Friday, November 14, 2014

Homework 15 - Self Assessment

Thus far, this is the progress I have made since October 23rd, as well as the current estimated time til completion for tasks.

Completed modelling of Main Character
Estimated time - 3 Days
Actual time - 1 Week

Completed Rigging of Main Character
Estimated time - 1-2 Days
Actual time - 4 days

Complete modelling and rigging of enemies
Progress - 80%
Estimated time - 1 day

I have completed the humanoid enemy and just need to complete the digital enemy, which will be simpler in design.

Build Map
Progress - 60%
Estimated time - 2-3 Days

I have run into issues with getting used to working within an enclosed area in blender. Since the game occurs indoors, I have had to learn to adjust to the difficulties of selecting objects inside an enclosed map. I also have to add in the materials and objects to populate the room (most are already complete).
Additionally, rather than having 2 maps, I am combining the maps into one per Danial's suggestion.

Adapt code for use in Mel's portion of game
Progress - 0%
Estimated time - 3-4 Days

Since the character is not yet animated, I have waited to complete task. However, this will be my primary task this weekend. The code is fairly straightforward and should not present major issues barring it from getting to a playable state. The reason for the longer estimate is working out bugs that will arise for finer details (exact camera placement, eventual addition of animations, etc.)

Animate playable Characters and Enemies
Progress 0%
Estimated time - 1 Week

This will be the task that takes me the longest, and is not as fundamental to the functioning of the game. As such, I am leaving it for later on in the development cycle.

Write script for underlying rules
Progress 25-30%
Estimated time - 4 Days

I have located scripts to assist me with this, and will be adapting them and writing new code to fit the specific rules that govern my game.

Assemble pieces into one file -
Progress - 10%
Estimated time - 1-3 days

I will be assembling things in a playable state over this weekend, but obviously, more time will be needed to complete the file once the game is in a more final state.

Design and implement HUD
Progress - 30%
Estimated time - 1-2 Days

I have designed a simple HUD and will be working on incorporating it into the game as an overlay.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Homework 10 - Animation and Menus

This is my attempt at the starting menus you would encounter when beginning a game. You are usually presented with a splash menu with a "Press Start to Play" type message, which then brings you to the menu containing the options of playing the game, modifying game settings, or exiting the game completely.

I attempted to get the scene to show properly, but set scene, remove scene, and suspend scene all failed to actually remove the title menu scene from the view. I spoke with Professor Erlebacher about this, and he said he would look into the .blend file to determine why it was not working.

This should be the screen that the player encounters when starting the game.

This is the title menu, which will lead the player directly into the game. For the purposes of my program, it is likely that there will not be an actual options menu, but it was included to demonstrate the variety that the Main Menu can have.

Additionally, this week I have split off from my group and am working as an individual. My game is going to be very different mechanically from theirs and should provide an interesting set of challenges for me. I have finalized the concept of the game, created concept art and maps, have downloaded resources to modify to fit within the game, done an initial model of one of the two game maps, and am working on creating more complete character models that will be used in the game and posters.

Link to the .blend file : Here

Homework 9 - Balance

Type 1 - Fairness
My game will be asymmetrical in the fact that the player will be pitted against large numbers of both armored security officers or anti-intrusion programs (depending on which character is being controlled at the time). The character has the advantage of increased initiative as the officers will take a moment to react to her presence, during which time she is able to take the first shot in their encounter. Additionally, the player will be able to use cover while playing as one character, but while playing with the other will utilize increased agility and mobility to dodge and counter enemy attacks.

Type 2 - Challenge vs. Success
My game may end up being somewhat difficult due to the nature of the gameplay, but I intend to balance difficulty by using player kill count to determine spawn rates. There will, of course, be scripted periods where the game's difficulty ramps up, but even these moments will be moderated by player skill because spawn rates will be raised the more effectively the player dispatches their enemies. This will apply to both characters, though their spawn rates will be unique to account for the player possibly being more adept as one of the characters over another.

Type 3 - Meaningful Choices
I plan to provide a couple of meaningful choices to the player. Since my game involves switching between two different characters, the choice of when to switch is ever present. If the player is warned that one of the characters requires their assistance, but chooses not to switch, that could directly affect whether or not they will be successful in their mission and complete the game. Additionally, as one of the characters, the player has the option to be proactive and attack towards enemy spawn points, preventing them from building up in waves but leaving the other character more vulnerable, or playing defensively, which could lead to slower gameplay or the feeling of being overwhelmed by enemy numbers, but also gives them a greater deal of control over the map and lets them ensure that the other character is not killed, which would result in a game over.

Type 4 - Skill vs. Chance
I plan on primarily relying on player skill to determine outcomes of events within the game, but there will likely be an element of randomness to player/enemy damage output (may deal between, for example, 10 and 15 damage per shot, which may seem minor at first, but effects enemy staying power as well as throws off when the player will have to reload, which leaves them more vulnerable for a short time) or I may include a random element to enemy spawning so that they do not spawn at an even rate and can occasionally bunch up and pressure the character to a greater extent.

Type 5 - Heads vs. Hands
Like any good shooter, I plan to balance this by making positioning as important as raw twitch shooting skills. Being a crack shot will make the game easier, but if a player is unable to also manage their placement, timing of reloads, and effectively utilize cover, they will be quickly dispatched by the numbers of the enemy. The game will not be overwhelmingly taxing in terms of dexterity or thinking, but will require a player to at least be competent in both areas.

Type 6 - Competition vs. Cooperation
This type of balance will not really come into play with this game as it is a single-player experience. If the game were to be multiplayer, it would be entirely cooperative, as the two characters are working towards the same goal, just fighting on two different fronts.

Type 7 - Short vs. Long
I have found myself struggling with the issue of game length. I was initially planning on simply having the game be a set length and the idea was to survive that long and one of the character's goals would be achieved, which would result in the game being won. However, I may implement a system by which additional objectives can be achieved by either character which can affect the length of the game, which would allow exceptional players to be rewarded for their skills by achieving a record time.

Type 8 - Rewards
Primarily, my game will focus on the concepts of Spectacle and Completion to provide player rewards. The game is very focused in scope, so the success of the mission being undertaken by the characters is demonstrated to be of critical importance, and successes result in a greater threat, leading to the player feeling like the stakes are raised. This leads the player to be rewarded for completing the game. Additionally, the game may have the two characters interacting with each other and providing praise for surviving past certain checkpoints, and verbally supporting each other.

Type 9 - Punishment
Due to the simplicity of the game, the primary means of punishment will be terminated play. The game doesn't really have lives or score as such, just the success or failure of the mission. There may also be an element of Shaming as well, as there may be reports on the player's failure by the security forces they are at odds with during the game over screen.

Type 10 - Freedom vs Controlled Experience
I plan on balancing this aspect of the game in terms of scale. The overall game will be a controlled experience, but the player will have control over the moment-to-moment experience up to a point. The game is contained within a fairly small area, but the character is free to move about that area and attack from where they so choose, at least with one character. With the other, the experience is much more controlled, but also allows the character more freedom in terms of their response. They can try to simply dodge attacks, or they can return fire and be more aggressive, though at an increased risk to themselves.

Type 11 - Simple vs. Complex
My game will be balancing simplicity and complexity with the two character concept. Each character's playstyle is fairly straightforward and easy to pick up. However, the necessity of switching between the two incorporates elements of complexity into the game. It's not exactly emergent complexity, but it allows there to be more to the game than either character's unique gameplay elements.

Type 12 - Detail vs. Imagination
My game will use smaller details specific to the characters to inspire the player's imagination in regards to the city, the security forces they oppose, and their mission's overall place in the changing landscape of the world. The setting is cyberpunk which is ideally familiar enough to people that they can quickly pick up things about the world, but different enough to examine critical issues in a way that we may not have widespread acceptance of in current society.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Homework 7 - Chapter 10

  1. Is the space in your game discrete or continuous?

    Our game will contain several continuous but separate scenes. These scenes should include a couple of different types of locales and different stylistic choices.
  2. How many dimensions does your space have?

    We plan for our game to be 3-dimensional, allowing the player to move in all directions as well as jump to higher areas or drop down to lower spaces.
  3. What are the boundaries of your space?

    The boundaries of our space will be either the buildings within the scene, limiting players to the streets and alleys, or the rooms for scenes indoors, so that they move through hallways and along determined paths through a specific building.
  4. How many verbs do your players (characters) have? What are they?

    We plan to provide players with around 7-10 main verbs. These include, but are not limited to walk, run, jump, climb, attack, crouch, hide, and choose.
  5. How many objects can each verb act on? What are these objects?

    Primarily the verbs the player has access to will be working on objects in the environment, hiding behind obstacles, interacting with doors, objects in the environment, and attacking enemies if you sneak up on them.
  6. How many ways can players achieve their goals

    Due to the limited scope of the game, our players will really only have one or two ways to achieve a goal, the second usually in a slightly different route.
  7. How many subjects do the players control? What are these subjects?

    The player only controls one to two subjects, which are the character and the character's weapon. The weapon will require recharge between uses, so the player will need to manage that cooldown between uses as well as their movement of the character.
  8. How do side effects change constraints.

    We plan to set up the enemies in a manner that requires strategy to dispatch with stealth and the side effect of defeating an enemy will change the route that you will take through the rest of the scene.
  9. What are the operative actions in your game?

    The operant actions the player will have access to will primarily concern positioning and using cover to get to an advantageous position to attack their targeted enemy from.
  10. What are the resultant actions in your game?

    The resultant actions will be the reaction of the enemies to your appearance if you are not in stealth, and the way that they will react to the defeat of one of their comrades.
  11. What actions would you like your players to do that they cannot presently do? (based on your current knowledge of Blender)

    I would like to be able to find a way to have players stick to cover while hiding to make it easier to hide from enemies.
  12. What is the ultimate goal of your game?

    The ultimate goal of the game is to resolve the conflict between a budding AI and a virus corrupting it. The player has the option to choose a side at at least one point during the game.
  13. Are there short and long term goals? What are they?

    Short term goals are specific to the scene and relate to progression from one enemy to another or one encounter to another. Long term goals relate to the resolution of the conflict between the AI and the virus, as well as the rescuing of a character that has been taken hostage.
  14. How do you plan to make the game goals known and understood by the player?

    The goals will be relayed through a combination of directed level design and the game's narrative. Updates to goals will be relayed via an AI interface that speaks to the player through their Head-mounted display.
  15. What are the foundational rules of your game?

    The foundational rules would include the ways that the player can damage the enemies as well as how they can damage the player. Additionally, the foundational rules would discuss how the user's stealth is calculated and how the enemies will react if they do spot the player.
  16. How are these rules enforced?

    These rules will be enforced by the computer itself, and will be constraints of the game. We will try to help the player understand the rules via a combination of in-game tutorial and informational displays on the character's heads-up display.
  17. Does your game develop real skills? What are they?

    The game will help develop strategy and critical thinking in order to progress through the scenes, as strategy will be critical to defeating each enemy in a given encounter.
  18. Does your game develop virtual skills? What are they?

    No skills will be developed as such in the game, but the player will have skill with programming and electronics that the player does not need to actually have.
In terms of what I have done for the game this week, I have been researching code examples for different actions in Blender game engine as well as experimenting with animation. I also have looked into types of Artificial Intelligence that can be used in Blender's game engine. I'm also working on organizing a regular meetup for the team to discuss where they are in their department and begin working towards an actual playable build of the game.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Homework 4 - Simple Game using 2 Objects

This video details the simple game I created with only 2 objects. The objects were ones I downloaded for use in our final game, and I was able to make a very simplistic shooting gallery with them. I had larger plans for even this simple game, but encountered difficulties with the physics not providing the bullet object with enough speed to prevent gravity from making it fall before hitting its target.

If I were to expand this game, as I noted in the video, I would add more targets, possibly some other obstacles obscuring them to make a proper shooting gallery, or would add moving humanoid targets that use the barriers as shelter, making the target much more difficult to accurately hit.

The objects I used can be downloaded at the following links: - Barrier - Pistol

Thursday, September 11, 2014

This is just a demonstration that I am able to make an object in blender move. The object is a cyperpunk styled take on a female robot, who may be utilized to personify an aspect of the Artificial Intelligence in our game.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Homework 2 - First Meeting

1) When and where did you meet?
After class in the Union Courtyard.

2) What did you discuss?
 We discussed our ideas for the overall story elements we wanted to incorporate into the game, including the setting, style, and overarching plot points we wanted to cover. We also discussed what genre of game would fit this project best, but were still sorting out a final genre for the game.

3) Did you take notes? Why? Why not?
 I took general notes on ideas that came up as well as specific things people thought they would like to explore through the game.

4) Did you transfer the contents of the discuss to the computer?
 No, the notes were pretty freeform and casual for this meeting, but I plan on logging future meetings so we are all on the same page.

5) Did you discuss the game document?
 Not as of yet since we are not sure what it will contain or how it will be structured

6) Did you pick a team leader. Why? Who is it?
 No, we decided to instead have each person focus on a different area (art, character design, story, programming, etc) and have them be the leader of that section. Additionally, throughout the course of the project, each person is to spend at least a week working partially on each other aspect of the game and learning from that area's leader so that we are broadening our skill base.

7) Please describe briefly some initial ideas regarding the game you plan on developing. 
 We are planning a game that is utilizing a cyberpunk setting and addresses some of the themes surrounding Artificial Intelligence. We are still determining the specifics of the story, but plan on taking a more psychological approach and less of an action-heavy one.

8) State on your blog the contributions you, the individual, made towards the team game in the last week.
 I personally helped refine or redirect many of the ideas we had to keep our dream game within scale. Additionally, I suggested the Cyberpunk setting and aesthetic as I seem to be the most familiar with it in our group. I also discussed the idea of a weekly game trade to pass around games that we drew inspiration from for this project and share them with the rest of our team.