Sunday, November 24, 2013

Homework 11

What is the relationship between the main character and the goal? Why does the character care about it? 
The relationship between leg10ne and his goal is rooted in both personal property and revenge. He's gone to infiltrate the enemy territory primarily because they have taken something important from him and he wants it back, but also because he is enraged that they have wronged him and wants to show them what for.

What are the obstacles between the character and the goal? 
The obstacles are a series of typing challenged, time limits, and fps challenges.

Do the obstacles gradually increase in difficulty? If yes, how? 
I expect the obstacles to become more difficult as the typing demand becomes more complex, the enemies increase, and the time available become tighter.

Great stories often involve the protagonist transforming to overcome the obstacle. Does your protagonist transform? 
He does not; this game is really more of a get-in-and-get-out scenario.

How is the game world simpler than the real world?
There are no external factors in this game, such as police, random interference, or enemy back-stories/families. Also, the "hacking" does not actually require any knowledge of computer science.

What kind of transcendent power do you give to the player?
The character, in addition to having knowledge of how to hack into high security computer systems through fairly high-language methods, is also able to survive a number of bullet wounds and may even heal from them over time.

What is the weirdest element in the game story? 
I'd have to say the weirdest thing is that leg10ne, a genius computer scientist who lives alone in a little house working on his computer with the lights off, is also a skilled, pistol-whipping, espionage-committing marksman.

How do you ensure that the weirdest thing does not confuse or alienate the player? 
It's not really all that strange or startling, I don't think, if you go into the game knowing that it's an FPS. It doesn't really affect the game play.

Will the players be interested in the game story? Why? 
I hope so. There isn't a ton of story, but we've provided an intro/tutorial in the game that allows the player to see the motivation behind the character's actions.


In what sense does the player have freedom of action? Does the player "feel" free at these times? 
The player is free to move about the space provided to him in the amount of time available. Hopefully, this will provide enough freedom that the game play doesn't feel particularly linear, and free to explore under the pressure of the countdown.

What are the constraints imposed on the players? Do they feel constrained?
The player is unable to leave the provided level environment. He can't leave the level he is currently on, or go back or forwards to places he has already been or has not already earned access to. The player may feel constrained, but not in overwhelming ways.

Ideally, what would you like your players to do (lens #72)
Players should push through the enemies and puzzles to find leg10ne's property at the end and defeat all enemies along the way. Also, for inexperienced typers, gain some practice.

Can you set constraints to "kind of" force the player to do it? 
Players can't progress without completing typing tasks and maneuvering around or defeating enemy AI, which will help to make players practice typing as well as "defeat all enemies." Additionally, players can't back track to previous levels, which will help to push them forwards towards the end goal.

Can you design your interface to "force" the player to do what you (the designer) wish him/her to do? 
Not more, I think, than is already the case.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Homework 12

My tasks contributing to the team recently and in the near future have been/will be:

  • Completing the creation of a list of object models needed in the game
  • Collecting a library of needed textures
  • Texturing every item in that list
    • Shortly after debugging all the unforeseen problems that arose with object creation and UV mapping
  • Checking behind the first created level, tweaking and correcting small issues with the level
  • Designing the title/start screen
    • Turning the title screen and its functioning pieces into planes inside of Blender, cut into the necessary pieces.
  • Designing the heads-up display, including...
    • health bar
    • ammo bar
    • time display
    • action/task/weapon display
    • Turning the display and all of its pieces into planes in blender

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Homework 9

1. Fairness
Our game has, if not a perfect measure of fairness, it at least attempts to work in that direction. Because this game is single-player, fairness seems like it becomes a balance between challenging the player enough that it doesn't seem uselessly easy (and therefore unfairly weighted to the player), but also doesn't challenge the player so much that the opposing forces seem to be cheating or using unreasonable advantages. Given that, I think our game is fair in the way that Tetris is fair. The game starts out going slowly, an easy pace with low expectations. Someone who has never played before and is uncomfortable with the controls might lose on the first level, but typically the first level is a relaxed one. Then, as successive levels pass, speed and demand on the player increase until the same simple tasks become trying. In its current incarnation, our game will rely on a timer that becomes more demanding as levels pass, making the same sorts of tasks more challenging as the player progresses.

2. Difficulty
Our game is designed to become increasingly harder as levels progress. Time and/or challenge will increase after each stage completion, meaning less time to complete tasks or longer challenges to complete in that time. It may also be a function, so as to make new players feel unintimidated and old players feel challenged, that we allow players to select a starting difficulty that can determine the challenge levels they face from start to finish.

3. Meaningful Choices
There doesn't seem to be a great deal of weight given to the choices a player can make in this game. It's primarily shaping up to be a straight-forward progression that's possibly speckled with bonuses and nice but unnecessary rewards for players who stray from the linear path.

4. Skill vs Chance
Our game is weighted heavily towards the player's personal skill. Between point-and-click weapon-shooting and typing challenges, there isn't a great deal left to chance. A player's progression relies almost completely on his speed and/or accuracy at completing these two tasks. An overt lack of chance seems okay, though, because it's really not something that pairs well with FPS-type games to begin with.

5. Heads vs HandsOur game leans clearly towards "hands" and reflexes. The puzzles aren't really puzzles so much as challenges for speed and accuracy meant to facilitate keyboard fluency, and the combat is also a straightforward out-shoot-the-enemy scenario. Really, I think my team intends for the emphasis of the game to be on pacing and motor development, and not so much intellectual simulation. I guess I'm saying, we're not trying to make sudoku here.

6. Competition vs CooperationBecause our game is one-player, the closest our game comes to cooperation is the instructions the player gets from his commanding figure.

7. Short vs LongI believe that our game, in its current design, is really better fit for short- or medium-length play time. Maybe at best 30 minutes or so for someone who was really feeling it, but nothing remotely Final Fantasy, if you understand my meaning. I'll bring back the Tetris analogy; playing for the first several levels (ten usually in Tetris) is challenging enough that the player may have to practice a little to get that far, but gratifying enough that he doesn't just give up. A normal consumer playing Tetris up into the 20's or 30's would probably get frustrated and annoyed with the obscene difficulty of the game, so the experience is best when cut short while it's challenging but not absurd. The same should be true for our game.

8. Rewards
This isn't something that my team has discussed, but I imagine that the player will be rewarded primarily after completing a level. Whether it be a message from his boss telling him how priceless an operative he is (maybe what a worthless screw-up) or a more clinical form of praise like a percentage score for speed and accuracy shown to the player, between levels is the ideal reward point. Additionally, there has been talk of rewarding players for taking an extra step and exploring the space by planting bonus items and easter eggs around for the finding and taking.

9. PunishmentI think the closest our game might come to having a punishment system is an angry message from the player's boss scolding a failure. Presumably, player death in the game will cause a minor set-back like a reset on the level/floor, but not end the game. Beyond this, the player should be able to endure as many failures and re-plays as he has the patience for.

10. Freedom vs Controlled ExperienceI hope that - that is, the ideal outcome of our current plan is - our maps will give the player the illusion of freedom while quite clearly restraining them to a linear path. There will be a start and end point of each level that the player is required to hit in the limited time that the player is required to hit to progress, and possibly also several points along that route that the player must also navigate. However, in addition to those points, there will also be excess spaces that have nothing to do with the critical path. In his allotted time frame, the player will be allowed to freely investigate these spaces even though he will have to eventually end up at the predetermined exit point.

11. Simple vs Complex

Our game hypothetically balances simplicity and complexity rather well. It's based around some pretty rudimentary controls: typing words on a keyboard, pointing and clicking a mouse. But then, it uses those simple tools to create greater and more complex challenges as difficulty progresses.

12. Detail vs Imagination
I'm uncertain about where our game lies on this spectrum. On one hand, we plan to make the characters, objects, and environment fairly paired-down, forfeiting high detail in favor of stylization and implication. On the other hand, though, the environment (etc) is also pretty literal, and won't require a great deal of extrapolation on the part of the player and his imagination. Similarly, while I expect the main character to be a Link-esque silent hero even if there is dialogue (probably won't be), and the user will be able to fill his shoes like any good Mary Sue, the storyline is also pretty clearly stated from the beginning of the game.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Homework 8

Is the space in your game discrete or continuous?
Both, in some respect. The levels are continuous, but the space between separate levels is discrete.

How many dimensions does your space have? 
The space is three-dimensional.

What are the boundaries of your space? 
The space in my game is bounded by the interior walls of an office space.

How many verbs do your players (characters) have? What are they? 
The user will have three verbs: type (on the keyboard), click, and mouse.

How many objects can each verb act on? What are these objects? 
Typing will be able to interact widely with most objects in the player's environment. That is, typing will serve as the "action button" that allows the player to act upon things nearby. For players not in a possible keyboard-only mode, mousing and clicking will be responsible for interacting the player's guns with virtual enemies.

How many ways can players achieve their goals?
The key events will be fairly linear, with really only one series of events that will progress levels. However, for "completionist" type players, there will be extra/bonus items to be collected or discovered.

How many subjects do the players control? What are these subjects? 
The player controls only one subject, a first person character.

How do side effects change constraints?
Certain actions (particularly plot-progressing or level-progressing action, like completing a hacking mission) will change constraints by allowing the player character to move further through or to the next level.

What are the operative actions in your game? 
Look up/down/left/right, shoot, interact (action command), switch equipment.

What are the resultant actions in your game? Unlock, recieve data, recieve commands, open, fail level.

What actions would you like your players to do that they cannot presently do? (based on your current knowledge of Blender)
I'm actually pretty happy with what the player is expected to be able to do in the game. More accurately, what I would like is more time to be able to create more possible interactions and easter eggs.

What is the ultimate goal of your game? 
To successfully hack through the enemy's building, retrieve data, and defeat the big bad guy at the end.

Are there short and long term goals? What are they? 
Most levels have a short-term goal to get through the level and hack through security/retrieve secure data in a limited amount of time.
The long term goal, then, will be to reach the end and gun down the bad guy, while successfully collecting all needed information from hacking during the journey up to him.

How do you plan to make the game goals known and understood by the player? 
The player character has a boss NPC who will theoretically be giving the player instructions. Also, my team is tentatively discussing a possible intro story sequence.

What are the foundational rules of your game? 
Foundational rules in the game include time remaining, possible health meter, equipment collected, current level, and progress in a level.

How are these rules enforced? 
These will all be enforced by the computer logic.

Does your game develop real skills? What are they? It is intended to help develop typing ability.

Does your game develop virtual skills? What are they?
It may develop virtual point-and-shoot skills with the gun system.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Homework 7

A written description of what I have done:
I've created a simple animation that shows a refrigerator with a pistol hidden inside, with a functioning fridge door that rotates or opens and closes around its hinge. The doors and racks inside are parented to the body of the refrigerator, and both the fridge and the pistol have been appended into the present file where the animation is applied. The gun has a black metal surface, and the refrigerator is a reflective/mirrored white.

How what you have done fits into the larger picture:
In my team's game, the main first-person character has to explore through an enemy establishment, gun down enemies under the pressure of time, and achieve objectives along the way. Whether it's a reward for exploring beyond the linear pathway or necessary checkpoint to proceed, he's going to need to poke his head into places to see what he finds. A refrigerator is a perfectly reasonable place for a pistol in a building full of baddies.

Link to .blend files used in this animation: 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Homework 6

Four each of the four elements of the Tetrad, explain how it is addressed by your game. If one of the four elements is not used, please state this. 

  • Aesthetics: Our game's aesthetic is driving towards a fun mash-up of stylized, polyagonal figures and more literally (but still not photoreally) crafted models.
  • Gameplay: The gameplay is also a sort of mash-up. It slips between mouse-driven point-and-shoot sequences and keyboard-heavy (and hopefully educational) "hacking" sequences with a terminal.
  • Story: The game is fairly story-driven, with the main character (the player) motivated to infiltrate an enemy organization under the direction of his superior officer, so that he might achieve an end goal (could be "save the princess" or "bankrupt the terrorists," not certain that's been settled yet).
  • Technology: The technology present in this game is fairly 007-future. Whether you look at it as a single, contemporary company that is more technologically advanced than the rest of the population, or as a 20-years-in-the-future scene where technology is slightly more developed over all, the environment in this game is techhy without breaking into the realm of cyberpunk or retro-future.

Do the four (or less) elements work towards a current theme? 
Why, yes, I think so!

In your own words, describe the meaning of a "theme", and how does it differ from an "experience" (see book for examples in Chapters 2 and 5. 
A "theme" is the overarching idea behind a game; it's the representational metaphor that the game suggests, whether that's "get the block into the cup" or "go on a harrowing, four-year adventure that takes you from small farm boy to world-crushing demigod." An "experience" in a game, then, is how a player interacts with the game; it's the presentation and the interface and the feeling that the player gets from engaging with the game regardless of the specific story.

What is your game's theme? 
A hacker-spy infiltrates an enemy organization, taking down opponents and breaking into secure data.

What are the elements in your game that are meant to reinforce this theme? 
The heavy inclusion of typing in gameplay, the first-person shooting of (dapperly dressed) enemies in gameplay, the heavy-espionage story driving activities, and the bond-esque approach to technology and story.

What is it about your game that you feel makes it special and powerful?
The main character is a solo agent taking on an entire organization with nothing but the instruction of his boss, his guns, and his clever mind. He fills the role of a one-man army on a hero's mission.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Homework 5

What have I done?
I have a character model that (hopefully) will be included in my team's game. The game motions I have applied to him are:
  • W moves the character forward 
  • A moves the character to his left 
  • S moves the character backwards 
  • D moves the character to his right 
  • Q rotates the character to his left 
  • E rotates the character to his right 
  • Left arrow turns the character's head to look left 
  • Right arrow turns the character's head to look right 
  • Down arrow turns the character's head to look down 
  • Up arrow turns the character's head to look up 
How will this relate to my game?
Because this game involves first-person navigation, these sorts of motions are going to be very relevant to the main camera's perspective. It will need to be able to travel forwards, backwards, rotate, etc. as the player explores his surroundings.