Monthly Archives: November 2013

Third Prototype: Music Gun Post Mortem

The third prototype we worked on was a first person shooter revolving around the gun being affected by the music.  We utilized Unity because of a package named Visualizer Studio we received from Sherly in Cohort 3.  We were able to make a working music gun.  We iterated on two ideas for the music gun using three frequency ranges; bass, mid and treble.

Our first idea involved tying the bass to rate of fire, mid range to overheating (meaning that each time a bullet is fired the gun accumulates heat based on the mid range and loses heat when the gun is not firing at the rate of the mid range) and treble that varies the damage of a fired bullet upon collision.  The problem with using the ranges for esoteric game factors is that the user felt no connection to the gun.

We iterated on our first idea to provide more feedback to the user by associating the color of the bullet with the bass, mid and treble ranges.  The iteration idea was never fully implemented, but involved varying the size of the bullet based on the mid range, an area of effect upon collision based on the bass range and a persistence after collision associated with the treble range.  The color of the bullet is the color of the mid range before collision, the color of the bass range upon collision and after the explosion the color of the treble range as the bullet persist before being extinguished.

Our artist Jing was able put together an awesome art style that fit the silly and cute style of a music gun.  For the game we had actual three dimensional models.  They were finished the day prior to the end of the prototype and as a result the engineering associated with the models was not added.  We now understand how music based games create a new dimension of gameplay and user feedback.  Future directions for the prototype include associating the music that is played with internet radio.

On the board our team captured key points of the project.  We seemed to agree that solidifying a music gun idea was an impressive task that took a few weeks out of our development cycle.
On the board our team captured key points of the project. We seemed to agree that solidifying a music gun idea was an impressive task that took a few weeks out of our development cycle.

 

The music gun game had some really awesome models.  The music gun itself is shown in the bottom middle of the screen.  It shoots spheres that are project colored lights.  The enemies were really cute.  The big purple guy is a boss enemy.
The music gun game had some really awesome models. The music gun itself is shown in the bottom middle of the screen. It shoots spheres that are project colored lights. The enemies were really cute. The big purple guy is a boss enemy.  The level really didn’t fit the colorful style.

Daily Start : 11/08/2013

Today I will be working on building a bit array and memory management system for my game engine for my C++ Game Programming course.  I am excited to build the two systems.  Both should prove very useful in the future.

I have also figured out an interesting branch for the current prototype.  The branch comes from a consideration from Roger regarding a skill and tactics barrier in our current prototype.  The idea is that the player is constantly shooting in contrast to holding the button down to shoot.  The player makes tactical and skill related decisions by holding the mouse button to charge a larger shot.  While holding the button the player does not shoot.  We will be meeting our lens of punishment by providing punishment of not being able to shoot while the user holds the button down and reward when the user releases the button for a larger burst of fire.

My current idea is to have the size of the shot orb be effected by the mid range of sounds, the area of effect upon collision effected by the bass range and the persistence after collision effected by the treble range.  The change will produce visual cues for the player allowing tactical decisions to be made such as choosing between a fast shooting gun or a larger weapon.  I will try to implement the branch after finishing my C++ Game Programming homework.

 

Middle of the Day Report 11/07/2013

Today we presented our current build at the end of week three.  Our feedback for the game was less than enthusiastic.  We need to figure out a direction for the music gun that is understandable.  Everyone that play tested our game wanted the gun to shoot faster.  I am still working on figuring out how the gun can accommodate that style of play and not be a fire hose.

I still need to write a memory pool and bit array for my C++ Game Programming class.  I will be working on finishing the C++ Game Programming homework tomorrow.  Today has been devoted to the prototype for rapid prototyping.  I also need to finish the reading for next weeks Game Design class.

Daily Start: 11/06/2013

I have been in the lab since 8:30 AM.  I have been trying to write to my blog daily as I enter and leave.  I would like to be more consistent.  My agenda for the day includes getting finishing the music gun for our third prototype, adding the art our artist has developed for the third prototype, developing a C++ memory pool, bit array and other memory management systems and reading for next week’s game design class.  I will report before game design class tonight regarding my successes and failures.

Day Start: 11/04/2013

November and daylight savings have started.  My goals for today are to finish the reading for game design for the week, generate 33 game ideas for game design, build a particle projectile system for our prototype and add properties to the music gun.  I will report on my efforts at the end of the day.

Daily Report: 11/01/2013

My goals for today included doing the C++ homework, reading for game design, creating a particle based projectile system for the third prototype and blogging when I entered and before I left for the day.  I was able to finish the C++ homework and realign the position of lights on the music gun for the prototype.  There were some minor interruptions today.  My guess is approximately an hour worth of interruptions.  Overall, today was worthwhile.  I will pick up where I left off next Monday.

Halloween and New Goals

Yesterday was Halloween.  The Halloween party was a fun experience.  There were cookies and soda.  We were able to see fellow undergraduate and graduate students dressed in costume.  Afterward there was a time to play Magic the Gathering in the south lab.

Mentioning Magic the Gathering brings up a problem that I am having involving productivity.  I have not worked in the game industry prior to this post, but I feel the problem may be endemic to the industry.  As graduate students we are learning to make fun experiences.  As a result we play games.  The problem however is associated with neglecting other responsibilities to play games.  I ended up playing Magic the Gathering with members of Cohort 4 until 9:00 PM.  I had meant to spent time with my wife handing out candy to trick-or-treaters.  Walking home I reflected on my poor choice and the general ineffectiveness brought on by neglecting my other responsibilities.  A single issue kept coming to mind.  I have not been making a plan since the beginning of October.

A key method of being effective for me in my professional and home roles has been to make a plan for the day.  The plan involves important task that need finished before the end of the day.  In order to make sure nothing falls through the cracks and I do not repeat last night I have committed myself to diligently writing a plan for myself in my planner.  I will also be updating my EAE Master’s blog more frequently.

On my agenda today is finishing our C++ assignment, reading for game design and writing a reaction paper and adding projectile particle effects to the music gun.  The music gun prototype is going well.  We presented our current incarnation to Bob and Craig yesterday.  Both seemed excited with our progress.  At the end of today I plan to post pictures of the music gun.