Tuesday Morning Class (14th November 2017)
GDS230 w/GPG230 class [8.30am Class]
Today Adrian wanted the class to continue work on our prototypes, as many of us did not have a complete prototype that could be tested (press a button and it does an action on-screen). We had technically had a prototype, but they were all in different scenes so we worked on compiling it to be in one scene. Or at least that is what we were supposed to be doing.
I worked on getting the shake test scene I worked on last week to have it move up-down with the arrow keys to simulate shaking. It was not perfect but it was close enough. It took a bit of tweaking but I finally got it working, having modified it so it had a clamp on how far up/down it could go. Ideally, I would prefer if I could code it in a way that one button controlled whether it was moving up/down and the faster you pressed it, the faster it moved.
Matt spent the majority of the class working on the animations to work together in a single scene. From time to time, I would ask him how it was going and have him explain a bit of his animation code to me (200 lines of code with the majority of it being else if statements, good lord). As for the programmers, to be honest, I had no idea what they both were working on. I vaguely heard a mention of a menu system but other than that, not much. The two programmers (Ben & Brady) did ask me at one point what I meant by “1 oz = 1 pour??” in the game design documentation. After stumbling the explanation initially, I managed to explain what I had visualized in my mind as a possible solution to solve the problem of how to measure drinks in-game. It is currently one of our biggest stumbling blocks, how to measure 1 oz in the game. I do know Ben was looking into a solution for that towards the end of class.
We got a lot of work ahead of us if we want to get this game done by the end of the trimester.
Tuesday Afternoon Class
CIU212 [12pm Class]
Adrian came over to talk to us during the start of class regarding the status of our project. He asked whether our game design document was completed, Cameron informed him that it was mostly finished but the marketing portions of the document (particularly the income revenue) needed fleshing out still. Adrian then moved onto asking whether my Gantt chart was accurate, I admitted it was mostly accurate but still had some things I needed to update on. Adrian tasked me with fixing the Gantt chart to have it 100% accurate as my top priority.
He and Cameron then moved onto the art sprites, Cameron showed him what he had done for the attack units which lead to a debate between the two. Adrian wanted the art sprites to be more refined, meaning the sprites Cameron made were only suitable for testing purposes. Cameron was not happy hearing that as he did not understand why it could not be used for the final product, they did change subjects after going back and forth over the sprites. It is beginning to feel whenever we think we are making strides in our project, one of the lecturers finds a way to throw a wrench into the works. I realize this is not their intention, but I am beginning to feel that no matter how hard I try to push that feeling aside. We would think we overcame a hurdle and that it would be smoother sailing now and then find out that is not the case.
Negativity aside, Adrian introduced us to the paper-test. The paper test would help us test our gameplay mechanics to see if it would work and see how the game would play out, possibly revealing strategies we had not taken into account or inspire new ideas. Never heard of the paper test before, but it does make sense and I am glad we have a way now to test our mechanics without needing to wait till we have a prototype put together. I had left the classroom briefly while Cameron and Jarrod were discussing the test when I returned, I was unexpectedly placed into the role of game tester. They explained the rules briefly and which of the (dinosaur) figurines represented. It took me a moment to process since my mental faculties had decided to take a brief vacation. I began playing it as I would for an actual strategy game, keeping in mind there is a fog of war element.
Apparently, the way I played it revealed some things that neither of the guys had considered before. Cameron plans on taking the paper test and refining the game rules, and have his girlfriend play it with him to see if the refined game rules work. We plan to redo the paper test on Tuesday class. Maybe if we are lucky, we can get others to play such as Sam or possibly Adrian.
Laz came over for his own meeting with us, once again reiterating how happy he was that we sent our weekly report on time. He began breaking down the weekly report with us starting with the status of Felicity, who originally agreed to assist us as our outsourced 2D artist. We confirmed she had decided to withdraw herself from the project, with Jarrod explaining her reasoning to Laz. He then asked what we were doing about the situation, we explained that we reiterated our 2D asset pipeline to include Cameron and split the workload between us three. We broke it down so that the three of us would focus on a group of assets specifically: I would focus solely on environmental, Jarrod would focus solely on the defensive units and Cameron would focus on the attack units.
Laz was happy we had already addressed the situation in a manner that ensured we still got the work done. Laz asked me to update the Gantt chart to reflect Felicity withdrawing from the project officially, and how it would affect the timeline. I personally do not think it will have a major impact on our timeline considering how quickly Cameron and I put our sprites together. Cameron finished all the attack units (with simple animations) in just over a week, while I had already finished the majority of the environmental assets for the prototype. Either way, I made sure to add an extra day or two to most tasks to be on the safe side for the 2D assets.
Laz then asked us about the meeting we had with Lanz who will be assisting us with our hex-grid system. He wanted us to explain why we were looking for an outsourced programmer. We explained that out all the programming tasks, the hex grid system was the most complex and Lanz mentioned he was working on a hex grid system for his own side project so he would be happy to help us, but nothing more than that due to his own commitments. Laz asked how we felt about Lanz overall, when we all vouched for him, Laz decided to trust our judgment. Although Adrian said he cannot allow us to rely on Lanz for the programming till we have our learning contract. So we need to get that organized asap, which is made harder now since I learned a few days later that Iain had gone on a trip.
Laz did ask us to include Sam more into the design process, to make sure he did not focus solely on working on audio. We agreed we have left him out and began discussing solutions to have him more involved. Before he left, he asked me to include a small elevator pitch at the end of the weekly summary (I did ask for Cameron for assistance on writing a short elevator pitch)
Once the meetings were done, I spent most of the class updating the Gantt chart and consolidating a few tasks into one (e.g. environmental assets as 1 task instead of broken down into levels). Once I felt the Gantt chart was more accurate, I moved onto the weekly report. Cameron did talk to me about the environmental assets, as we agreed the ones we had on the asset list was not enough for the game. I told him I had already planned on creating more over time but felt we had enough for the prototype, which he agreed. He asked if I could create a small hill sprite which I agreed before we began discussing the programming research.
Cameron had decided to do the defensive units himself as well, thus freeing Jarrod up to focus on the programming research which I had made an initial start on. Jarrod had trouble with his android test which we had already identified the cause of the problems he had earlier in the morning when I had asked him about it before the morning class. We are confident that the issues will be resolved and have a successful android test by next week. I plan on finishing the remaining assets I have left (3) before shifting my focus to creating any additional sprites and fixing the tree sprites which I found out were the wrong pixel size.
Thursday Class (16th November)
So class for Thursday was interesting as we got to go to the Netherworld, which is described as “Bar+ Arcade+ Diner”. The reason why we were at the Netherworld instead being on campus was due to the SquigglyRiver event where local game developers in the area show off their work. He worked with Brendan, my lecturer from trimester 2 to build a custom controller for Brendan’s golf game.
Adrian wanted us to have a look at the games being shown at the Squiggly River event and to check out the arcade machines at the Netherworld as part of our research for the collaborative projects in how to build a shell that can withstand punishment essentially.
The first task was figuring out how to get there and the means. I did initially consider taking the bus but decided to take the trains since it would be more direct and give me a reason to take the trains for once since I have now been here for 5 months and never took the train. Pretty glad I took the train there and back since it was a lot quicker than if I had taken the bus. My takeout dinner was mostly warm too! Probably going to prefer taking the bus but I may start using the train more often if I know I am going somewhere further away.
I arrived just a little after 4pm as Adrian said it didn’t matter what time we showed up as long we showed up. I decided to take advantage of that by taking my time getting there
(aka extra sleep because I don’t know how to sleep on time like a normal person). Jarrod was the only other early arrival so we both played some arcade machines together such as The House of the Dead, Time Crisis 2 ($20 may have gone into Time Crisis alone), a rally driving game (despite Jarrod’s attempts to sabotage me, I won the race), Dragon’s Lair and I believe a few others including a super dodgy N64 game. I did play some pinball machines, Pac-man, Donkey Kong and the terminator game. Jarrod had initially suggested we get the entire class to play a board game but we didn’t.
I spent most of my time playing the golf game Brendan had made. My personal opinion is that it is not a golf game, it is a death race with golf balls. I did win several rounds, and had a good winning streak going much to the dismay of the other players because I am a jerk 🙂
I did end up leaving just before 8pm to head back home, despite Cameron’s attempts to have me stay longer. I did have a great time though, I am sad I didn’t get a chance to play the other games being shown though.