Friday, November 14, 2014

HW 15

The first task I was assigned was to model several electrical components in blender.  I modeled capacitors, resistors, a piezo, a cpu, and a chip.  This was completed shortly after being assigned to me.  I was also tasked with modeling the weapons used in the game.  I was given 3 weeks and I've completed the sword as well as an animation for the sword swinging.  I still have some time left for the other weapons which I will have finished soon.  The sword swing is what we're going to use in the deliverable we're submitting this Sunday. 
A few days ago we added a couple more tasks which I'm also working on now, mostly on weapon models and models for hubs. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Update

This past week I finished working on modeling electrical components that will be used as obstacles and boundaries in the terrain of our game.  The player will run around these components trying to find the enemies and the hub locations to activate the firewalls and protect the hubs.  These models will be a large part of our poster design.  I also wrote the sections of the game document titled Characters, Weapons and Powers, and How to Win.  Over the past couple weeks my team and I have met a few times in person and on Skype.

HW 13

Our game offers the player a feeling of control through the choice of weapons.  This is a form of indirect control through constraints.  The player is able to pick from among three weapons, a laser sword, a disc launcher and a laser gun.  At any point during the game the player can feel free to switch to whichever weapon they feel most comfortable with or whichever one will afford the greatest advantage at the time.
We'll also exert indirect control using goals when it comes to the main game play.  The player will be tasked with securing several hub points, which are like king-of-the-hill locations in other games.  The other goal, however, is in opposition to this; they will have to destroy the enemies so that the motherboard does not become completely overrun in the time it takes to secure a hub location.  We will design the game to make it impossible to do only one goal and neglect the other, forcing the player to both interact with the enemies and the hub locations.
We will also be directing the player with the interface we use.  The player will know from the beginning the basic functions they can expect from the main character by looking at the interface.  We'll be using a keyboard and mouse, so standard movement in 3D space on a 2D plane like other games seems natural.  Also the weapons available will be clearly denoted on the screen.  We don't think the player will be confused about interacting with things because the only objects will be either obstacles that are part of the terrain or enemies that are clearly hostile.
Visual design will come into play when we try to direct the player to explore the motherboard and find the hub locations as well as engage with the enemies.  The book talks about lines on the floor being a visual cue to follow.  We'll probably be able to do the same thing because our terrain will be designed with colored lines on the floor, implying where the player is able to or should go. 
I think we'll be able to use NPCs to direct the player through the story we put together.  The main character is tasked with entering the computer and fighting viruses in cyberspace.  The urgency builds because the character is part of a small team of scientists that are all depending on you to succeed and defeat the terrorist group that is sabotaging the lab computers and data.
We'll definitely be using music and other sound effects to subtly control the player's behavior.  Generally we want a sense of urgency for the player, so fast paced music will be used when the player is in the middle of a wave of enemies and they also have to find the hub locations.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Update

This week our group changed up the theme of our game.  I proposed taking the advice we got in our demo to do a much more streamlined theme instead of the fantasy theme.  We've turned to a much more geometric, 'inside the computer,' or Tron-esque style where the buildings are now electrical components and the enemies are viruses anthropomorphized as geometric shapes attacking the components which we have to defend and repair.  The player acts as a personification of the anti-virus software.  To this end this week I designed several models of electrical components like capacitors, resistors and CPUs.  These are available in our Models section in our Google Doc.

HW 11

1. Our main user interface will be with the keyboard and mouse.  The user will be able to control the movement in 3D space using the keyboard and the movement of the camera using the mouse.  The user can also attack using the mouse buttons.  The screen will also display useful information like amount of ammo, health, time remaining until a new round, and if time allows we may implement a mini-map. 

2. The interface will play the role of all the major functionality that the user can perform.  In a popup menu when the player clicks for help, the mouse will be able to select the options like exit and return to game.  In the game the interface will be how the user interacts with the world and walks through it.  The interface is also how the user interacts with enemies, clicking the mouse to perform attacks. 

3.  Our interface should be relatively simple and easy to learn.  Our interface will follow a lot of the conventions that are common in the game industry right now, like simple keyboard and mouse controls together with simple on-screen prompts and displays. 

4. The outcome of the game is very much tied to the player.  If the player does nothing the game will be over quickly with the viruses attacking and destroying the entire motherboard.  If the player is attentive and plays well, he or she can defeat each wave and progress to the next stage.

5. The player should feel powerful in our game.  The player controls the most powerful entity in the game, the antivirus program, which is able to neutralize the attacks with the weapons at its disposal.  We could continue discussing new and more powerful weapons to this end to improve the user's feeling of power.

6. As of now the player will not be picking anything up in the game.  We could potentially in the future implement picking up new weapons or powerups.

7. The interface directly maps to actions in the world.  The interface through the keyboard and mouse maps to movement and camera angle in the world.

8.  The player can see the world around him or her through looking around with the mouse.  The user can hear the enemies and any attacks that happen.  There could also be auditory cues for new waves of enemies or things like time bombs that the player could lay down.

9. The only parts of the interface that are not invisible are the ones that display important information on the screen.  We will strive to keep this sort of thing minimal in unobtrusive if possible.  These interfaces include the health display, ammunition and a time counter.  Keeping the player immersed is our goal, so fewer things in the way of the user's vision is better.  Our game will also be first person, which will also hopefully encourage immersion.

10. Our interface is natural insofar as it is similar to the standard interface of the game industry.  The keyboard and mouse are not very natural interfaces for players because most 3D games utilize them for movement.  Most players should be able to use our interface without thinking much about it. 

11. I think the ideal for this would be to have no obtrusive displays crowding the visual interface.  If the screen could be completely empty letting the user really immerse into the role of the first person character, that would be ideal.

12. The interface gives all the pertinent feedback that the player needs to keep playing.  The interface will display health, ammunition reserves and any other useful information.  The player also needs to know how much time before another wave of enemies attacks, which will be displayed as a timer.  This will help the user to prepare and get things like upgrades and make sure the previous wave is dealt with.  The goal in this case is to be prepared for the next wave which the counter helps with.

13. The visual interface is continuous so that he user has up to date information about their health, their position in the game, how long before the next wave and the effectiveness of their weapons (including ammo).

14. There will probably not be much visual change when changing modes.  There will really only be the normal mode of running around and fighting viruses and also a slightly different mode when repairing buildings and computer components.  That mode could have interfaces for upgrading and repairing the components.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

HW 10

video
In this video I made a menu that pops up when you press enter.  Then clicking on the word Back, the menu exits and goes back to the normal game screen by removing the menu scene. 


These are images of the normal game on the bottom, above that the view of the whole menu scene and above that is the menu seen through the camera.

HW 9

Our game is going to be asymmetric.  We're having the defensive side of the game completely different from the offensive side.  The defensive hero will have powers that the offensive side does not have and the offensive side will have numbers that the defensive side does not.  Either side will have separate goals but we'll work hard to make them balanced. 
I think a way that we will be able to address challenge vs. success is through having many successive waves of enemies that get more difficult with time.  A way to keep people from getting bored is by having the easier waves go by quicker and the more challenging levels will take a little more time.
 There will be a whole lot of meaningful choices the player can make when it comes to spending resources, upgrading defenses and where the player focuses the ability of the main character.  Strategy will also be a choice the player always has to pay attention to when it comes to strengthening defenses or attacking from different angles.
I think we'll be able to minimize the amount of chance that governs our game.  Enemies will probably attack with a random number of damage within a range, but everything else can be basically predictable.  The point of our game is more to prepare for attackers and reward good preparation, skill and strategy. 
Our plan is not to have too much dexterity based game play.  We don't want the object to get good at quickly pressing buttons, although it will probably come into play.  Our focus is on the strategic elements and on rewarding preparedness. 
We're planning on not actually making a set end in our game.  We're going to cater to the people who like to grind and gain experience and test their ability arcade-style.  We're going to have wave after wave until they give up or lose.  In that way the length of the game is chosen by the player.  Games like candy crush and other arcades carefully balance reward and give the right amount of incentive to make the player want to play more. 
When the book talks about the reward of prolonged play, that seems to fit with our game pretty well.  Other rewards we offer include points for using on more upgrades and more powers and access to more difficult competition. 
One aspect of our game that we just added is when the player loses on one side of the fight, they then get switched to  the other side to fight in the opposite direction.  We want to encourage the player to stay with one side as long as they can so when they die, there is a point dock and they have to work to get back to the same position.  There will also probably be a timing setback, so a loss will cause you to be out of the fight for a certain amount of time. 
We're going to try to offer as much freedom to the player as we can.  This will include traveling anywhere within the game they need or want to, upgrading any building or defensive unit they want or getting whatever power or upgrade they want.  We really don't plan on interfering with the player once the game begins outside of the normal game rules. 
We haven't exactly taken complexity into account yet.  We're hoping that our rules will be simple to get so that there will be very will explanation but that the game play will be complicated enough to be interesting for the player.
A lot of the advice we got this week when we presented was that we should keep the buildings and the aesthetics as simple as possible.  We're probably going to simplify the world so that it's not so overwhelming but also so it leaves a little more to the imagination behind the scenes.