Category Archives: Game Projects 2

Fall 2014 Post-Mortem

Earlier during the semester I put together thoughts regarding the state of the semester.  I would like to proclaim that the state of the Hostile Territory team has improved since that time.  The Hostile Territory team consists of five producers, five engineers, three technical artists and two artists.  Weighing in at fifteen people the team is large.  The team has experienced growing pains due to size.  Overall, the team is in a better place than the start of the semester.  I will now detail the journey provided by the semester.

I had sworn off large teams when I left Retro Yeti in late June 2014.  Retro Yeti, at that time, suffered from a culture that focused on last minute heroics toward a goal discussed by leads in closed meetings.  I attributed the problem to large teams and left to form a new team.  The goal was to get two producers, four engineers and two artists on the team.  The new team formed with only three people.  As a new team we built four prototypes.  The prototype Roller ended up going on to the “Utah Game Wars” competition as a finalist and is now submitted to the “Independent Games Festival”.  Overall the summer prototyping session was a success, however when the semester began it was apparent that the fifth team would not form.

I decided to enjoy the success of Roller and let go of the creation of a fifth team.  The first day there was a meeting about team formation.  Other people had left their original team, but instead of joining the fifth team, went to safer teams.  I spoke briefly with Jose and Ryan regarding my situation and speed dating teams was mentioned, so I set off to find a team.  I worked with Rody and Rob on Reflex Speed in the spring and decided it would be a good idea to join the Hostile Territory team.  I asked to join the team and was welcomed.  The talk of the team was switching from Unreal Engine 4 to Unity.  I decided that I would be a good team member and keep my efforts to building whatever unassigned tasks were deemed important.

The engineers had a first meeting regarding getting a Unity build up and working.  I chose to do networking with George.  There were synchronization issues in the build from last spring.  I looked over the network code George had and realized that the connection being used was UDP peer-to-peer.  While fast, a UDP peer-to-peer connection is not synchronized by design.  George and I talked and came to a conclusion that we needed a client – dedicated server system to ensure synchronization.  The game should run on the server with each client sending remote procedure calls to their character to ensure shooting was synchronized.

I was working on a client – dedicated server system in the first week.  I had movement working for more than one client using remote procedure calls when Triston, the engineering lead, asked me to leave networking behind in favor of split screen.  Triston asked me to start work on a third person controller.  I started work on the controller and was later asked if Ron helped on the controller if that would help.  Ron and I began working on controllers.  As Ron and I started to work together it became apparent that we were very different engineers.  Ron spent time building up interfaces that every controller should use.  I spent time building a controller that could wall walk.

During the second or third week the term re-architecting started being thrown around by Triston and Ron.  The code that had been written for the game was seen as inadequate and was being rewritten in a less “hacky” way.  I was mortified.  The Hostile Territory team seemed to be doing well, but the re-architecting with leads looked, smelled and walked like the problems from Retro Yeti.   Engineering became stagnant for the end of September as the new architecture was being developed.  Attitudes on the engineering team went from fun to fear.  Shelwin started work on a weapon system that was compartmentalized from the new architecture.  I kept myself busy working on the wall walking movement controller.  I vocalized my distaste of the re-architecting process.  I started to let my 9 AM to 1 PM schedule for Hostile Territory slip since the new architecture was up in the air.  Other engineers were biding their time waiting for the release of the new architecture.

The new architecture was released.  I updated the wall walking controller to meet the interface needs of the new architecture.  There were still bugs with the wall walking controller.  Triston told me to remove wall walking and get the controller into the game.  I cobbled together a solution to get the controller into the game without wall walking.  The solution worked, but had problems.  Over the weekend Ron released the controller he built in combination with the architecture and it was better than my controller, so we moved forward with Ron’s controller.  I brought attention to the wasted effort from both Ron and I in developing separate controllers and asked production for help.  My moral tanked and I was unable to put my finger on any part of the project that was mine.  Ron and I started working on understanding our differences and the strengths and weaknesses of both of our approaches.  Ron and my competition started to become a mutual respect.

I changed gears and started working on bug fixes.  I spent time between bug fixes working on the wall walking controller.  I was able to fix a significant issue with yaw rotations beyond 90 degrees in either direction causing undefined movement.  I made strides with the wall walking controller and was working on getting the controller to work in environments with noisy surfaces.  Production didn’t have a specific task for me.  As a result I had extra time to work on wall walking, when not fixing bugs for the IGF build, since the feature still came up as good for the game.

I was working on two games for IGF.  I spent the morning with Hostile Territory and the evening with Roller.  Luckily the engineering classes gave extra time on due dates around IGF since I spent all my time working on Hostile Territory and Roller.  Hostile Territory was submitted on the Thursday before Halloween.  Roller was submitted on Halloween.  I was running on little sleep and took the weekend afterward off to recuperate after the IGF submissions.

The team played the IGF submission and came to a consensus that the game was not fun.  I stated the game we submitted was the same game we started with except with a new cave level.  During the process of building the IGF submission the team was informed that iteration would occur afterward.  The team pushed for prototyping.  There was backlash from production, but the team was able to get a prototyping phase approved.  As an engineer I am strong at prototyping and decided to take on three prototype ideas.  The first idea was from our artist Mark and involved blowing up minions to remove tiles.  The second idea was a play upon Mark’s idea involving non-permanent toggle removal of tiles like a light switch.  The third idea was Peijun’s musical chairs where players had to move to their own territory on a timer or fall.  I was able to prototype the first and second idea.  Peijun finished the third idea a week later.  As a team we presented six prototypes to Jose and Ryan.  The detonate and light switch prototypes were selected to move the design forward.  Both included the wall walking controller.  A major selling point for the new prototypes was clean visuals.

During the last weeks of the semester the team spent time getting a build ready for IGF.  I spent the majority of my time jumping helping others with tasks.  I have started to solidify my role on the team as a prototype engineer to ensure ideas on the team get a fair trial.  I do not have the dread I experienced during the middle of the semester.  The team seems to be working together better.  Each engineer has organically taken a role to help the team.  The roles are not all inclusive of our work, but serve to denote the strengths we individually have brought to the team.  The roles I identify are Triston as engineering manager, Saumya as GUI engineer, Ron as architecture and systems engineer, George as build engineer, Peijun as animation engineer, Shelwin as weapon, sound and shader engineer, Sty as technical artist and myself as prototype engineer.

The engineering team has been gaining steam since the IGF submission.  The culture is improving and we can get more work done in less time.  We have more respect for each other than when we started.  With the success of prototyping I would like to continue to provide engineering expertise to move the design forward.  If anyone on the team has an idea to move the design forward, after talking to Rody, I would love to build the design to allow the team to give the idea a fair trial.

Moving forward I will be addressing issues with the camera and wall walking controller.  Re-architecting has prevented the team from building some of the suggestions from Jose and Ryan.  I would like to prototype some of the ideas including a controller where the camera isn’t controlled directly and a fixed camera at either end of the tube.  Both ideas have design problems, but deserve a fair trial.  I will be working with Rody to find good solutions to design problems with both the light switch and detonate prototypes.

The Road to IGF: Roller Post Mortem

The road to IGF with Roller was interesting.  Roller was a game prototyped in fifteen hours during the course of one week.  My wife mentions that Roller was built in two evenings.  The remaining time was used for polish.  I built the prototype with Lonnie Egbert and John Schwarz.  The prototype was built as part of a movement known as the Fifth Team that occurred over the summer.  Spring semester working with Retro Yeti left me drained.  The members of the team are amazing, but the culture and ideals developed by the team did not fit me well.  I knew another semester with Retro Yeti would end poorly, so I left with the idea of forming a new team.  The new team would hold to the ideals of rapidly building ideas to find fun early while managing scope and expectations.  I was working a fourty hour a week internship with Blackrock Microsystems and working on contract work for another project, but decided to commit an aggressive schedule of fifteen hours a week to the Fifth Team.  I felt passionate about building a better culture for game development.

Prototyping with the Fifth Team was energizing.  John joined me from the beginning.  We began working in Unreal Engine 4.  The first week resulted in a climbing game that I found hilarious.  The idea fell flat for most people however, but the rope impressed Lonnie and I asked if he wanted to join us.  He agreed and we moved forward.

The second week we started considering ideas.  I proposed a game with marbles and dominoes.  There was consensus and everyone started working on games featuring marbles and dominoes.  John was working on an inclined runner style game.  Lonnie was working on making bricks explode when ran into by the marble.  I was working on a game where marbles had to jump on dominoes or fall into hot lava.  We were showing off our work and laughing as we went.  Lonnie proposed adding the rope from the previous game onto the marbles.  The three of us started talking about a jousting game with the rope.  I showed Lonnie and John how I built the rope and added it to the marble.  Lonnie then proposed making the rope act like a pogo stick.  Control of the ball was odd, so we abandoned the idea.  Jousting was almost in place when the rope was removed since it wasn’t adding anything to the game.  The second evening I had a top down camera with two marbles that had to push each other out of the square arena.  Erin loved the game and told me to continue building it.  Roller was born.

The third and fourth week there was mention of continuing the marble game.  Holding to the idea of the Fifth Team I insisted that we prototype another game.  Per John’s suggestion we started working on a game with heavy narrative.  We prototyped a Guess Who game that ended up being a game show.  Players didn’t know who they were, so they asked random boxes.  The boxes provided clues and the player had to guess who they were….  The game didn’t go anywhere.  We then started building a dungeon crawling game where narrative would be central.  There were some tech demos and a sample narrative was written, but there was no progress.

I met with Ryan regarding the Fifth Team.  We talked about the outcomes of the program.  We talked about the importance of playtesting.  We talked about how the thesis game produced while in the program doesn’t get people employment.  We talked about how important the networking offered by the program is with regard to future employment.  Overall the meeting went well, but I still felt like a pariah.  I knew the start of the semester would be rough.  The roughness was lessened by being a finalist in Utah Game Wars.

The week before classes started I decided to enter Roller into the Utah Game Wars contest.  Roller was a finalist in the competition.  I updated the game to have four players.  The games design focused on being simple enough that grandparents could play with grandchildren.  The game garnered smiles at Utah Game Wars.  Judges mentioned that it should be a mobile game.  After consideration Lonnie, Erin and I decided that Roller wouldn’t make sense as a mobile game.  I wanted the game to be played by families in the same way my family played games like Mario Party, Mario Kart or Super Smash Brothers during the holidays.

The semester began and I did not push for a Fifth Team.  There were two members of the team at the start of the semester.  John was not committed full-time to the team, so I was the sole member.  That meant I was speed dating teams.  I joined the Hostile Territory thesis game team since the team seemed closest to the ideals of the Fifth Team.  I wanted to split my time between school and working on Roller.  That is not what happened!

After Utah Game Wars Roller only saw active development the week before IGF.  I had an insane amount of work to do on the game to get it ready for IGF.  My goal after Utah Game Wars to have the game ready for IGF submission.  I added menus to the game in a day.  I added a new snake level in a day.  I added AI in a day.  I spent a day until 5 AM working on polishing all the features and adding a timed mode to the game.  The energy of the Fifth Team was back.  The ideals however were lost.  The game needed to be done now.  That means from start to the current state of Roller the game has been built in about fourteen days.  I am still passionate about the game.  I know it makes people smile.  Roller has been my outlet for when the thesis student project breaks down.

I am going to work on process for Roller.  Ultimately, the current process is broken.  Even with all my other engagements i.e. school and thesis project, I should not have to work as hard as I did this last week.  I worked as hard as I did because I am passionate about Roller.  I think it can bring a lot of happiness to players as they play with family and friends.  I am grateful for my wife for helping me stay intact in the building of Roller.  She has provided a lot of support.  Roller is rolling forward and will continue to move forward.

The Road to IGF: Hostile Territory Post Mortem

I have been taking some personal time after submitting to IGF last Friday.  Hostile Territory was submitted on Thursday.  I am writing a post mortem of the journey to IGF since the beginning of the semester.  The focus of this post is on Hostile Territory.

The semester started well.  Roller made waves by being a finalist in Utah Game Wars.  There was a lot of interest among the cohort in the game and I let it wane.  I did not think it worthwhile to gloat or try to create another team around Roller.  The Fifth Team was created to embrace rapid prototyping, finding fun ideas early while managing scope and expectations.  The idea was a hard sale over the summer and riding the hype of the contest seemed like a road to disappointment.  Instead Roller would become my personal project with the goal being an IGF submission.  I will save Roller progress for the next post and instead focus on Hostile Territory.

I joined the Hostile Territory team since from outward appearances they were operating close to the ideals of the Fifth Team.  My goal and intent for the team was not to do any design work.  I was going to contribute engineering talent without changing the game design.  Engineering spent the first two weeks converting the project to Unity.  I spent the first week working on network related code.  The second week networking had been abandoned by the team in favor of split screen.  My new focus was on building a character controller.  My goal when I joined the team was to have the character walk up the walls.  During the pitch for Hostile Territory the cylindrical environment had inspired questions regarding the state of gravity and wall walking.  I built a basic character controller and released it before the start of week three.  I continued to focus attention on wall walking.  Multiple engineers were working on a character controller since a character controller was determined high priority.  In the end having multiple engineers work on the same portion of the project cost the team a lot of time to iterate.

By the second week into the project there was growing discontent in the engineering ranks.  The code base was comprised of many quick implementations that did not necessarily work together.  The uncertainty regarding architecture and the outcry against the current code base made working nigh-impossible.  I continued work on wall walking since the ideas behind the new architecture were not being communicated.  I released a basic version of the character controller I was working on during the fourth week, but knowing that there was another version being worked on by the architecture curators I knew that the controller was temporary.  Adding the basic version of the controller marked the end of wall walking progress for Hostile Territory.  The focus changed to bug fixes for the new architecture.  The controller lasted for a week before the new controller was released.  At least the team had a character controller before October.  The new architecture was also released removing the fear and uncertainty preventing work from getting done.

Ideally, the new architecture was meant to save time as the project progressed.  The immediate outcome was creating an environment where engineers outside the architecture group were unable to contribute.  Another outcome was preventing iteration on the project by slowing down development.  Once the architecture was released around week eight or nine the team had the same game as at the beginning of the semester, but the code was different.

With a month left on the project and the same game the team started with running the team was moving again.  Rob built a level with ridges and better looking capture tiles.  The level was added to the game.  The character rig was added earlier.  The game was looking interesting.  I built a method for bringing the camera closer to the character.  The mesh in the level offered a transparency when the camera moved through it so the view wasn’t obscured like the other level.  Moving the camera in was dropped.  I consolidated the camera movement into one function and added first person mode.  First person mode didn’t make the cut.

At this point in the project there wasn’t much time left to IGF submission.  I worked on anything mentioned by producers or Triston.  There was a major bug where the game controllers were not functioning properly.  I added a fix that ensured the controls would stay working.  I overheard producers talking about a reticle that was fixed to the camera look, so I added a sprite to the screen and surprised producers with the implementation time of the fix.  I changed the grounding procedure to be a raycast within eplsion to combat bugs with sticking to walls and reigning death.  I removed random red lines from the build that were left over from the other aiming reticle.  I added a way to ignore player input while an animation plays for the games animators.  I prevented the game from moving when the game ends.  All of the bug fixes above don’t mean much to me.  Software maintenance is important, but it isn’t exciting.  I can be paid to do maintenance, but it is not my passion.  My passion is in developing systems that add functionality to a product.

The design of Hostile Territory needs work.  There is a lot of bloat.  The focus of iteration was on weapons which didn’t add much to the game.  The core mechanic of controlling territory to damage the other player gives level design priority since any spot the player can stand on that cannot be controlled is a dominant strategy.  The pacing is too slow.

All the negative points aside, I have enjoyed working with the Hostile Territory team.  I have butted heads with other team members and rubbed shoulders with others.  My initial impressions of the team were wrong.  The team does not iterate rapidly.  The team is not pursuing a narrowly scoped project centered around a consistent idea.  The team however has been able to produce the game they set out to build.  The engineers are working together better than at the start of the semester.  Enfranchisement is higher than at the beginning of the semester.  Production is doing work and starting to think critically about the game.  Art has worked fast and hard to ensure the game looks amazing.

I would like to give thanks to Ron, Triston and Saumya for their work toward getting a new architecture in place.  Though I do not agree with the reasoning and reactionary stance taken to build the new architecture, I do feel the cost and frustration will pay off as we move forward with the project.

I would like to acknowledge Ron for his work on the current character controller and architecture.  I am glad we have found a common ground regarding engineering.  We have admitted our difference in engineering.  Ron’s preference to refactor continually has been contrasted with my aversion to refactoring until the system is broken.  There are benefits to both methods.  Refactoring frequently is important for maintenance reasons.  Avoiding refactoring is important for rapid development reasons.  Hopefully we can continue to learn from each other.

I would like to acknowledge Triston for his work as an engineering manager.  Managing engineers is painful task, but Triston stepped up to the plate.  He has been a strong bridge between production and engineers.  He has devoted time to resolving conflicts in engineering and to being personable.

I would like to acknowledge Saumya.  The menus have been a great addition to the game.  I was amazed by the work done on the lobbing reticle.  The arc was awesome.  The current method of painting the ground with a target looks great as well.

I would like to give thanks to Rob and Mark for their work on the art.  The art is selling Hostile Territory.  The visuals are appealing and make the game look different than what it was at the start of the semester.  Rob’s level boosted moral at a critical time when moral was otherwise low.  Mark’s UI elements helped to resolve confusion with the design.

I would like to give thanks to Shelwin, Peijun, Owen and Sty.  Shelwin built a weapon system and has managed to keep the code intact during the architecture push.  Peijun spent time working animating the characters and asked frequent questions helping communication across the entire team.  Owen built sounds that were funny providing a sense of dark comedy to the game.  I think we should embrace the dark comedy.  Sty was able to build UI elements that communicated the game was in overtime and that the player was being hurt helping to remove confusion.

I would like to give thanks to production.  Though I still do not know what producers do, I have noticed the work that was done toward the end of the semester.  Getting sounds for the game was amazing.  Building a trailer was great.  Getting the game submitted to IGF on Thursday and not forcing the team on a death march is game changing.  Bravo!

I have grown from the Hostile Territory project.  A student project this size is a nightmare.  Normally student projects force one or two key players to do the work.  Hostile Territory is no different.  The team has stake in the project, but there were key players.  The key players for Hostile Territory were Ron, Rob and Triston.  The argument could be made that the project was held hostage, but without individuals putting a strong effort into the project it doesn’t go anywhere.  I am passionate about building neat features, but if I were left to my own devices without being able to change the design I would still be working on wall walking.

I will write about Roller in another post.  This post is way too long.  Roller deserves another post.

Hostile Territory; Long Time No News

September was a whirlwind.  I will start as far back as I remember.  There have been a lot of engineering related changes.  I am frustrated with the engineers on my team.  I feel a lot of changes are inefficient and unwarranted.  I will explore how we are wasting time.

For the month of September I was nominated to work on a character controller.  I put together a character controller with wall walking that I was continuing to tune.  The problem was that the controller was not in the game.  At the same time another engineer was working on updating the architecture of the game.  The two tasks overlapped, so the work was replicated.  In the end we took the controller developed in tandem with the architecture changes since the code base would be more similar.

Overall the controller and architecture update was a failure.  We lost weeks of work making the same thing we had during the first few weeks as far as what the user sees.  The only advantage we have at this point is that the architecture might be easier to maintain.  The problem is that the architecture updater feels obligated to curate committed code.  I have been making efforts to work with the curator because we have no time to argue.  We have already lost enough time with overlapping work and rebuilding the project.  The engineering team spends more time on semantics than actually getting work done.

Rob committed some art that made the game look much better.  I think the cave level is amazing.   Maybe it is a giant worm?  Maybe we will be digested if we shoot the walls too many times?  I have a screenshot of the first person build.  Going through the code base it looks like the temporary flag I put in place for first person mode has been subverted, so I can only run the build in first person.  There is a lack of communication on the engineering team as well.  It appears the mesh was removed from the player so it is in third person, but the player doesn’t show up.  This appears to be hack around code that was already in place serving as another testament of our engineering teams inefficiency.

Last Friday we had a cohort wide playtest.  I have a review for each game.  I will now go over the problems for each game after playtesting.

“Premonition” was easily best in show.  The game mechanics are coming together.  I would give a warning that they are dangerously close to becoming Sonic without the polish.  The goals are simply to run in a direction indicated by green markers which means without green markers the game falls apart since the direction to the goal is never indicated.  The game can be played without using the reveal mechanic, but a time incentive might provide the benefit needed to fix that issue.  A lot of time is spent on exploration, but the gameplay is trying to push the character through as fast as possible.  I would slow the game down and add deeper puzzles requiring the premonition mechanic.  Overall, the showing was great and your team is at a good point to start balancing.

“All is Dust” is a visually stunning game with a lack of gameplay.  The game is about being in corn the entire time, so most of the visuals are missed since the screen is filled with green.  The reason the player is forced into the corn is because crows can’t hit you while in the corn.  The benefit to being outside the corn is too little for it to make sense.  The goal of the game is not clear since the only direction is head to the farmhouse.  There is too much focus on narrative that the game doesn’t provide directly.  The scarecrow attacks the player indirectly with crows, but the player doesn’t associate the two.  The crows are only there to drive the player into the corn.  The mannequin game has become the corn game.

“Hostile Territory” had a mixed showing.  Some people understood the game with minimal explanation.  Other people didn’t get it at all.  I think the audience that got it were console first person shooter aficionados.  There were some large problems during the showing with Hostile Territory.  The standout problem was jumping resulted in a crash to desktop.  My guess is that it was a last minute “fix” that wasn’t tested until the public showing.  I made a similar mistake at my first programming job.  Mistakes like that embarrass the entire company.  The second standout issue was the lack of an intuitive goal.  Health seemed like an afterthought.  Players were not noticing health at all.  Watching the game seemed like the understood goal was shoot stuff until the game ends.

“Make a man thinketh” didn’t even show up.  I am scared for the team since they lack a build at this point.  I hope they have enough code base to pull it off.  My guess is that the producer to skilled worker ratio is to great.  I hope the two engineers and one artist can pull off something like the game “Make a man thinketh” deserves to be in the limited amount of time they have.

The portal looking things at the end of the tube confused players.  I heard a lot of people trying to get in the portal.  Ultimately that art needs changed.

The control scheme is difficult.  If players are used to inverted controls moving the camera is impossible.

On the design front I noticed a lot of issues.  The question, “why can I move?”, is still coming up.  The goals of the game i.e. shoot the other player or shoot the walls to claim territory are juxtaposed in a non-sensible fashion.  A question left unanswered in the gameplay is “why am I shooting the other player?”.  Health seems like an afterthought and players didn’t notice it.  I found the game is best played in place while jumping into the air and turning.  The game also lacks strategy.  There are no combinations the player is aiming toward.  The player just holds the trigger down until the game ends which is still to hard to determine without knowing the design intimately.

Production is serving as design on the team, but has failed to address the issues above.  With these issues in mind I have two suggestions.  First, choose shooting or moving.  If the game has both find a real reason for both.  The game is about painting the walls.  Make the game about painting the walls with a single mechanic to facilitate that goal.  Make sure the goal is very concrete and intuitive.  In a single sentence someone should know the goal and potential strategies.  Picture two people sitting on a couch.  They have never played the game.  Do they understand they need to kill each other or paint the walls?  Do they understand both?  Watching the playtest I can firmly state that the state of the current design

Second, make the game intuitive with a single mechanic before making half a dozen mechanics.  If the game doesn’t make sense with one mechanic throwing more at it doesn’t make it make more sense.  We need to play our game to make sure it makes sense.  We need to listen to everyone playing our game and figure out what makes sense.  We do not have to pander to every voice of dissent, but if a child or person that doesn’t necessarily play first person shooters picks up the game and can’t figure it out we have an issue.  If the audience is console based first person shooter players with a high Call of Duty kill to death ratio then maybe we hit the nail on the head with our design.  My guess is that the aiming and mechanic are too casual for hardcore first person shooter players.  I would rather play Battlefield or Natural Selection.

With all those statements I think Hostile Territory has mountains of potential.  I didn’t join this team after leaving Premonition because it was the easy out.  I believe this game can and should be amazing.  The problems we are having however are efficiency related.  We have the same game that we had at the beginning of the semester.  The game doesn’t make sense and will require a lot of work to fix.  The teams moral is down due to repeated work and too much oversight.  As far as engineering is concerned if we don’t meet the curators goals for semantics our work is removed.  Eight engineers and only three are making contributions due to fascist oversight.  I was on-board with curating code and building a common architecture until I saw the implementation.  Curating is great until it hampers productivity.

Rotations and Wall Walking

I had decided today would be a good day to unravel the spaghetti surrounding the player controller in Hostile Territory’s source code. It turns out I wasn’t very interested in getting that fixed yet. Instead I spent my time figuring out the math to prevent the player from feeling like their rotations has changed when they move onto another surface wall walking.

In layman’s terms our shooter now has surface walking. That means the player could be on any surface in the game. If I were directing design, which I am not, I would allow the player to spin while in the air changing their gravity.

Overall the engineering for wall walking has been an amazing experience. I was not on the team from the beginning, but I watched the team get asked if people can run up the walls. Now they can.

Walking Up The Walls

I have been working on a movement controller for Hostile Territory. Ron Romero is working on the camera and a different movement controller. I have been attempting to build my controller in such a way that the player can walk up walls. Hostile Territory is currently inside a cylinder. People ask if you can run up the walls of the cylinder.

I have a demo of walking up walls and jumping on the surface. The demo uses a raycast from the player to get the normal of the surface underneath them. The jump is oriented along the normal. Gravity is in the direction of the normal for the player. I do not own the music in the video. I didn’t realize the sound was being recorded. The artist is Pendulum, but I am not sure which song it is.

unity 2014-09-08 14-42-47-90


Character Controller and Sticking to Surfaces

Today I did work on rotating an actor to be normal to a collided surface.  The project was an experiment.  I have a partially working version of the proper rotation to be normal to the surface that the actor last collided with.  A more pressing issue however is getting jumping working for the character on a standard flat surface.

I spent the last portion of my day working on jumping.  I plan to get jumping finished for the character on Monday.  Ron and I will combine his camera work and my movement work into two or three player controllers to find a good fit to meet the needs of Hostile Territory.  Hostile Territory needs a controller that feels good platforming and shooting.

Character Controller and Networking

I have been assigned to handle the character controller.  I want to get the character controller feeling correct.  Our thesis game is currently using a third person view which makes aiming the camera for shooting difficult.  I am going to try to pull off a good third person shooter experience.  Third person shooters are generally a mistake, but if I can pull it off well then we are rewriting the rules that say third person shooters are a mistake.

I am also working on making sure the controller works over a network.  I will need to ensure that movement and projectiles work over the network.  I will also need to work on the animations over a network.  I need to get a virtual box or set Unity to run in the background.  I will look for that option now.

I am enjoying being part of the Hostile Territory thesis team.  I am avoiding the urge to push design changes since there is a lot of engineering work that needs to be done.  Engineers need side projects where they serve in a design function to stem the urge to push design decisions.  I am happy that I have Roller and my engine to keep me from worrying about design decisions.

If I were to redesign Hostile Territory shooting would be removed.  The game would still be third person.  The grid would start unclaimed.  Players would be able to run over the tiles to claim them.  The game would have a time limit.  The player that claimed the most territory at the end of the time limit is declared the winner.  Boxing in regions claims the interior territory.  The floating platforms would not be in the game.