Game Models and Ludic Loop
Children’s Book Adaptation
Mobile Game Concepts
The final part of the Wizard of Oz project was to create an animatic showing a battle within the game.
For this, I decided to use my previous concept of the emerald planet and had the fellow group members make small soldiers which I could animate and make look as if they were fighting. I created it in After effects as it easily allowed me to animated the individual components. After moving all the soldiers to the centre of the battlefield I felt like it could use something it to finish it off. I decided to add smoke coming from the centre, as if one of them has let off something magical, and also a bonfire in the background possibly coming from a burning village. These were both done with the particle playground effect.
The purpose of this animatic is to show the separation of good and evil and how they are at war. The would possibly be shown as a cinematic in the game before the player begins fighting amongst the soldiers.
To help further test the Rage Watercooler game as a group we began testing it again. This time we started off with a questionnaire giving details about the type of person I am including what type of games I like and how regularly I played games. I presume this is done as a way of measuring if it appeals to a regular gamer.
I then tested the game playing both versions for roughly 15 minutes each. Since I have played it before I remembered the basic idea of the game. After finishing I then completed another questionnaire. This one was more specific to the game. For example, it had questions saying if the game would be played regularly and if it was easy to understand.
After finishing the survey my main complaint was the way in which information was given to the player. Since it was all told the very second you start to play it is easy to forget and you end up with no clue what to do. To improve this I think it would be good to implement the cascading information mechanic. This was only little bits of information would be shown when the person needs to know it. Allowing them to easily learn the game.
With my initial sketches, I was then able to go into photoshop and add colour to show what the environment is actually like. For example, the drawing of the planets does not show what environment they are filled with, therefore I added the colour, for examples green for the forest planet, so that it was obvious what this planet was.
It also allowed me to finalise my concepts and refine them so that the outcome was clear and gave a good visual for our game. One of my environment drawings was Emerald planet but this was not clear as it just looked like a modern city with skyscrapers, therefore by adding the emerald colour and the corruption from the witches castle I was able to make this apparent. I wanted the corruption part to look like it was bare land like a volcano, impossible for nature to grow or animals to survive and so I did this by using a dark grey to give the idea that ti is bare rock.
One of the galaxy layouts was perfect for the game logo and I decided that this would be good for a design of the game cover. In photoshop I wanted it to look like the book since our game is based off one, and then the logo would be a textured gold to represent the yellow brick road galaxy. This design is simple yet effect but before setting on this design I also took one of my environments and made that it into the game covers. To improve this further in the future I would like to take the Dorothy character design from my fellow team mates and insert her on the cover, but only slightly visible.
After all of this, I then decided I wanted to create another environment concept this time focusing more on the witches tower as it would be a key environment in the game as this could possibly be the location of the final boss fight. I wanted to recreate what I did in my previous drawing in which it shows a castle on a mountain, however, i wanted this to be more detailed. I had the idea that this castle used to contain royalty or maybe used to be owned by Oz himself but because of the corruption of the witch it has deteriorated over time and crumbled. I used photoshop so that I could imitate this and make it appear like a dangerous sd environment rather than it just being a sketch. I am glad I decided to create this as it gives me a better visual of how the game would possibly look. It even shows me that the broken bridge in the drawing could be the final cutscene of the game as this is a hard to reach a place that the player has not seen before.
The inventory system for this game had already been completed as part of a project in creative futures and can be found here. The basic idea is that it is a satchel which is visible on the hip of the character. The inventory HUD will show the actual inside of the bag.
The heads-up display is an important part of a game as it gives the player relevant information that will allow them to achieve a task. The most simple form of HUD usually contains the player’s health and a map.
Before creating any designs I decided to look at how other games have approached the HUD and see if that could inspire me with my designs.
The Heads Up display in Halo 3 has been designed to match the sci-fi style of the game. This is done by making the HUD partially see through so that it gives the illusion that it is a hologram. It keeps basic and simple colours so that very little in happening on the screen. The reason this is done is so that it does not distract the player from the actual gameplay itself. Only vital information is shown that is needed for the player to enable them to figure out where they have to go/where enemies are, and how much health they have. In the third iteration of the Halo franchise, the health bar acts as a shield. When it is fully depleted the entire HUD flashes red, implying that the player is one shot from dying.
The HUD is a very important part of Blizzard’s World of Warcraft since it is an MMORPG. Lots of information has to be shown on the screen that gives information to the user specifically and also information of the other players on the game. The HUD tries to be as compact as possible, containing small icons that are barely visible to ensure that not much of the gameplay screen is taken up. Since World of Warcraft is a fantasy game the HUD is also created in this style. It is made to be elegant and appear like it is made out of stone with engravings to show a high level of detail. The customise mechanic is heavily used within this HUD as the player has complete control of the position of the HUD. For example, the skill bar can be moved from the bottom to the side. As well as this the style of the HUD can be changed be the player. The game allows users to insert their own theme which can change the entire style of the HUD.
The approach to the HUD is very different in this game as Bethesda have tried to minimise this as much as possible so that there is more visible gameplay for the user. The majority of the HUD including the health bar and stamina bar are hidden until the player enters combat as this is the only time when the player needs to see it. However, this is minimised further as the health bar and compass as combined due to the fact that the player will not need to see which was is North when fighting an enemy. The most common element of a HUD in an RPG (role-playing game) is a mini-map as this allows players to easily find available quests. Instead of having this Skyrim simply has a compass bar at the top of the same which essentially does the same thing but with the benefit of taking up less space on the screen.
This game uses the HUD in a very different way as it is an actual physical design in the game that is not just what the player can see. The character you play has is wearing an exo-suit which has two LED meters on the back of it, these act as the health bars. BY having this there is no need for extra bars that cover the screen, the health is shown in the same space as the character in a unique way that also adds to the sci-fi style of the game. Another element of this HUD is the ammo. Usually, in games, the ammo of the carried gun is shown at the bottom corner of the screen whereas in Dead Space it is simply shown on a LED screen on the gun itself, which can be seen when the player zooms in. BY having all of this the immersion is contained as whatever the player can see, the characters within the game can also see that.
Before settling on a design for the HUD I decided to quickly draw out lots of different possibilities. These included different items within the HUD as well as just different positions. Once completed I was still unsure on which one I wanted to use as the final HUD so I decided to ask the other members of my group and get their opinion. After some time I finally narrowed it down to one design which everyone seemed to like and I decided to use this as the final HUD.
To finish off the HUD and refine it I took it into photoshop where I was able to add the colour to represent the health and stamina bars, and also add colour to the character coins in the party section which simply resemble the character. For example, I choose grey for the tinman coin since he is made out of metal, and orange for the lion coin as this is the colour of their fur. Using some of the sketches from my other team members I was also able to add a character to show where the other characters health appears as well as show that the top circle is the portrait for the main character.
I wanted to take a break from working on environments and decided to have a go at some of the weapons for the characters that my fellow teammates had designed.
Tinman is the sci-fi character of the group so instead of a traditional weapon I knew I wanted it to be some form of a laser rifle.
I started off by using the pareidolia technique to come up with unique shapes that could possibly be developed into a weapon. By doing this I was able to avoid recreating a weapon that already exists. There was control with this method as I knew that the gun was going to be a rifle therefore with most of the designs I tried to implicate that look, making sure it had a stock and a long barrel, however, I also created other forms of weapons to see how it would work.
When done with the pareidolia I started to develop multiple different designs in a hope to make one my final design. This helped me to refine my designs, adding detail as well as clearly outlining what the gun looked like.
With the developed guns I was able to come up with a final design. I liked certain aspects of the different guns I designed and combines them together to create my final gun. With this, I went into photoshop. I wanted to add colour to imitate the materials that it would be made out of to help visualise what it would be like in the game. Finally, I wanted to go even further. I decided to 3d Model this gun as this would give the final outcome to what could be used within our game. I feel like this is a good design for tinman’s gun as it captures the sci-fi element and contrasts the fantasy side of the game.
I also took it upon myself to create the weapon for the witch. This, however, did not follow the same process as the tinman gun as I already knew what weapon I wanted to create and by making it up as I went along I was able to come up with a design
Similar to before I went into photoshop and added colour to finish off this weapon. I wanted the weapon to appear as if it had a connection to the witch rather than just a weapon that they use. The way I did this was by having the ‘hilt’ of the scythe the same colour as her skin. It also had a bright yellow gem in the middle which appeared to hold her power. This connection is then shown by the fact that the witch has the same coloured eyes.
Coming out of the research stage of this project I began sketching different ideas for what the environments could possibly look like. I created just simple sketches of each of the major environment on the planets including Kansas, the forest, emerald city, and the munchkin islands. These were just basic ideas of what the environments could possibly look like.
From these initial sketches, I decided to begin creating the maps that would be shown in the minimap and on the menu for each of the planets. These maps were fairly simple and where basically a top down view version of the initial sketches that I did.
I also decided to do this for the galaxy map as the player would have to navigate from planet to planet and that meant that they would need a map in order to do this. I created multiple different designs of what the galaxy could look like before settling on the final version. I found that this also made a good logo which could possibly be on the front cover of the game.
My next step will be to develop these sketches further, creating multiple variants influenced by the research that I did previously. I will also use the logo and environment designs to create different ideas for possible game covers. I will also begin to create designs for what oz’s house could look like as this is a crucial part of the story. As for the maps I would like to start designing the menu as these are where the maps will be visible.
To help improve a game that is currently in the alpha build I had a play with it, exploring the different mechanics of the game to see what worked and what didn’t. The purpose of the game is to teach people about the conditions of a games design studio as well as the problems they face when interacting with thew other members of staff
The game is easy to understand, giving relevant tutorials straight away on how the game is played and what the objective is. It effectively shows the conditions of the workplace including the workload and the problems relating to the staff and how they are to be dealt with. The game shows all of the major departments and in the long version does a good job of showing that in a smaller company the project manager will do the majority of the work. The working of the game was really easy to understand as I knew straight away that the colour of the card corresponded wit the colour of someone’s desk, meaning it had to be given to them.
My favourite thing about this game is the control that is given to the player in the long version. Since they gain more staff as they level up it slowly eases them into the game and allows them to get a routine of the best way to keep the staff in the best possible mood to achieve the best outcome.
Another good thing about this game is that even know the purpose of it is to educate people on the atmosphere of a games studio it is good just as game to kill time with. Most likely to played on the mobile or as a browser game. The animated style appeals to the younger audience as well making the game appear more fun and not just a boring listen and learn game.
The game has a few problems but this is understandable since it is in an alpha build. The first is the lack of dialogue. When interacting with the other staff your choices can effect the mood bar. However, upon talking to the same staff member again, the conversation is repeated. After a while this then makes the user aware of the best answer for that person with just a quick glance, making it so that they don’t actually learn how to cope with that situation but just improve memory skills.
One improvement that could be made was the way that the staff members mood changes. The second they don’t have work to do they become ‘bored’ and their mood bar begins to drop. A lot of the time this can not be helped as the max amount of workload is already going around. I also feel like this is not very realistic as when first finishing your part of the project you are more likely to feel relieved and if anything, the mood bar should increase.
Overall I think that this game is extremely well done considering it is in alpha. There are a lot of bugs which are to be expected for an alpha game. The point of the game is clear and offers a lot of information about how a project is handled in the workplace.
For this task, we as a group had to come up with an idea/design for the antagonist to the game our tutors have been working on called Rabbit Heart. What we did for this was each go off and come up with different ideas that could possibly work for the villain. We then came back as a group and shared our favourite ideas. To then progress further we created a character containing the favourite elements from everyone’s designs. For example, my favourite element was that the character had a ragged lab coat due to the fact that they were a scientist/engineer.
My next task for this mini project is to carry on developing the character before then taking it into photoshop. Since we didn’t really decide if the character has a weapon or not because she is a mech I decided that I want to experiment with different weapons and see if any look like they fit in with the character.
Party what can join after you do a special mission
NPC’s: None villainous
PERUS: Player equips