Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Some little things before I move to practical work

Hi everyone!

This week I plan on moving full time into some practical work, after a bunch of delays involving me trying to go back and reference some of my work. In the later half of last week I started some work in UE4 as me and Amber participated in the De Montfort Gamedev Society's first game jam of the year! Our entry wasn't completed for the deadline on Friday (it was a two day jam) but I have been touching the project a little bit over the weekend just to get it out released to some standard.

Out Of The Blue

The theme for the game-jam was 'Out Of The Blue' so after a little bit of brainstorming we came up with a concept of a gameshow set inside some bleak future, presented in a comical fashion using dialogue and simple interactions with an environment. A kinda Stanley Parable-esque game that drives the player through dialogue. We wanted this to be our first attempt at getting actual dialogue into a game and try and get voice clips to work within a game context.

The game involved 3 small areas; the player will start off inside a cryotube at the start of the game, while the game show host introduces the game. Upon leaving the chamber, the player is in the first room in which the player has to hit the right button (the blue one) but the room has quite a few blue buttons, misleading the player. Eventually the player will find a red button saying blue on it.

The second room requires the player to sort a group of items by picking them up and placing them in a container, based on whether that object belonged to the player's time period. The objects are references to pop culture and news items from this year, with other objects being stuff from history or fictional futures. For example: Tentacle, Raygun, a medieval sword.

The third area is essentially a lift from the second area, taking the player to the 'wheel of freedom' inspired by The Wheel Of Fortune. This is a simple interact with a button, which triggers the wheel to spin and stop, landing on the only option on the wheel that puts the player back into cryosleep.



Reflection

I still think one of the major issues I seem to be having with development is underestimating long things take and as a result the scope of the games I work on, even this game created by two people could be considered quite large as we don't have too much game making experience between us as of right now. The idea was create something a bit experimental and a little outside our comfort zone, so naturally it will take a bit of learning, only after some more experience can this speed up. The area we decided to focus on was getting in dialogue that reacts to the players input and we did that, and as a result I have a handy dialogue system I can iterate on for future projects.

Game A Week

I found a video last night from the GDC vault about the 'Game A Week' challenge in which a harsh time constraint is put onto your work in the hopes of allowing you to be more creative with constraints as well as building up a solid base of experience in the process of making and releasing a game, which is a crucial quality for indie developers. The talk was created by Rami (2014) at Vlambeer but the methodology was taken up by Adriel Wallick who presented the talk, who has currently done around 52 weeks of games, including the GDC presentation itself which was a game.

It seems like a great way to experiment and try new ideas out without getting caught up in the details, and probably how I might break up my work over the next weeks leading up to Christmas. Releasing games and the whole process is something I definitely need to get better at, especially as we aim to create larger projects at some point where more things could go wrong.

The game a week will involve me writing a reflection on what went well and what didn't on each project, allowing me to build from the successes of the previous weeks. Furthermore, I will be trying to keep each project focused to a particular area, in a conscious attempt to limit scope and improve or learn a certain skill every week. So before christmas I should have around 4 games made!

-James

Sources:

1. ISMAIL, R. (2014) Game A Week: Getting Experienced At Failure. [Weblog] Gamasutra. 26th February. Available from: http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/RamiIsmail/20140226/211807/Game_A_Week_Getting_Experienced_At_Failure.php Accessed [14/11/16].

2. WALLICK, A. (2014) MsMinotaur - Game A Week [Website] Available from: http://msminotaur.com/?cat=9 Accessed [14/11/16].

3. WALLICK, A (2014) GDC Vault - Game a Week: How to Succeed, Fail and Learn. [Online Film] Available from: http://www.gdcvault.com/play/1020866/Game-a-Week-How-to Accessed [14/11/16].

4. DMUGDS (2016) De Montfort University Game Development Society [Forum] Available from: http://www.gamedevdmu.co.uk/forum/index.php Accessed [14/11/16].

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