Game Design

Mapvember 9 – Minotaur

Mapvember 9 – Minotaur

A classic Minotaur maze, with loops and bridges!

Solution:  Follow colors from Colder to warmer.

Made it hard systematically: No clear patterns will help through, the outer loops, (purple-blue-cyans in the picture below) are intended keep you spinning, with always fewer routes towards in. No shortcuts through the distance hieararchy, eventually leading to only two entrances to the inner loops where you’ll find the route to the Minotaur.

But how could such maze be made even harder? Is it better to have few/two internally tight loops with only one right route connecting them, or one huge with plenty of connections all over the place? How about the bridges, will the eye naturally follow over or under – and how it relates to reading the maze and twists? Are there angles that are harder psychologically to take? But it is a good hard maze. Haven’t yet seen an algorithm that generates mazes exactly of this type. Maybe they exists  – what is this type of maze called? Would be curious to make one.   EDIT: apparently it is a sparse- braided-weave template maze, and there might be source code available to fiddle with. Nah. Those mazes looked horrible! not at all fun to solve or track by eye. And anyway the most interesting mazes are graphical, map like, with rich environmental storytelling and hidden object games.

 

 

Mapvember 6 – Gnoll

Mapvember 6 – Gnoll

The Rag Gnoll stinks to bottom sewers. Notorious for greymarket mods and experimental neuroware. Though, nothing good goes below com-1.

Inspiration from Megacities of Judge Dredd, 5th Element and Incal. Shady rock club at the very bottom by the sewer channels, where no decent citizens would show their nose. Place for ug neuroware-bands, black market implants and DIY-cyber-mods, known for troublemakers, corrupt researchers, odd contacts and informants.

I’m not that familiar with gnolls so it makes a good cyberpunk bar. Rag Gnoll, referring to ntech-slang “rag doll” – the limp body of someone with heavy neuromods malfunctioning. “Bastard got old firmware in his veins, easy to brick, one holepush and he went ragdoll.”

Ludum Dare 30/48h post mortem

Filllight screenshot

This was my first gamejam entry ever.
My participation to “Ludum Dare 30. 48h solo from scratch challenge” happened almost by accident. I knew the Ludum Dare was coming as a friend had asked me to join his team, but as the voting result nearer and nearer, I got swooned up in the hype and decided to try to do entry of my own. Just get something simple finished. I’m not a programmer, so getting anything ready would be a learnt experience of coding and Unity.

LD48_tausta01_Test
First I planned to do a simple point and click maze and working out the graphics in Hexels. While simple – just images, links and no player character seemed very straightforward, but then, the having bridges crossing over the paths and each of the screens having multiple entries, exists and then figuring out the player states and the movement options available started to feel complicated and that idea was scrapped for more simpler one.
A maze with the idea of passing a node un-even times. A lighting pole that changes state when you passed it, either turning on or off, and then having challenge of finding the possible route for lighting them all up. I began to think it was doable, the tutorial for rolling ball had most of the components ready, and I knew enough to trust that I could figure the rest out.

Filllight level map
Sketched out the level designs based on Korean words, this is from the theme words of the compo “Connected Worlds”.

Filllight_Screenshot
Level models and collision boxes were made in Blender and imported to Unity.

Filllight_screenshot3
Showing the lights and particle systems.

Friday night I made the concepts and figured out what to do and started on the models.
Saturday I made the first level and a single light pole that worked allright.
Sunday I realized that the light-pole trigger mechanism had to be more complicated than I thought. First I thought to do it with more complicated collision detection, but having multiple of triggers was the saner solution. Plenty of time was used to learn about parenting and referencing parented classes. After that was solved, rest went well, I crammed the second level in just in few hours before the deadline.

What I went right:

-Scope: small and simple was well within the time limit and my coding skills.

-Atmosphere, Thanks to unity particles. Sure, they are done with presets, but it made nice boiling sea. As my main challenge was coding, models were very minimalistic, worked here.

-Music composed  with a abundant music generator. Fast and good enough.

-Support: having helping minds to bang against when solving issues and good documentation to refer to.

-Learning. There was lots of that.

-Finished it! Yes!

What went wrong:

-Coding, while it went alright, even some more experience under the hat would’ve enabled so much more.  Better effects, more effects, smoother everything, better controls.

-Testing. I’m not certain it is possible to complete the game as it is supposed to. Luckily, some triggers collision detections bug and make it possible. Actually generating and validating levels like these would be an interesting topology problem. Afterwards got good feedback regarding controls and field of view, but that was already past the deadline.

-Controls and field of view. It wouldn’t have taken that much to make them a bit better.

What was missing:

Mainly a proper player character and more levels.  A Menu, story screens, some animations, more sounds and music,  timer based scoreboard and testing.

Proper Name: Went for the silly compound word just for the sake of visual of quirky triple l’s boderd by symmetrical i’s. Amh, yeah.

 

Conclusion:

First completed LD. This was a good intro for the starting season in the uni, got confidence knowing that I can make it. Inspiring, wanting to work more on graphics and I’m certain I’ll participate again!
Better controls and seeing too little at once, proper player character, adjustments here and there, menu and extra levels would make for a decent update or maybe a tablet tilting game.

Thanks to the friends and family making this possible.

Neon menu concepts

Neon menu concepts

Oh so formal and in nice grid! 🙂 Layouts in progress for a game of my friend… The background gradient was taken at from extreme moment for the sake UI-color testing against brights. Texts and assets redacted for keeping the theme under covers.

Art assets for a location based mobile game OutBout

Art assets for a location based mobile game OutBout

What: Promotional poster cover for the upcoming iOS based casual, freemium, location based, mobile strategy game OutBout by Planetboard. Concept is presented to investors at Slush 2013.

Target audience: Investors, kids of all ages, teenagers.

Solution: Concept shows the technological backbone of a global gps-board, explains strategy elements of the game full of wild of outdoor action. Visually safe for children and hints of elements of the game-play (Mines). There is a heavy striking energetic logo. Napoleoninc- theme was decided after wide research for it offers a colorful and well known theme for cartoony approach: lots of fancy hats and other visual insignia to exaggerate and without being grim. Theme is also true to spiritual origin of the concept, Risk.

How: Characters and scene layers were 3D-modeled, textured and rigged in Blender and rendered with Cycles.

Results: Style of the poster and characters were very liked, with question of of them looking maybe too violent. Assets were used in pitch materials and convention roll-up.

Promo Assets for the game Outbout

Mobile Game Assets

Mobile Game Assets

What: Preliminary assets and UI styling for mobile game [name of the game and developer redacted for now]. To be released in 2013/2014.
What: Early asset and design-work optimized for iPad.

Target Audience: Casual gamers (mainly female) expanded to teen boys.

Solution: Make a soft cartoony feel to not alienate core group of casual gamers and have cooler colours and effects for drawing in tween male audience.

Process: Gems went trough iterations towards more cartoony, as expressed in picture.

Results: Overall style was liked by testers, with noted disparency between the UI and the feel of the Gems.
After changes on the development team, the UI has been overhauled with focus on the core-audience.

Level Design for the mobile game Fatcat Rush

Pictures from Fatcat Rush

What: Level and Game-design for the mobile game Fatcat Rush by Tomodomo OY (2011, iOS). An Endless Runner Platformer with high replayability.

Solution: Mathemathically constructed levels offered a hockey-stick difficulty-curve based on required reaction times, an easy-to-learn hard-to-master design philosphy with multiple routes and secrets for varied skill levels. Innovative uses of game mechanics in holiday themed expansion levels.

Results: Game was very well received with high retention (4/5 appstore review). It succeeded in making high replayability for endless runner with static levels. “addictive”

Available in Appstore – give it go! Rumour is that the game might be debutting later on the Oculus Rift, for which it works ashtonishingly well and needing only minor visual adjustments.

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