Archive for the ‘ Game Design ’ Category

Board Game Design: Stop the Oil!

This semester, I’ve been enrolled in a pretty cool and interesting class: Game Design Workshop. The cool part about it? We make board games! It’s challenging and fun, and has most certainly been helping me better understand game design. So far in the class, I’ve created a total of four board games along with other classmates for most of them, but today I am going to focus on one in particular. “Stop the Oil!” is a game about cooperating with your teammates to clean wildlife and clean up the BP oil spill currently affecting the Gulf Coast.

My friend Nigel and I created a group together, and began thinking up game mechanics after I suggested making a game about cleaning up the BP oil spill. The requirements for the game included incorporating a fog of war element, cooperative game play over competitive, and some but not necessarily all of the components in a “piecepack.” The Professor provided us with the “piecepack,” which included twenty-four tiles with various numbers and suits, six-sided die, circular tokens, and player tokens. We decided to use the dice and the tiles for our game, and spent a day play testing to figure out how the game would work and what mechanics we wanted to implement. We also had to include an “alien” in the game, which was a rather loosely used term. Most other games in the class used a literal alien, though not all. Our “alien” was the BP employee, which was one player who would attempt to sabotage the other players in a secretive and cunning manner. After several play tests, we developed an interesting game play that seemed to work. We still needed to polish the game, fix a few mechanics, clarify the rules, and finish implementing the “alien’s” dastardly methods, when suddenly, Nigel got sick! I attempted to play test the game in class by myself, and my Professor actually came over, learned the rules, watched how the game play worked, and offered several very insightful suggestions. The core of the game play remained the same throughout most of the design, although the aesthetics were altered, with permission from the Professor of course, to better fit the game’s theme. Now that the game is nearing completion, I thought I would share!


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Welcome to the World of Sprites

As many of you know, I am always full of ideas for games, but fail to execute them, so I think it’s time I began work on my first real game. No, I’m not talking about my horror game; I am waiting to create that until I feel I have adequate knowledge of game engines to do the game justice. In other words, I will continue to do design work for my horror game, but will not begin to make it a playable game until I have more experience. At this point, I am on my third semester at the University of Advancing Technology, and most certainly do not have enough experience with editors or even design to comfortably lead a project. So here’s the plan, and I suggest it to any other up-and-coming designers: make a game, a simple game. And what better way to start simple than with the world of sprites!

For the next month or two (maybe more, depending how things go), I will be designing and creating an executable game in Game Maker. If you know me, then you know I adore oldschool games and 8-bit graphics, which is why I’ve decided to do all my own graphics, rather than using other people’s sprites. The game will have a more oldschool feel to it, while bringing in new game play mechanics that were not seen during the era of the 8-bit. I also plan on creating my own polyphonic tones to use in the game, although at this point in production, I am not focusing on sounds, and they will most likely come last in production, during the polishing stage, as I have yet to figure out exactly how to make my own. If this fails, I will probably use free sound effects and music that fit the game. So don’t expect any sounds in any demos I release, or if there are any sounds, they probably won’t be the final versions used.

Why sprites, you may ask? Well, quite frankly sprites are easy and simple. They’re small, usually fairly quick to make, don’t require a lot of animation, and are just easy to work with, especially for beginners. There are loads of games out there using sprites, and there are lot of really fun ones. Furthermore, sprites appeal to a wider audience than, say, the graphics in Final Fantasy XIII. Sprites don’t have a lot of detail, but they are lovable, whether you’re an eight-year-old or an eighty-year-old or somewhere in between. As fantastic as the graphics in Final Fantasy XIII are, they do not appeal to everyone, and I know quite a few people who would never play the game because the way it looks. Visually pleasing your audience can certainly be a challenge, but for simplicity and fun, I prefer sprites.

For now, I’m still playing around in Game Maker to learn the editor inside and out, as well as grinding out mechanics and story for the game, so check back soon for more posts, and possible demos and screenshots, of the game!

Prehysteria

Prehysteria was designed as a final project for a “Game Concept Design” class I took my first semester at UAT. It was written as a 35-page game doc.


WHAT I LEARNED

Prehysteria was the first full-length game doc I wrote.  It took a lot of work considering I’ve never written a game doc before, but I managed to get 35 pages and I’m really proud of it. Obviously, it’s nothing I really plan to make into an actual game, but it was a fun project that combined two of my interests: dinosaurs and video games. I wanted to do something new with this game, and I think I achieved that with the idea of playing an RPG with characters that are not human-like in appearance. This same new concept, however, could be the major flaw of the game; since the characters are not human-like, it could make it difficult for players to connect with their characters, rendering them uninterested. The game also combines several different genres into an RPG, which I think could be done effectively in other RPG’s to produce a more unique and intriguing experience.
Overall, Prehysteria was a stepping stone for future projects, and has given me some good insight on incorporating other genres’ elements into a different genre.


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Mission: Design an Arcade Game

My first semester at UAT, I took a class entitled “The Evolution of Electronic Games,” which was essentially a history class on video games. While most of the classwork involved reading and quizzes to test our knowledge of the text book, we did have one project which caught my interest. The assignment was to design an arcade game that would be probable during the Golden Age of Arcades. Below is my concept, along with some art of what the game may have looked like.


WHAT I LEARNED

This was really the first game that I actually wrote any kind of valid documentation for, so that was interesting for me. The original template the professor provided was a lot shorter than my finished product, as I did a lot of research on how game docs were written to make a clearer description of what I wanted for the game. I had a lot of fun writing up this concept because, well, I’m an arcade junkie; I can’t get enough of those old school games. I found myself researching the hardware for arcades of the time, and although the designs of arcades then were typically extremely simple, I wanted to make things a bit more complicated, while still keeping that “old school” feel.
Overall, I feel that this concept was a success. I accomplished the goal I set out to, and managed to make the design my own. I really loved this idea, and I may revisit it when I learn Adobe Flash in the future.


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