Spring 2018 Home Stretch

Life’s been busy as I got back into the swing of things after spring break, but we’re finally reaching the point where our last big projects are starting to kick into gear, so I thought I’d go into a bit of what I’ve been working on while I have a second to breathe!

Production I

Since the last blog post, we managed to get through an entire other project! Everybody Fits In was a very simple, Tangrams-like puzzle game designed for tablets with the goal of creating an educational game for 1st-3rd graders about an underrepresented group. The game focused on teaching children, in tandem with a lesson plan, about different traits found in those on the Autism spectrum and how the children can help those on the spectrum in a classroom setting. The game is super simple, but I could tell that the assignment was made to force us to make a game we wouldn’t necessarily ever have experience making otherwise. Overall, I think it was a valuable experience to have, but the simplicity of the game made me feel like, as a designer, I didn’t have much to do besides implement levels once the game was built. Below are some screenshots of the game.

Now we’re on to the final project for the class, though, and I’m very excited about this one. Tentatively titled Dinner Party, this game for tablet is a role-based deception game similar to Secret Hitler or One Night Ultimate Werewolf where an assassin has been hired to poison a wealthy couple at their party, and players must move the pizza around and use their special abilities to try and catch the killer before the three-course meal is up! The game is meant to force players to communicate and deceive each other in order to fulfill their own win conditions. It’s going to take a lot of QA testing to get the game into a state where it’ll be balance and fun to play, but everyone on the team is very excited about this concept. This upcoming week, we are hoping to get started on the prototype for the game and get it into testing right away to make sure we use our time wisely. We are technically still in pre-production, but getting started this early is gonna help us make the best game possible.

Level Design

As our trek through creating a level from conception to building blocks to in-engine implementation continues, we are currently in the final stretch of this project where we are actually making the game in Unreal. Our professor has not done the best job teaching the engine to us, nor has he fully explained Git to the many people in the class that are not understanding it, but my level is fairly easy to implement. The mechanics of the game are very simple, and the only aspects I’ve had to code myself are blocks that will move when certain blocks are placed into trigger zones. It’s a fairly easy project, and I wish we had had less time to do it because it is now just dragging on. I am excited, though, for our final project, which involves creating a greybox of a Capture the Flag map for Unreal Tournament, which I think will be a lot of fun.

Game Architecture

The most work I’ve been putting in lately, by far, was my Game Architecture midterm. The midterm put the engines we’ve built to the test by having us implement either Centipede or a level-based version of Snake. Personally, I saw Centipede as a game I’d have a more fun, straight-forward time making, so I chose that. I spent a good 35 hours total on the project, which about 20 of those hours spent within two days of the project, and I was very burnt out afterwards, but I was also very proud of my work. Implementing the player and shooting was fairly easy, but getting collision to work properly, as well as accounting for the various ways the centipedes could be shot, just made for a lot of work. Moving on, I’ll be working with a partner to create a game of our choosing, but with a few requirements such as using an entirely different graphical library. I’m sure I’ll have a lot of long coding days in the coming weeks.

That’s about all there is to update on in regards to my work this semester, but I’m sure I’ll have lots to show as the semester comes to a close in the coming weeks!

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