My team for prototype 3 consisted of John Schwarz and Matt Jensen as the producers, Rob Guest as the artist, and Swapnil Sawant and myself as the engineers. The goal for this prototype was to create a game which was “indie” game. So what is an indie game? We had a general idea, and roger elaborated on it a little. The meaning of the term has changed a little over the years. It initially meant any game made by people independent of big production studios, on a small budget, which would generally consist of pixelated art and unique mechanics (since they were free and willing to take risks with their games). The term now is understood by many to apply to any game which possess art reminiscent of old indie games, or novel mechanics.
Anyway, we were given a choice of 3 “lenses” per group to choose from. Each lens is a way to judge your game from a different point of view. We ended up choosing the lens of dynamic state:
A game which changes and forces its players to change… hmm. We literally brainstormed for ideas for nearly 2 hours. We decided to make a game where the player would have the ability to possess enemies. Each enemy would have different skills. This fit into the dynamic state required of our game. Knowing which skill would be most effective in a particular situation was key to the game, and would guide the player in choosing which enemy to control!
P.S- We decided to use the Unity engine to make the game
Prototype 3-Week 3
We had five levels ready for our final presentation to the faculty. We didn’t have the art for all of them, and used placeholders where necessary. I had incorporated the jousting and the enemy killing mechanic over the weekend (with some help from Dayna). We were to present our game twice, once to the faculty, and then to the class.
While we waited for our turn, we got a chance to look at the awesome games our classmates had made. Some members of cohort 3 decided to drop in and watch the presentations. They had some valuable feedback for us.
The faculty was pretty happy with our game, specially the theme and the artwork, though they felt that our game was still essentially Qbert and we hadn’t altered it significantly. I had initially thought that we were supposed to retain the core mechanic of the game but apparently that wasn’t the case. Anyway, the game was well received, even by our classmates.
I’m lucky to have had such a skillful team. Dayna worked super hard on the game, even after the final presentation. Rachel managed to churn out beautiful artwork despite having heath issues. Ryan deserves credit for the voice acting, and Brad helped with the sounds.
Here’s a playable version of the game. In case you get stuck at a level, the 9 button will allow you to skip it. Do not repeatedly press 9! It will mess up the game. Press it only once the gentleman is on the screen. You might have to click on the screen to start a level. The controls are the usual direction keys, or you could use the numpad 8,4,6,2.
Prototype 2-Week 2
So we have the basic model of Qbert functioning, with an additional mechanic- moving bricks! In the original Qbert, all you had to do was step on the bricks once ( sometimes twice) while avoiding enemies, but what if all the cubes weren’t accessible to you at the beginning?
We designed the level such that there would be a brick which could be accessed only when you had stepped on particular bricks on the pyramid. Doing so would shift the said cubes, forming a path to the previously inaccessible cube(All code credit to Dayna). We presented our work to Roger and Bob, who gave us some feedback, but were overall satisfied with the progress.
What now? How could we expand on this model? Were we sticking with Qbert as the avatar of the player? Did we want to make the brick shifting mechanic the core of our new game? Or did we want to involve multiple level specific mechanics?
Discussions lasting for more than two hours led to the following decisions:
1. We were gonna replace Qbert with a “Gentleman”. ( Much more classy 😛 And it gave us room to incorporate gentlemanly elements)
2. The Gentleman was making his way out of “Gentleman’s Hell” ( It’s only gonna get weirder…. So the Gentleman loses a bet with the devil, and now hes in Gentleman’s Hell. The Hell consisted of 9 levels. We were inspired by the levels of hell in Dante’s Inferno. Each level had a different theme-greed, lust, wrath, treachery to name a few. So we could model our mechanics on these themes.) We had a few preliminary ideas for the mechanics, like jousting, being blown away by wind, slipping on icy blocs, being able to kill the enemies.
I had got a handle of ActionScript and had understood how Dayna had organized her code, and hence could finally add to it. I got to work on the wind mechanic for the lust level of our game and had it working by the end of class. Here’s a final version of the first 2 levels. The first one was a copy of the original Qbert and the second one includes the wind mechanic
Prototype 2- Week 1
So we started with our second prototype this Tuesday….much more confident with one successfully under our belt. Roger started describing the different types of prototypes and the ones we were aiming to make. I can’t recall the other ones, but our target for the first prototype was the “vertical slice”. It is intended to be a totally functional, finalized section of a game which will enable the client to gauge how the end product would be like. This time we were supposed to focus on where the “fun” existed in the game, and enhance it.
After discussing some more prototyping do’s and don’t’s, we were given the theme for our second prototype- retro games. We had to remake a classic arcade game, keeping the core elements intact, while adding some new features to it. A challenging task indeed.
We were split into random groups once again, taking care to team everyone with new people. I was teamed with Ryan Butcher(Producer), Brad Dedea(Producer), Rachel Leiker( Artist) and Dayna Stevenson( Engineer). We were to work with flash or HTML 5.
Since Dayna already had experience with flash, we chose to go with it.( I am a newbie with either). We looked at many of the old games and chose Qbert. We came up with some preliminary ideas on how we could change the mechanics/add new ones.
We have to demonstrate a rough game next Tuesday. But with Dayna’s expertise at flash, I think we’ll do just fine. Meanwhile, I’m be looking at some ActionScript tutorials.