Saturday, October 27, 2012

Challenge Three!

After this week's presentation for our midterm, we decided to go a very different route with our stage 3 presentation which will be our challenge for next week. Learning from the other groups in the midterm, we saw that switching between a prototype and a powerpoint simply wasn't effective and was distracting for the viewers. Therefore, for next week we plan on doing something totally unique from all the other groups.

The goal is to create an entire level that is actually designed to show off each of the major points of the presentation (marketing, design, art, tech). There was be a separate room for each topic.

With how the system for importing assets now works, making an entire level from scratch is a relatively short process which will be made easier the more artwork is added. The plan is to create 5 levels by the time we have our final presentation, which is completely possible.

So far there are only 3 environmental assets, I can't wait to do more when more art comes in.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Busy Week!

This has been an eventful week for me, so I don't have much time to really write out something well thought out.

Because we have the presentation this week in front of the other class, we've all been working hard on making a really nice level to play on and demonstrate our game. The team is treating this as our final presentation and everyone has been giving their best for the demo.

I've been polishing the level, making it look more cave-like with some of the assets our artist has given us. I must say that it's starting to look more like the concept art now that even a few basic rock formations are in it.

I really can't wait to see what else Margaret can put out for us to work with. I've also been adding some sounds to the game as well as the game systems document.

It's our goal to challenge for stage 3 next week, so we're giving everything our top efforts.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Level Designing!

Now that we've passed Stage One, I can really start focusing on one of my favorite things in game designing, level designing.

There are a few directions I've been trying with level design to make the world we're creating not only feel huge and exploratory but offer unique challenges to the players. Like any good level, they should teach players as they play and give a clear sense of direction to follow.

Here's one example I first made:

The linear map keeps things simple for the player and breaks off into a choice at the end so that they can choose which path they want to take when progressing through the game. The problem is that while it has a clear path, it doesn't feel like the player was able to explore much. Therefore, I took the feedback from this design and applied it to the next idea.

The "Hub", as I called it, is a straight forward idea that combines the rooms with each other creating a real sense of exploration that the player can make use of. Each room is connected with some sort of path, meaning that sometimes the player can get lost, which was a slight problem with the design. I decided to come up with another style of levels which is what I feel like I'll be using in the future.

The style which I call "the Crucible" is similar to the Hub idea but differs in a key detail. Instead of confusingly connecting the rooms together, I offer the player a clear choice in the hallway on which direction they want to go in. Each separate room will be an example of what choice the player has in the next level, which might sound confusing but works very well with our map design.

Overall, I believe I will be using the crucible idea more when designing future levels as well as looking into offering players more choice in the middle of the maps.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The First Seminar

I've never been the hugest fan of speeches for the same reason I didn't want to go to a school with huge lecture halls. In a university with a lecture hall, the teacher basically talks at you rather than recognizes and addressing you on a first name basis (which is probably why I like the classes at Champlain so much, because they don't do that). It's hard for the speaker to get in touch with you on a personal level.

I didn't think that the emergent speech was bad at all because it avoided those usual pitfalls by allowing people in the audience to actually ask questions in the middle of it that related to their own interests. That said, we were also forced to answer several questions related to the presentation. To make things difficult, I will do them in no particular order.

1.) When I hear about AAA companies in the industry, I think these big corporations without any real soul or creative idea in their system. It was refreshing to hear that according to the top employees, they were given relatively loose freedom over the project, especially considering how much of a hard core fan base Deus Ex has.
2.) I suppose if there was anything I was paying really close attention to during the presentation it was the way the speakers presented. We were challenging the next day, so it was interesting to see how both Mary and JF handled their powerpoint, giving themselves their own personalities and paying off on each other's flaws. It's something to consider for our final presentation in November.

3.) Besides the unique spin on how much creative freedom the two had in the Deus Ex project, my expectations for the people working under them were largely the same. These seemed like the head project manager and the people who would give the orders as opposed to someone like me who would probably work for them and carry out their requests with no real say in the matter, despite what they might have told the audience otherwise. It's impossible on a team so large to please every single person, as they said.

A large team