Prototyping

May 13, 2009

Prototyping is the process of testing games to find their strengths and weaknesses. Generally games are revised so that the developers can see if they fixed those weaknesses and perhaps made the strengths even better.

Prototyping is important because it let’s the developers really see how players react to their game.

As long as the basic ideas and gameplay can be conveyed with a paper prototype a paper prototype would be just as effective to test the game as a digital on would, and it would take less effort and money to produce.

I’m not sure how I can improve my current process for this class because this class is normally where I test my game for the first time. I guess I could try testing it sooner, but it’s hard for me to test it without larger groups like I have here.

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Cirno Boss

May 13, 2009

I’ve been wanting to learn Danmakufu for awhile, but I’ve been too lazy to do so. This class was an excellent excuse to learn it. Danmakufu is a program that lets you design Touhou-like shmups. It uses a C-like programming language to do so. No one in my group had played shmups, let alone danmaku shmups, so I wanted to make it really easy. I picked the Touhou character Cirno as a base for the danmaku here. She has the ability to manipulate ice, so that’s why all of the bullets are either blue or white. She’s famous for being very stupid, so I decided that she would be a good boss for this project.

I tried to go for about stage 1 easy difficulty here, so that means that there are two spell cards and two non-spell cards. Exactly what a spell card is isn’t that important, the only thing that is, is that they are harder than non-spells. The first non-spell is a ring of blue bullets where every-other bullet is slower. Then she also fires some other random junk to make it a little harder. Most people did pretty well on this one. The first spell card is “Icicle Fall.” Some “icicles” will fall from the ceiling, accelerate as they go down, and Cirno will also fire a ring of bullets. This one was a little harder because the icicles were pretty fast, but the spell cards are supposed to be a little harder. The second non-spell ended up being much harder than I thought it would be. Cirno shoots some blue rings, then after awhile a fast-moving blast of random junk will be shot directly at you. Players were just supposed to move around it, but everyone seemed to want to dodge through it, and the bullets are much too dense for that. I might stick her a little higher on the screen. The last spell card ended up being much harder than I thought it would be as well. There were only slow-moving bullets, and there weren’t that many of them. I guess people didn’t do well on this card because they didn’t focus, and it’s much harder to control the character at their fast, un-focused speed.

“Eureka 2”

April 23, 2009

I actually made this game last semester, but there were some things I wanted to change. Anyway, I remember the process I used to create this, so I’ll go ahead and describe that too.

I like Touhou, so when I needed to make a game for another class my first thought was something similar to that. It was too much for me to do at the time, so I did something simpler. My next idea was to create kind of a puzzle game where you solve puzzles while dodging the bullets, but I couldn’t get that to work either. So I went with a maze. The maze didn’t work out quite as well as I hoped since I had very little space to work with, but I still think it worked pretty well. When we had to make a cooperative game I decided to do a similar thing, only there would be two players. That was Eureka 2, the game I used for this assignment.

The bullets are randomly generated from a series of generators. I believe the first level had four generators and the second level had eight or ten. The bullets spawn on the generators and move in a random direction in a straight line. If the player collides with a bullet they lose. There are no lives, and once they lose they have to start over. In Eureka 1 there were four levels, so this was a bit of a problem, and I would probably implement lives if I were to redo it, but Eureka 2 only had two levels, so I think having multiple lives would have made it way too easy. So, I didn’t bother changing that. There was one thing about Eureka 2 that I was very dissatisfied with and that was that I had to throw it together pretty quickly and I didn’t think about the locations of the generators. In the initial version they could spawn a bullet that could hit you in your starting location. I didn’t like that, so I moved them around a bit until I got something I liked. Now the started places are totally safe, and the things that destroy the walls also have a safe spot near them.

Scratch

April 16, 2009

I mucked around with it a little bit, though I didn’t produce anything really spectacular or anything. I just wanted to mess around with the interface a little bit so I could actually write this. Anyway, it was pretty easy to understand, but I think I still prefer Game Maker. Maybe that’s just because I’ve worked on it a lot and I actually know how to code using the Game Maker language (since I’ve been having to do that for another class for two semesters now).

Though, I think the main reason I liked Game Maker more felt more like OO programing to me than Scratch did (though once again, that might just be because I am more familiar with GM). When you make stuff in GM you have sprites, which can have as many frames as you want. Scratch does this too with costumes. But, in GM you really do create objects and that’s exactly what they’re called. You can have an object with a sprite, or you can have an object with no sprite. I didn’t see a way to create an object in Scratch without a sprite. In GM when you say “when this happens do all this stuff,” I find they way they organize it to be much more intuitive and much easier to understand. You also can’t comment your “code” in Scratch which kind of bugged me.

I won’t get into scripting right now since I didn’t really explore that in Scratch.

Game Revision

April 16, 2009

I decided to revise “Paths,” my domino game again. Last time we didn’t have enough time in class to test it, and I didn’t want to lose points for not having a blog entry, so I tested it with my family instead. It was nice to test it with this group again.

The rules are basically the same, so I’ll just list my changes.

-Moving a domino takes both your and your teammate’s turn. A full turn cycle (your opponents and your team must move) before that domino can be moved again. A domino with a player on it cannot be moved. The initial domino cannot be moved.

-It must be played with four people

-Players cannot skip their turn. If they cannot make a move they lose.

It went much better this time. Everyone had more dominoes to play, and it just seemed like everyone was having more fun this time since the game wasn’t broken. I just wish that I had a grid and dominoes with smaller numbers. There is only one domino with a group of numbers on it (IE, only one domino has a 1 and a 2 on it), and I don’t really like that.

“Paranoia”: Game with social commentary

April 16, 2009

I was sick all of last week, but I wanted to make sure that I had a game ready for last Wednesday. So, it ended up being a bit weird and unstructured. This is basically what you get when I’m sick, when I’ve been browsing TV Tropes for way too long and when I’ve been role-playing for way too long.

Paranoia Rules

Someone in the group is trying to kill everyone else. It’s your job to find out who it is and kill them before they can kill you.

Every player has a character card. On the back of that card it says if they’re innocent or guilty. Players should make sure that no one but themselves see the back of that card.

On the front of the card there is a brief description of the character. This can remain face up as it does not matter if the other players know how the character acts, they’ll find out soon enough anyway.

Then the players just talk to each other in character. They can ask each other questions or anything they want. There isn’t much structure to this part.

To kill a character at least two less than the number of remaining players must agree to kill that character. No one can die if there’s only two people left. If there are three people left than two of the remaining people must want to kill the other player. There are no dice.

Once a player dies they cannot be brought back to life. The game continues until there’s either two people left or once the killer has been killed. If the killer dies then all the players left alive win. If the killer does not die then the killer wins. Anyone that dies just loses.

All the cards have “innocent” written on the back. In other words, there is no killer. This is basically a comment on a philosophy I’ve noticed has become more popular: that people are guilty and have to prove that they are innocent instead of the other way around.

The game itself seemed pretty awkward. No one was really saying anything and there didn’t seem to be enough structure to the game. That was kind of my goal, but it seems like there needs to be a little more.

Game Revision

April 6, 2009

Oh my, I forgot to update my blog last week. Anyway, I decided to change my “Path” game. That was the one where you placed dominoes on the table in order to make a path that would let each partner end up on the other one’s initial domino. Okay, so here’s what I changed:

Only four players can play. We did with six last time because there were six of us in the group. It didn’t work.

Dominoes cannot be moved if there is a player on them.

Moving a domino now takes up two turns.

I would have liked to make a grid, but it just would have been too big for me to carry around all day. I don’t have a car, so I really would have to carry it around with me. This is why all my boards are on single sheets of paper.

Anyway, the game played MUCH better like this. It fixed the game breaker from last time and it also fixed one I thought of while I was revising this. If a player was two moves away from winning the other team could just move the domino. The team that was about to win could try to make another path, but it wouldn’t do anything because the other team could just move it. It would bascially become a game where both teams would just move that domino back and forth, and that doesn’t work. So now it takes up two turns to do that.

“Path” follow-up

March 16, 2009

Well, the game had two major issues. The first was something that completely breaks the game that I haven’t even considered. I said that you could move a domino to anywhere on the game board. Well, I didn’t think about what would happen if that domino had a player on it. Fortunately this is easy to fix. I just need to make it so people can’t move dominoes that have pieces on them. The second thing that would really help this game is having a grid. It was kind of hard to tell where all the dominoes should go and where they would all match up.

Dynamic Board Game

March 9, 2009

I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do with this one for awhile. The idea didn’t come from any specific places this time, it just came.

Path Rules

1.) An even number of players must play. Everyone should pick a partner before the game starts. Partners may not sit next to each other.

2.) Draw a domino to see who goes first. Person with the highest total value on the domino goes first.

3.) Every player gets the same number of dominoes. The number each person gets will depend on the number of people playing. All dominoes should be used.

4.) Every player puts down an initial domino. The goal of the game is to get to your partner’s initial domino, and for your partner to get to your initial domino.

5.) The path will be created with dominoes. Each domino can only touch another if they have the same number. Sixes can only touch other sixes, fives other fives etc.

6.) Normally each time would get two turns (one for each player), however if they want to move a domino instead of placing one they can at the cost of one player’s turn (so if they do this they only get to take one action instead of two). The domino cannot be removed from the board, it has to be put somewhere else. Players can move either a domino they put down or a domino one of their opponents put down.

“Once Upon a Time” follow-up

March 9, 2009

Everything went smoothly, so I don’t actually have too many comments. My pieces were too big again, but since I always make my board on a regular sheet of paper they will always be too big. I would get new ones, but I like my pirates, and I’m too lazy. They get the job done. Anyway, the five minute rule was just an arbitrary thing I pulled out of nowhere since we needed to play other games to. The game would play fine without it, just as it would play fine if we gave everyone even less time.

Here’s the stories everyone wrote. I don’t remember who wrote what though:

Once upon a time, in a school in a small town in the middle of a vast ocean, there was a student. At the school, he was studying demonology and the science of chocolate; his goal: to invent demon-summoning chocolate. While immersed in this studies one day, the small town was attacked! Being that it was in the middle of a vast ocean, there was nowhere the townsfolk could go as the vicious fairies swarmed. The student escaped by discovering a strange place where he met aliens. Once evil had gained complete power, the student and aliens stormed the small town to save the day! To do so, the student created a giant batch of his demon-summoning chocolate, and the aliens ate it all, and instead of summoning demons, rocks fell from the sky and killed everyone. End.

Office workers found their way to a forest full of demons. In the forest they met aliens that help find buried treasure. They found out that the treasure was the demons’ lunch, which they stole, angering the demons. The aliens explode in fear of the demons, causing a rock slide killing everyone.

Once upon a time in an underground lair in a vast ocean, there lived an office worker who was an accountant for a company that distributed mutation insurance. One day, the mutation insurance company was attacked by a shark swimming competition. Ultimately is allowed the wizard evil sharks to overrun the place by making the inanimate objects come to life. The sharks came to a moral dilemma and they were never heard from again.

Once upon a time in a forest near a vast ocean of chocolate an office worker and a traveler find a laser cannon. The office worker is forced to fight her friend, the traveler. The office worker uses the laser cannon, the traveler explodes and dies. The End.

Once upon a time, in an underground school there lived a swarm of fairies. The magical sack of goodness was hired by a group of townspeople to go exterminate them. In order for the sack to move, he had to be drop-kicked to the priests’ temple for priesteness. She cast a magic spell that allowed inanimate objects to move. Then he got side tracked on his original mission to destroy the swarm of fairies when he discovered a fire laser cannon in a strange place full of buried treasure. So then he decided to have a competition on who could out run from his laser cannon and live.