My Reflection

  1. Professional Development and Practice

When I first began creating the game I had had very little experience in Unity and programming but I managed to pick it up fairly quickly after watching the tutorial videos and began writing my own code with some help from online tutorials and explanations. I’m now confident with basic programming in Unity and know my way around the program itself but I have no experience in 3D modelling and would like to further my skills in that during the next project. I also plan to include audio in the game as I ran out of time during this one and it will add a lot of depth and help player immersion.

  1. Working in a team

It was easy working in a team with Tom and Khanakarn as they were easy to talk to and had good ideas for the outcome of the project. We decided to divide up the activities evenly but each helped the others to complete them. When it came to actually making the game, we started working on our projects individually and completed the tutorials but continued to assist each other by sharing code or testing each other’s games for bugs or problems and offering advice if someone was having problems. We continued to work as a team and help each other out until everything was completed.

  1. Working independently

As soon as I could, I put together the website to give us somewhere to show our progress and pool our resources to help motivate us. Most of the activities that we were required to do were finished in class as a group and only needed to be touched up at home and then uploaded. The programming step was fun, so I was able to spend hours at a time getting all of the mechanics to work. The biggest problem was that when something didn’t work I’d get frustrated and need to take a break to calm down and be able to think straight again. I often found myself realizing the solution to a problem just as I was falling asleep, so I’d need to get up and try it before I could sleep.

  1. Ethical Considerations:

The game won’t necessarily change anyone’s life but I do hope that with our unusual game mechanics and the potential for the game as a final, finished project that people will be able to play and enjoy it and it might influence other game developers in the future and create a small genre of strategy, shoot ‘em up games.

Playtesting Report

For playtesting, I got each of my players to play the game and speak their feelings and thoughts out loud while they played. After they lost the game the first time, I asked them to explain what they thought went wrong and then got them to play again. I repeated this until the player fully understood the rules of the game and could play for a long period of time without dying. I then asked them what they thought of the game and if they could rank it between 1 and 10 on a scale of how fun they personally thought it was.

Most players were confused by all of the mechanics of the game at first but quickly figured out what was going on in their second attempt and said that they enjoyed how different the concept was from the standard shoot ‘em up. After the first 3 playtesters complained about not being able to shift between dimensions as soon as the game started, I decided to change it for the last 2 testers and they understood how to use it far faster than the first group. Players all said the game was difficult during their first few attempts but most of them then said the game felt slow after they’d mastered the mechanics. The fifth playtester also mentioned that it was very slow compared to your standard shoot ‘em up, but it made sense because it was it had a lot of strategic elements that players needed to plan their actions around that most shoot ‘em ups don’t have.

All of the playtesters said that the game was ‘complicated’ or ‘required concentration’ and that it was ‘stressful’ or ‘intense’. They all mentioned that they had to ‘balance’ or ‘manage’ their resources to progress into the game which was one of our PX goals

Below are the playtesters scores for how fun they thought the game was:

Tester 1: 5/10

Tester 2: 6.5/10

Tester 3: 6/10

Tester 4: 6.5/10

Tester 5: 6.5/10

Testers 2, 4 and 5 all gave the highest scores and all said that they were surprised by and really enjoyed the core game mechanics while the other 2 testers seemed fairly indifferent to the ideas.

Reflection

Professional Development and practice:

Upon starting project 1 I found that my current set of skills allowed me to match the tests required of developing a mini-game in terms of using Unity to combine and manipulate assets, general game design and programming aspects of the game. However, this said I do wish to further advance my skills in terms of basic animation and 3d-modling so that I don’t have to rely as heavily on other resources and can make a game that fits the original concepts, rather than having to make sacrifices due to lack of knowledge. Despite these gaps there are other’s that I managed to fill while completing the project, mostly to do with using the unity editor as  well as programming concepts I hadn’t been introduced to previously. Overall the activity has given me an appreciation for the logistics and planning required for games of greater scale as I found planning made a significant difference to developing a mini-game. Additionally, this has further affirmed my desire to be part of the industry and further develop my skills.

Working in a team:

Working as a team for the mini-game project was relatively effective in terms of managing team activities as each activity was the responsibility of a different team member however we all collaborated and made an input. While the members of the group had a mostly programming background, some had less experience than others with unity. It was interesting to see how each member went about solving certain problems with code and assisting each other at different points of development helped fill gaps in team knowledge as well as solidify that knowledge for those helping the others. Communication was strong between group members with group chats eing used heavily as well as in class collaboration times and this allowed for easy feedback between team members which allowed us to fine tune our individual projects and fix bugs.

Working Independently:

Working Independently was a challenge in terms of motivation, mostly motivation came from the curiosity involved with learning the software and concepts of game design however with somewhat limited prior knowledge it sometimes seemed like a large task to complete until it was broken down into sections. This was probably the most effective work habit as breaking the project down into more bite-sized chunks made it easier to systematically work through and complete however combining this with other assignment work did prove to be challenging.

Ethical considerations:

When it comes to ethical considerations regarding our mini-game there weren’t really a lot of things to consider since we went for a traditional space shooter look and feel. However as usual there were design choices and ideas that had to be analysed to be sure there weren’t any ethical issues with them. 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.

 

 

Play Test Report

As part of the play-testing plan created by the team to test our individual games we aimed to get feedback from players on the overall enjoyment of the game as well as comments on the function and ease of use of core game mechanics. These goals combined in conjunction with additional player comments would also help to determine if the team’s player experience goals stacked up with the real player experiences.

In the early stages of playtesting the incomplete prototype, the player experience was generally as intended from the beginning of production. Players were encouraged to think aloud to assist in understanding how they interacted with the game and after a 5-minute session some noteworthy feedback regarding the look and feel of the game included:

  • Players found the colour-coding of enemies and their outlines when their colliders were disabled to be helpful and intuitive
  • The game felt strategic but relatively fast paced therefore inducing a feeling of intensity and pressure that players commented made the game feel more fun/less fun depending on preferences

Regarding the actual mechanics of the game including the “Shift” ability some players revealed bugs that had not been picked up on in previous testing such as colliders not being reset and UI elements not reacting to value changes properly. However once these minor issues were fixed and a more complete prototype was presented players found that the “Shift” function was a unique and fun addition to the Shoot ‘Em Up style of play that added a level of complexity and strategy when combined with the linked ammo and health values. In addition to the positive comments made the players were encouraged to voice their criticisms, some of these included:

  • It occasionally felt like the player could avoid enemies completely and there was a lack of encouragement to shoot and destroy them.
  • Energy pickups spawned in large quantities in the obstacle dimension making things a little bit unbalanced
  • Enemy projectiles travelled quite quickly making it too difficult for some players to destroy enemies and survive
  • Some players did not like that ammo and health values were linked (preferences)

Overall these play-testing sessions revealed key aspects of the game that needed fixing and modifications as well as confirming that the real player experience reflected the player experience goals. Play-testing such as this is essential to the production process as it provides valuable insights into the game that developers otherwise would not have noticed.