Cycle 3 – Mini Game 3: Reflection Post

  1. How you have approached learning new things and/or finding new information during the semester

As a third-year student who completed multiple QUT assessments in the past, I’ve approached learning new things by being open-minded when listening to the tutors and studying the information that was presented in the class activities. With finding new information, Gamemustra has been a useful source to understand concepts that was discussed during the semester. For relation to finding info about learning how to develop the three mini-games, I’ve used QUT’s tutorials, Unity forums and YouTube. In conclusion, I consider myself to be resourceful in learning new things while also finding out the information that is needed to fully understand on how to be successful in this group assessment.

  1. What additional, non-technical skills you’ve developed during the semester

There have been numerous non-technical skills that I’ve developed during this semester when attending QUT’s IGB100 Mini-Game Development subject. Firstly, team communication is important during the design process, each team member has to clearly communicate their design ideas to their teammates through an explicit explanation. If this is not achieved then the rest of the team will not properly understand you design idea which will cause a mix-up. Secondly, task prioritization and self-management is key to making sure the necessary work is completed. Lastly, in this team-based environment I’ve learned to improve my action in making important decisions while also finding out what’s happening within the team regards to game project by making sure I continually communicate with my team mates.

  1. The most effective strategies you used for managing individual and team activities

The most effective strategies I’ve used for managing individual and team activities is to have a clear voice within the team, allow each team member to communicate their ideas and make sure everyone understands their tasks. In other words, team communication and task prioritization is important to achieve success. Moreover, a well-organized team can be achieved by making sure everyone completes the allocated tasks that was given to them while also providing assistance to them. Furthermore, I’ve found having a constant online chat window is also vital to talk about the project’s progress. All things considered, the best strategies to use for managing individual and team activities is shared team.

  1. The ethical responsibilities associated with working in a team-based environment. Areas to consider could include: justice (fair work practices); responsibility (specifying tasks, completing activities); honesty (avoiding deception); and reasonableness (level of participation, reaching consensus).

During this semester, I’ve experienced a few hardships in this team-based environment as my team members didn’t always show up to class activities and while one member didn’t always communicate to the rest of the team about the project. As a hard-working team member, I’ve taken responsibility in completing my tasks and given a high level of participation in activities. Overall, each team member has mostly completed the work that was set upon them but as a team we’ve could have improved our communication and the task allocation in the team-based environment.

Activity 7: Playtest Reports

Play tester 1: Indigo Thomas (Confidant – Persona of Sally)

Observation Notes

  • Found the controls easy to use
  • Understood how the HUD (Health system) works
  • Liked the game soundscape
  • Commented on the beauty of the art style

Player Stories for this Playtester

“Playing as a Knight, I will use my “Rusty Sword” to hit the enemies to kill them.

  • Playtester targeted enemies – used the character’s sword to kill enemies
  • Understood the sword – a tool to kill enemies
  • Waited for the perfect opportunity to attack the enemy (avoiding damage)

Survey Responses

  1. Gameplay (Fun factor out of 1 to 10)

8/10

  1. Difficulty (Easy or Hard)

Easy

  1. Controls (Simple or Difficult)

Simple

  1. Navigable UI? (Yes or No)

Yes

Interview Responses

  1. Overall, what were your thoughts about the game?

It was a fun but short playthrough. As a prototype, it’s a good game but has the potential to be even better. I would love to see a fully-fledged version of this game.

  1. Were you able to learn to play quickly?

Pretty much I knew how to play the game straight away

  1. What is the objective of the game?

Reach from one end to another end of the level. Defeat foes and dodge obstacles. Try not to fall into the pitfalls or the spikes.

  1. Is there anything that you did not like about the game? If so, what?

Animation looked a bit strange at times. Some colliders in the levels were difficult to jump over.

  1. Was anything confusing?

No

Key findings for each PX

Goal 1: Level of Player Engagement & Fun

Overall, this found the game engaging and entertaining during her playthrough. After completing the game once, she desired for additional content. As there can’t be any further updates on the prototype, she decided to play the game again and treat it as a speed run.

Goal 2: Game Difficulty (Simple or Difficult)

The game’s difficulty was simple enough for the playtester in this session. Yet, there were some technical issues which provided a challenge for the player. These are mostly bugs which could be fixed if the project was given more time to be worked on. Most of these were level colliders, player & enemy animations issues. For example, the player is allowed to use double jump in the Unity editor but for some reason, this mechanic doesn’t work in the build version of the game.

Goal 3: Player Controls & UI Navigation

The player tester found the controls easy enough to use but the game’s difficulty was raised as the player couldn’t use the double jump mechanic. With the UI navigation, she had no issues with it and could easily navigate through it.

List of recommendations for improvement

  • Improve animations, fix double jump bug and colliders
  • Ability to parry or block
  • Damage indicator on the enemies
  • Switchable characters

Play tester 2: Connor Burton (Confidant)

Observation Notes

  • Learned how to use the controls quickly
  • Found the soundscape catchy
  • Found the enemies’ difficulty easy

Player Stories for this Playtester

“As a player, I will use the character’s boots to jump over the spikes to avoid getting hurt.”

  • Playtester used the character to jump over the spikes
  • Knew what the spikes would if he came in contact with them
  • Made sure to jump over the spikes to avoid damage

Survey Responses

  1. Gameplay (Fun factor out of 1 to 10)

7

  1. Difficulty (Easy or Hard)

Easy

  1. Controls (Simple or Difficult)

Simple

  1. Navigable UI? (Yes or No)

Yes

Interview Responses

  1. Overall, what were your thoughts about the game?

An entertaining 2D side scrolling platformer with interesting game mechanics.

  1. Were you able to learn to play quickly?

Yeah, I had no problems with learning how to play the game.

  1. What is the objective of the game?

Jump over obstacles & spikes, dodge or attack enemies while trying to reach the end of the level.

  1. Is there anything that you did not like about the game? If so, what?

Character animation needs additional polishing.

  1. Was anything confusing?

No

Key findings for each PX

Goal 1: Level of Player Engagement & Fun

Connor Burton found the game enjoyable and played it for a decent amount of time. Moreover, he played the game twice as he also wanted to see how fast he could complete the game.

Goal 2: Game Difficulty (Simple or Difficult)

Generally, the game’s difficulty was simple but there were times where it became difficult as there were numerous bugs which effected his playthrough. As previously stated in the previous playtester report, these bugs came from the level’s colliders and animation issues which stopped the player from using the double jump mechanic.

Goal 3: Player Controls & UI Navigation

All things considered, the player controls are simple but not without any problems while the UI navigation didn’t have any issues.

List of recommendations for improvement

  • Fix player animations and level colliders
  • Health bar for the enemies
  • More player weapons
  • Player health pickups

Play tester 3: Liam Trevor (Non-Confidant)

Observation Notes

  • Learned how to jump and attack
  • Tested the spikes to see if they would cause damage
  • Found the enemies easy to kill

Player Stories for this Playtester

“As a player, I will use the character’s boots to jump on the platform to dodge enemies.”

  • Liam Trevor learned to jump on platform in order to dodge enemies
  • In doing so he would avoid a confrontation with the enemies
  • Moreover, this playtester lowered the chance of receiving damage during his playthrough

Survey Responses

  1. Gameplay (Fun factor out of 1 to 10)

7

  1. Difficulty (Easy or Hard)

Easy

  1. Controls (Simple or Difficult)

Simple

  1. Navigable UI? (Yes or No)

Yes

Interview Responses

  1. Overall, what were your thoughts about the game?

Very entertaining but still needs a lot of work. It has the potential to be a really good if it was made into a fully-fledged game.

  1. Were you able to learn to play quickly?

Yes

  1. What is the objective of the game?

Beat the level by jumping over obstacles and defeating enemies.

  1. Is there anything that you did not like about the game? If so, what?

I was able to walk behind the enemies without them noticing. Character animation needs some fixing.

  1. Was anything confusing?

No

Key findings for each PX

Goal 1: Level of Player Engagement & Fun

For this playtester, the level of player engagement and fun was apparent during his playthrough. It was high as he found enjoyment in attacking enemies and attempting to jump over the spikes.

Goal 2: Game Difficulty (Simple or Difficult)

The game’s difficulty was simple enough for the player in this playtest session. Similar to the previous playtester reports, the player found the level challenging as it suggests to the player to use the double jump mechanic. With this in mind, the completion of the level is still achievable but it’s difficult to do.

Goal 3: Player Controls & UI Navigation

In conclusion, the player controls are easy to use but the level in the game was challenging as the player couldn’t use the double jump. As usual the player understood how the UI navigation worked.

List of recommendations for improvement

  • Similar to Indigo Thomas’ suggestion for improvement: Parrying & Blocking
  • Improve animations and level colliders
  • Damage indicator for the player and enemies

Play tester 4: Lyn Collier (Non-Confidant)

Observation Notes

  • Understood how to use the controls
  • Likes the music, art style and combat
  • Didn’t notice the health HUD straight away
  • Found it hard to escape the spikes after falling into them

Player Stories for this Playtester

“As a player, I will use the character’s legs to walk through the level so I can win the game.”

  • The playertester understood on how to use the controls in the game
  • Move the character to reach the end of the level so she could win the game

Survey Responses

  1. Gameplay (Fun factor out of 1 to 10)

8

  1. Difficulty (Easy or Hard)

Easy

  1. Controls (Simple or Difficult)

Simple

  1. Navigable UI? (Yes or No)

Yes

Interview Responses

  1. Overall, what were your thoughts about the game?

An entertaining and cute platformer. Really liked the art style and the combat.

  1. Were you able to learn to play quickly?

Yes, I learned how to use the controls quickly.

  1. What is the objective of the game?

Your main objective is to reach the end of the level while dodging enemies and jumping over obstacles.

  1. Is there anything that you did not like about the game? If so, what?

At times, I found it difficult to reach the top of an area in the level. It would be a good idea to improve the mesh and the colliders in the level.

  1. Was anything confusing?

No

Key findings for each PX

Goal 1: Level of Player Engagement & Fun

Overall, Lyn Collier found the game entertaining and wanted to continue playing it with new content (weapons, enemies, levels, etc.). For most games, there is always room for improvement and this playtester had plenty of suggestions for making the game even better.

Goal 2: Game Difficulty (Simple or Difficult)

As previously shown in the other playtest sessions, the game’s difficulty in the objectives was easy but the player controls were difficult at times during particular sections in the level as the player found it hard to jump at specific spots.

Goal 3: Player Controls & UI Navigation

Lyn Collier found the player controls and the UI navigation easy to use. Yet, if there was additional time given to the project then the numerous bugs with the player controls and animations would of have been fixed which would of have gotten rid of the undeliberate difficult parts of the game.

List of recommendations for improvement

  • More songs to listen to and adding sound effects
  • More player health or health pickups
  • Fix current game bugs
  • More environmental hazards
  • New levels; jungle, lava biome, ice biome, etc.

Summary of the Playtest Sessions

In the end, the playtest sessions were successful as they reached the requirement that was listed in the playtest plan and all of the collected data provided useful information on how to improve the current version of the game prototype.

 

Activity 3: Gameplay & Player Stories

Game Concept Statement

In this 2D side-scrolling brawler game, the player will play the role of multiple characters with their own backstories, unique traits, weapons & abilities. The main goal of this game is to traverse this fantasy medieval world by jumping over environmental hazards and slashing against incoming enemies. In other words, they will face many challenges in the game which are designed to challenge their reflexes and get them to analyze the objects within the level

Seven Player Stories emerged through Gameplay Activities

  1. Playing as a Knight, I will use my “Rusty Sword” to hit the enemies to kill them.
  2. Playing as a Rogue, I will use my “Hermes Boots” to quickly reach the end of the level.
  3. As a player, I will use the character’s legs to walk through the level so I can win the game.
  4. As a player, I will use the character’s legs to walk under the platform to dodge enemies.
  5. As a player, I will use the character’s boots to jump on the platform to dodge enemies.
  6. As a player, I will use the character’s boots to jump over the spikes to avoid getting hurt.
  7. As a player, I use the “Harpy Helmet” to double jump over the enemy to avoid getting hurt.

Three Player Stories Associated with Player Experience Motivations for Gameplay

  1. Sally plays games that have a world with fantasy weapons and enemies. Player story 1 involves gameplay that has a melee combat system and similarly involves to align with the brawler mechanic with the weapons and abilities from the first sentence. This will tap into motivations such as competition and anticipation player experience aspects, which Sally seems to enjoy based on the games that she has played in the past; Warcraft 3 & PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Moreover, these two are considered to be competitive games.
  1. Sally plays games that have challenging dilemmas. Player story 4 to 7 involves gameplay that has spikes, pitfalls and enemies which similarly involves to align with the environment hazards and enemies mentioned in the first sentence. This will tap into motivations such as reflexes and analyzing player experience aspects, which Sally seems to enjoy based on the challenges she would have faced in her previous played games.
  1. Sally plays games that have clear game objectives. Player story 2 involves gameplay that includes goals for the player to complete which similarly involves to align with the main goal of this game that was explained in the first sentence. This will tap into motivation such as joy and surprise player experience aspects, which Sally seems to enjoyed based on the mobile games she has played before. For example, Pocket Planes’ main goal for the player to manage and grow the airports with the different planes so the planes can take the NPCs to other locations of the world, which in return gives cash to the player.  In other words, Sally finds emotional player experience aspects in trying to complete the overall objective of the game.

Mini Game 3 – Activity 2: Game Look & Feel

Mood board

mood board.png

Style & Mood

The words shown below define the style and the mood of Mini Game 3:

  • Friendly
  • Cute
  • Colorful

Fundamental Shape Structures

Chris Solarski wrote a game article on the website Gamasutra about “The Aesthetics of Game Art and Game Design”, which goes into a lot detail of the psychology of shapes and dynamic composition. The quote below talks about how shapes associate their own aesthetic concepts.

“Aside from the practical benefit of simplification, these shapes have been consistently associated with the following aesthetic concepts throughout art history” (Chris, 2017, para. 9).

These shapes would include:

  • Circle: innocence, youth, energy, femininity
  • Square: maturity, stability, balance, stubbornness
  • Triangle: aggression, masculinity, force

For this mini game project, the environment uses squares which can be interpreted as maturity, stability, balance or stubbornness. Furthermore, the level will follow a harmony path instead of dissonance. Lastly, the characters within the game will be use circles meaning innocence, youth, energy or femininity. Notably, the main character that the player will controls is a female which ties back to the femininity that is associated with circles.

Spatial Dimensions, Size & Boundary of Game World

“Video game worlds are almost always implemented as some sort of simulated physical space. The player moves his avatar in and around this space or manipulates other pieces or characters in it. The physical properties of this space determine a great deal about the gameplay…” (Ernest, 2009, para. 2).

The definitions shown below explains the spatial dimensions, size & boundary of this game world:

  • Spatial dimensions: 2D; the player can run left and right and jump up and down. The player controlled character will not be able to move towards the player (out of the screen) or away from the player (into the screen)
  • Size: small but filled with different level elements to keep the game interesting for the player
  • Boundaries: boundaries (or invisible walls) will be placed at the start and the end of the level to block the player from leaving the level

Game Setting

The words shown below define the game setting of this 2D side-scrolling brawler/platformer:

  • Historical period: medieval with fantasy elements (swords, bows, axes, magic, etc.)
  • Geography: similar world to Earth
  • Location: forest
  • Furnishings/décor: colorful
  • Architecture: ancient, medieval-like

Representation of People & Object

As this game will be set in a medieval world with fantasy elements, the people will be wearing middle ages clothing, which could either be represented as bright or dark (meaning dirty or showing age) garments. On the other hand, the objects will be ancient tools like swords & bows. Importantly, the representations of the people & objects will be cartoony instead of realistic.

Analysis of Target Audience

As for the target audience, this game project will follow the persona of Sally. The reasoning behind this decision, the game look and feel would most likely be appreciated by persona of Sally as they’ve had prior experience in gaming, and usually play games during the week.

References

  1. Ernest, A. (2009, October 2). Fundamentals of Game Design: Game Worlds [Web blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.peachpit.com/articles/article.aspx?p=1398008&seqNum=3
  2. Chris, S. (2017). The Aesthetics of Game Art and Game Design [Web blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/185676/the_aesthetics_of_game_art_and_.php?print=1

Cycle 2 – Mini Game 2 – Reflection Post

  1. What did you learn about professional development by going through the design process?

Firstly, I learned that team communication is important when going through the design process. In any team, each person has to be able to properly communicate their design ideas to their teammates through an explicit explanation. If this is not achieved then teammates will not properly understand your design idea which will cause a mix-up. Secondly, I’ve had previous experience with this problem but coming up with an interesting concept requires time and continuous amount of brainstorming. Furthermore, this concept will change through multiple iterations until the design idea is solid.

  1. What did you learn about the other majors in the degree by working in mixed teams?

As previously stated in the Cycle 1: Reflection Post, I’m a third-year student who has already designed multiple game projects in the degree and as a hobby. Furthermore, I’ve networked with other students who do other majors in the degree. At the moment, I haven’t learned anything new in this subject about the other majors in the degree as I already have past experience in those areas.

  1. What did you implement in your own individual work that you found the most satisfying?

The most satisfaction that I received when implementing my own individual work would be programming and level designing in the Unity project. It is apparent that I find enjoyment in the practical side of work instead of theory but again I have to remind myself that documentation is key to having a successful assessment. Furthermore, I feel relief when fixing an irritating bug that would continually haunt my game project until I found a way to get rid of it.

  1. Do you think that there are any ethical issues attached to designing a First-Person Experience inspired by recent events?

Personally, I don’t have a lot of ethical issues attached when designing a First-Person experience and I can’t think of any recent events that would alter my stance. Yet, as a designer you’ve to figure out your target audience. For example, when designing a game like Doom then I would create it for an older age group as they can handle realistic killing in a fictional setting. Moreover, a First-Person experience can be different from a Third-Person experience. With the game’s camera set in a first-person perspective, the player feels close up to the game while also having the feeling of taking over the character’s shoes. If I had to design a First-Person game for a younger audience, then I would make a game like Overwatch as the graphics are cartoon and doesn’t contain realistic violence.

Activity 7: Playtest Report

Play tester 1: John McCaffrey

Observation Notes

  • Learned quickly on how to play
  • Enjoyed the environment
  • Found the controls difficult at times
  • Understood the objective – pick up passenger and drop them off
  • Thought he could use the mouse to control the game’s camera

Survey Responses

  1. Gameplay (Fun factor out of 1 to 10)

7/10

  1. Difficulty (Easy or Hard)

Easy

  1. Controls (Simple or Difficult)

Simple but can be difficult at times

  1. Navigable UI? (Yes or No)

Yes

Interview Responses

  1. Overall, what were your thoughts about the game?

It was an entertaining experience for a short amount of time. It still needs a lot of polish to improve the replayability of the game.

  1. Were you able to learn to play quickly?

Yes, the game was easy to use and I understood how to play the game

  1. What is the objective of the game?

Pick up passengers and drop them off

  1. Is there anything that you did not like about the game? If so, what?

Driving on the road should be easier to control compared to the grass. At the moment, there is no different between the two.

  1. Was anything confusing?

No

Key findings for each PX

Goal 1: Level of Player Engagement & Fun

John McCaffrey found the game enjoyable and played it for a decent amount of time. He would continually play it to see how fast he could complete the game. It was engaging and fun for him but it could still be improved by implementing his suggestions.

Goal 2: Game Difficulty (Simple or Difficult)

The game’s difficulty came from interference in the controls. During gameplay, he found it difficult to properly turn around corners as the game’s environment would change the direction he was currently facing. Besides this problem, the game’s difficulty was simple enough for him to complete its main objectives.

Goal 3: Player Controls & UI Navigation

As previously stated, this play tester found the controls simple enough to use but at times the environment would interfere. Notably, he had no problems with the game’s UI and could easily navigate through it.

List of recommendations for improvement

  • Waypoints or an arrow to point towards the pickup and drop off zones
  • Improve the player controls & fix environment colliders
  • Find a way to add replayability

Capture1.PNG

Play tester 2: Christopher Laffan

Observation Notes

  • Didn’t notice the pickup zone straight away
  • Liked the environment
  • Found the controls difficult at times
  • Understood the objective – pick up passenger and drop them off

Survey Responses

  1. Gameplay (Fun factor out of 1 to 10)

6/10

  1. Difficulty (Easy or Hard)

Easy

  1. Controls (Simple or Difficult)

Simple

  1. Navigable UI? (Yes or No)

Yes

Interview Responses

  1. Overall, what were your thoughts about the game?

It was fun as a prototype. Still needs a lot of work to be a fully-fledged game.

  1. Were you able to learn to play quickly?

Yes

  1. What is the objective of the game?

Find passengers and drop them off.

  1. Is there anything that you did not like about the game? If so, what?

Hard to control at times. The environment would cause problems with the handling of the car.

  1. Was anything confusing?

No

Key findings for each PX

Goal 1: Level of Player Engagement & Fun

Overall, Christopher Laffan found the game entertaining. For most games, there is always room for improvement. With this play tester’s suggestions for improvement would make the game more engaging and fun for players.

Goal 2: Game Difficulty (Simple or Difficult)

Similar to the previous play tester, the game’s difficulty changed depending on the player’s ability to control the handling of the car. The game’s objectives are simple but the controls might need some adjustments to make it easier to play the game.

Goal 3: Player Controls & UI Navigation

It is already apparent that the player’s controls can still be worked on to improve the overall game. That said, the UI navigation was simple enough to use.

List of recommendations for improvement

  • Arrow, radar to detect the location of the pickup and drop off zones
  • Improve player’s controls
  • Red circle universally means no – perhaps change it to a different color

Capture2.PNG

Play tester 3: Liam Trevor

Observation Notes

  • Found the controls easy to use
  • Liked the movable & destructible objects
  • Difficulty in finding the different zones
  • Tested on falling down off the map

Survey Responses

  1. Gameplay (Fun factor out of 1 to 10)

7/10

  1. Difficulty (Easy or Hard)

Easy

  1. Controls (Simple or Difficult)

Simple

  1. Navigable UI? (Yes or No)

Yes

Interview Responses

  1. Overall, what were your thoughts about the game?

A lot of fun but still needs some polish.

  1. Were you able to learn to play quickly?

Yes

  1. What is the objective of the game?

Pick up a person and take them to the drop off zone while destroying the environment.

  1. Is there anything that you did not like about the game? If so, what?

No

  1. Was anything confusing?

No

Key findings for each PX

Goal 1: Level of Player Engagement & Fun

This play tester found the game engaging and had a lot of fun during his playthrough. After finishing the game once he would drive around and collide with multiple game objects in the scene.

Goal 2: Game Difficulty (Simple or Difficult)

The game’s difficulty was simple enough for the player in this playtest session.  In the previous playthroughs, players were complaining about the controls being difficult to use as the terrain would interfere. Yet, this play tester had no issues with controls meaning the game’s difficulty wasn’t determined on the controls. Instead the difficulty came from the player trying to complete the main objectives but in this case, it was simple.

Goal 3: Player Controls & UI Navigation

As previously stated, this play tester found the controls simple enough to use and the terrain would not interfere with the controls. Importantly, he had no issues with the game’s UI and could easily navigate through it.

List of recommendations for improvement

  • Populate the scene with additional game objects
  • Arrow or map to indicate the location of the different zones

Capture3.PNG