This semester, I had the pleasure to take a course on programming general AI patterns and algorithms as a way to further my skills in pursuit of my Game Programming minor. Over the course of the semester, we learned the basics of steering, pathfinding, and state machines, and our final assignment was to research and develop a technique or pattern that we didn’t learn and demonstrate it. As a designer, my main interest was in learning how to program a tool that could help design work for whatever game it fit into. This led me to become interested in the waypoint tactics technique.
We’re about 3 sprints away from those two momentous nights where we get to show off all of the hard work we’ve done over the course of this semester. That time is coming up really fast on us here at Action Cactus, but I personally am extremely happy with where the game currently is. It’s a very fun game, and we’re pretty feature complete at this point, so we’re moving into these last weeks with time to make every part of the game feel as good as possible. We’ve closed out Step 3 with our game becoming feature-complete, so let’s discuss how we’ve gotten to where we are today, as well as what we’ve started thinking about as we move into the final countdown.
It’s been a while since my last update, but that just means we’ve been hard at work on our game! Action Cactus has had a really wild October developing (the newly named) Showstopper. This time, we’re going to talk about how Unreal has been a predictable roadblock up until this point, where the project is currently, and then we’ll close out with a look into our radical idea for our second semester. This is a look at the process we’ve taken to get where we’re at, and what decisions we had to make to get here. This is a long one, so buckle up.
Long time, no see! Last week we presented the first part of our jump into developing our final game for the semester, but we were pretty much done with most of the work we had to do. This week we spent our time tying up loose ends and, more importantly, figuring out which game we’d want to move forward with. In this post, it seemed like a good time to talk about how we made our decision and where it is going to lead the team.
Two sprints later, I would argue that Action Cactus (our team) is in a much different place than we were last time I reflected! Step 2 for our Capstone could essentially be boiled down to “rapidly prototype and explore three concepts in all facets to iterate and decide where the team wants to go.” While we aren’t out of the second step just yet (we plan to make this current sprint our last one for the step), we figured we would present our progress in order to gain some immediate feedback on where we were going with things and to cut down on the information we’d need to present the next time. So why don’t we talk about the process we went through to make it this far?
After 3 full years of hard work on many, many projects and assignments, it’s finally time for me to work on the culmination of all I’ve done in my capstone project. It’s strange already being at this point, but I’m extremely ready to get to work. This semester, I am working alongside my lovely team that I started Production II with, in addition to Jacob Biederman, a very talented programmer who fit right into our team from the first meeting. We spent our first week getting ourselves in gear and preparing for the upcoming semester, as well as presenting those preparations to the class and our instructors. In this reflection, since I spent almost all of our sprint working out the concepts we were going to move forward with, I’m going to analyze the major things we had to do to get from random ideas to presentation and talk through our process.
This summer, I had the insanely awesome opportunity to work as a Design Intern at Disruptor Beam in Framingham, MA for three months. DB is known for hit licensed mobile games Game of Thrones: Ascent and Star Trek: Timelines, and they’re currently working on multiple unannounced projects! Unfortunately, that means I can’t really get into too much detail about what I worked on, but I can talk about the broad jobs I did and my overall experience!
So it’s been a bit of time since midmortems, but based on the name of this blog post, I think it’s easy to assume that our team ended up going through midmortems! String Theory was a hit amongst the many other fantastic games that were shown off, and during deliberations, we were pretty much immediately given the green light to continue into the rest of the semester.
Hello! A quick update that feels pertinent to my designer blog here that doesn’t feel like it fits on my personal game design analysis blog.
As a designer, it’s important to look deep into the design of games to understand what they’re trying to give the player and how they achieve it. So many games try to do so many different things, and it isn’t always obvious when just looking at the surface. During my course on Systems Design in games, I was asked to deconstruct a game for each unity. The units focused on systems of physicality, strategy/logic, and altered states.
As I’ve previously mentioned in past blog posts, this semester I’m taking my third production class, strangely enough called Production II. The yearly production classes we take at Champlain have each of the game disciplines (design, programming, art, and production) working in team settings to create games. In our first year, it was really about learning the process of making games. Last year, we came back to producing games after having honed our skills on our own, and we got to experiment on projects with different goals and meet people in order to familiarize ourselves with the other students.