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PC Game Design and Creation Challenge 2!

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by Deleted User, Aug 20, 2015.

  1. Deleted User

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    Yeah pretty much along the lines of Mass Effect, there is combat in FPS, there are some "perks" and level up components like an RPG. Very much the inventory is simplified, 9 main weaps and 5 armours that have pro's and cons..

    It'll probably be the first 30 minutes by the end of this challenge, although plan to leave the demo on a major cliff hanger :D..

    It seems you get what I'm planning to do :)..
     
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  2. Tsukubane

    Tsukubane

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    Should I scrap all I have and start over in the contest? Skipping ahead seems wrong.
     
  3. Deleted User

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    Nope, of course you don't need to :).. Just take it one step further.!
     
  4. frosted

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    @Tsukubane I checked out your screenshot in the other thread - looked good man.

    Whats the gameplay like?

    You listed a bunch of really good questions in the other thread in the last few pages - are you still having trouble with any of those points?
     
  5. Deleted User

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    Hmm little update, over this weekend I added water background terrain / some more detail meshes and been working on the AI.. Then I got's to thinking, would you be interested in running around testing it out as a SHMUP? So I can get the core mechanics fleshed out, for sure it's a mess at the moment (as any project this size would be).. But it'd be interesting to see if people liked the battle mechanics :)..

    I need to be way ahead of everyone else, not just from a mentoring position but also because it's megasuper huge..

    CityWater.jpg
     
  6. frosted

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    Hell yes, even if it's a mess/pre-alpha.

    I think if any of us are going to succeed with these ventures, getting to the point where we're playing eachothers stuff and helping to critique and contribute is going to be a huge boost all around. Honestly, it's one of the reasons I wanted to join in, in the first place. To have a group (even a small one) of people who could play test, comment and give quality feedback on a somewhat ongoing basis.
     
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  7. Billy4184

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    same here!
     
  8. Deleted User

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    Cool by the time you guys start the "artwork phase" I should have something to play about with.. (or maybe before hand). I'll at least try to make it playable, but for now it gives me a reasonable target to work against.
     
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  9. frosted

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    Should we be setting weekly goals for ourselves here? Or how do you want to approach that kind of stuff?
     
  10. Deleted User

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    There's a guideline on the first page, quite a bit to read but it puts you in the right direction.. Also post what you're going to do and we'll assist :)..

    Were starting off with "game" week, a current (last 3 years or so) successful game to review / make notes of.. See what works / what doesn't and make sure if you already have a game plan it's a decent idea and actually achievable / practical..

    Then it's game design doc week after that..
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 24, 2015
  11. Tsukubane

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    I have about four or five games I'm working on at once, now. I've learned a ton of stuff and done nothing with the knowledge. If you have any questions about designing, and game theory throw them my way. I want to be more of a mentor this time around.

    GG: Golden Glory (Working title)
    Yo I'm going to be way busy the first week. I have to start animating, because I want a movement demo with a basic cam while I'm doing research. It a pure action game this time around I'll be researching Tomb Raider, Dynasty Warriors, and Pokemon.

    AD: Action Dating (the last game)
    It was and still is pretty ambitious. The dialog system will be the priority while the combat will come from the other game. It's still a branching story game with multiple endings. After the system is working a ton of different story-lines can be played. The demo is playable but not very interesting without the dialog.
     
  12. Billy4184

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    I've been doing some hard thinking about what kind of game I want to make, something I can be proud of in every way. I've gone back to the drawing board a bit (although still spaceship related of course) and I have a few ideas.

    Expect it to be different from anything I posted in the last thread.
     
  13. Deleted User

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    @Tsukubane, I think you need a clear goal plan. Splitting between multiple games unless you have minions to take care of the other one is a hard push, you might end up muddling ideas and it can have the opposite of the intended effect.

    So what's the game plan?

    @Billy4184

    Want to elaborate a bit more in the spirit of the competition? Just think of it as practice for the real deal :).
     
  14. Gigiwoo

    Gigiwoo

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    May I add thoughts? I like that the community is working to help define the format of this challenge. And though I am not directly participating, I'd like to offer some thoughts that may help make this challenge even stronger. For instance, more people might participate if you drop the 3D only rule. Same is true with the PC only rule, though that would invalidate the PC Game Challenge ;). And, I agree with others that 6 months is probably too long for a public challenge. I've found that people generally lose interest after the first few months. Then, it often stalls, which leads to a slow death. So, based on my experiences, I've taken the initiative to offer an iteration of the Challenge rules following the Keep-It-Simple-Silly principle. You could extend it to 4 or 5, by adding time to Iteration 1, 2, & 3.

    Gigi

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Are you up to the Challenge? Welcome to the 2nd PC Game Challenge! Participants have 3 months to build a moderately sized demo of a PC game. Whether you go it alone, or have a team, you'll be working in parallel, with others of this community to stop dreaming - and start building!

    Goal: Functional Demo of a game idea! (ex 1-3 levels)

    Type: Genre, setting, style is up to you, whether 2D, 3D, or experimental.
    Format: PC Game - cause it's the PC game challenge!
    Length: Aim for 30 mins of gameplay (it's a goal, not a requirement)
    Prior Participation: Whether new or continuing from the 1st Challenge, there's plenty of time.
    Starting Over: Start a new idea, or advance upon an old one. The goal is a functional demo!

    Phase 1: The Concept (1 week)

    What's the big idea? Play test games, consider games, and discuss them here. Consider art style, mechanics, and flow. Think about UI, sound, and storyline (if any). Whether big or small, remember it's only 3 months!

    Phase 2: The Design Doc (1 week)

    How will others know what your building? Design on paper, discuss here, and then, capture your ideas so you can share them. This could include plot, mechanics, and concepts. It might also include systems, art pipeline, and how the core components tie together. It could be a google doc, or as simple as a post here.

    Phase 3: Iteration 1 - Core Gameplay (3 weeks)

    The rough prototype - core gameplay only. This is when you set aside the UI, the upgrade trees, and the complex interactions, so you can focus entirely on the core gameplay. Prove that at the most basic level, what you're doing will be fun. And do it fast!

    Phase 4: Iteration 2 - Meat and Potatoes (3 weeks)

    The meat and potatoes phase. Flesh out the ideas of the rough prototype. Add systems (if needed), expand core gameplay, and add those upgrade paths (as desired). Incorporate enough art to show your goals. If level based, build a few levels. Begin fleshing out your concept.

    Phase 5: Iteration 3 - Polish (4 weeks)

    They say the last 20% takes 80% of the work. In this case, we only have 4 weeks. Now's the time to finalize those systems. Clean up your UI. Test the concept with strangers. Get the final art.

    And you're done. You now have a moderately playable game demo - congrats!

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2015
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  15. Deleted User

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    Of course, ideas are welcome.. I'm not sure about the 2D thing (as I've never done it), I don't understand the market reach / popularity / monetary values (it there a big market for it as mid sized to large games?) of it so you'd have to educate me on that portion and as it's a PC challenge of course it's going to be for PC. If there's any console developers, they will be working along the same lines as us so that's another market that would fit right at home in this challenge.

    As for the time scales, frankly for me and quite a few ideas I've seen. It will be impossible to get a proper demo together in context in three months, I could of course split up the challenge into more parts.. Not sure? Need feedback on that. I hate to say it, but if you can't stick to it with a challenge and set deadlines (check in's) sometimes every fortnight driving you then you'll never be able to do these sorts of games.

    As for the rest, if you check out the first page (I know it's a long read) it does contain the information you iterated and more. One of the biggest pieces of feedback I recieved is lack of detail, so I tried to rectify.. Also I'll try to push it a long and keep challenges interesting on a weekly basis..

    Again appreciate the input, I might expand a couple of bits on reflection (the challenge doesn't start for another week).

    Let me know your thoughts.
     
  16. frosted

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    I might also be mudding up the waters a little bit, some elements I have are a bit rough at the moment, but I'm really way past where I should be to start this challenge. As in, I was greenlit with a pretty functional platform about 4 months ago. I did have to scrap and entirely redesign half of the game, but I'm making use of a considerable amount of existing resources including a fairly complete tactical combat system that didn't require a rewrite. All of the core systems in the game are implemented at this point, it's debugging, polishing, improving and producing content that I really need to focus on. So if there's really a competitive aspect at all, I definitely shouldn't be included (it wouldn't be remotely fair).

    Honestly, I'm cool with not being directly involved - as long as I can still get people to test it and give feedback and stuff in a constructive environment. ;)
     
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  17. Billy4184

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    @Gigiwoo I agree with 99% of what you have posted and I think it addresses most of the concerns I had for this thread, particularly length-wise. @ShadowK outlined something similar, but I think your post is clearer and perhaps has a better time breakdown. Also I agree we shouldn't worry about more than 3 or 4 months at this stage and that's all I've been focusing on anyway.

    I'm on the fence regarding 2D and other platforms though. On the one hand, it is a big challenge to release a game of any kind, but I would like to see some sort of separation of bigger, more complicated projects (content wise, graphics wise, gameplay wise) from Infinite Runner or Pong clones. I think it helps all developers to do it this way as they are 'competing' and sharing space with games of the same kind. I know that competing isn't the point, but I think it clarifies the thread a lot this way, people will compare projects and separation ensures you aren't comparing projects of vastly different scale.

    Hopefully @ShadowK will take what you have wrote and use it to continue improving the challenge :)
     
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  18. Gigiwoo

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    Have you posted your game to the Feedback Friday thread? The current one closes on Friday, so get it in soon. The community tests Unity games in lots of states - terrible, mediocre, and polished. If it's too soon, the next one will open in mid September.

    Gigi
     
  19. Billy4184

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    @ShadowK I just didn't want to spam the thread with all my napkin ideas. However I just don't feel like I had a message or theme for the game yet that would motivate me to work for a long time.

    To put it simply, I want the game to have a strong positive message about 'human evolution' into a spacefaring species (i.e., not just humans vs aliens shooter), I want there to be elements besides combat that are interesting although I value combat a lot as a game mechanic and it will definitely be there.

    All I'm saying is that I have yet to work out my vision of what the game will portray to the player. At the moment all I'm sure about is that it will be in this solar system, and that it will involve first-person space combat (as per demo).

    I want to perhaps shift the focus away from a story (although there will be one) and maybe lean more toward the X-series type games, where there is a strong focus on mechanics and player-driven experiences. I'm more of a programmer than an artist and while I can make good art it doesn't come all that easily.

    A tentative plan is to have a game similar to X2 The Threat with outposts at all the major planets of the solar system, with jump gates, pirates, trading, mining and a bit of a story (Note NOT multiplayer). However all of this is not set in stone at this point, and it all may change.
     
  20. Deleted User

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    @frosted

    I don't believe you're muddying, from the looks of things you're still at the beginning of your journey in some ways. The game I'm working on has been through several prototypes and variances, which some was further on than what you have shown (there could be more not sure yet). Hell some of them were pretty much finished..

    @Billy4184

    Well the whole point of this challenge is to get you to really think about what you're trying to achieve, having a clear vision and having what you need to reach out and grab it. There's 50 questions I could ask just off the back of that post, but it'll be better when we've started and done the game review.

    I think the question before we start as we gather ideas, what are you looking to achieve? What is your end goal?

    E.G. I clearly know what I'm looking to achieve, it's an interactive story part of a trilogy that is based on a moral grey area. I've chosen first person mechanics and I'll add a perk system like Fallout and Mass effect, now for me it's about scaling and setting deadlines to achieve it.

    There's much more too it, I have to think about how the story will play out the effects of it, not writing myself in a corner because I've added choice into the equation.. But ultimately, I want a small demo to release to the general public not only as a feedback tool but as a guarantee. Here's the game, you like it you buy it :) If not then you've tried it and already made your mind up.

    We need to get you to that point :).. Whether it's mechanic or story based is only a decision, not an end goal.
     
  21. frosted

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    I think part of the problem is just that the scale of my project is just sort of out of scope for a casual feedback section. These kinds of things are like "spend 15 minutes with this, say what didn't make sense" and I think they're generally best for stuff like final polish.

    With a bigger scale, it just gets much, much harder to get directed feedback - especially when you're dealing with something totally unpolished, in a significantly incomplete state, with lots of missing content. Hell, the current build is over a gig - just getting someone to download something like that might be a challenge!

    Taking on a bigger project solo is tough for a lot of reasons, but for me, the biggest is not having someone else who's "down in the trenches" with you, fighting for the same goals, and familiar enough with the project that you can bounce ideas off of without having to actually implement a polished version the player can intuitively grasp.

    I guess that's sort of what I was hoping from this thread - kind of like what feedback friday does, only with a group of people who might be willing to take a bit more time with something, familiarize themselves a bit more with the specific goals of the project, and give feedback that goes beyond what someone just browsing through a thread might be willing to invest.
     
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  22. Billy4184

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    Don't worry, I just need a few days to get into the right headspace. I sacrificed a lot of my 'artistic message' during the making of my demo because I thought it was getting in the way (and it was), but toward the end I found it a bit hard to motivate myself just to make some bog standard shooter. Now with a fair bit of the gameplay mechanics done I think it is essential to revisit why I'm doing this.

    Ever since I started with Unity I had in mind a kind of game, with a certain atmosphere and a certain message. But it kind of faded a bit over the last few months as I focused on making raw progress with the demo. Now I need to go back to what inspired me to begin with and get some of that energy back.

    I'm thinking about the mechanics as well, but atm, I'm just going back and finding what inspires me to write this game I'm making.

    Btw I really enjoyed @JoeStrout 's Ted talk, found it in his sig :)
     
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  23. RockoDyne

    RockoDyne

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    Personally, I like the 3D stipulation. It kind of forces people out of being too conservative, and getting out of their comfort zone. At that point, six months seems about right for something that requires some learning and trial.
     
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  24. frosted

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    My project is just a little too far along to really join in at this point, and I don't want to discourage other people who are getting started, so I'll just try to contribute comments and stuff instead of taking direct part.

    But I think this thread is a great thing if you guys can get it really tight and organized.

    There are so many resources for people who are targeting more casual games, things like game jams and dev meetups and all kinds of stuff. For people taking on projects that might be a bit more on the ambitious side - it's nice that something like this challenge is around to support their projects too.

    If this thread was around a year ago when I was just getting started, I would bet that my project would be way further along than it is now!
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2015
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  25. Tsukubane

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    @frosted if it's playable let someone play test it. If you're not done feedback is always good.
     
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  26. GarBenjamin

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    Although I am not participating in this GDC I do like the idea of it being to tackle bigger scope 3D projects. It keeps people like me out of it who are much more interested in tiny scope and 2D projects. "Everyone" seems to be doing tiny games in Unity around here so it is kind of refreshing to see some projects pushing out of that mold. Just my two cents or half a cent whatever.
     
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  27. frosted

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    I'm still a few weeks (minimum) away from having enough content to really give a good play test I think.
     
  28. Deleted User

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    So, before next week kicks off I'm going to release my game review portion. It might give you some ideas as to what I'm looking for? The games I played (well not fully but mostly) over the last week, FarCry 4, Batman Arkham, Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age Inquisition, with DAI I couldn't get through it TBH I was bored after the first couple of hours.

    So I'll start off with what I liked and aiming to do:

    • There's a big debate whether story or mechanics should be the central focus of a game, Batman and FarCry to a lesser extent had a big impact on me due to the psychological aspect of it. Like the relationship with the Joker, whilst the mechanics were great and well articulated, I played the game for the mechanics and stayed for the interesting story. I've re-vamped a portion of our script to pretty much at every turn cause mystery / intrigue and a psychological mind fudge.
    • UI, FarCry had a bit of a clunky interface whereas Mass Effect and Batman's were simplistic and effective. In the heat of battle quick effective UI controls are a must especially when you're putting caps on components.
    • Sound, this is where IMO FarCry excelled it really set an atmosphere. I always thought songs or actual music in games were a bit of a no-no, at one point you go through a chemical factory whilst on your "magic dragon" trip which wouldn't be the same if the music and atmosphere wasn't so immersive. One of the more memorable experiences..
    • Mechanics, y'know I'm not sure what to think about crafting systems in games. Addon's sure, but in DAI it felt like another system just to grind some more. It's great tooting about gameplay hours and all, but if it's not interesting I'd rather it be 20 hours shorter packed with good stuff than just filler. Batman won in the Mechanics department, great animations, decent logical upgrade system, components relative to the actual plot and the levelling system with Lucius R&D at integral points made sense.
    • NPC interaction, whilst I did enjoy NPC interaction in DAI the winner has to be Mass Effect. Whilst the choice system wasn't always pertinent and logical in design (especially playing as a renegade), you did connect with characters in interesting ways.
    • Atmosphere, this is a tie between Mass Effect and Batman. I like the dark gloomy (gothic) look of batman and I also enjoyed the bleak future look and feel of Mass Effect, both immersive due to plot and mechanics involved. Really Atmosphere is a personal preference, but I'd say it's a necessity whatever type of game you're trying to make.
    • Graphics, they all looked fine to me.. It did make me realise one thing, to stop stressing over every little detail of the artwork.. I saw discordant seams, warped UV's and various other things in all three games.. You really don't notice unless you're looking for it.
    So what I didn't like:

    • Fetch quests, especially when they make ZERO sense, filler for the sake of filler.! In DAI you lead an army, why do you need to go and find wool for people? It's nice and all but you should really be focusing on saving the world maybe?
    • Repeat mechanics, again DAI once you've closed a rift my oh my! Same over and over again. Plus the combat system has to be a bit more than button mashing. For all the "tactics" systems etc. you only really had to do one thing which is mash buttons. The issue with this is, no matter how good the story art / graphics are if you start to get bored with the basics nothing else seems to matter. Games are meant to be fun not a slog...
    • World size, AKA walking simulator. Both Farcry and DAI suffered from this, exploring is cool.. Walking across massive expansive areas (flying or whatever) for several minutes and longer all the time is just dull. If you can't make it interesting don't bother.
    • Another issue I had with DAI was the story, the original DAO was a masterpiece of plot and you played a neutral character playing it out as you believe. In DAI they batter you over the head with mages and religion, which isn't in itself a problem but it becomes old fast. They also tried to instil there was a massive threat all the time, but in all fairness nothing really felt that important. In DAO you're a nobody on the edge of impending doom the whole world was messed up in a big grandiose fashion and things went down quickly.. You crafted heroism not handed a solution on a plate.
    • One final point, end well.. Mass Effect was great when the Reapers were mysterious.
     
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  29. frosted

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    I haven't played Farcry or Batman (and I only played the first DA). So I can't really give any detailed feedback on this stuff.

    But these games are all absolutely massive in scope (not even AA PC games, serious AAA console games). have you started to think about how you might chop it up into a tangible demo or vertical slice?

    In my (limited experience) one of the most difficult things was simply figuring out what exactly the absolute mvp was (to some extent I'm still having trouble with this). Figuring out how to take one of these massive games and chop it down into a good 30 minutes to 2 hours can be daunting.
     
  30. Deleted User

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    Yeah, pretty much cliff-hanger ending (sort of 5 - 10% through the game). I've tried a new approach, a lot of the games I "made" before were Open World.. By itself not very challenging, with World Machine tiles, SpeedTree, procedural placement (in sectors) and basic char control and AI you're looking at a week or two's worth of work (Maybe a couple of months for water shaders / rivers / sky etc.).. But to make a game people want to actually play it starts becoming difficult as it's the nitty gritty that really gets you.. It's 5% Openworld 95% OMG quests, actions, interactions, artwork to fill the massive world etc. and all that jazz..

    So this time I modularised and level blocked, I can unlock parts as I'm ready to develop it.. Pretty much end it at any point, swap bits out as I please and have no dependencies.. The story can fit in just about anywhere, although I do have a specific direction.. The demo will only have a select few side quests as well.
     
  31. frosted

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    Is your focus going to be on stuff like immersive scripted encounters or is it going to be in core systems?

    Iirc, the very first DA had a bunch of 'preludes' - one for each of the races that sort of introduced your character and their racial background. I don't remember how long these were, but I don't believe you had access to most of the games systems at this point. It was more pure narrative. Something like that could be worth considering since it'd let you really work on that aspect. Another thing to possibly look at would be something deeply atmospheric like the Silent Hills teaser game.

    If you're going to be building in core systems otoh, it might get much harder, since delivering both a good chunk of the core functionality as well as a compelling experience might end up really pushing the boundaries of the timeframe you've set up. I would think that you can easily get these set up in this time, but doing this as well as building compelling content might really push beyond.

    This kind of game is a bit out of my scope, but I think you may need to make tough decisions about cutting large amounts one or the other if you want to hit a seven month goal.
     
  32. Billy4184

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    I've been thinking about that actually, I guess the best way would be to build the main story quest first and then add side quests over time, and if you want people to spend more time doing the side quests it is just a matter of tweaking the rewards (e.g. better weapons, or making those rewards very useful (though not essential) to the completion of the main quest). Also adding points in the story where the momentum slows down and the player is free to spend some time exploring/doing side quests before going and picking up the thread again seems like a good idea, especially if it comes at the same time as a new level is introduced.

    I've played a few games over the last week, I checked out the Sol:Exodus demo and the Eterium demo on steam, both space combat games, as well as X2 and Starlancer which I've had for a long time. Despite the reservations of some of my demo playtesters about the control difficulty, I haven't gotten rid of pitch/roll on the mouse as I can't find another way to integrate roll into the mouse/keyboard configuration without it being awkward and probably avoided, and having just pitch and yaw feels dull (turrets in space).
    Elite Dangerous (which I haven't played) apparently went with roll on the mouse and has obviously had some success so I'm optimistic that I can find something to satisfy people eventually, although there'll definitely be a choice of configurations there.

    One thing that bothers me is that sometimes (often I suppose) I really find it hard to work on art. At the moment, I've decided to release the first month's work (gameplay demo) as a mobile game with very low poly (no normal map) stylized art and spend the next month working on PC art. Hopefully that will give me the momentum I need to get through it all.

    So anyway, to my game. Yesterday I added a few placeholder assets such as jump gates (there will be jump gates at least at Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn if not more) and added a 2D pop-up map (like the X series games) where you can find information on the major locations in that area and set waypoints. Today I'm working on the side mission framework, so that you can go to each of these major locations and find side missions related to that location.

    I'm not sure whether I will add trading, at the moment the idea is that you are a private security contractor and the missions are therefore things like escort, search and rescue, search and destroy, tracking etc.
     
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  33. frosted

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    I might as while throw in some of my progress over the last week or so. So I've finally gotten around to readdressing some of the issues and inadequacies of the tactical combat side of the game.

    I've made a few tweeks to the core mechanics.

    I was using an extremely simplified damage/health system, where armor basically gave you bonus HP. This decision was made 100% on the basis of having a clear UI, as more complex systems require more explanation.

    It worked well enough in game play, but there were major problems on the content side. With such simplified combat mechanics it was hard to adequately differentiate equipment (especially using a relatively small HP scale - ideally capping a character at maybe 30 HP). This meant that I wouldn't really be able to make many interesting choices between equipment, and most often the equipment would just be a strict upgrade.

    Instead I broke out the armor system to flat damage reduction. I also reintroduced various kinds of 'miss' and 'dodge' defensive attributes that I can use to help differentiate ability effects. These additional complexities will add load to the combat system gui (I'm still not sure how much of it I can represent clearly without covering the screen in numbers) - but they're really essential for me to have the tools needed to create more interesting upgrade options.

    Having armor work as flat damage reduction does a few things: it differentiates weapons that have a high max damage from weapons with a small range, it also allows me to better implement some weapons that have armor piercing or 'true damage' effects. I can play with different combinations of these effects to really provide a much wider set of options.

    I also started on fleshing out my character classes and trying to establish a much more solid narrative feel to each. Currently this 'feel' is somewhat limited to their combat abilities matching up with certain tactics and at least a dedicated color scheme for the particle effects.

    My first class is mostly fleshed out: The Scoundrel
    He has two basic upgrade paths, one more of a thief, the other more of a duelist/swashbuckler. The thief role is modeled largely off of the Rogue in Pillars of Eternity. I will admit to having stolen a good portion of their ability kit verbatim (backstab, dirty fighting, blinding strike).

    The backstab and dirty fighting attacks also introduce a new element to the skill system, abilities that have conditional requirement for use. A backstab requires that your enemy be surrounded for bonus damage, and dirty fighting requires that your enemy have an active debuff. Originally I had both of these implemented as passives. I found these 'conditional goals' to be really fun to work towards but I also found that other people playing didn't really notice them entirely (or entirely understand why they 'went off') - so I transitioned these to active abilities, and the result is really, really pleasing. It really rewards a player doing something clever, and it feels way, way better to successfully pull off one of these attacks.

    Visually, the scoundrel's special moves are not super impressive at all. But I've given his particle effect a black/dark grey pallet to work with - so at least his abilities should be visually grouped together.
     
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  34. Deleted User

    Deleted User

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    It's week #1..

    Let's have all the write up's for games by Monday next week..!

    @frosted

    There will be a couple of "context" based cut scenes, but for the most part it's all in-game..
     
  35. Tsukubane

    Tsukubane

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    I should have posted this sooner. Turns out I don't know a thing about 3D animation but I should "just do it" I'm procrastinating on that for some reason.

    Week 1 task
    Tomb raider is a plat-former through and through. Movement, the way you get from place to place is really important in this game. It's not just moving around it's also how you solve puzzles and make progress.
    Dynasty Warriors is a unique game series. They all have a feel that isn't like any other game even though it uses a lot of the same mechanics.
    Pokemon has great movement. There's the running shoes, the bike, surf, fly, cut, and strength.

    Dialog
    Trying to figure out using an array of arrays. Maybe an ArrayList, though my biggest problem is just displaying text. Heh terrible, right?
    Combat
    Nothing too interesting yet. Just capsules and squares so far. The capsules have models on top of them but they are still basically 3D shapes.

    Advice for you
    I've come up with a three point system for planning. 1 goals 2 Mechanics 3 Mechanics
    Goals what do you want in the game. More importantly has someone else done it and how did they do it.
    Mechanics after you know what you want in the game, mechanics are how you do it. Starting simple is always a good idea. Can't do a 100-hit combo if you don't even know how to string together 2 punches.
    Mechanics it's so important I had to put it twice. Mechanics are the how. Whatever story, style, or genre your game has mechanics are just the how. You can have substance before turning it into game-play. The game-play alone cannot support it all the way. Think of any game and ask yourself. Would this work if everything was squares? and it is squares and shapes ask Would it work if the squares were high-def characters?


    P.S. Beginners If you've never made a game before I can give you more specific tips.
     
  36. frosted

    frosted

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    What exactly should the write up look like? Should this be a full on GDD?
     
  37. frosted

    frosted

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    What kind of dialog do you need exactly? I actually did a ton of code for a pretty complex dialog system, a lot of the code is sort of specific to my game (in my game dialogs need to be able to manipulate everything in the game world pretty much). I might be able to share some stuff on this if it's useful - or at least the general approach i took, which was really easy and pretty solid.
     
  38. Deleted User

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    I gave a rough example above, what you need to do is the following:

    • Look at common game items (UI, AI, Shaders, Systems, Mechanics, Art, sounds, story etc.) and try to understand why it works well in your selected game.
    • Address things you weren't keen on, common "potential" mistakes you can avoid in your own design.
    • I want people to take a look at metacritic and other sites, see if your assessment matched up with there's. E.g. DAO had as many people who liked it as disliked it, sure this game sucks isn't valuable. But a lot of the problems I pointed out seemed to be a common theme with gamers, we aligned which is a good thing.
    The point of this is to learn ultimately not what to do and learn from a gamers perspective, what is a good game?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 5, 2015
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  39. frosted

    frosted

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    This is a great exercise! Sharing breakdowns and analysis of other games (with the intent of actually using them as models/inspiration) is really useful.
     
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  40. Billy4184

    Billy4184

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    OK here's my game review bit. I'm going to be reviewing some golden oldies mainly because I haven't got any modern space combat games atm. I'm not what you'd call an avid gamer so my Steam account is not exactly overflowing with stuff, although I would like to pick up Elite Dangerous soon. I know Freelancer would be great example considering my game but I somehow didn't end up getting it back then and it is a bit hard to find a copy now.

    Games reviewed: X2 The Threat, Starlancer, Homeworld 2

    To follow @ShadowK's example layout, here goes:

    What I liked:
    • Combat in Starlancer: The combat really makes this a pure military shooter. The controls are extremely responsive without being difficult, which I think is the single most important attribute in a space combat game. The sounds are simple but they hit the spot. Overall the combat design just feels very tight. It is also simple to pick up and start fighting without knowing how to do things like shift power around between the shields, engines and weapons. You immediately know that this game is all about combat.
    • Third Person Combat in Starlancer: I think there's a reason why Elite Dangerous and Star Citizen aren't doing 3rd person ship combat, besides the immersion of cockpit view. It is very hard to aim at something when the camera and the weapons are in different places. Starlancer made a good go at this however by having an off-center reticle that moved along the forward axis of the ship to snap to the target if the target was in front. It worked although it took some getting used to. I don't really think overall that 3rd person ship combat is a great idea but that would be the best implementation I've seen.
    • Game World in X2: X2 is huge. There are absolutely tons of systems to explore, each with different resources and trade stations and such. I think they did a really good job of leveraging art without making the places all look the same. The (non-human) characters in X2 are exaggerated but fun. The human characters are just a bit corny IMO. However, while often with space games you find a sort of harsh, cold seriousness that is edgy at first but becomes boring, this game had a bit more of that Star Wars style upbeatness and not-too-seriousness and in the long run it makes it more fun.
    • Story in Homeworld 2: Homeworld 2 has got to be the best game I've ever played. Although it is strategy and my game is not I think there is a lot to learn from the other mechanics in this game. The storytelling in Homeworld 2 was great for one reason above all: it was simple and concise. The cutscenes and narration were brief and evocative rather than being filled with noise and content. During cutscenes, rather than trying to create realistic scenes filled with people talking and doing stuff, it showed this very stylized art that almost looked like a slideshow, while the narrator said a few things about historical events that had brought you up to that point in the game story. This minimalist, abstract style worked in its favor because it didn't try to convince the player that what they were seeing was real. It was as if you (the player character) were aboard the Pride of Hiigara and you'd gone to a video library to read up on history. It gave the same feeling as watching 2001: Space Odyssey, an epic, zoomed-out perspective of a story that spanned centuries.
    What I didn't like:
    • Friendly AI in Starlancer: The friendly AI in Starlancer were absolutely useless. They basically only served to distract and spread out the enemy out over a large distance while you went around shouldering in to finish them off. While almost all games give the player an much larger amount of impact in the game than friendly npcs (and this is a good thing), this went too far. I stopped around to watch a 'dogfight' between the AI and it was like watching paint dry. I wouldn't say that the enemy AI was too bad although it tended to stop and do a slow dance in front of your guns which made it easy to hit. Although, when it turned around to come after you it was pretty deadly. It just seemed to get really bad at aiming when fighting with other AI.
    • Trade Economics in X2: Despite being first person, X2 was all about making money and building an empire. The problem was, this was badly designed. There are basically 2 ways to make money in X2: trade or piracy. Considering that there are so many different goods and different trade stations in X2, trade should have been varied and fun. Instead, you first start of by doing hours and hours of grinding for peanuts with small, slow ships. There are a lot of add-ons that can be a small help, but the player is not informed about these, they have bland names (like Trading Extension Mk3 - what is this?) and they still don't cut very much time off this initial grinding. The only caveat to the grinding is the music was great :D Anyway, once I had some money though, I thought I was in business. After a lot of mucking around trying to get the money flowing, I read online that really the only good factory to own is a Solar Power Plant, and everything else is expensive to set up and slow to make money (read: boring). So despite all the different trading options and infrastructure, the trade mechanic was lacking and lopsided.
    • Piracy in X2: If you thought piracy was better, think again. The combat in X2 is ok but boring, and hijacking ships involved shooting out their shields and then taking pot-shots at their hull while they play Blackjack to decide whether to bail or die. Most of them seemed to prefer death to surrendering to me :D Also they tended to go around in convoys making it hard to find a fight that I could win, although my ship was a bit of a light one.

    OK that about wraps it up:

    Takeaways:
    • Get the controls right and the combat tight;
    • Make it easy to pick up and start playing the game. Make it feel as if the player is making progress quickly at first;
    • Find ways to balance the AI to look interesting without being too hard. Varied and effectively timed behaviours seem to be the main thing lacking in all space combat games I've played;
    • Rely on simple but effective storytelling mechanics rather than complicated cutscenes;
    • If you make a trading game, make sure that commodities are balanced;
    My review of the X2 economics mechanics is in line with what I found online at Metacritic and other places, the most common point being that it was hard to start making cash without spending many hours.

    Hope you enjoyed this!
     
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  41. Billy4184

    Billy4184

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    While I have the conch, here's a quick update of my game. From the playtesting it is obvious that I need to build missions so that people can play the game with a goal. Rather than just knocking together a quick one, since I started when the Feedback Friday was just closing for a couple of weeks, I decided to get the mission framework done asap.

    I put together a side mission framework so that at each 'location' in the game, which in this case are mining stations, jump ports etc, you have some contract missions to complete. Therefore at each place you might have 3 or 4 side missions to do, pretty simple standard stuff such as escort, search and destroy, etc. This mechanic is mainly designed to give players a chance to practice or enjoy a quick session away from the story, and (if the game ends up involving economics mechanics), make a bit of quick cash.

    I also put together a dialogue system (a bit similar to Star Wars KOTOR but probably much, much simpler, more like X2) where there is a core conversation thread as well as side threads which end up wrapping back to the main one. At the moment I use a lot of TextAreas in the inspector but I will eventially write up the conversations in .txt files and read from them. This is mainly for short dialogue pieces during the story missions. I feel that it is essential to break up the in-cockpit gameplay a bit and give the player a broader focus on the plot. Note that the background to the dialogue will probably be a still shot or simple painted art of a couple of people interacting.

    Here's a placeholder example, hope you get the idea:

    screenshot.png


    Lastly I decided to revamp the enemy AI a bit. I started off by simplifying the core behaviours, which made it much easier to manage their interactions with the player (I know, the enemy seemed simple but trust me the state machine was a mess). From here I will add interesting and varied 'side' behaviours which a more designed to enhance player experience through feedback than really change the core mechanics of the AI. Thus the AI should be interesting but easily manageable.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2015
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  42. RockoDyne

    RockoDyne

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    Well, I'll throw my hat back in the ring. I played Megaman Legends. The art is gorgeous and I'm surprised I haven't seen indies try to work off of it. It's got very minimalist poly count art, and most of it is really the textures. Otherwise, it's everything wrong with that era of games. The controls are "serviceable" (mostly because they had the forethought to put strafing on left and right on the D pad), the camera is rigidly anchored to the character (so it will phase through walls), and the localization (with voice acting) is on par with "What is a man? A miserable pile of secrets." It's a textbook example of using what you've got to make something that works well enough. Pretty much everything that "makes it a game" is mediocre, but everything else about it is actually quite charming (it helps that I can enjoy corny 90's anime).

    As for where I am going, I'm plotting to play this iteratively. The only things I really want to work on are the art and the map/graph. Right now, the idea is to have a player created city/terrain/floating ruins in the vein of Laputa. I would like to get it to the point where tiles upgrade and increase in height (a bit like Anno), so that you get verticality with bridging, and let the player roam around their creation, sort of like Dark Cloud. The hex grid should be ready once I figure out a method to create a GUI for it. Putting down hexes is one issue, but figuring out how to rig up input has me starting to look through the UI source, because the code is better documented than the docs (still makes it more documented than the editor though).

    After that... I haven't got a clue. I may roll some inventory to force exploration with item hunts, but I'm not too interested in shoehorning combat (may do it anyway though).
     
  43. frosted

    frosted

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    I did a bunch of work with hex grids. Maybe I can give you a hand, what exactly is giving you the problem?
     
  44. frosted

    frosted

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    I think these kinds of contextualizing interludes are really, really important for these kinds of games. I like that you plan to offer a mix of random and story missions here and think it's a nice way to have linear progression while still offering player choice.

    I've also done a lot of work with dialogs, so perhaps I can offer some assistance here if you actually want to hand roll a more complete system. If you're interested I'll write up an overview on how I put it together.
     
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  45. Deleted User

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    @RockoDyne

    It's not ultimately clear to me what you're trying to achieve. We're entering the design doc's phase next in which we'll need clear concise steps to the end goal, have a think and if you could break it down a little more let us know.

    Also when you played the games, what takeaways did you get to put into the design portion?

    @Billy4184

    Good write up, so now you can apply that.

    Ok what's next?

    So what I'm looking for from the design doc is a 50 bullet (or near enough) summary of your design doc, you don't need to give anything away that could ruin the player experience. But from a technical standpoint, how your systems will work. How they interact, how does that system tie into the finished product?

    I want an overview of everything, AI approach, Art / shaders VFX approach, coding logic approach for various systems / mechanics, dates you'll believe you can achieve, story overview. I'll do an example over the next couple of days.. Have your first draft ready for next Monday.
     
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  46. MartasX

    MartasX

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    I'm a bit late but here is my game review. As my chosen genre is top-down ARPG(Hack 'n’ Slash) I was reviewing Diablo 3 and Path of Exile(POE).

    What I Liked:
    - Visual style/Atmosphere: No doubt Diablo(3) is winner here. I like the blizzard “hand painted” style but for atmosphere I prefer POE as it has dark Gothic atmosphere.
    - Combat mechanic: Comparing those two. I have to choose diablo 3 again as all their animations and combat mechanics are really fluent and responsive.
    - Skills: The winner for me is POE and theirs gem and socket system. This system brings lots of skill combination player can choose from.
    - Itemization: Even though Diablo 3 got better with last patch with Kanai’s cube there are still limited/shallow affixes on the items. I prefer POE/Diablo 2 style where even item dropped on low level can be used in the endgame and all items can be modified as well.

    What I didn’t like:
    - Story: Diablo 1 and 2 has great story where player is dragged into the game, in Diablo 3 and POE the story is very shallow.
    - End game: Even though rifts and great rifts supposed to be the end game content in Diablo3. They are nearly pointless for player with end game gear as there is no reward/ challenge.
    - Player progression: I don’t like any of the mechanic. In Diablo 3 there no skill point assignment and point are automatically assigned by game. In POE, you can assign skill points to each player stat and also decide where to assign points in passive skill tree but to me, passive skill tree seems over-complicated and I ended up not using my skill points as I could decide which way to go.
    - Game difficulty: In my opinion Diablo 3 made mistake of nerfing the game down to the stage where even on hard core mode in high rifts I can’t find any challenge. Shortly after the game was released I start playing hard core mode. I remember how carefully I was progressing through the game and when my character got into trouble my hands were sweating and my heart was pumping.


    I already start working on GDD as well as working on item and drop system. Will see if I bite off more than can one chew but it’ll be interesting to see how far I can go.
     
  47. RockoDyne

    RockoDyne

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    The grid/coordinate system itself is fine. It's figuring out how the GUI works that's the current problem, since nothing out of the box is going to be useful. I intend for the GUI to display a version of the map and be the thing you interact with to manipulate the graph, so I'm liable to need to write out special components for it. God forbid I want to do overlays and be changing values of the visualization.

    That makes two of us. I'm thinking of playing this by ear and experimenting every step of the way, because I don't really have a great idea where I'm going with it. I will probably have the graph ready in a week or two, and after that I've got a dozen things I want to monkey with while not being committed to any of it (modeled after my love life ;)). Consider me using scrum instead of waterfall.

    As for takeaways, it was pretty much just the art and atmosphere that I'm using (not that I'm taking them full cloth either). Everything else I'm doing is probably new territory that I don't think I've ever seen done before (in this combination certainly). It's a good chunk of the reason I just want to play it by ear.
     
  48. Deleted User

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    Done the experimenting thing over long periods of time, eventually you'll loose fire and wonder what was I supposed to be doing again? You'll not be able to tell if what you're doing is any good.

    Get something down in cement, put a design doc together saying this is EXACTLY what I want out of this. Make it a reality... It's one of those first steps to success.

    Someone says build it an they will come, well no not really because there's tons of people who made stuff. But if you have an exciting product that can pretty much market itself. You're on to a winner :).
     
  49. RockoDyne

    RockoDyne

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    It's not like I haven't lost steam from projects I had plotted out well, too. At this point there is too much that's up in the air, and without a solid foundation, setting anything in stone is asking for disaster. In a month, with a working prototype, I could probably nail down some ideas, but doing it now would just as likely see me cut most of them in a month.
     
  50. Billy4184

    Billy4184

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    At least when you've plotted out the project well, you know why you lost steam and you can fix it. There's nothing wrong with iteration but planning gets rid of a lot of bad ideas before they can really manifest themselves. There's just no way that a big project can succeed if you wake up every morning and play it by ear.

    And it isn't just preventing bad ideas getting into the project but also preventing good ideas leaving. The disappointment of working on something for days or weeks and to finally solve it, and then realize you already had thought of a solution or a better direction to go a few months ago, is not very fun.

    The idea is not to set anything absolutely in stone (except for the basics of what kind of game you want to make), but to try to keep track of all the ideas that you've tried or haven't tried, plan around obvious problems or dead ends, and generally have something to hold onto when you feel like you've lost track of the game you started out trying to make. And if you want to add or remove something, take a look at the whole plan and ask yourself, does this really fit with everything else here?
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2015
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