All posts by Saumya Mukul

About Saumya Mukul

Gaming Addict/ Wannabe Game Developer

Published!

Desura accepted the last build we submitted. We’re getting published!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I couldn’t be happier.  We’ve come a long way. I still remember the initial prototype I created for the game, and the build we submitted to IGF, as well as the many pivots we had throughout our development process. Our final game has evolved so much, its unbelievable.

I am humbled to be a part of this amazing team. We’re almost over the finish line. We’ll be preparing for EAE day now, where we showcase the game to the public. I also need to prepare for our thesis defense. The end of the semester is always crazy…

More fixes

There’s hasn’t been any major task this past week. I created a separate camera so that the producers could shoot some in game footage from a good angle for our trailer.

The guys at Desura got back to us and told us to put in a tutorial for the game. Topher used the in-game camera and created a tutorial in no time. It wasn’t hard to put this tutorial in the game either( thanks to our awesome menu system :D).  We submitted the revised version of our game to Desura. Meanwhile, I’ve been super busy with my other classes and some assignments I had put off for the submission of our game. I can’t talk about the stuff I do at Disney, but its immensely fun 🙂 The people I work with are super nice, and I’, learning a ton.

Stay tuned for news about our thesis game!

Final Touches

One of the requirements for our projects class is to have a published game, and we’re planning to submit our game to Desura, a platform for publishing game, in the next week, so that we have enough time to fix whatever they want us to in order to publish.

With that in mind, we’re just polishing up the odd bits, and taking into account the feedback we got from GDC. We have a new camera, which is a lot closer to the ground, and helps the player aim a lot better. Kudos to Skip for that.

I added a credits screen into the game, and have just been working on round UI and timer stuff (we’re going for an arcady style, and want to have the signatue “3,2,1, FIGHT” pre-round UI).

Back from GDC

GDC was awesome as always! I had a summits and tutorials pass this time (as opposed to an expo pass the last time I went), and I had a great time attending all the talks. I sat in on a couple of Graphics talks ( the introduction of DirectX12, and the damage system in Star Citizen), and a bunch of AI talks ( the AI rant being my favorite :P). Our game was well received, and it was encouraging to see people have fun playing it.

In other news, I got an internship at Disney Interactive! I couldn’t be happier!!! I was informed about the great news while I was attending GDC. I will start working with them beginning next week ( or the week after that if my CPT is delayed). I will be working on the tools side of things. I’m really really REALLY looking forward to my job! It’s gonna be a great opportunity to work with amazing, creative people, and learn/contribute to the tools side of their game 🙂

Getting ready for GDC

So we travel to GDC next week, and we’ve been busy bug fixing and play-testing our game.

There were lots of bits and pieces that needed to be changed or removed, and I did my best to tackle the ones which existed in the sections of code in which I was a lot more well versed than my teammates.

Another addition I made to the game was to  create a background effect for the main menu. It felt dull and static to me, so I placed the camera at the center of our cylindrical level, and rotated it slowly. This was a good way to keep the screen busy during the main menu, and the rest of the team was receptive to the way it looked, and decided to go forward with it.

Looking forward to showing off our game at GDC!

If it works as well, just fake it :)

We’ve managed to fix many of the issues which plagued our game for the longest time. One of the major ones I helped with was the jitter due to wall walking. The player would raycast downwards and get the average of the normals of all the tiles around him to calculate his up vector. But this would cause jitters when he would move from one tile to the other, on account of the abrupt change in the normal.

While discussing this issue with Skip, I suggested using another cylinder outside our main level cylinder which would be invisible, and its only purpose would be to aid the player in the calculation of the normal. This cylinder had a large number of sides( almost 500), and the normal calculation based off of this cylinder made the jitter un-noticable!

It was a huge win, and our game felt a ton better. Skip also addressed many camera issues, and combined with the jitter elimination and the amazing new art, I felt really confident about our game.

Systems are good..

I’m really glad that I took the extra effort to clean up and refine our menu system. It helped me crank our new menus for our pause menu, options menu, controller layout screen etc. really easily.

I’ll describe briefly the architecture for the menu system ( big thanks to Ron Romero for his contribution).

The game has a MenuManager which knows about all the menu states that exist. It is the class which loads all your menus at the beginning, and the class you rely on to toggle between menu states. All of these menu states derive from a base MenuState class. The base class has functionality which lets it know about the player controlling the menu, as well as arrays to store the normal, rollover, and pressed textures for all the buttons in the derived classes. It also has an array of delegates ( or function pointers) which point to the callback associated with each button. When you create a new menu state, you derive from this class, and based on the number of buttons in your current menu, you initialize the texture arrays. You do not need to specify each of the locations for the textures for each button. I’ve created functionality which maps a string like “Options” to options_text_normal, options_text_rollover, and options_text_pressed, so that all these textures can be loaded automatically. All you have to do is fill in an array corresponding to these buttons ( Something like array={“Resume”, “ControlsLayout”, “Quit”}). You also have to decide what happens when each button is pressed, but that’s it! You menu is ready 🙂

MainMenu

Art makes all the difference :)

We got new artwork for our game this week, and the game looks AMAZING!

The artists decided to go back to the initial vision we had for our game, and came up with a neon-like feel for our tiles. We also had a new character for the game. Rob created a robotic female steampunk character with the upper body of a woman and the lower body consisting of a robotic apparatus comprising of a wheel and a spring. SteamPunk

 

This would help us minimize animations for our character, and also feel a lot smoother as we traversed the cylindrical world. The new tiles, combined with the shader effects created by Shelwin and Sty took the game to a whole new level. Kudos to these guys for all the hard work they put in!playfield_mockup02_720

A much simpler mechanic!

We’ve been struggling to find the fun with our game for quite a few months, but we decided to simplify our mechanic in an attempt to make it feel more meaningful.

The previous mechanic had players toggle between two sets of tiles. If you chose to turn on the first set of tiles, each tile you captured thereafter would be added to the set. When you decided to toggle to the other set, these tiles would disappear, and the tiles in the other set would be re-activated. But this led to lots of accidental deaths, and players weren’t really making use of the mechanic. In order to address this, Skip, one of our engineers, decided to prototype a mechanic where you destroyed the tiles permanently when you toggled them off. This felt a lot better during playtests, and we decided to go ahead with it as our core mechanic

The Final Semester

I began the final semester of my masters program this week with mixed feelings. On the one hand, I was a little sad knowing that I would be with these wonderful classmates and teammates only for 5 more months, but on the other, I was excited at the prospect of entering the games industry after I graduate ( a childhood dream!).

Moving on to the status of our game. It was sound at the core, but it was pretty buggy. We had a lot of camera and aiming issues which we needed to address, among other things, and get our game publish worthy. We discussed at length what we should aim to accomplish by the end of February, so that we could have a better game for GDC. I was in charge of the UI and menus ( which needed some tweaking). We already had a menu system architecture put in place by Ron and myself, but it needed some major changes, and that is what I decided to tackle for the week.