The last week has certainly been a lot more busy. For starters my GDW group has held a few meetings and we’ve been able to nail down most of our concepts and designs. We’ve settled on a third-person action/adventure in a steampunky/post-apocalyptic setting which focuses primarily on big boss encounters. It may sound a little too ambitious, but that’s just the way we roll.
As for me, I’ve mostly just been trying to create some small concept models. So far I’ve only made some props and equipment for the character, and I’m still not yet sure if they will even make it into the final game or not. At this stage, in my opinion, the best thing to do is create concept art by way of drawings and models, that way the group as a whole can begin to visualize what the world and environments might look like.
In terms of the class itself, things are beginning to look a little more clear now. With the release of the homework questions, I can start to get a feel of the kind of stuff we will be learning and therefore expected to do throughout the year. Certain things sound very manageable, but at the same time other things scare the hell out of me. I’ve only just began looking into the Ogre 3D engine. Hopefully I can quickly become familiar with the framework because I would like to start the homework as soon as possible and get it out of the way. The weeks ahead will be full of programming and more modelling… What else is new?
Just some of the models I did…
This week consisted of some rather interesting Game Design lectures. They involved the class splitting up into groups in order to complete the various tasks. Day 1 was all about level design and coming up with ways of turning what would other wise be a simple objective into something fun and exciting using different level design aspects and techniques. Day 2 was different in that we were tasked to take a basic set of rules and implement our very own design twists.
Day 1 was a bit of a chaotic session. The class was split up half and half, which resulted in two massive groups of about 20-30 people. Sure enough, this resulted in a lot of confusion which I think showed in the final products. The group I a part of was in discussion for about 20 min going over basic rules and level design elements and in the end resulted in what I thought was a bland, uninteresting concept.
The basic idea revolved around two teams competing against each other to try and get a ball into a basket placed at the center of the field. Given that we were in a classroom, we decided to use the tables to our advantage and agreed that all players must stand on top of the tables while playing. Players could apparently (I’m not even sure if we discussed this part) stand wherever they liked to start the game and were not allowed to move unless they possessed the ball, in which case they could take 3 steps. Players were required to try and work together in order to score a goal. This meant having to pass to teammates. The twist here however is that the player must bounce the ball off of any surface while passing the ball. And that pretty well covers it.
The rules as they were written in class
Although this may sound somewhat interesting, it really wasn’t. It was a boring idea and lacked inspiration. It also didn’t help that the majority of the group had to sit out and watch while it was demonstrated to the class instead of having an opportunity to play. Again, I mostly blame the large group sizes. It resulted in many ideas going unspoken or misinterpreted.
Day two was a little bit different. For one thing were were in much smaller groups, which made it easier to communicate and get ideas across. This time we were given a set of rules and some poker chips. Our task was to take these rules, test them out, and then implement new ways of playing the game ourselves. The game initially was a little bland in that there wasn’t really much to it. Each person would essentially take turns flicking a chip at other chips and if your chip touched another chip you were awarded points based upon which colour chip you touched. There were also goal cards handed out to each player but the problem that I found with these goals was that many of them were too difficult to obtain/follow. For example, I had one that required me to hit my chip off of another chip which then had to hit a third chip off the table. I found this to be next to impossible to achieve.
Later on in the class we were given the opportunity to change up the rules slightly to see how we could make the game more fun and interesting. We ended up with a setup that involved every player being given a chip which they would use to try and flick onto a predetermined playing field. Depending on which chip they hit, they would receive points. We also were given the freedom to come up with our own goal cards which worked our nicely with our new set of rules. In the end I preferred our new method of playing over the original.
Overall these lectures were informative and provided us with some helpful insight into level/game design as well as group cooperation and strategy. I am hoping that as the semester goes on we will be able to develop these skills even further.
Hooray, back to blogging, my absolute favourite passtime! Alright that’s enough sarcasm for one post…
Any ways in all honesty, it being the first real week of classes and all, I really don’t have much to talk about. We haven’t began learning anything beyond what the course is about so nothing much to say there. What I would like to bring up however is regarding the amount of programs we were required to download and install, and why they weren’t loaded onto our laptops in the first place when we had them re-imaged at the start of the year. It would have saved everyone the headache of having making sure they had everything they needed, and we also wouldn’t have had to devote an entire lab meeting to this annoyance. Might have even had a day off, although that might be pushing it.
Regarding the course itself though, I’m definitely intrigued by what we will be learning. I certainly think I have much to learn when it come to proper engine design and infrastructure. Over the past two years I have gotten better at implementing different code assets into one big project (i.e. not putting everything into main.cpp), but I’m interested in learning proper techniques and efficiency that every good engine must possess.
Here’s to hoping this class doesn’t mean the end of me…