Rapid Prototyping 4.2 – With every pitch comes a new iteration

Last Thursday we pitched our idea to only our instructors (a closed pitch, instead of in front of the rest of our peers), and we came back with a modified version of our game.  Mainly, we removed networking.  While it was easy to do, and actually already done, it didn’t add anything to our game.  A key concept that was pointed out with co-op games, was you have to be careful where the fun in a co-op game is.  Is the game itself fun, or is it fun because you are doing an activity with another person?  Furthermore, multiplayer games are harder to playtest and show off.  It’s hard enough to get someone to play your game, let alone get someone to find someone else to play your game with them.

Maybe our game would be a lot of fun with another person, but to lower our scope and first test the mechanic itself in a single player game.

Now, as far as Unreal goes, it seems there are two different ways to use it as an engineer.  We can use the C++ language to code it.  Or we can use their Blueprints system, which is a Scratch-like systems where you connect nodes to create scripts.  It seems like we are going to attempt to use Blueprints.

So here is where our current game concept stands:  We are going to make a single player, 3D, puzzle platformer where the player can push and pull off of objects to navigate the level.  We are planning on making the level inside a volcano that you are trying to escape.

Rapid Prototyping 4.1 – Dream Team Assemble

As you may be able to tell from the title, this prototype we get to pick our own teams.  I got lucky last prototype with an awesome team, and this team will be just as awesome.

We are using Unreal Engine, which is also extremely exciting.  I am hoping that it will be better to work with than Unity (but am doubting this).  And keeping with the theme of dropping us off on our own, we simply have to “make a game.”  That is our only design restriction (aside from Unreal).

We formed a team of about 6 people, and began pitching ideas.  This is all we did throughout our meeting time, and eventually were trying to pick between a couple different ideas.  It was at this time that another small group approached us, of about four people.  They were looking to join a group, and as it happens they were wanting to make a game very similar to one of the games we were currently thinking about.

The game is a 3D co-op puzzle platformer, utilizing a push-pull system.  One player will be able to push on objects (including the other player) at range, and the other will be pulling.  They will use this to navigate through our level.  Now, if you’re reading this and coughing out the word “scope”, seeing as how we have to tackle networking, multiple mechanics, work in 3D, learn unreal, AND do a ton of level design.  However, Unreal makes networking trivially easy, and one of our producers has a bunch of experience with level design.  We think we can pull this off.

Rapid Prototyping 3.4 – This went better than expected

So, to sum up the previous post, we basically spent the first two weeks of this prototyping getting nothing accomplished.  After that we finally decided on a game.  And you can see that game in the following gameplay trailer!

I am happy with where we ended up with on this prototype, especially after such a rough start.

Many things were learned, such as how to properly use a design box, the true beauty of iteration and prototyping.  And there are plenty of goals to be achieved on the next round, primarily for me: being more available during non-work hours.