Week 1 and 1/2, not as good as The Lion King 1 and 1/2

Welcome back to school! Supposedly the wall semester is over, but the classes I’ve started have proven that this one might be the greatest test of my skills yet. Let’s do a quick run through what we’re up to.

Production 1

The biggest class I’m taking right now is definitely Production 1, which gets us designers together with the programmers, producers, and artists, and sets us to make games and get better at the iterative development cycle. We got put with our teams immediately and were tasked with creating a 1v1 turn-based game. After a session of brainstorming, we decided our theme would be trying to make a good game out of a joke name. After discarding Dog Dress-Up and FCC Simulator, we settled upon:

Beat Your Meat Simulator, a game where players control Space Butchers in an effort to defeat the enemy team using meat-based weapons. The board contains conveyor belts that will change up the battlefield with ammo and damaging machinery, and player must utilize the limited gravity to knock each other around and master the board.

The first week was spent mostly on nailing down the design of the game and creating the initial documentation and physical prototype. My poorly-crafted visual design document can be found below if you want to get the gist of the game without any art.

VDD PDF-1

As for the beginning of week 2, we’ve started working on the digital prototype of the game. Our first meeting of the week yielded a great discussion of the UI and the creation of the programming pipeline and plan, which you can see below.

Now that the initial design is done, I’ll be focused mainly on testing, balancing, and helping the programmers with scripting if they need to offload some work. Here’s the game flow document I got finished in case you want to know how the game actually plays. More updates to come!

Beat Your Meat Simulator Game Flow - Page 1-1

Level Design

Although the instructor’s methods are slightly nonsensical and hard to understand, I am very excited to learn good level design. I’ve never been the biggest fan of level design, but I think I just haven’t had a good foundation for what makes a good level so I haven’t enjoyed it as much as systems design. However, our first assignment alreayd made me pretty excited for what’s to come! We’re spending the first couple weeks using building blocks to physically understand our decisions when building a level. Here’s a few shots of the level, which simply had to have the player not tread the same path twice and to have the player bring 3 “power modules” back to the entrance.

Game Architecture

This class is going to be really interesting but very difficult, I can tell already. The class focuses on writing code in a more structured and modular way, as well as learning the basics of writing a game engine using Allegro. So far, all we’ve done is follow tutorials on how to install libraries and run basic Allegro functions, as well as learn a bit more about the basics of game architecture, but soon we’re going to be making our own basic games with Allegro, which I think is really interesting considering we’ve only ever used pre-made engines for our development. I really am excited for this class to make me a better engineer.

Modern Graphics Programming

Another quick look with no pictures at a class, but also another programming class where not much has happened. In this class, we’ll be learning to program for the GPU, which I think is very interesting given I never really knew how the CPU and GPU differed until now! All we’ve done is basic learning of GLSL and how to make the screen change colors, tint, and split into areas, but our instructor says we’ll be going backward through the GPU pipeline and learning how to make an image from player input to actually finish rendering on screen.


That’s all for this week (and a half!) See you next week with more info! Hopefully I’ll keep this blog more updated than last semester now that I’m actually doing stuff I can show off on a weekly basis.

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