My Post Mortem

When we decide to make a game about action packed shooter, Harvey being one of the project manager love the classic side scroll shooter “Rocky and Pocky” where he design a pitch about an animal and a human with special abilities to attack the monster invaders a.k.a Chuck n Buck.

The pitch was eventually pick by most of the votes that really want to work with this project. And I’m very happy to work with the game project alongside with my team members, Harvey and Julianna and another person.

 

What went well?

1. Game Design Planning

We want to describe as to how Chuck n Buck game would look like. A boy with an anthropomorphic deer went into a monster rampage to stop the evil wizard that conquer the world. This plot is very awesome and we have to go through a lot of planning to find out what we need for this setup of the 1st level. We have to go through the characters, enemies and environment and list down the assets that we need.

We all have a good planning decision and Harvey is the manager of the project, we decide to work with him and discuss each other about the story game that fit in the universe of both human and anthropomorphic animals world. Planning may seems to be a waste of time but it does help us a better insight on what task we should to make our jobs easy.

 

2. Creative Ideas

Chuck n Buck is a world full of both human and anthropomorphic animals, therefore we think it will be great that we should design the stage level into an animals based theme houses, buildings, roads and many more. However, we want to make the both characters as the heroes of the town to fight against those monsters that comes to lurk around.

Most ideas for the prop models came from me because I had a lot of idea and few real life and game environment concept on to create and imagine how this game look like. Meanwhile, Julianna and Harvey took a lot of concept for making the characters and the enemies. Few of those characters concept are related to some games and details for the monsters.

Combining with the ideas that we can create and design to make the game environment look cool.

 

3. Teamwork

Being a team for this project is fun and interesting, however it’s very important to work with each other to complete our fully build game. First, being working together can at least being some feedback to each other about the character, places and mechanics, whether it okay or change based on the conditions.

Next, helping to contribute a bit of the works can be a huge asset for other professional people like Harvey or Julianna to do the rest. For example, I made 3D models for the environment assets and Harvey work on the UV mapping. Then, I made the particles effects and grab some sound effects from the website for them to input the build during progress.

Each of us have it’s own benefits of doing what we can do. We all have both advantages and disadvantages during our progress. Teamwork really help us a lot during development.

 

4. Interesting Mechanics

The mechanics of this game is fairly simple. Like “Rocky and Pocky”, where you play your favorite characters that can shoot rapidly to attack the enemies and gain powerups that can level up the projectiles as the game continues. But each of them have it’s own special abilities to repel the enemies.

The Chuck n Buck game is nearly identical as that game. Chuck is a teenager and Buck is an anthropomorphic deer who used to be friends in their time. We change the projectiles into a baseball and give them special abilities like Chuck cool spinning bat attack and Buck awesome bull rush attack. Since Harvey love this game so much, he want to be the programmer to program the mechanics for the build.

Throughout the progress, we understand that people wanted to intend to bring back the memories by recreate the same mechanics in different concept for players to enjoy. As such, we willing to give this opportunity for that game.

 

5. Nice textures art and models

The art style of the game is a cel shading cartoon style like “The Wind Waker from Legend of Zelda”. To achieve this, we need to take a lot of references on how we can achieve this.

We also have to make the 3D models with low poly due to the fact that high poly models took too much size for the game. And it’s because this is a cel shading cartoon style game, it’s not necessary to use those high poly models. My task is to design the 3D environment assets since they have to focus on getting the characters and the animation done. Julianna is good at textures map for the models of characters, enemies and environment assets. She is also good at art skill and use Z brush for making the fine details of each characters.

Those 3D models are good and we plan to make it a fine and more details textures to make this game great.

 

What went wrong?

1. Unresponsible Teammate

There was originally 4 person in our group working on our project, but one particular person who is good at level design and 3D models named Connor had some issues involve his work and his condition.

While working on the project, we thought he done most of the thing that help us design the models, level design and shading process. But it won’t last long till the time we thought that he was so busy on working and had less time to work on his task. Initially, we understand the situation about him but over few weeks we still haven’t receive some work from him.

At that moment, we now realized all his words were lies and excuse for not doing anything about our project. In the end, we had to dispatch him from our group and hope that we won’t have to deal with the same problem again.

 

2. Sometimes Late

Usually, I come very early to get ready to have my work present to the producer or running the WIP meeting so that we can get to know what need to change or accepted by my team members.

Some of my team members usually take 15 minutes late during that time. Although our working progress is running very smooth, but it’s unnatural to have someone late in time while we having the WIP meeting. Sometimes, they cannot come because they have other things to do.

We understand that develop the game are out task if we want to publish the game, but it might be a bigger scale to arrive on time when we need to get feedback from other development to get the full scale on what we are doing. That is one of the lesson that we must learn during development.

 

3. Fixing Textures

Another issue is the textures for the environment assets. Initially, we would thought that the simple solid color textures may as well look fine in the game. Julianna being as the artist of the characters and the environment assets are working on few textures for the models.

However, the producer knew that the environment world is too bland for the game to make and he wanted us to design in full and nice details to make it more realistic in the cartoon world. This changes also cost us a lot of time to arrange the UV mapping, more coloured details and place on the scene, like houses and buildings.

This also give us a lesson on the details of the game that wanted to as the references from the other game. Sometimes, make the environment solid bland in the game doesn’t work the way they wanted to. But again, it depend on what games we are making as the producer wanted to.

 

4. Forgot working on fix and bugs

Our game was great since we done a lot of working progress, each of us have to test the game to see whether it’s okay or not. The main premises for the game is to make it fun and exciting based on the player reaction and experience.

I’m mostly being as the game tester try out both characters to find out the balance. Most of the details I can find out is the zombies that can walk through obstacle, can’t obtain the healing items or some UI doesn’t react the way it looks. I had to mention them several times to Harvey and somehow he haven’t fix it yet. In turn, I going to fix the issues so that I can enjoy the game as what they like to experience.

The thing is, did I made the right choice for helping them to fix the issues? And somehow, Harvey consistently update the build and keep forgot to fix those issues. I sure I’m understand their task is difficult but make sure that the problem have to be fix before we can perform other task to avoid forgetting our issues.

 

5. Not enough time for further plan

We recently had our game design planning before we even being our production plan. We plan to have 2 levels with 2 different boss fight in our game. The biggest concern is we may out of time and having issues during the production, even pre-production.

As we mention earlier about Connor who being one of the irresponsible person that given a lot of excuse have been quit from our group. Since we had a lot of environment assets, characters, enemies and full programming to work with. We may in turn have to remove some monsters that we should not required in level 2. Our progress are very hard already to having the issues of fixing and change a lot.

Game Design Planning can be an unpredictable time in the future, some company even having the hard time during development, thus cancelled the game when it was halfway production. In fact, it was our first time to have that situation for just level 1 game. But it’s enough understand how much work and time we need to consider before we even start to produce the game. That lesson really change a lot when we come to our future project.

 

Conclusion

Although the experience of my development may have some difficult, it won’t stop us from making this cool and interesting concept. Willing to share among those people that love the similar game are the joy that we take a lot of time and work to achieve this. I know these days sometimes goes wrong and full of distractions.  However, those days of working with them can get some better insight on what works best and what doesn’t. Our thought are very different to each other and willing to work as a team are quite different. Most importantly is do what you love to do, get some help when necessary and share the idea of the game that we love to imagine. Next time, if there is any project that I love to work with, I’m willing to give some help advice they need.

Major Project Progress Blog (Week 12)

I was working on the trailer video for our game project. Although the video capture was pretty fine, it took me a lot of time to cut the gameplay that I perform. Then, put it together into the Abode After Effects and check whether is good or not.

During class, I presented my trailer to my fellow classmates. My lecturer did mention me about the colour gradient need to change and my team member also told me about the video that I capture need to change as well. For some point, I did some references for the trailer and I know how it works. At that point, it’s almost 75% done. However, what I understand that trailer can be replaced as my team members still working on the game build.

Making trailer also act as a backup for our next assignment. It was used as my portfolio as well as Harvey one too. We have to include them when we present. I found that it was worth well for making a game trailer. For as this is our final sprint to finish up the game.

Major Project Progress Blog (Week 11)

Upcoming next sprint for my task is going to make a video trailer for Chuck n Buck game. Honestly, I never made a trailer before. But still I will certainly have to try and do my best to make it, doing some references, making words colour and play around with Adobe After Effects.

In fact, the full game that we are showing to our game tester is week 12. However, game trailer are the main part of the process if we want to sell the game to the publisher. This is how our producer work in the game company. Within these days of my service to my team members, I know for just one things. Even if a person can’t be professional but can contribute a smaller part of the work like drawing, models, game design and programming, it still be able to give benefit to my team members for a huge major production.

I know I may be able to help working their project with just a bit of the learning experience. Few learning experience may able to get me to improve my skills in better shape. In the future, I might able to design the game project better than before.

Major Project Progress Blog (Week 10)

After getting a lot of feedback from my team members, I feel more comfortable on what the arrangement of items and enemies placement suppose to be. A lot of my time I have to help them is to test the game a lot while they are working on the textures.

So far, I have been working on some missing stuff that they have less time working on like bug fixes, some mechanics issues and many more. Now, my team member, Harvey decide to inform me to show the items and enemies placement for him. Because as usual, we are been working on the different build and combine them into a fully build game.

This week and the week before also done with this sprint. Now the next sprint will be working on the final test for the game to complete. It’s almost done and yet there is still more work to do for the next sprint.

Major Project Progress Blog (Week 9)

Testing and testing, this game is almost playable but not just ready yet. While my teammates are working on implement on the stuff like audio, particles effect, textures and many more. I have to playtest a lot and find some changes, bug, issues or placement for enemies and items.

Each amount and placement of enemies and items can be the difference in between fun and boring. I love the way how players react when they get swarm by monsters, spawn more monsters after getting an item and more surprise. These elements I believe can get players excited and engaging when playing. After 5 or more test, I get to ask some to playtest and see how they feel and enjoyment.

For now, I will only use what they done for this test. Further stuff will have to add later when they are ready. In the meantime, I have to redesign the enemy and items placement. Also need to spot some bugs before it’s ready for our game.

Major Project Progress Blog (Week 8)

With the remaining audio that I have to grab, however, still I having a difficulty when it come to music. Luckily, Julianna told me that I can find some source free copyright music from different website. In the end, I find the most of it as much as possible.

With all particles effect done and the music effect grab, all I can do is to help them playtest the game. The goal of playtest the game is to ensure is fun, balance and get the feel of the gameplay. My first step is to test out and balance the Chuck and Buck special attack. By default, Chuck spin too long like 5 seconds and Buck running speed is too quick to control and also too long about 5 seconds. Now, I lower the special attack speed and it’s duration. And it turn to be perfectly fine.

It’s also mention that the charge up special attack are too long, not enough time to unleash special attack when it’s fully charge, I recommend lower the charge up time, so that it has enough time to react. After all the changes, we discuss about the gameplay and have my team members to adjust it.

All are set, and finally just before our game even ready to play, few tweaks, addition and  adjust need to be done to make sure the game is better. Which is going to be my job for this task since I’m very good at placing and adjust the level based on how would people get to enjoy the way they play.

Major Project Progress Blog (Week 7)

The next few days, I decide work with my team members unfinished stuff that they need to complete the build before we even playtest it.

The remaining tasks that I have to work with are the refine particles effect and know the difference in between the real life and the cartoon world. Since this game is a cartoon world, I need to refine the fire and smoke particle effect. The cartoon fire effect has a clear and bright effect when lit.

Now it’s the audio sound effect. honestly, I’m not good at audio but I try to. It’s fairly simple to just grab the sound effects and put in the game. But, something I have to beware of is the music. A lot of music are used in here, but we don’t wish to some music that is copyright. After all, I collect bunch of them and cut each audio and discuss my teammates.

The most important thing that my lecturer told me about is the test the game. Yeah, I know it’s optional, but still it could make a difference when we play test it. We should be able to adjust, find bugs or even add or remove if we don’t feel like it.

This week task are almost done, we are about to reach the end of the build. I hope everything are good and fine.

Major Project Progress Blog (Week 6)

Though my process of particles effect are harder as it may seems. It’s started to get me keep going on to finish my tasks for my teammates. Some particle effects are well done and look more realistic to the game we build.

During that time, we showcase our work in progress and sprint meeting, my lecturer discuss about tout content are based on the cartoon version. Though I did well done on mastering the particle effects, I still need to keep in mind on what content that the game need during our progress. In addition, we almost done with the game build setup, now it’s time for the play test. I did play test it before and noticed some other change like too slow to dodge the fast attack or even AI escape from the scene during wave encounter. It’s not just more of checking the bug fixes, but also get to know about the experience of the game.

We both have to test the game and still working on the game. Our work are almost done, now all that left is the few minor things like audio source and we are ready to go.

Major Project Progress Blog (Week 5)

Making Particles Effects are the new experience I have to try, it’s very fun to play once I get used to it. Now most of the particles effect can be very fit in our Chuck and Buck game. It’s fun to experiment it as well as to get to work with the particles effect. It’s a matter on what effects you want, how do make that kind of effects, and what way to make the particles effects great.

Although it’s a fun and awesome work, it not easy to make. Before that, I need to write down the list of how many particles effect for the game. More than 10 particles effect need to be done and some particles effects take long time to make. Doing a lot of research from the website and figure out how to create the particles effect. After finish some of them, I also have to discuss my team members on how it looks and whether it’s good or need to rework again to achieve what we need.

Through trail and error with the particles effects, I learn that not all particles effect can be made easily. By looking through the work that I done, I made a lot of effort to get our jobs done. We are almost complete the stuff that we need to finish for game. Only a few unfinished stuff that need to done before putting it together.

Major Project Progress Blog (Week 4)

My environment assets have almost been done and my team members are here to have a meeting as we discussed about the issue about the models. Earlier as mentioned from last week, I talk about the high amount of poly count of coins from the bag and the trees. We discuss about the solution of separate the models so that my team member can easy UV and duplicate as much as they want.

There is not much thing to be done, but I have to work with them as necessary. The last tip of the sprint is to design the UI sprite for the powerups. We initial thought that we can apply some particle effects on the UI, but the lecturer prefer that the sprite are the great choice. For these days, I try to research and find out how these animated UI sprite work as it’s necessary to apply in the game with few powerups when player grab it.

The initial drawing is very okay, but the fire buff is a bit blurry and the ice buff has some unbalanced number of  sprinkle. After discuss and receive with my team members, I try to redo the buffs sprite again.

The second try, it’s pretty good. Fire buff had a clearer look and the ice buff has the balance number of  sprinkle. That’s all for this week and next week sprint I will be working on the particle effects.