Whirlwind

So I don’t know what I have or haven’t said here so I’m going to review a bit of what has happened this past week in work. I’m currently working for the University of Utah in the GAPP lab where I’m working as producer on the Nanotubes project. This week I finished up the Game Design Document and submitted it, our schedule, and our Style Guide to our stakeholder Dr. Atwood. It was a lot of work to get it done, and he’s already sent back some feedback.  So I’m fixing it up and getting it back to him as soon as I can.  I’m super excited to be working in the GAPP lab and to be making more videogames!

Also the game that I discussed last time HOMEunculus was reviewed by a popular indie reviewer who had nothing but good things to say. The comments to the video also just lit a fire under that team and we want to pursue making the game bigger.

Now to get down to the thesis project update. Since my last post we had a good talking to by Amy Adkins , our faculty producer, about getting these projects organized. We still only had one and a half ideas for these two prototypes, so directly after that conversation I got to work and laid out a nice schedule with all of our big dates and then divided each week into sprints. With that in place, I wrote out a backlog for the next 4 weeks giving one of our projects a firm start on moving forward. This was the button game that we started for my prototype 3. Along with that Tina, Matt and I wanted to have narration in the prototype to give the feel we wanted for the project when we pitched it to the industry panel. To do this Matt has been assigned to handle the dialog writing and some of the voice acting because he’s had past experience.  With all this in place we had one project moving forward. The second prototype has had it’s moments. We couldn’t come up with a cohesive design and every time there was an attempt to grasp something it seemed to slip through our fingers. The concept of taking off a piece of your character to progress in the game and still give the player meaningful choice and not having the player feel weaker wasn’t happening.

Last thursday, we overhauled the entire game and came up with a game about premonition. Essentially a 2D sidescroller game that has hazards everywhere and the player has the ability to see hazards with use of an energy bar of sorts. The thesis of the game was: “Can we make hints a game.” So we by the end of the last class period we were on our way to making that game.

Life is just getting busier and busier. I can hardly keep up and it’s awesome!

 

Global Game Jam and narrowing to two ideas.

promo2 This last weekend was the Global Game Jam! It was amazing time and it reinforced all my passion for game development. My team was absolutely brilliant. We had Tina Kalinger Producing, Rachel Leiker and Kyle Chittenden doing art, Emily Hulse (my wife 🙂 ) and Ellie Finley doing design, some asset creation, and sound. I took over programming the game and this is what we came up with. Dropbox Link. GameJam Link. The game is a 3d platforming game where you are in a house full of creepy life sizes replicas of yourself. You have to make your way through the house by using a voodoo doll to move the arms, legs, and torsos of all the dolls. As you manipulate the voodoo doll, all of the dolls in the house move giving the game a very eerie feel. I’m super proud of my team and what we were able to accomplish.screenshot-2014-01-26-07.205

The second big thing this past week is our projects class narrowed our teams ideas down to 2 ideas. We are going with the button game and the robot game. I am taking a bigger role on the button prototype though we are all working on both prototypes. We also finally chose a direction for the game! The one thing that really drew us to the first prototype of the button game is the surprise moment when you had to go against what your instincts told you to complete the puzzle. We want to focus all our puzzle ideas on making our audience (indie gamers) go against what they feel is the ‘normal’ course of action. We have ideas about being able to jump farther than the player thinks. creating doors that can be open though they appear to be locked.  One big worry we have with this game idea is that gamers would get frustrated really really quickly with some of the ideas. We want to incorporate a narrator or commentator overhead voice that could help the player without completely holding there hand. This idea will take lots of research and playtests, but we feel like it would give players a fun unconventional game to play.

Well we are off to the races with our prototypes. I’ll update next week on our second idea about robots.