Friday, December 11, 2015

HW8: Tetrad for Group Game

1. Tetrad

  • Story - Our story is very simple, the idea is that you are some sort of space explorer and have docked with a strange alien ship and have become trapped with your crew being killed off. The player must survive their way of the ship
  • Aesthetics - The aesthics are meant to be very dark, strange, alien, with somewhat fast pace theme music to give the player a sense of urgency. The sound effects are meant to be somewhat "harsh" or "cold.".
  • Mechanics - The mechanics are very simple. The user is meant to use the two sticks on an appropriate controller (though keyboard is available) and use the left stick to move and the right stick to rotate/fire. The user simply runs around, killing enemies, and navigating challenges and puzzles, avoiding obstacles such as fire, acid, and laser barriers.
  • Technology - The technology we utilized was the powerful unreal engine and the target platform was the PC. We used several free assets provided by Epic.
2. Balance

 The balance of the game is between its extremely simple mechanics and enemies that individually are simple to defeat but the player, if she is not careful, can quickly be overrun by too many enemies. As well, our puzzles have balance in that they are challenging yet solvable. In our laser barrier room, we implemented a puzzle based on looking at puzzles from other challenging games (though generally very simple, primitive, aesthetics). However, in our final product, we may have increased the speed and amount of enemies too greatly, reducing the level of balance.

3. Emergent Properties

There are not many emergent properties except in a few cases the user may be able to solve the problems in ways that we did not direct or intend the user to solve them..

4. Interest Curves

There is a lot of pacing in this game, again probably due to it being very story driven. There are moments of intense action followed by respites of going around and exploring any learning new details via dialogues with various unsavory characters you may meet.

5. Enjoyment

If we reduced the amount of enemies, I think the game can be rather enjoying as the simple mechanic makes it very satisfying to dispatch the enemies. The puzzles give a nice respite to the action.

HW# 7


So far, I have been putting together how to implement the character, weapons, basic animations for locomotion and death, AI, damage and working with the HUD. This week we will discuss how we may pivot our development based on our experiences and readings of the text; the reasoning of the pivot is partly due to scope but also due to our understanding of what we can do to make a fun game players will enjoy within our constraints and will be reflected in our game docs.

HW6: Analyze Two Games

Game 1: Escape From Butcher Bay

1. Tetrad

  • Story - The game has a very engaging story if you are familiar with and enjoy the "Riddick" movies such as Pitch Black or Chronicles of Riddick. The game is essentially like a video game sequel to the movies. As such, a lot of work went into the story, which follows Riddick attempting to escape from prison.
  • Aesthetics - The aesthetics of this game were very good for its time, it certainly attempts to have very realistic looking scenario and characters during gameplay and the cinematic sequence are actually very well done. The aesthetics form a very coherent theme, the look is very much as you expect from the movies.
  • Mechanics - The mechanics of the game essentially involve you exploring areas of the prison, talking to different people, gathering items, and dispatching enemies. Since the game is about escaping from prison, a lot of the mechanics are around stealth, which is actually Riddick's strong suit in the movies, and taking advantage of darkness since he is able to see. Sometimes outright combat occurs and it is rather satisfying.
  • Technology - The game features stunning graphics for its time on the Xbox platform. It featured various lighting effects, realistic character models (you play as Riddick and Vin Diesel's likeness is used)
2. Balance

The game is quite balanced, I feel, as I am generally not very good at completing the challenges in this sorts of games. However, I was able to beat the game while I have struggled in several points for a short time but never having to spend in ordinate amounts of time solving a puzzle or defeating an enemy. It also had  a lot of balance between interesting game play and the cinematic sequences, I did not feel it had too little or two much of both, it was probably about an even split. For a game meant to be a sort of sequel to a movie, I think this was a good approach

3. Emergent Properties

The game has a few emergent properties in that you gain new options by gathering new items; however you can choose to solve most problems involving enemies in a variety of ways such as fighting them directly or choosing a more stealth based approach. However, though there is some level of exploration available, primarily the scenes are setup to drive the storyline.

4. Interest Curves

There is a lot of pacing in this game, again probably due to it being very story driven. There are moments of intense action followed by respites of going around and exploring any learning new details via dialogues with various unsavory characters you may meet.

5. Enjoyment

I very much enjoyed the game because I was able to beat it without a tremendous amount of frustration and found each level to strike a good balance.

Game 2: Red Dead

1. Tetrad
  • Story - The story of Red Dead was interesting. It is set in the 1800s in the Old West. It is a "Spaghetti Western" style homage. You play as a gunslinger and it has the sort of story you may expect for a western.
  • Aesthetics - The aesthetics are mostly very well done, having a very Western movie style effect. In fact, there is a "grainy" film style effect in many places. It uses its theme well.
  • Mechanics - The mechanics feature a very simple combat style system. I believe were settings to increase the difficulty of the combat and aiming but I played with the easier settings. It is a game that is very easy to quickly learn and begin playing. Each level followed a similar forumla
  • Technoloy - The graphics of the game were advanced for its time, having been featured on Xbox and Playstation platforms.
2. Balance
I felt the game could have been better balanced. There was not enough "side quests" or diversions from the main tasks and sometimes it the aesthetics make the player want to have more things to do in the game.  It was heavily geared as a shoot'em up.

3. Emergent Propertes

I feel this is another lacking aspect of the game, other than increasing abilities or changing the style of weapons, there were no emergent or interesting and unexpected ways of playing the game or ways to deviate from the path the player is set upon.

4. Interest Curves

The game primarily follows a sort of linear curve of interest. There are moments of very intense battles near the end of a level with the beginning of the levels featuring simpler battles. It essentially built linearly.

5. Enjoyment

The game was still enjoyable because the aesthetics were very well done, the mechanics were simple, and I was able to change the difficulty settings to suit my ability and actually finish the game without inordinate frustration.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Class Participation #4

This is a HUD for the class game. It is a simple drawing that tries to capture the main data items the player will need. There is of course a health bar, an inventory to show the current items the player has, the amount of shards possessed, a map of the world (meant to show where the user is on the map


This blueprint represents a health pick for the player in the game. The static mesh is a simple material sphere with an interesting pattern from the StarterContent. The level designer will simply place as many of these blueprints in the level as desired. The code for the blueprint functions in this manner: when the "hero" overlaps (and only the hero) with the sphere, the code will call the AffectHealth function on the HeroCharacter object, which will ultimately add a maximum of 50 health points. The blueprint also ensures that the characters in the game will not bump into  the object but pass through. Also, it takes care of the detail that if the hero already has the maximum amount of health, the item will not be "picked up," and subsequently destroyed.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Current Status

So far, we have each been progressing toward the goal with respect to each of our tasks. Josh is working on building a character. Vincent has been working with menu and game modes. Teddy has been working on terrain. For myself, I have spent significant learning the unreal engine and blueprint system. I have a large amount of programming experience and have experimented with different game programming libraries in the past like SDL, SFML, and as some graphic programming in OpenGL and DirectX. But, UE + Blueprints is a very different system, certainly a lot easier to build something impressive but there is a lot to learn. I have gone through the tutorials from Epic for creating third person game from scratch (not using the template), setting up blendspaces using pre-built animations, materials, and working with blueprints.

I will be focusing on building the gameplay and mechanics of the game including movement, projectile weapons, AI, effects, and item pickups. This week I will be progressing toward building these elements in a prototype level. This will serve as the foundation from which we can build the game with terrain, other art assets, and menu systems.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Second Entry

Dark Wizard is one of my all-time favorite games. It is a turn based strategy role playing game that was very ahead of time and on an unusual console, the Sega CD.

Here is an image of the gameplay.

It was such a great game because it combined an immersive story, with a giant world, and intricate battle systems. It is the sort of game that may take hundreds of hours to play. I highly recommend it for anyone that is interested in Japanese style turn based fantasy RPGs.

Final Fantasy 7 is definitely my favorite video game.

It is also another very large world. Final Fantasy 7 was the first 3D Final Fantasy but that is not the only thing separates it from its predecessors. Each FF game had an immersive story but FF7 was extemely compelling because it played on many different emotions and had complex interactions between characters and the environment. The concept of "materia," which was a type of object that assisted with acquiring skills, weapons, and other abilities, was a significant part of the storyline. As well, the game's turn based battle system is one of the best every implemented. The game is such a large world with so many things to do, sometimes it is more fun to play the side quests, which can mini-games in themselves, than to play the main storyline. Each FF since 7 has been evolution that started with that game. There are talks of it being re-made, which is a very exciting prospect for me. I have very fond memories playing FF games for many months.

Here is an image I generated when playing around with generating Mandelbrot set visualizations from C.