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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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.

Cycle 3 – Activity 3: Gameplay & Player Stories

Task 1

Player assumes a role of a prisoner escaping a prison. The environment is near pitch black and the player is provided with a source of light such as glow stick, torch or flashlight. The goal of course is to escape from the prison using their given source of light to navigate around the area. Player has the ability to control their source of light as well as the option to attack the guards. They must find a key to exit the area as the exit door is locked. The light is source is limited as in glow stick has a limited quantity, torch and flashlight has their limited usage time.

Task 2

Game Concept Statement

The goal of the game is for the player to reach the exit. In order to exit and achieve the goal, player must manoeuvre the near pitch black area using the provided source of light, avoiding or attacking guards is preference. The challenges of this game are the guards patrolling the area, locate the hidden key to open the exit and the limited vision the player has. The game took place in a prison where the player is a prisoner trying to escape that prison.

Task 3

As a player, I have to manoeuvre the dark environment in order to find the exit.

Playing as a prisoner, I have to locate and take the key to unlock the exit and escape.

Playing as a prisoner, I must use my glow stick or flashlight to illuminate the area around me so I can see what’s going on.

Playing as a prisoner, I must avoid getting caught by the guards patrolling the area.

As a player, I must be conservative of my light source so that I don’t run out and make the game harder.

Playing as a prisoner, I can use my fist to knock out the guards so that I can pass through.

Playing as a prisoner, I can hide and avoid getting caught by the guards so that I can pass through.

As a player, I must avoid the guards so that I don’t get caught and lose the game.

Playing as a prisoner, I must throw around my glow sticks to see further ahead of me.

Playing as a prisoner, I must recollect my thrown glow sticks to restock my resources.

As a player, I must  wait some time for the my flashlight battery to recharge so it can be used again.

Task 4

The target audience is Bob, who has an interest in indie games and also very versatile on considering what game is fun for him. He can play game up to 3 hours each session and his iPad is one of his gaming platform. Starcraft was one of his favourite game, the aspects of strategy, conservation and patience is similar to what our game has.

Our prison escape game is considered an indie game, which will attract Bob into playing it on his iPad.

Each stages in the game does not take very long to complete, considering his available playtime, he can explore the whole game within his time limit. While the game stages can be small, the game can still be very enjoyable as the time and method of completing one is entirely up to the player’s skill.

Bob, who likes to play Starcraft which require strategy, conservation and patience, will also like to play our game as it contains those same aspects Starcraft has. He will like the overall mechanic of using the given light source strategically.

Playtesting Report

The playtesters for this report were not all experienced gamers and some struggled with the game being first person at first. They all gave relatively good feedback but also pointed out a few bugs and things that they had issues with. I got them to think out-loud and recorded their thought process throughout the 2-4 minute sessions. I then got them to fill out a small, anonymous google doc while I wasn’t in the room in an attempt to get their honest feedback.

On the first run through the players were a bit overwhelmed by the number of enemies coming towards them. The inexperienced players lost fairly quickly and the experienced players managed to get about a quarter of the way through the game before they got bitten and overwhelmed. On the second attempt the players all had some kind of plan of attack for eliminating the enemies. They all started with a similar plan of attacking the snake closest to the objective but soon started attacking the nearest snakes to them and letting snakes through when they knew it was a lost cause instead of chasing them and wasting time.

Each player reported that getting bitten by the red snake that changes the movement controls around was extremely difficult to deal with and often cost them the game. None of the players had much difficulty with the other two kinds of snakes and one player didn’t even notice getting bitten. They all reported that the game was difficult but not impossible and gave it an average of _/10 for fun. Most players put anxious or stressed as the feeling that they experienced while playing, which was the goal. A few players didn’t realize that there was any difference between snakes or that their effects were determined by their pattern and color.

The first player wasn’t supplied the controls and wasn’t aware that the character could sprint in their initial run but did far better in the following attempts. The players gave the game an average of _/10 for difficulty. Players all pointed out that there was a bug on the game over page that caused the mouse to be disabled and required the game to be force quit.

The playtesting was very useful in understanding the players thoughts and why the game will  need to be changed in the future. The difficulty level difference between the snake bites was considerable even though they all seemed balanced while creating them. I believe this was because as the programmer, I knew the pattern to the bites and how to work around them while the player had to figure it out on their own. The testers assisted in locating bugs and warned me that the shovel hit box was quite small. I believe that the prototype was good enough at showing where I intend to take the game.

The raw results for the survey are here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1TdJwQJ2StGKUt8w0AsAhjwgpWHfixOD7PIFEF60DTQw/edit?usp=sharing

 

Reflection Post

Professional Development

I learned that teamwork and communication are very important in designing a game. I noticed in the first project that our communication wasn’t especially good but we still managed to produce a set of games that were very similar. Unfortunately this time our ideas varied a bit and our games appear to have gone in slightly different directions. We all put our own unique spin on the basic idea that we came up with and we all produced nice looking games.

Working in Teams and Other Majors

During this process I learned a bit of basic animation from working in Blender and using the Unity animation tool, however, my Blender animations never made it into the final game. We shared some resources but we ended up making our own individual games as we wanted to make slightly different ideas and we were trying to get the most individual experience we could from the project.

Individual Work

I enjoyed making the different venom effects for each of my snakes (as difficult as it was) because it gave me experience programming elements of a game I wasn’t even aware existed. I disliked having to use the default FPSController because my code couldn’t interact with it for some reason and I was too busy to recreate it. I found some sound effects in my SFX library that fit perfectly into the game and required very little editing. I tried a lot of coding that I’ve never had a chance to use before such as Switch statements which was excellent practice.

Ethical Issues

There could be a number of ethical issues related to animal violence that could be brought up about this game. However, pests such as snakes are exterminated, this game just represents a crude way of doing it. I don’t think it will be an issue, especially since the game will never see a major release.

 

Cycle 2: Reflection

Professional Development and practice:

Considering the demands of Cycle 2 I found a struggled a little more than usual due to my personal decision from the beginning the make my own 3d assets as well as scripts. This is mostly due to my limited experience with 3d modelling and animation, it was interesting learning how to produce my own assets and it gave me an idea of what it takes to be a 3d artist. Overall Cycle 2 has given me an opportunity to learn new skills and understand a whole new aspect of the game development cycle. Additionally, it has given me an understanding of a different genre of games and what it takes to make a first-person game that feels “complete.”

Working in a team:

Working in a team for Cycle 2 was partly effective in terms of managing team activities and sharing resources and knowledge however for this cycle there was less communication due to unforeseen circumstances e.g. floods, people being sick. This impacted the Thursday workshops which exposed the group’s dependence on these workshops to collaborate, solve problems and share ideas in person. As usual team members were always happy to share snippets of code and help each other in areas that others might be less knowledgeable in. However, in the next cycle it would be beneficial to the group to engage more outside of normal contact ours considering there was major disruptions to the Thursday workshops this cycle.

Working Independently:

Working independently for this task was difficult due to deciding to learn more about 3d modelling and animation so time had to be taken to learn the software required. Additionally, due to the nature of first person games, they can take more hours to produce a prototype of reasonable quality therefore it required more motivation to continue working on the prototype. For future projects, it would be much more efficient to breakdown the workload into section to be worked on over the course of the cycle. However, I was not this organised and it began to show towards the end of production.

Ethical considerations:

Considering the ethical consideration of the game there is the possibility for offence since you do attack and kill snakes in game. However, these depictions are kept as basic and non-gratuitous as possible so as not to make it into anything more than an innocent tower defence. Additionally, there could be inferences made by players that the game could be offensive commentary on immigration however this is simply not true as every model is basic and just depicting one character or model with no sub-context implied. Overall there’s a minimal societal impact with the mini-game, this too can be said about how the product created might affect quality of life as it is only a small-scale game and can at most only have a small-scale impact if any at all.