Activity 3 – Gameplay and Player Stories

The goal of the game is to escape the human prison and save as many of your fellow alien comrades on the way out. This goal can be accomplished by either avoiding/sneaking past the human guards, or by taking the fight to them by using their own weapons against them. There are many different types of human guards, all with their own movement patterns, damage outputs and health levels, the player will have to learn these elements of the game to progress through each level. The game takes place in a very distant future, where humans now have the technology for space travel.

  1. As an alien, I will use my pistol to kill humans in order to save my alien friends.
  2. As an alien, I will use firearms to kill humans to progress through levels.
  3. As an alien, I will use a shotgun to kill enemies faster.
  4. As an alien, I will use a grenade to kill multiple enemies at the same time.
  5. As an alien, I will activate switches to open up doorways in order to progress through a level.
  6. As an alien, I will use my movement to avoid humans and progress through a level stealthily.
  7. As an alien, I will avoid saving my fellow alien friends in order to escape myself and progress through levels much faster.
  8. As an alien, I will use a landmine to deal massive amounts of damage to enemies that walk on it.
  9. As an alien, I will scavenge the game world for weapons to defend myself against the humans.
  10. As an alien, I will try to use my weapons sparingly as some of them have limited amounts of ammunition.
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Activity 2 – Game Look and Feel

Untitled

Mood: Lonely, Fear

Style: Generic Pixel Art Platformer (Mario), dark colour pallete

Shape Structure: Square (maturity, stabilty, balance, stubborness)

Spatial Dimensions/Size/Boundary: Gameplay takes place in a human prison, the player is an alien trying to escape and save his friends along the way. Play is restricted to the jail. Dimensions are based on real life cells, with slight exaggeration in some areas due to the nature of a 2d platformer.

Setting: Far away future, where space travel has been invented. High-level tech is being used.

Representation: Humans are seen as the villains this time around. The aliens were taken against their will to be experimented upon.

Game 2 – Reflection

Professional Development and Practice

The second mini-game development cycle introduced me to 3D modelling. Blender is a program I have no experience in, so trying to learn even the basics of this software has been a bit of a struggle. I have had very brief experience with other modelling programs before, i.e. Google Sketchup and AutoCAD, so the concept of modelling objects on a computer isn’t completely foreign to me, but I only dabbled in it very lightly. This meant that the visual fidelity of my prototype has suffered, since I wasn’t able to construct any decent placeholder models to use, so I just stuck with basic geometric shapes and have tried to make up for it more from a gameplay/mechanical standpoint.

Working in a team

Having prior experience as a team in the previous game cycle, we all found it much easier to agree on a game idea. Everybody was also much more comfortable with sharing their opinions and negotiating compromises. However, an inherent issue I’ve found with the team is our shared skillset. We are all primarily programmers, so our ideas for our game’s aesthetic is limited severely. This wasn’t an issue in the previous game cycle as it’s much easier to develop nice looking minimalistic work in a 2D environment, but in a 3D environment it’s far more difficult. While we do have quite a diverse range of ideas and opinions surrounding game design as a team, which does lead to lots of interesting discussion, our game ideas tend to be limited based purely on the fact that we do not have the experience with the more visual aspect of game development.

Working independently

Game development would have to be one of the more rewarding and satisfying things I’ve ever done. Having the ability to develop my own environment/world, and having full control over all the rules and variables is very fulfilling. Being able to create something that not only I can experience, but that I can also share with others, opens up more meaningful ways to interact with people. This would be more applicable in a multiplayer game, since everybody would be sharing pretty much the exact same moments, just from different perspectives. The fact that I can influence a game world, which includes people’s experiences, feels very empowering, and it drives me to come up with an idea or concept for a game that would get peoples attention.

Ethical Considerations

Developing a first person shooter with terrorism being one of the main focuses/threats may bring a bit of attention due to recent events. However, I do not think this would be a massive issue as the game is meant to a fairly light hearted poke at terrorism, and is meant as more of a satire than anything. The concept of the game itself should show that, as it is quite ridiculous. The fact that a group of people want to destroy a giant rubber ducky, no matter the cost, should send a clear message that even the game isn’t taking itself seriously.

Game 2 – Playtest Report

Participants

None of our group members attended the workshop in Week 8, so playtesting was unable to take place within our studio. Testing was conducted instead with three close acquaintances that have had experience with video games, and/or game development.

Playtest Overview

Each playtest session lasted around 15-20 minutes, of which the tester played through the first level of the prototype and also answered the interview questions proposed in the playtest plan.  The testing was performed in-person, with all the responses to the questions being recorded in a word document.

Similar to the testing performed in the previous game cycle, questions allowing for more open ended responses were used and were separated into the three following categories: Gameplay, Balance/Difficulty, and Game Aesthetic.

Test Data

Participants

Jake Williams-Cornelius

Lachlan Ritchie

Matthew Grant

Gameplay

For a first person shooter, did you find the gameplay enjoyable?

  • Yes
  • Felt like a very basic first person shooter. I can’t say I did or didn’t enjoy the shooter, it was just bearable.
  • It was alright

Was the game clear with what the overall objective was?

  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yep

How did the gun mechanics feel? (Responsive, sluggish, etc.)

  • Very Responsive
  • Gun and player movement was responsive, the sensitivity difference between being zoomed in and out was a bit off-putting however.
  • Responsive, but I wasn’t a fan of the locked mouse sensitivity.

Did it feel rewarding to shoot/destroy enemies?

  • A Little
  • Nope
  • Not really

What are your thoughts on the game idea/concept?

  • Good and Simple
  • Not entirely original, but can be pulled off if the gun mechanics are improved a lot.
  • Very generic

Balance/Difficulty

Do you think the difficulty of the demo level is too high?

  • No
  • The game’s difficulty peaked about 45 seconds in, then it just wore off. Maybe speed up the spawns a little, or add a bit more enemy variety.
  • It offered enough of a challenge.

Do you think the level was unbeatable?

  • No
  • Not at all.
  • Nope

At any point did you think that the enemies were dealing too much damage, or very little?

  • No
  • They all seemed like they did the same damage to the duck, otherwise it felt about right.
  • Enemy damage felt balanced.

Did the sniper feel like it was ever doing too much or too little damage?

  • No
  • The sniper was incredibly powerful.
  • Felt like it dealt way too much damage, all the enemies died in one shot.

Game Aesthetic

What are your thoughts on the current game aesthetic? (Sound/Art assets)

  • Sub Par
  • Everything seemed very placeholder, so I can’t really comment on it.
  • Very basic.

Any other thoughts/opinions/suggestions?

  • Get actual art assets
  • Obviously use proper art and sound assets, but also add in more weapon and enemy variety.
  • More colour and shape variety if you’re going to stick with this aesthetic. Also make the duck a duck.

List of Improvements

Gameplay

  • More visual feedback
  • Improve gun mechanics
  • Offer weapon variety
  • Offer more enemy variety
  • Improve AI navigation

Balance

  • Faster spawn times for the slowest enemy
  • Slower spawn times for faster enemy
  • More spawn area variety

Aesthetic

  • Art and Sound assets

It’s clear that the game is lacking quite a bit of content and depth, but the testers did seem to enjoy their time with the game.

Activity 6 – Playtest Plan

The following is a brief outline of how playtesting will be conducted:

  • Playtest Goals
    1. Player engagement and level of game responsiveness.
    2. Overall game balance and difficulty.
    3. Quality of sound and art design/direction.
  • Playtesters
    • Team members within the studio. (Or if not possible, other peers with a video game background)
  • Playtest Method
    • Test individually and interview afterwards
  • Data
    • Interview responses
    • Reactions/comments during game testing
  • Time
    • First level of the game. 5 minutes in length, or however long it takes the tester to successfully complete the first level.
  • Resources
    • Interview Questions
    • Note Taking Resources (laptop, notebook/writing utensils)
    • Analyses
    • Review tester’s responses, compare responses, and evaluate what needs to be changed/improved.


Here is the full playtest plan/template:

Overall Approach

(including resources)

Session Goals Method How to Analyse
What to measure How to Test
Testers will play the game individually. They will start the game at the first level and play for the length of the prototype. This will be around 5minutes in length, or until they have at least successfully completed the first level.
During the session, the testers will be allowed to voice their opinions on the game, with a more formal interview to follow after they have completed the level. Testers will be asked questions relating to the playtest goals and their responses will be recorded.
Before playtesting commences, the testers will be asked a few questions regarding previous experience with video games to allow for better analysis of what demographic we are catering towards.
Resources:

  • Basic game prototype (~5mins in length)
  • note taking equipment (laptop, notebook, writing utensils)
  • interview questions
Goal 1:

Player engagement and level of game responsiveness.

Player interaction with the game. Interview Questions:

  • For a first person shooter, did you find the gameplay enjoyable?
  • Was the game clear with what the overall objective was?
  • How did the gun mechanics feel? (Responsive, sluggish, etc.)
  • Did it feel rewarding to shoot/destroy enemies?
  • How did it feel to move the player around?
  • What are your thoughts on the game idea/concept?
Review responses from testers, identify any patterns/similarities, and address them while staying true to the core game idea.
Goal 2:

Overall game balance and difficulty.

Ability to overcome challenges and complete game objectives. Interview Questions:

  • Do you think the difficulty of the demo level is too high?
  • Do you think the level was unbeatable?
  • At any point did you think that the enemies were dealing too much damage, or very little?
  • Did the sniper feel like it was ever doing too much or too little damage?
Review issues presented by testers and identify any similar complaints.
Goal 3:

Quality of sound and art design/direction.

Reactions to certain objects and sounds. Interview Questions:

  • What are your thoughts on the current game aesthetic? (Sound/Art assets)
Review responses from testers, identify whether a majority either likes or dislikes the assets used.