, We are going to try to get access to the Unreal Engine 4 which isn’t out for public use. It really is a shot in the dark, but why not try at least right?! So that’s the current project. I can’t wait to see what the future brings for our group!

Two weeks and counting

This last week has flown by with everything that needs to be done. My work in the GAPP lab is going well. Meeting have been set and work is proceeding according to schedule. The hardest time has come from our thesis games. It’s been a whirlwind of everything. We spoke with our professors and using their feedback we decided to go in a slightly different direction. The problem with this wasn’t that the direction was but when in fact the direction was probably a good thing. The problem was that we gathered our team to talk about the change and presented what we though the optimal path should be instead of asking the group for other solutions and possibly coming to an even better conclusion. The direction was to stop the full scale design push we had planned and go for a more vertical slice of the game. It has also been brought to our attention that parts of the plans were not communicated properly throughout the group. We came up with the idea for the game and talked about it as a group, but at some point  during our moving forward with the project there was a disconnect between the game’s overall design and everyone’s thoughts about it. We are attempting to get it back on track in the next two weeks so that we have a solid prototype and idea for the pitch, but only time and effort will tell.

 

Second Semester is a go

We went to class the first week of school an were immediately told to jump into 4 to 5 teams. Myteam quickly formed grabbing 3 artists, 5 programmers and 6 producers. A little heavy on the producer side, but we do have a producer that doubles as a semi artist and I can double as an engineer so we’re going to make it work. I’m excited for the team we have.

We were told to come up with 100 game ideas that could be submitted to IGF and also to do some research on a couple of years worth of winners of IGF. After looking through two years of winners we could only find one real similarity between all the winners. They all had a clear idea that made the game simple to understand. With that we told our team to come up with 8 or so ideas to come to class on Thursday with those ideas.  Thursday was a giant brainstorming session. We came up with a huge list of ideas and now our job is to narrow down ideas to only a few to really work out. When we get down to two ideas our teams will be parallel developing two projects to see which one is better.

So my hope for the future is to take If Button Pressed to the next level and make it worthy of being a great thesis project. We’ll see over the next week what happens. The future looks bright!