Cycle 3 – Reflection

Looking back to the previous cycles until this current one, I have come to learn and understand many new things and information. There will all be very useful to me, if not now then definitely later. Teamwork, deadlines, working under pressure, time management; these are just some new skills I have acquired but there are definitely more that weren’t mentioned here.

Besides the newly developed abilities to operate Unity and write blog posts, I have also developed many no -technical skills during the time in this unit. Those were friendship, teamwork and better communication, as well as the ability to work under pressure and time constraint, looking out for and helping out team members. These skills have been built at the start and polished over time which changes how I look at newly made friends who might just be my group member in another unit. This leads to communication between each other, which helps me honed this skill even further. Now I can express my thoughts much easier and clearer.

Many systems have been put in place to manage individual and team activities amongst the team members. One of them being meeting up in the workshop session. This is the time where everyone can group up and do team relate work face to face. Another strategy is to utilise a common platform of social media, which in this case is Facebook. Everything related to the team becomes a conversation there. Ideas and questions that weren’t present at the workshop meeting has been introduced. As well as helping other members who weren’t present at the previous workshop meeting catch up to the rest. By far, Facebook communication has been the most effective strategy used to manage the team.

Each members has different level of responsibilities within the team. This also has to consider for their outside-of-team responsibilities such as other unit’s work and personal life responsibility. Although if that is to be ignored, the team did very well in my opinion in terms of fair work practices, tasks and activities completion, honesty between one another and overall participation of everyone in the team. Every cycles, the team would decide together of who is doing which activities of that particular cycle. The activities would be broken up equally amongst the team members to assure that it is fair for everyone and keeps the level of participation equal for all. Those activities then becomes the responsibility of the holder. I can agree that this section has become an individual responsibility because the marks belongs to those who decides to complete their assigned activities for the cycle. This leads to the honesty aspect of the members, which I can tell that we all possess such attribute. If we need help; we ask, if we can’t attend meeting; we provide legitimate reason, no matter how unreasonable it sounds.

In the end, I’m glad I got Josh and Tom as my team members, as they hold those positive attributes towards one another and we got each other’s back all the way through cycle 1 to 3. This team wouldn’t be holding up without everyone’s contribution and positive attitude towards one common goal.

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Playtesting Report & Reflection Post

Players seemed to have the most trouble getting used to how the game played and the physics involved in the game as it is focused around momentum based movement. They quickly got the hang of it but then some of them had issues with the colliders on the player getting caught on the edges of the platforms. I was aware of this bug but I didn’t think it would be as much of an issue as it was. The players didn’t know what to do initially but after exploring around in the darkness, they quickly figured it out. When asked how the game felt atmospherically, the players all mentioned that it seemed fairly creepy. All of the players died once except for one who picked the controls up very quickly and was able to complete the level without even being seen. All players said that they would enjoy playing a completed version of the game and some asked if there were more levels so they could keep playing.

I would’ve liked to develop a second level, but unfortunately I didn’t have time. All of the resources are ready to put into a second level but positioning platforms and ladders is too long of a task for the remainder of the time frame.

I learned a fair amount about using the Animator in unity and implementing audio. The animator always seemed like a daunting thing that I had no understanding of at all so I avoided it at every opportunity but I feel as though I have some basic level knowledge and it seems a lot less scary now. I also learned quite a lot about shaders and lighting as the core mechanics of the game were based around those two features. I initially had some issues with the lighting but after some googling I found out everything I needed to know and more.

In terms of the whole semester, I have improved hugely at creating things in Unity. Before this class I had only briefly touched game making software and could never have created anything that could even be considered a game. The class has been a huge confidence booster and I feel like I could go off and create more mini games easily.

Raw data: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1RFg9eImO9vuOKO-3AqZZNWUBeIu_SHbRLj9lln6g-KU/edit?usp=sharing

Cycle 3 – Playtest Report

Here is the raw word document playtest notes.

Following the playtesting, the results revealed some very useful information and potential improvements on the game. Including the relation to the PX goals and bugs.

The most common comments from the playtesters were “dark” even though that’s the main theme of the game, the playtesters didn’t know this beforehand. The playtest version of the game felt “incomplete” as some playtesters mentioned. The playtesters mentioned a lot about different enemy types to make the game more challenging as it already is moving around in the dark. Aside the general gameplay experience, common bugs such as getting stuck on objects and enemies have also been identified. A playtester who is considered “game development expert” noticed that the enemy’s aggro movement seems to be off as it moves in one constant direction. All of the playtesters find the general concept very creative with the light and dark elements. Majority of them were commenting about the clunky mechanic of battery recharging flash light.

Considering that this is only the prototpye equivalent of the game, these comments were very helpful. They made the steps of improvements much more vivid and organised. Based on the feedback, the bugs that require attention the most are the enemy’s aggro distance and movement and damage application. General gameplay experience include more enemy types, more level’s quantity and creativity and better flash light battery system.

Game Look and Feel

  1. Darkness, prison, light
  2. The game will use square shapes throughout to give a sense of calmness. The enemies will be more triangular to make them seem aggressive towards the player.
  3. Look and feel images. The following images represent how we feel the game should sort of look.

505772453.jpg

light-in-the-dark.jpg

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750x750bb.jpeg

prison-guard.jpg

5. The target audience will hopefully feel a need to explore the blackness around. They will learn to find a comfort in the small amount of light produced by their glow sticks and a distrust of the light produced by the enemies.

The player will be contained inside of the physical compounds of the prison/area they are trying to escape. The area will be large enough to require the player to scale multiple ladders in order to reach the highest point. The lights that the player has access to will light only a small section of the total space, the rest will be in complete darkness. There will be no furnishings on the walls and very little in terms of decorations in the area that the player will be navigating through. Switches and ladders will be located on the walls and the walls themselves will be made of brick. The only other people in the game world are the enemies who will try to kill you on sight. They can be found patrolling the level searching for escaped players. The background music will aim to give the player a sense of sneakiness and the sound effects in the game will work to give the player a sense of what they’re doing (Eg. Jumping, throwing)

 

Objects and Rules

Search through the darkness – Players will feel a sense of exploration as they navigate through the darkness of the level and discover new things

Unlock door with key/switch – The player will feel satisfied as the open the door and proceed to the end of the level

Avoid patrolling guards – The player will feel stressed as they try to avoid enemies throughout the level

Throw glow sticks – Players will use the light of their glow sticks to see where they can jump and climb to

Collect glow sticks – Players will feel relieved collecting glow sticks as the may be close to running out

 

 

Physics Economy Progression Tactical Maneuvering Social Interaction
Movement (Walking, jumping, climbing) Number of held glow sticks Pre-defined levels Stealth n/a
Throwing/Dropping glow sticks Scenarios to provide a challenge Positioning glow sticks to see
Physics as a mechanic (Gravity, collisions) Switches to control progress
Objects Attributes Interaction Relationships Rules and events
Glow Sticks Dimly light a small area around themselves Can be picked up, thrown or dropped by the player Can be picked up by the player If a player has a glow stick in their inventory they may throw or drop it. Can be picked up off the ground
Enemies Patrol around looking for players to attack Kills the player if they catch them. Doesn’t attack unless they see the player or the player gets too close Chases and attacks the player Chases the player if it sees them. Attacks the player when in range.
Floor/walls Contains everything else in the game Stops the player from accessing areas they should be in Contains everything
Ladders Climbable surfaces for the player Can be climbed to reach areas too high to jump Can be climbed by the player Can be climbed if the player is standing on them
Switches Open doors and light a very small area Can be switched on by the player Can be used by the player. Opens doors/gates Automatically switched if the player walks past. Immediately opens the door/gate
Doors/Gates Blocks areas Stops the player from entering an area Blocks the player. Opened by a switch Opened when the switch is used

 

Cycle 3: Activity 7 – Play Test Report

Raw feedback can be found here

The play test results revealed some useful information about the game and what was done effectively and what wasn’t so effective in achieving our team’s PX goals, there were also some bugs exposed in these sessions too.

Firstly the play tests showed a lack of polish in some regards of the game, with testers noting that the game felt it was “lacking something” and other commenting on the level design being quite basic and unimaginative. Of course many aspects of the game concept were not implemented due to poor time management on my part, however taking that into consideration there is still room for improvement. Players would have liked to see more creative level design, more enemy types and different movement patterns for spotlights.

Given these criticisms there were a number of things that players enjoyed, for instance, the look and feel of the game with several testers commenting on the pixel art and the contrast of the light on the darkened sprites gave an effect similar to the concept described to them. Players also quite liked the concept described however they wished it were better implemented like getting the glowstick mechanic fully functioning and implemented.

To address these comments it is recommended to implement these steps:

  • Create additional more challenging levels
  • Create additional enemy types
  • Add different spotlight patterns
  • Complete glowstick and darkness mechanic
  • Produce a more intuitive AI
  • Fix bugs
    • Player animation
    • Rigid body issues
    • Spotlight script issues
    • UI scaling

Cycle 3: Reflection

Looking back upon the semester of IGB100 I’ve noticed as significant improvement in my abilities to use Unity and other programs associated with game development. Initially it started out as a daunting task having had minimal experience with these pieces of software, however the “trial by fire” as it were, was a good way to get introduced to the development process. Additionally being encouraged to experiment with blender and other programs to produce our own assets was an interesting learning experience as well and regardless of improvements made to my skills it also gave me an appreciation for that aspect of the design process.

While I had group members that were more than happy to assist me with any issues I may have had I found that this unit and unity especially encouraged me to seek out the answers to my own problems. Either through documentation or online forums and overall I feel that my ability to operate independently improved greatly throughout this semester. However, despite this independence, I also learned the value of discussing and collaborating with my peers and group members. Because even though it wasn’t completely necessary to work as a group it helped to discuss with them to flesh out concepts, seek constructive criticism and exchange ideas and insights.

Throughout each cycle I attempted to learn something new and implement this knowledge somehow in my project. In the first cycle I focused on my understanding of gameplay and design to try and make the prototype feel balanced and challenging like an arcade game. In the second cycle, I attempted a less traditional concept that encouraged me to focus on my abilities as a programmer to implement relatively complex systems compared to any of my previous projects, as well as attempting to learn 3D modelling tools like MAYA and Blender. Finally, in the third cycle I wanted to see how the Unity 2D engine worked and tried to see how the look and feel of a game affects its overall impact I did so by creating 2D pixel sprite characters and animations.

I felt that these experiments gave me a better overall understanding of the industry I wish to enter, however it also highlighted that there is still a lot for me to learn continuing with my degree and that I would like to expand upon this knowledge in my fee time over the holidays.

While I noticed a lot of self-improvements over the course of the semester I also noted several problems that need addressing if I hope to work as effectively as possible in groups and individual projects moving on. I found that I worked more effectively and managed my time much better at the start of the semester compared to the end which lead to major sacrifices in my projects especially the final cycle, which I was not particularly happy with in some aspects.

While I could argue that this was due to other assignments and my attempt at doing an additional subject for the semester, ultimately it came down to my own organisational skills and my underestimation of the time required to produce a project of quality. Furthermore, it is this kind of attitude that could significantly impact the performance of a group project and given my aspirations to lead teams in game design it’s important that I demonstrate a sound work ethic. This is something I hope to improve as proper time management and organisation is vital to producing quality work that I can be content with, on time.

As well as this my team skills did see an improvement, however a majority of what I will take away from this unit is a number of things for me to work on in the future. Communication with my team outside of class was good but could see improvements as well as participating more in discussions in class and not reserving constructive criticism for fear of upsetting members of my team because criticism is something I personally try to grow from and my group members felt the same way. The ability to discuss things freely in a group and voice opinions is highly important in the design process and I plan on improving this greatly if I wish to be a leader in future projects, personal or professional.

Overall this unit has taught me a lot about myself and my behaviours as a designer and team member, I’ve been encouraged to challenge my own behaviours and analyse the way I function regarding projects. This analysis has been extremely helpful in growing as an effective game developer.