Reflection

Tim Gaskell Reflection:

Throughout this semester, INB100 has offered me the opportunity to delve into all aspects of the game development process. At first, I believed that only a good knowledge of programming is needed to create a game. However, during this time, I was forced to learn about the animation and storytelling side of game development.  After the last few weeks, I began to see how everything is interconnected to each other, that even with a great area of specialty, there still needs to knowledge in the other fields. My team mates helped show me the other technical sides of game design that I had never experience before. This forced look into the other areas of game designed allowed my games to feel more polished and sophisticated compared to what I could make with my prior knowledge.

I would have to say, I have come to learn a lot more into the non-technical skills that goes into the game development process compared to when I first started. At the beginning, I believe that at all is needed to create a game is a key theme and a mechanic or gimmick. Although this is still somewhat true, I now see that there are whole lot of other factors that need to be considered to truly create a great game. Things such as target audience, theme, story, mechanics, features and most importantly, what you want the player to feel and do. Over the 13 weeks, the course helped me learn what needs to be considered and thought about all throughout the design and development of a game. Without these processes, I don’t think the prototypes I submitted throughout the semester would have reached the standard that was expected.

Communication would have to be the most effective strategy that I used to manage my individual and group activities. I believe that the key to a great game development studio is communication and being able to talk to them openly. If people feel comfortable around each other, it is much easier to ask for help and contribute to each other’s work. In my group, I felt very comfortable around my fellow team mates, essentially become friends with them. This made group work much easier, being able to openly express ideas without the fear of judgment.

When it comes to working in a team, there are a lot of responsibilities and ethics that are expected from you as a member. One of the biggest ones would have to be responsibility regarding completing work and your actions. This course gave a firsthand look into this, with my group, Max was always working hard and completing the work needed on time, going out of his way to finish it even if he couldn’t attend class. He was honest and upfront for why he would attend late and would always apologize.  We would all work together to reach a decision that we could agree on so that no one was left out. I know that this is only a university course, but, it hopes that working a fully developed game development studio is like this. This kind of cooperation, collaboration and innovation inside of a game making context is exactly what I want when I get my degree.

 

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Play Test Report

 

Play Test Report Questions:

Does the game create a dark and desolate atmosphere?

1) Very

2) Yes, it was very dramatic

3) Very moody I like it

4) Has a very gloomy feel to it.

5) It is very dark

 

Are the characters believable (dialogue isn’t out of place)?

1) Dialogue is good

2) Yes, it all made sense

3) all flows well

4) I would believe it

5) It is very back dialogue

 

Do the characters give enough information about the world?

1) sure do

2) Yes, but confused about the events that take place before this

3) correct information is given

4) Gives some information, context would be nice

5) Some information, not a huge amount.

 

What aspects did you like the most?

1) the multiple choice

2) The semi free roam

3) the atmosphere and sound effects

4) The ability to explore

5) The character interaction and choices

 

Is the world interesting?

1) Yes

2) Yes

3) extremely

4) Does seem interesting

5) Yes
Does it feel as if there aren’t many controls or mechanics to explore with? If so, what could be implemented?

1) maybe a crouch

2) No, there are enough controls

3) running

4) I feel the core controls are there.

5) There are enough controls

 

What kind of changes could be made to improve the game?

1) Need to know that pressing E more than once brings up more dialogue

2) More dialogue options (to unlock more story or character development). Better background for the outside

3) automatic dialogue triggers based on location or actual talking rather than text

4) Have the characters speak rather than text.

5) Increase the number of choices that can be made in terms of story

 

What kind of additions could be included to add to the game?

1) Maybe telling you what you’re meant to be doing at the start of the game.

2) A brief story at the beginning would be nice

3) A mission brief for each chapter would be useful as well as control instructions

4) More characters to talk to.

5) A bigger place to explore.

 

Summary of observations

Whilst observing the participants complete the first level of my game, it became quite apparent that it is quite short. Some of the participants decided to rush through the dialogue and obtain what they needed to exit the level. Alongside this, none of the participants were able how to kill the guard, all figuring out how to bribe him instead. It is clear that there needs to be a way to slow down the transition of dialogue and making it more important to read it. The game should aim to have the player figure out all the options weighing up the pro’s and cons of both. Since this is a prototype, these features are not implemented, but will in future.

 

Summary of Play Test Report

As can be seen from the play test report, the feed back has been mostly positive towards the game. The setting, feel and tone of the game is strongly established through the characters and environment around the player. Some areas to improve on as it seems would to give more information about the world before hand rather than dropping the player into the deep end. Alongside this, players should be able to learn more from NPC’s about the world and what is happening around them. These pieces of feed back will be used in order to try and create a better player experience.

 

Activity 2: Game Look and Feel

By Max Tranter (Post was made by Tim but written by Max)

look and feel

The primary shapes of the game will aim to follow through on the mood of the game, this means the primary shape will be triangles with an accent of circles and square to give the sense of innocence as well as maturity. This War of Mine is very similar in theme given that I have an example below.

this war

In terms of space the goal of the game is to make the player feel like they are constantly under pressure from the game world, given that the space for the player should be limited as if the player was being crushed under the weight of the world. The game world will be set in 1 place most likely a rundown building or dark area where there is little light.

The game is set in war time possibly World War 2 Germany or Poland again to reiterate the theme the player must feel as if they are under constant pressure from a bigger power.

The player, other characters and the game world will be represented in a cold self-orientated state, as many people would in a war their only goal is to survive the winter of their war torn country.

Finally how does this relate to Sally our demographic persona?
The games theme is designed around Sally as a person rather than something that will bring her a short burst of happiness we were aiming for something she can play and discover more of herself. Given the difficulties of growing into adult hood and the difficult decisions many have to make where often someone has to lose out we want a game that parallels that.

Development Cycle 2 Reflection

Reflection:

Over the course of development cycle two, I feel as if I have gained more insight and experience into what goes on behind the makings of a game. One of the biggest things that I have learnt and realized from this experience, is that a lot of games draw upon real world events. Though it is quite an easy thing  to  identify, that even non-developers can see, I never truly realized it until now. With our search and rescue game, it was inspired by rescue stories and search parties finding missing people. In the brainstorming stage, reading all those new stories, I could easily correlate them to certain games that I had played. Whilst working on Search and Rescue, I realized how heavily a game depends on animation and motion to create an immersive atmosphere for the player. I’m sad to say that my game lacked animations, things like running and moving animations were not included due to lack of time. I feel as if it breaks the immersion of my game and snaps the person back to reality due to the unrealistic movements of the character they control. I can now truly understand why animators are in such high demand when it comes to game companies and organisations. Seeing as though my programming skills seem to be coming along fine when it comes to game design, I should seek out more help when it comes to animation so that my game can feel polished. When it came down to implementing original work, the most satisfying would have to be creating the terrain that the player navigates. The ability to create a large expanse of space, filled with hills, trees and water made me feel like I was actually shaping a game in the image that I wanted. Even though it is quite simple, I never knew how satisfying it would feel just to be able to add a little water to a level.  It gave me a whole bunch of free roam of creativity that I never experienced before in game making. I feel as if there are some ethical issues when it comes to creating an first person experience inspired by events. There comes the issue of glorifying horrific events that could be distasteful and disrespectful to those who lost their lives or were doing their job. In terms of the game that I made, I hope that it does justice to what actual search and rescue officers go through. I tried to keep as serious as necessary in order to not make fun or disrespect the service men and women for find missing people. Although, knowing the internet, there is always someone who is unhappy or insulted by someone else’s work, so it’s hard to please everyone out there.

Week 8 Play Test Report

Blog Post 7:

Questions

1) Did you know the objective of the game?

  • Yes to find the missing person however there were no in game prompts to do so
  • The title gave me a bit of an idea, but without instructions it was a bit difficult to understand exactly what to do
  • Find the missing person before its too late
  • YES THAT WAS THE EASY PART
  • Find the person

2) Did you find it difficult to achieve the goal of the game.

  • Yes there was no direction for me to follow no hints just walking around looking
  • Yes because I didn’t have a very good idea of what I was doing at the start of the game
  • Yes, the voices couldn’t be heard until you were super close. Maybe some hints to begin with, or tracks that disappear
  • EXTREMLY DIFFICULT DIDNT KNOW WHERE TO LOOK MAP SEEMED VERY LARGE
  • No, you just have to listen very intently

3) Did you feel there enough options to achieve the goal.

  • Yes just hard to do so
  • Well I didn’t achieve the goal so I don’t know
  • Yes as long as you run around a lot
  • NO NEED HELP LIKE A HOMING BEACON
  • Yes

4) Did you find it enjoyable to play.

  • It was hard
  • Yes it was fun to play, I liked the design
  • It was challenging but enjoyable
  • YES BUT VERY HARD MUSIC COULD BE LOUDER
  • Yes it was fun

5) Is there anything you feel like that could be added or tweaked.

  • More hints or direction
  • Instructions, ground a bit too dark
  • A hint to begin with
  • Better ending when person is found
  • Drone to follow you when you switch to it.

Observations:

Play testers were not told anything going into the play testing, they had to figure out the goal and mechanics for the game themselves. Majority of testers grasped the general controls quite quickly as it is the typical set up for most games. On each person’s first try, no one had a real clue as to what they should be doing or where they should be going. They all walked around aimlessly and failed to achieve the goal of the game. On their second attempt, the play testers were told what they should be doing. Three out of five people managed to achieve the goal of the game on their second attempt.

Key Finding and Conclusion

As it would appear from the play test report, majority of the  play testers found the game too hard upon the first attempt of the game. They felt that it lacked guidance and instruction at the beginning, making them unsure of what they were to achieve during the game. Alongside this, finding the person was considered a bit too hard with audio levels too low and too hard to see. These critiques will be taken to heart and will be used to try to improve upon the game in order to create a better experience for the player. There will be an instruction menu inside the main menu describing the aim of the game and the tools that the player can use. The voice for the lost person will be louder and can be heard from further away, making it easier to tell if you are in the vicinity of him. The lost person will have a slightly brighter color in order to stand out from the extremely dark background. Alongside this, the lost man model will be slightly increased so the player doesn’t have to look as far down as were. Other small tweaks will be made outside of the ones from the play test report in order to make the game easier to play upon the first time.

-Tim Gaskell

Week 6

Class Work

This is the conceptual sketch that we came up with during our time in class. We decided to have two players, a dog and a rescue worker. The objective is that they have to use their set of skills in order to find a missing person in the forest. They will use their skills when they are needed, changing each time you play the game.

The dog will use skills like smell and barking in order to track down the person. The officer will use a flashlight and map in order to navigate around the map.

Overall I feel as if these are some solid ideas for a game, however we might need to add more skills to the dog and rescue worker. We shall discuss these matters as we go, adding onto them if we can.

 

Week 6

Blog Post 3

  1. Brief Description

In the search and rescue game, the player has the option to switch between a search and rescue officer and a tacker dog.  The officer and the dog both have different sets of skills that help them to find missing people in the wild. The goal of the game is find the missing person before time runs out and they are lost forever. Each game is different, so the player must adapt to their surroundings and use the correct player to fit the situation to find the person before the time runs out.

2) Player Stories

As a player, I want to finish the level before the time limit is up.

As a player, I will use my tools in order to find the missing person.

As a player, I want to finish the level quicker to improve my high score.

Playing as a dog, I will use my nose in order to find the scent of the missing person.

Playing as a dog, I will bark if I hear something.

Playing as a dog, I will use my height in order to get into hard to reach places.

Playing as the officer, I will use my drone to survey the area.

Playing as the officer, I shall use my flashlight in order to see better.

Playing as the officer, I shall use my flashlight in order to spot the missing person.

As a player, I will be on the lookout for clues as to where the person is.

As a player, I will explore areas that might be hiding the person.

As a player, I will use my map in order to effectively navigate the area.

 

As it stands right now, there are a lot of elements that need to talk together to create a cohesive game. For the prototype, it would stand to reason that only one character will be fully functional, so that core game play elements can be used. As a team, we will have to decide if we want to create the man or dog for the prototype.