Reflection Cycle 3 – Jim Szymanski

During the semester, we were introduced to a new game engine called Unity. I was already familiar with Unreal Engine 4 so I already had some bases with game engines. I proceeded in the same way I did with UE4 to learn how to use it. I used resources available from blackboard as well as tutorial videos and by touching every button in the engine. I would say the last one is probably the most fun / interesting way to learn how to use an engine as you’re not limited by a tutorial explaining only 1 single thing.

I’m not too sure I’ve developed any non-technical skill this semester. It just reminded me how group work is always split unequally and often depends more on your teammate than in yourself. It may sound a bit cynical but in my case I believe an important skill in group work is too believe more in yourself and don’t leave things until the last minute, so you can be on time and eventually catch up with what people didn’t do / Force them to do what they must.

Despite that I believe we did some nice work anyway. We kept track of each other work through tutorials, Facebook, and the website. I believe it is important because even if for example activities are personal submissions, you often need previous knowledge (for example, my activity about objects and rules require the use of player stories, made by lance).

As for personal work management, I don’t think I’ve done well for cycle 3. For cycle 1 and 2 I was always on time / had some advance about my planning. But with the end of semester coming, the lack of motivation and a lot of assignments due (Plus a whole weekend spent at KG for a cross unit project in KMB216), I’ve been getting late on what I first planned. I probably should have been stricter on my schedule to be on time, even though I find it hard to do any good work when you’re not motivated.

Finally, I think I’ve already started to talk a bit about ethical responsibilities in the workspace. It is quite hard to force people to work or even tell them they need to do something. Because I our society where everyone feels offended about every tiny single thing and when they are not happy with what you ask them will just say that “it’s unfair”. I had this experience in a previous unit (INB280) and luckily my group was different this time. It is true we were probably not the most hardworking group and even sometime some work was not done, but if we reminded each other that we needed the other’s work to do our own, everyone would eventually do his own to not let down the group. I was very happy about this set of mind. No one was trying to lie or make the others do his work and everyone would agree on his tasks. When one would miss a class, he would always tell the others on Facebook the day before so we could plan what we would do the next day, send him information’s about what he had to do etc.

Overall I believe this unit was interesting and despite the fact I still don’t like group work at all, our group was nice and enjoyable to work with.


Our 3 games reunited


Activity 4 – Objects and Rules

5 mechanics of our game would be:

  • Shooting humans: Will be related to physics and economy, the player will use weapons to kill enemies
  • Opening doors: Related to progression, the player will have to find the correct lever to unlock the door
  • Side stepping and jumping: Related to physics, the player will control every movement of his character to progress into the game world.
  • Jumping / moving around to hit weak spots of enemies: Related to physics and tactics, the player will use a previous mechanic plus the aiming mechanic to destroy special enemies / boss
  • Managing resources (Ammo, Health, armour): Everything related to economy. The player will have some weapons with limited ammunition, a certain amount of health etc.

We believe these mechanics are giving a simple but broad range of interaction into the game. It allows the player to control the story and plays the way he wants.

Our target audience are players who want to feel the adventure, be the hero of the story. Basically, taking the story and reworking it to progress with their own style.

Enemies (except bosses) do not need to be killed to progress and there is no weapon (except the first pistols) that are compulsory. Everything just add up to the base experience. The player just chooses how he wants to use them.

Objects in game:

Name Purpose Attributes Relationships Rules
Player Avatar controlled by the player Alien, he can move around and shoot Linked with guns, ammo, health, and enemies. It basically interacts with everything If the health drop below 0, it dies. Is trigger // collide with terrain and enemies
Guns / weapons Used to kill enemies Can be picked up by player, they are items, immobile. Can be found around the world. Some of them have limited ammo. Linked with the player and enemies as they interact together through the projectiles Some have a certain amount of bullet, they have a rate of fire as well as a range / damage zone.
Hoomans The enemies of the player, they’ll try to stop him Human looking, they are also using gun / melee weapons to kill the player. Linked with the player, as they will mostly interact with him only Have a certain move speed, damage, health and detection range.
Grenade Blow things up Single use, they will deal a high amount of damages, but can also kill the player Linked with both hoomans and player. Unique use, deals X damage in a zone.
Landmine Kill the player They’re placed by Hoomans, they will one shot the player if he walks on them. He can destroy them by shooting. Linked with player, guns and hoomans Unique use, deal an incredible amount of damage in a zone
Door Block the player They’ll be placed around in the world in order to stop the player progression Linked with levers Can be opened and closed using a lever
Lever Activate to open a door Placed around the world. They’re linked with one door somewhere else Linked with door Can be used to open a door


Playtesting Game 2


Participant demographics

For the 2nd game of this unit, I run the same playtesting template I did for the prototype 1. The sessions lasted for around 10 minutes each. All 3 participants were confidants and naïve playtesters. All 3 testers had previous experience with games, playtesting, and programming. Like for the first prototype, all of them are PC gamers and have moderate experience with first person shooters.

Playtesting findings

I tried with the playtesting to get a general idea about what was good and wrong with the game. I found it hard to express this with numbers, probably because I can’t do it so I preferred to ask them for opinions rather than numerical judgements.

I divided my questions around the 3 areas we were trying to gather information on: Gameplay responsiveness / General gameplay // Balance and difficulty // Aesthetic aspect of the game.

  1. Gameplay

Every playtesters all had previous experience with first person shooters like Call of Duty, Battlefield, or Lost Planet. I asked them: Do you think that for a FPS, the gameplay was enjoyable and is the lack of movement a turn off for the game.

Overall, they found the gameplay responsive and were not too shocked about the lack of movement. They said that in the initial idea of sniper defence, it is an interesting option. However, one of them did say that moving just on the roof could be also interesting. This was one of our initial idea but I didn’t apply it in my prototype and I still think that at least for this level, being static is better.

I got some reflections about the mouse movement being too slow when non-scoped and too fast when scoped. I tried to reduce that in my prototype beforehand but as it was causing error, I decided to leave it as it was for the playtesting. However, I do agree that this needs to be changed.

They finished about the gameplay being not too hard but maybe a bit too monotonous with only 1 kind of enemies. I completely agree and I could totally add several types of enemies and maybe other weapons and maps to change the gameplay even more.

  1. Balance and difficulty

For the difficulty and balance theme, I asked them: Do you think the game is beatable, do you think your weaponry is sufficient ?

The evolution of the difficulty is accelerated because it is a prototype. It goes from easy to hard to simulate an advancement in the levels. In their opinion the game is beatable. However, they did criticize a bit the firing rate.

They said that the fire rate was sufficient at the beginning (the 90 first seconds) but could be augmented when reaching a certain time. The spawn rate of the enemies was going higher and higher but the rifle was still capped at 1 shot / sec. They suggested that upon reaching a certain time, the rifle could be upgraded or changed to get a more powerful version of it.

I got some words about the bullets not hitting the targets. After some investigation, it seems that the hitbox generated by the navmesh are bigger than the actual elements. So, the city lighting was blocking bullets even though the player isn’t aiming at the pole. This could be patched be manually redoing the hitbox of the elements present on the field.


3. Game Aesthetic

Originally the game should’ve been something in a more greyish tone, more urban. After some thought about it since the rubber ducky was something so strange to put in a game, I decided to stray away from the greyish theme to go into something more mystical. I did create an atmosphere with a nebulous skybox and a crystal-like music. I asked them about their opinion about the general ambiance of the game and the art style.

Overall the game was appreciated. The graphism matched the” rubber ducky madness” pretty well (That’s their words) and the music contributed to the atmosphere giving an ethereal feeling to the scene. They said that maybe a blue skybox would be better suited. It is interesting because I got the same recommendation for the playtesting of game 1. People seem to want blue colours in game.

As I said in the previous playtesting. Even if I like taking recommendations about aesthetic in a game. I think it’s before everything a bias taken by the creator and thus should not really be criticized.

  1. Improvement and recommendations:

-Add a pause function

-Modify the speed of the mouse when zoomed in

-Change the fire rate of the gun

-Redo the hitbox of static elements

– Add a limitless mode where you need to compete for the highest time survived

-Add impacts on the ground to know where you shoot when not aiming

-Add the possibility to kill 2 enemies with 1 bullet

-Add animation for the enemies (Free assets rarely have animations)

-Add more enemies, map and guns


Reflections Game 2 – Jim

During the development of our game design, after exposing our ideas for the style mood and concept, I found it easier to agree upon something with the team. Having already developed something together gave us a better idea of what everyone wanted and on which point we could negotiate. Despite that, I still tried to add a bit more of myself in the game, to get something that would reflect me more in terms of artistic choices. This also give me a better idea on how to design a game even though I don’t really like it. Designing a game is fun, but having to think of mostly everything, every entity beforehand is not what I expected. We are probably more efficient that way, but that didn’t watch my initial vision of game creation.

During the development of game 2, we were initiated to 3D conception with blender. Despite our team composed of mostly (only?) programmers, it gave me an insight on 3D creation and reminded me of why I didn’t choose this major. Even if this is my personal opinion, I find it way harder to create and design 3D object than just programming. However, this might be the same vision design students have of us, so everyone is probably on an equal stand when it comes to game design, creation and programming.

I’m not sure what is the most satisfying in my own work. I find the game building fun in itself, it is not really related to a particular feature of the game. However, if I had to choose about what I prefer in the fact that a project is individual, it would probably be that you can choose the art style of the game: which weapon to use, the mood conveyed by the music etc. Even if gameplay is really important in game, I believe that a good soundtrack and environment is as important as the possibilities of gameplay.

I don’t think you can say there are always ethical issues when building a FPS inspired of recent events. However, and especially in our case with game 2, we decided to pick a game linked with an unusual news (Rubber ducky) and a more serious geopolitical context with terrorism. I’m French and most terrorist attack have been in my country but I don’t feel specially offended by our game in any ways. However, I could understand that some persons (maybe family of victims) could see the game as not suitable or not respectful.