Monthly Archives: September 2013

Quest Completed! Progress 1 of 4

This one is gonna be long…. Bear with me. I’m about to describe a four week process.

So we started off our first rapid prototyping class around four weeks ago and we were told to begin work on our first game right off the bat. The game was to be designed for Corrine and Amy (our faculty) and was to be designed using MOAI(if you’ve got no idea what that is, trust me, our entire cohort was in the same boat). So we started off by asking them what they liked and disliked in games, their favorite games etc. Then we were randomly assigned to teams. I was teamed up with Topher Nadauld( Producer), Mark Jarman( Artist) and Vinod Madegeri(an Engineer like myself).

We started brainstorming about the kind of games which would appeal to our client, and whether they would be easy enough to make. Mark already had a few game ideas up his sleeve, and the one we liked the most involved a construction worker who had fallen asleep on the job and was sleepwalking on girders. You could not control him, but you had to control the surrounding environment and ensure his safety. We were sold on the idea.

Now came the tricky part. MOAI. MOAI is a game development platform which uses Lua and OpenGL. This was to be my first video game.  And I was a little nervous about how to go about learning the language( it was new for most of the engineers in the cohort).  To make matters worse, there was limited documentation available on the internet.

We spent the first week figuring out how the platform worked and what the scope of our game should be. We learnt the concept of stand-up meetings, wherein we told the team what we had accomplished, what we planned to do in the upcoming week, and what was holding up our progress. We were also introduced to the scrum process, which is prevalent in the software industry.

As we entered the second week, we also started discussing the story for our game, in order to give the game more purpose and to involve the player to a greater extent. We felt the need for an antagonist, and this need led to the creation of the Sandman. Behold Mark’s awesome artwork!

sandman one

So we ended up deciding that the story would involve the entire Nocturne family, not just Stanley Nocturne( the guy featured below).  The sandman has placed all of them in a deep sleepwalking slumber and you’ve got to help them confront the sandman and end this dreadful nightmare. As you go higher in a level, the surroundings become more fantastic as you enter the sandman’s realm.

Stanley

dream

By the beginning of the third week,  we were making decent progress with the programming and had parallax layers working for the background and had incorporated a walk animation for Stanley.

spritesheet_stanley

We had a couple of obstacles ready as well (namely the plank and the hook). But our inexperience with the language cost us and we spent a lot of time working on stuff which could have been accomplished much quicker had we known MOAI better ( I had  trouble with Box2D ,which handled the physics simulation of the platform).

Nevertheless, I was pretty happy with how Vinod and I split our work and made sure that we were never wasting time working out the solution to the same problem. By the fourth week we had weeded out most of the bugs from our game and had a pretty decent gameplay video. We were ready for the big pitch!

The day of reckoning finally arrived. Armed with his slide show, Topher put up a stellar presentation and pitched our game convincingly to our clients. Corrine and Amy were pretty impressed with our game and gave us some constructive feedback as well ( like having the player control all four members of the family in the same level).  We were all pleased with the work we’d done. I loved working with my first prototype team. They were everything you could hope for in a team.

After the presentation we did a postmortem, discussing what went well for our project, and what obstacles we faced.

photo

Looking forward to prototype 2 which begins tomorrow…..

Character Level:1 Class:Engineer

Hello People! This page will give you a peek into my life as I attempt to become a game developer over the next 2 years. A brief intro about me- I’m an Electrical Engineer from Mumbai,India. I’ve enrolled in the Engineering track of the EAE:MGS. I love video games. I love video games A LOT! I’ve been playing since I was around 5 years old. Someone once said that the only difference between work and play was that of willingness( Yes I have been doing my Game Design readings :P).  And I intend to “play” hard 😀 .

To say that this course has been a dream come true would be an understatement. Here’s some info about the subjects I’ll be studying during my 1st semester-Game Design, C++ for Games and Rapid Prototyping in the first semester.

Game Design has us looking at the history of games, as well as the factors that make a game successful.  Who would have thought you’d get to hear words like PS3, XBox 360, GTA IV , Super Mario, Mass Effect in a serious classroom discussion?I’m sure some of my undergrad classmates will find it shocking that I have not dozed off in any of my classes yet! (I had a bad reputation for snoozing shamelessly in the first couple of rows of the classroom. I blame DotA2. It would keep me up all night 😐 )

C++ for Games is a beginner friendly programming class. Not much to say here except that its fun too.

Rapid Prototyping splits us into teams of engineers, artists and producers and has us develop a game prototype every 4 weeks.  I am currently in the last week of my first prototype. More on that and my team in the next blog. Its crunch time and I need to tweak the prototype.

Tune in soon. I’ll try and blog on Thursday when I’m done with the prototype.