Weekly Blog

19.01.18

Today is hand-in day.  I hope my journey from my starting point to my game Final Stretch is clear.  I have definitely learnt a lot along the way.

Making and recording my presentation in advance was extremely useful and I will continue to do this.

I do all my work digitally and I record it and my thoughts in my blog.  I have done what Adam said and didn’t repeat myself for the sake of it in my sketchbook but going forward I will make a point of putting something different in my sketchbook at the end of each week even if it’s just about a reflection I’ve had as a result of a lecture or reading an article and has nothing to do with my game.

18.01.18

My journey through Phase 1 to Phase 4 and my final game idea can be tracked through my weekly blog.

My endless runner game idea started with research into Artificial Intelligence and now it has come full circle where I have to consider artificial intelligence within my game.

My starting point was Artificial Intelligence which highlighted innovations in health.  I then went on to develop the idea of Luke as a dying 20 year old being helped by AI genie.  This further developed to Luke travelling around the world showing his deterioration, similar to Passage ageing and finally I ended up with a more comedic game idea focusing on escaping doctors and nurses and then working through the levels to tick off Luke’s bucket list.

Along the way you will see that I had many game ideas where I spent some time researching  backgrounds, characters, narrative, themes etc and whilst I didn’t take them forward I learnt a lot – I have to be realistic about what one person can achieve on their own, I have to be resilient with feedback, ask others for help, and adapt quickly to make changes. Most of all I need to remember that I can do it!

17.01.18

Today I am going to review the draft schedule in my games proposal document to make sure that my week by week tasks are realistic and achievable.

I am also going to check that my blog is complete.

16.01.18

Today I got some feedback from Adam.  He said my game idea sounded fine, that the class liked it and that my presentation was well received.  He also said my games proposal looked good but that I could flesh out the critical analysis section to include academic approaches and how people get hooked on games (if the there is any out there) so that I don’t make any assumptions about endless runner games and also to see how long themes might be so that I could incorporate that in my game.  He said I didn’t have to do the research by Friday but that I should know what I am going to look at.  I have found some studies and I will take another look at those to make sure that they are appropriate.  He also recommended Nir Eyal’s book, Hooked, How to Build Habi-Forming Products which I have ordered on Amazon.

Adam confirmed that for my assignment, my journey through the development of my game idea should be clear and show that I have reflected on feedback, mistakes, research etc.

I also got some feedback from classmates.  As a result, I will change the movement and I will also look at changing my game so that it doesn’t have levels but has themes as part of the run.  For example, skiing will be a winter theme and New York will be a summer theme.

I have looked at Crossy Road and Steppy Pants because they are endless runner games with themes.

Crossy Road – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Out73NMtuMY

The colours and style of Crossy Road work well for all age groups.

 

Steppy Pants has a similar style and similar colour scheme – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=If2uJuMAYe8

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11.01.18

All the work I did on the Little Big Planet clip was in vain – it wouldn’t play on my presentation.  I’m going to have to revert to the old slide.

Being away on holiday has been quite stressful for getting my work done despite all my preparation and planning. However, it has given me more time to think things through in a more relaxed space and also to write down my ideas.

I got up early and spent some time checking my games proposal notes to make sure I was including everything in my presentation.

I have decided to change the slide on my Unique Selling Point because I don’t think it really gives a feel for why my game is different to all the other endless runner games.  But that slide has made me think about why I want to make the game.  Trying to effectively communicate why I want to make the game is proving to be challenging.   Reflecting back to the very first lecture with Adam this year, he said to think “I can do that”.  But also, I have to consider what it is I want to do in the first place, or as Alan Watts put it “What do I desire?/If money were no Object”.  Adam said to think about how do I make a difference to others and this has come up when I have been thinking about my game idea and pulling together the proposal document.

I am heading into my second and final semester in university.  I want to get a 2:1 and perhaps the best way to do this is to pick a “popular” game.  But I want to stretch myself, take myself out of my comfort zone and learn to code some more.  When I spoke to Sean Bender, CEO of Phoenix Labs, he said to not to focus on the money but to focus on making an entertaining game, so that’s what I’m going to do (if Adam likes my game idea!).

At the end of Phase 1 and 2, I focused on Artificial Intelligence as a starting point.  My three game ideas all had a theme of helping others and I remember having a conversation with Andy about the player finishing the game and having positive energy and a desire to make a difference to the world.  More than a few iterations later, I find myself with a game idea that doesn’t have a theme of helping others but I think it will make people think about making the most of their life and leave them feeling positive.

This brings me back to my USP slide and the job on hand!  Adam thought my games ideas were overly complicated and that a AAA team would have difficulty delivering them so I tried to simplify my final game idea.  I have been concerned that my game would end up being boring as a result.  On reflection, I want to make sure that the design of the game is so good that you want to keep on playing it.

My USP is that Final Stretch is a well-designed game that is fun to play. You will enjoy playing the game because the upgrades and bonuses will be challenging but not impossible to get and will help you achieve longer runs consistently. You will be hooked and I am going to research how to make this happen. (See Critical Analysis Section under Games Proposal document).

https://wordpress.com/post/georgestechworkshopnotes.wordpress.com/406

I have finished my Games Proposal document and revised my presentation and sent them to Adam on Slack to show the class tomorrow.

10.01.18

I looked at my presentation with fresh eyes and I have decided to make some changes.  I don’t think there will be time to watch the whole video on Little Big Planet coding, nor would it be the best use of class time to listen to the small talk from the developer, so I have edited the clip to make it shorter and I will make redo the slide.

Fortunately for me Rhian asked about the critical analysis section of the GDD and followed this up by expressing what I was thinking – I’m still not clear.  Once it was clarified I set to work trying to put down on paper what was running through my head in a bit more detail than I had expressed in the presentation.

For my game to be successful, the player needs to get a little further down the track each time.  Ideally, this needs to be through upgrades and bonuses so I need to figure this aspect out very early on in development.  Since coin collection is the key mechanic I need to make sure that it works well.

This is going to take careful planning and is going to be the most challenging part of the game because it is the make or break aspect of the game.

I’m aiming to make a free to play game (or a token amount say 69p) where you have to play the game consistently over time to get an upgrade. There will be an option to purchase coins and upgrades to progress more quickly but you won’t need to purchase to enjoy the game.  The game will have incremental improvements and

my upgrades will help players achieve longer runs consistently and won’t be very hard to get so you will enjoy the game and be motivated to keep playing.

Most companies try a range of monetisation techniques for free-to-play games. The endless runner genre provides hours of entertainment for players and can still provide income for the developers and games companies through the merits of a good game design.  It’s a bit like when Netflix automatically runs to the next episode and you’re sucked in to watching it – with a good endless runner game you can’t resist just one more go.

It’s getting annoying that games are called free-to-play but in fact they are anything but free to play.  That’s why I’m considering a small charge so players and parents of young kids buying games know exactly what they are buying.

I will definitely not be using microtransactions as a way to make money from my game.

The modified table below is 15 design patterns specific to endless games and their relevance based on a study by CAO, D. (2016) Game Design Patterns in Endless Mobile Minigames, Master Thesis, Malmo University. Available from https://muep.mau.se/bitstream/handle/2043/21375/DavidCao_GameDesignPatternsInEmm_2016.pdf?sequence=2

I will make sure that my game has all the essential elements listed below and I will continue to research throughout the development of my game.

1 Endless mode Infinite gameplay, no winning state, one level Essential
2 Quick progressive difficulty Elevation of difficulty, short-liveliness, difficulty limit Essential
3 Random level generation Progressive addition of level pieces, difficulty of level pieces Essential
4 Protagonist Main character, inter- action through physics Not a necessity
5 Score system Point system, high score Essential
6 Obstacle Impediment, avoidance, dynamic/static Essential
7 Supporting object Helps player, dynamic/static, platform Not a necessity
8 Simple control No complex controls, taps/swipes/tilt Not a necessity
9 Power ups and specials Facilitates gameplay for short period Not a necessity
10 Currency Collected while playing, usage in store, ex- change with items Not a necessity
11 Challenge Specific mission while playing, earn extra coins Not a necessity
12 Character selection Visuals of protagonist Not a necessity
13 Mini tutorial Instructions, graphical/textual Not a necessity
14 Leaderboard Comparison of high- score, global/local Not a necessity
15 Store Buy items/characters, real money/virtual currency Not a necessity

 

Supporting my reflective Journal

Microtransactions are something that I want to research further and I am going to make this the subject matter of my Reflective Journal.  Games companies have introduced “loot boxes” which encourages you to spend money to unlock favourite characters or other in-game rewards.  This is on top of the price for the game which is around £50 so games companies are double dipping.  Normally you could complete the game entirely without spending any money or if you did spend money it would be just for skins or character customisation for mainly aesthetic purposes.

When Star Wars Battlefront 11 was released a member of Reddit posted a comment that he had to spend $80 to unlock Darth Vader.  In response to EA’s claim that you could unlock popular characters by playing the game and that you didn’t have to pay, members of Reddit compiled a spreadsheet that showed it would take 40 hours to unlock a single popular character so they clearly designed the game to get people to spend money.

Another issue is that you don’t necessarily get anything when you pay your money. Baseball card example.

Far worse than the fact that gamers are being exploited, are the charges that microtransactions are a form of gambling and target the vulnerable.

So, what are microtransactions?

Defined by en.oxforddictionaries.com as “A very small financial transaction conducted online” and further ‘analysts believe the company would earn a lot from pay-as-you-go microtransactions’

‘the game derives all of its revenue from microtransactions’

They have been around since at least 2010 but with the increase in smartphones and as a result mobile apps, game companies realised there was a shift and they couldn’t charge the same money for an app as they did for a game and microtransactions took off.

I intend to examine the relationship between manipulative nature of microtransactions and gambling and the lack of regulation for gaming companies when all other sources of online gambling is highly regulated.

There is also an argument that microtransactions target the vulnerable and exploit their weakness, the young or the people with an addictive personality.

“With advancements in machine learning and artificial intelligence, it may become possible that one day publishers can tailor in-game purchases. Like customizing microtransactions to your gaming abilities and price sensitivity to encourage more spending”.  Intelligent Economist.  This takes me right back to my starting point for this game.

There are a lot of studies, articles and posts about the psychology of microtransactions including:

International Journal of Internet Science, 2015, The Hidden Cost of Microtransactions: Buying In-Game Advantages in Online Games Decreases a Player’s Status

Laurijsen, D.W.J., Tilburg University, Running head: MICROTRANSACTIONS AND PLAYER SATISFACTION.

 The Troubling Psychology of Pay-to-Loot Systems http://www.ign.com/articles/2017/04/24/the-troubling-psychology-of-pay-to-loot-systems

Activision Patents Matchmaking That Encourages Players to Buy Microtransactions

https://kotaku.com/activision-patents-matchmaking-that-encourages-players-1819630937

The Physiology of Gaming

https://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/RaminShokrizade/20180108/312629/The_Physiology_of_Gaming.php

Park Associates, Trends in Digital Gaming: Free-to-play, Social, and Mobile Games

http://www.parksassociates.com/bento/shop/whitepapers/files/Parks%20Assoc%20Trends%20in%20Digital%20Gaming%20White%20Paper.pdf

Eira A. EkreThe Whales of Microtransactions, and the Elephant in the Room

https://modelviewculture.com/pieces/the-whales-of-microtransactions-and-the-elephant-in-the-room

Microtransactions: the scourge of the industry

http://mancunion.com/2017/09/25/microtransactions-scourge-gaming-industry/

I looked at my presentation with fresh eyes and I have decided to make some changes.  I don’t think there will be time to watch the whole video on Little Big Planet coding, nor would it be the best use of class time to listen to the small talk from the developer, so I have made the clip shorter by and I will make a different slide.

09.01.18

I found an articles online advising me that I could get competitor information for free.

https://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/JustinCarroll/20170313/258979/How_to_Research_Your_next_Games_Target_Audience_for_Free.php

I decided that the three games I wanted information on were Jetpack, Joyrider, Dead Ahead and Knightmare Tower and if possible Little Big Planet.  According to the article it’s very easy to access free data.  After spending a lot of time on this turned out not to be the case.  To access Google Adworks you have to have a business, a google account and provide credit card details.

I did however manage to find the audience research below with App Annie by opening a free account with them.

Dead Ahead

https://www.appannie.com/apps/google-play/app/com.mobirate.deadahead/details/

Jetpack Joyride

https://www.appannie.com/apps/ios/app/jetpack-joyride/details/

Knightmare Tower

https://www.appannie.com/apps/ios/app/knightmare-tower/details/

05.01.18

I reviewed my presentation and recorded the slides.  I have found recording what I wanted to say to the slides in advance to be much better than trying to speak concisely on the day of the presentation.  It also kept me focused on the time and not over running.  From now on this is what I am going to do when I have a presentation.

04.01.18

I spent some of this morning working on my Writing to Publication Assignment which is 95% finished.  I’m going to look at it with fresh eyes later.

Pulling together the presentation is more time consuming than I thought it would be.  I need it to be a short version of the games design document but it needs to sell the game.

I also need to find some interesting repetitive music that is royalty free for my game.  Most of the music is too slow for an endless runner game.

Example of some that I have looked at.

 

 

I have made the presentation but now I have to add the images and the music. I used the technique that Adam taught us about finding different words to express what we are thinking to simplify things.

03.01.18

I’m feeling the pressure today.  My parents booked a ski holiday the week of the presentation not realising that I couldn’t just fit my work in when I was away.  I’m missing a key session.

I contacted Adam on slack to let him know that I would send my presentation in advance to him and and the class.  He has suggested that I record my presentation in advance and send a youtube link which he will play for the session.  It’s obviously not going to be as useful as being in the session but at least I can get feedback.  I’m not going to let anyone book me on any holidays until June!

It’s a tight deadline but luckily I planned my work knowing I would miss a week.  Recording the presentation in advance might even help me be concise and cut out anything that’s not relevant.  A silver lining?

02.01.18

I am focusing on my Games Proposal and presentation today.  This should help me fill in any gaps when it comes to the game.  I find it difficult to focus because I keep coming up with new ideas and I have to remember that I am not working for a company with unlimited resources and that I will have to make the game myself.  My goal is to complete the games proposal this week.

I also have to balance my time because I also have to complete my Writing to Publication assignment.

30.12.17

I worked on different vehicles for variety for the New York street level.  You will be able to jump over some of them but others you will have to move out of the way.

I have changed the layout of the background so that the game play is clearer.

 

29.12.17

This is a mock-up of the hospital level but it also shows the art style that I am going for. Not everything is the right proportion at the moment I am going to continue to work on that.

I was originally going to have the stamina bar in the top left hand corner but then I realized it looked clustered and blocked most of the background, you would also have to keep looking up. Stamina is something you would look at more frequently so I moved it above Luke’s head so the player wouldn’t have to lose focus by looking to the corner, you can see the stamina clearly as you play. This doesn’t apply to the coin icon because you can see the coins on the map and once you have collected them you know you have them.

Screen Shot 2017-12-29 at 11.30.10

Looking at this image I think I will change the background by moving the doors closer to the ground (they look like they’re levitating!) and to make it easier to see the timer. If I had put the doors lower down on the floor it would have meant there was more room for the timer and the stamina bar so it was a happy accident that I realized that it would make more sense to move the stamina bar. Also, in this level Luke should be wearing hospital clothes and have a bag with his escape clothes in it. I will make sprite sheets for this.

I intend to animate all these characters and levels.

28.12.17

I’m working on my GGD and presentation.  It’s interesting to articulate how my ideas  have developed, for example, I chose an Endless Runner game because I thought it would fit well with my story.  It’s also interesting how other games subconsciously spring to mind. I know that I need to be mindful that my game look uniform across the levels and I don’t switch art styles.

I have some concerns about both my game proposal and also when I come to making my game specifically;

My main concerns for the proposal

Simplifying it enough that it’s doable but not boring

How to differentiate my game (USP) how to express this?

That I meet my personal objectives

 My main concerns for the game

Coding for specific levels like skiing and skydiving

Making sure the movement works which is key for coin collection

Having enough levels of the right length (research to support my decision)

 

27.12.17

I worked on Luke’s bucket list.  In addition to obvious places like the busy streets of New York and skiing in Austria I researched other iconic places that may be of interest to players by looking at Lonely Planets Ultimate Travelist which ranks the best 500 places on the planet.

I added the Temples of Angkor in Cambodia, The Great Barrier Reef in Australia, Machu Picchu in Peru, The Great Wall of China, Petra in Jordan, British Museum in London and Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia.

Looking at photos of these destinations, I think that the colour is going to be an important aspect of the environment, for example, Petra is sunny with orange/brown/red hues and Salar de Uyuni is mainly blue and white colours.

The cartoon like game environment is coming together in my head.

 

22.12.17

I continued to work in Illustrator creating versions of Luke’s character to give me an idea of what he could look like.  I also started to generate my first car idea for the streets of New York.

 

20.12.17

I worked in Illustrator making obstacles for the level when Luke escapes from hospital so that in my presentation will give an idea of what they would look like in the game. I created doors, puddles of waters, a hospital bed and a drip

 

Screen Shot 2017-12-20 at 11.40.19

19.12.17

I worked in Illustrator to create images for my game which I will code in the second semester.  I also made some sprite sheets of the stamina bar.

 

 

Screen Shot 2017-12-19 at 12.14.15

15.12.17

I redesigned more doctor/nurse characters Screen Shot 2017-12-15 at 13.19.58

Rubber hose animation for characters.

13.12.17

I have revised the plot so that it doesn’t centre on Luke ageing and is more focused on doctors and nurses chasing him.

Storyline

Luke makes a bucket list of places to go and things to do. I will have an image on the screen with Luke and a piece of paper headed bucket list.

Luke decides to sneak out of the hospital. The doctors and nurses realise he gone and lock down the hospital so that he can’t leave. This level will include alarms when Luke is running and obstacles like gurneys and drips in his way and doors closing around him to portray that there is no way out. When something hits him it slows him down and you get visual feedback e.g. animation.   At the end of the level a shutter will come down to prevent Luke leaving and Luke just about slides under the door but in his haste drops his bucket list. The list then becomes the tool for the doctors and nurses to figure out where he is going and also acts as the level selection.

There will be an animation of the doctors and nurses huddling around the list which will then fade to black to reveal the title of the game. Working title ‘Final stretch’.

I will create assets, concept art, sound effects, animations of all of the above using Adobe Illustrator and Unity.

Each level will have a different perspective. For example, when Luke is in the New York level, the view and game mechanics will be horizontal. Insert image.

When he is skiing, the view will be vertical at an angle to mirror what it’s like to go down a slope. Insert image

When Luke is skydiving, the view will be completely vertical as he is falling down.

I would like to be able to move Luke through different planes for example, if Luke is running down the middle and there is an obstacle in his way, he will be able to move right or left to avoid it and be a different side of a screen.

My idea is to use the doctors and nurses as adversaries. In the game they will attempt to stop Luke by using firing “weapons” at him as he skis’/runs/paraglides etc. My intention is to make the weapons fun, for example, instead of a net being thrown over Luke a big plaster will be thrown over him to slow him down. Other ideas include a grenade that is a pill (image) a syringe, defibrillators etc.

I need to keep all assets and animation separate, for example, the hospital will assets and animation will be in one place and the New York assets and animation will be saved somewhere else.

12.12.17

12.12.17

Today in class I discussed my game idea with James.  One of my personal goals this year is to improve my coding skills and this is the area of main concern for me when creating my game. James confirmed that my idea was good and I should think about incorporating the doctors and nurses and how Luke doesn’t want to stay in a hospital waiting to die. I thought of ways that the doctors would try to capture Luke after finding his bucket list to keep him bed bound.

bucket list

I made this in Adobe Illustrator as a prototype of Luke’s bucket list.

 

7.12.17

I need more visuals and more mood boards i.e. style tiles (website)

I looked at the style of art that I would like to create and I found games like Bendy and the ink machine. After realising that my 2D fighter was going to be harder and more complicated to make than I thought, I decided to go forward with doing my endless runner idea because it was more visible and I can make concept designs and after getting the go ahead I would focus on making my 2D designs into 3D models and create computer generated environments.

Games that I researched today were passage game, top endless runners, Canabalt, every day the same dream, minit, dead ahead, Knightmare Tower, Jetpack Joyride, passage.

When talking to Adam about my narrative and game mechanic idea being an endless runner he told me that showing a narrative inside the endless runner would be difficult and that using cutscenes to display narrative in the endless runner would take away focus. I asked if I still needed to follow the theme of having AI in my game or could I just focus on the message I wanted to send in the game and Adam said yes I could as long as the game works.

New Idea: Always forward/ Forward Always (still carries the same message) 

My new idea is still an endless runner and the focus of the game is still about living life, making the most of the time you have left and to be selfless.  In the game you still play as a boy named Luke who loves to be fit and active after an AI has diagnosed him to have a rare incurable disease that none of the doctors could figure out. The AI tells Luke to live his life to the full so he travels the world exploring. In each level Luke’s condition gets worse, starting off in the second level with a limp, then crutches, then a wheel chair, then a wheeler bed etc but Luke never gives up until the end of the game where the player can’t move him any further. I’m also considering a twist at the end when the AI has become smarter and gathered more data which enable it to come up with a cure.

This way I think I can show the narrative and the important message of living your life to the full and that we should all make the most out of the time we have left.

Time Constraint: selfless acts of helping others but by doing this will give you less time to complete the level.

Level environments: Levels have different weather types/hazards and Luke condition will effect how you go through the level.

5.12.17

I went through solo work finalising my ideas.

29.11.17 Phase 3 completion

Everyone presented their games and went through what they wanted to create and what style it would be in narrative, mechanically, character etc.

My games ideas are in my presentation but to summarise I had 3 game ideas.

The first idea is a 2D point and click narrative game around discrimination.

The second idea is a 2D fighting game about a boy who is being bullied and can access his memories to possitively change how he deals with it.

The third idea is an endless runner game about an AI genie granting a dying boy wishes.

Phase 3 Presentation

 

IMG_0071

Feedback from the class was that the first game idea, point and click,  should have multiple choices in the direction of the narrative and expressive emotional dialogue boxes.  They said that it would be very difficult to make.

My second idea (which was my favourite) was badly received because it was perceived to be a Disney game which would also need a Disney AAA team to make and therefore impractical.

The feedback for the third game idea was that it wasn’t fleshed out enough.

Adam said that my ideas were overly complicated and that I had to simplify them since I was the only person creating the game and not part of an AAA team.

My task for the next phase to simplify one idea and present it to the class.  I also have to produce a games proposal document to support the game and sell the idea in January.

28.11.17

Today in class we looked at resource management by testing a board game out created by James and creating rules to add to the experience.

I also finished my rotoscoping on Illustrator

Screen Shot 2017-11-28 at 12.18.46

I experimented with colour on Photoshop trying to mimic Disney backgrounds.

Focusing on my anti-bullying game idea I wanted my environment to be dark and scary.  I looked up the Lion King with Scar, Sleeping Beauty etc.

I have recreated an image to depict my style

Screen Shot 2017-11-28 at 14.06.04

22.11.17

In class I worked on my rotoscoping. I got Tom to take a video of me in fighting positions.  I took screenshots of the video traced over them in Adobe Illustrator.  I will use it as a prototype to show during my presentation. This isn’t going to be the style I use for my game but I just wanted to experiment on how I could make it work.  I used black and white for simplicity and I’m not using myself as a character because I want a more cartoon like art style.

Screen Shot 2017-11-24 at 10.58.44

21.11.17

Today with James we spent the entire morning working on our own game ideas and he was available for advice if we needed it. I focused on developing State Machines and working on my art styles research.

https://wordpress.com/post/georgestechworkshopnotes.wordpress.com/139

I am beginning to focus on a 2D fighting game with an anti- bullying theme.  I got the idea of rotoscoping because I’m not great at drawing bodies.

Reading Week

My one-to-one with Adam was very helpful because he looked through all my work and told me to focus on figuring out the mechanics of my three games and gathering images that would help me create the art style for my games.

IMG_0070

10.11.17

Instead of Adam’s lecture, I had a one-to-one with Andy who I hadn’t seen since first year when he taught me about the mechanics of games and why they’re important.  During our conversation I showed him the ideas I had generated to do with AI leaning towards being more narrative driven.

Andy gave me good advice about avoiding the cliches of story telling and looking up authors like Phillip K Dick and William Gibson and TV shows and movies like Electric Dreams and Blade Runner. We talked over different concepts of story telling and whether or not I could do an interactive, video, animated story.

I looked up Phillip K Dick later and discovered that he is a sci-fi writer and that he  wrote the book that the original Blade Runner movie was based on.  It was called Do Androids dream of Electric Sheep. The book theme’s included empathy, real vs. unreal, mind control etc. all good themes for games.

William Gibson coined the phrase “cyberspace” and he is credited with “renovating” science fiction.

I went to see Blade Runner 2049 and I liked the neon lights, the dark atmospheric colours and serious tone so I’ll consider this in my game.

7.11.17

Today I redesigned and organised my WordPress to make it easier to navigate.

I also looked at Pinterest for inspiration and started gathering more images about AI and thinking about my three game ideas during Phase 3.  The topics that keep coming up in my head are emotions i.e. compassion, anger, sorrow etc and helping people. I also keep thinking of my game as a 2D side scroller where the design for the characters and background keep changing throughout the game starting with pixels art and then changing from there.

I want my game to be narrative driven and to focus on what it means to be human. In the afternoon we went over genetic code algorithms where we watched AI play a level on Super Mario on its own. It failed and got stuck repeatedly during the level on enemies and obstacles in the game i.e. pit falls, pipes etc. After endless test speed up in the video the AI was eventually able to get through most of the level without fail.

 

 

We then experimented with movement algorithms where we directed people in our class on where to move.

3.11.17 Phase 2 completion 

I handed in Version 1 of my project proposal document.  I also presented the main findings from my research into Artificial Intelligence.

IMG_4761

The feedback from my class was that AI was a huge area and I had covered a lot.  They said that I need to narrow it down a bit to focus my game ideas.  The area of AI is huge and there is a lot of debate and controversy at the moment and I was trying to inform and reflect that in my presentation but I agree that it’s a lot to take in.

31.10.17 

One to one feedback with James

In James lesson today we all had a one to one with him just talking about our game idea and what ideas we had taken from our research. Talking to James was helpful.  We talked about how I could make a game about AI helping people and making lives better. I wanted people to think about how to be more positive and get more from life after they finished playing the game.

I started to develop my game ideas with this in mind.

27.10.17

Adam gave us some paragraphs to analyse which were overcomplicated.  We then went over phrases and analysed what each word meant on its own, for example, ‘enhance’ i.e. increase, upgrade, pyramid, value etc. He said in a lot of briefs, people use terms and phrases to sound more intellectual but that if we break down the words we can find more meanings which can help us generate more ideas through this different meanings and connotations.

We then went through what was expected for next Friday because that will be the end of Phase 2 of looking at our chosen idea path.

24.10.17

In James lesson we went through class dependency and why it’s important using class structure/ architecture diagrams. We talked about how similar classes depended on each other like Power Up and Power Move because the mechanics in each of the classes rely on each other to work properly. James also said that when working on code it’s important to communicate because someone might be coding a class system that can help yours.

 

Later we went on to learn about the Markov chain: transition matrix and probable market and how they work together. We worked in teams to figure out the equations and it was fun learning about statistics and seeing how the marketing world worked and how important percentages and understanding the market is.

PHASE 1 COMPLETION: 20.10.17

This morning we all came in and uploaded our presentations onto a folder on a computer and then gave our presentation to the group. Everyone had interesting and unique ideas to show ranging from space architecture, spirituality, animals, mythology, nature, alternative timelines and existentialism. We had 8 minutes to present our four ideas and everyone had very interesting ideas and did really well.  My ideas were, natural disasters, health/fitness, AI and new technology.

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Adam set up this conversation area where we could write notes and advice for the people presenting and vote for what ideas we liked the most.

The feedback I got was very useful.  For natural disasters the class said that it would be hard to make a game about natural disaster in a fun way especially because there is a lot of natural disasters in the world at the moment, hurricanes etc, and a game might just be too insensitive. The class thought that it would be hard to figure out how to make a game trying to predict new technology and it might be overtaken quite quickly.  The class thought that health/fitness might be an area to make an educational game for children and the whole area of AI was cool, what was happening and the moral dilemmas.  It was suggested that the two area that more scope and possibilities for fun and interesting game were Health and AI. Taking on board their feedback and the fact that evermore was more enthusiastic about my AI starting point, I’m going to do further research into this topics for Phase 2.

17.10.17

Today in James lesson we learned about the structure of code and class systems. We went through each step by doing one action, line by line, define words/variables, table of variables, look through all functions/make functions table and to see what already exists that could help you solve functions.

Learning these steps helped understanding how to blueprint a class system much easier.

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In the afternoon we went over mono behaviour classes and player attributes. The mono behaviour class system was more easy to understand because it was simply coding and making actions/inputs for stuff like jumping and running. What was complicated was matries which was to do with a matrix being a vector of a real vector (A0, A1, A2, A3.)

We went over addition, subtraction, scalar multiplication and matrix transportation which after a few group exercises and attempts I was able to manage.

13.10.17

Today we went over systems and simulations.

11.10.17

Today in class we studied what a Truth table, Control flows and Probability tress are and also played Street Dice which made for a very entertaining lesson. Screen Shot 2017-10-10 at 17.16.44

Learning about specific variables and statements was interesting like PQ being: and, or/both, exclusive. We used examples like brown hair both being true or brown hair hair with blue eyes one being false which thanks to the table made things easier to understand.

After that we designed our own code and talked about onto Fundamental control forms which went over actions being true or false and what happens if parameters are meet.

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We then looked at probability trees and played street dice testing the theory of what we would get more of move or stay when we rolled the dice.

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07.10.17

I looked through the brief and the documentation to remind myself of what to focus on during Phase 1 which is the next 3 weeks. Thinking about the good start/bad start tutorial I need to create an action plan of what I will research for example, case studies and journals. I also need to plan my time well so that I can complete my Writing to Publication assignment.

3rd Year Launch: 06.10.17

We were given our brief today for Year 3. To inspire us we worked in pairs writing up ideas about what springs to mind when we think of the words happy, sad, angry etc. The exercise was creative and fun because after we wrote our ideas down, we all went through what ideas were the strongest within each emotion that might translate well into a game.

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Rhys and I were partners and after brain storming we found the most interesting topics  and the strongest ideas for a game are Natural Disasters, New Products (future technology), Culture (evolution) and Social Parties (time periods).  The next three weeks are research weeks where each of us will come up with ideas for a game, research them in detail until we know more about our subjects and then whittle them down to four starting points to present to the class to move forward with. Adam gave us some advice from the previous third year students, with was reassuring and helpful.  He also told us that some of our ideas may not necessarily make good games but that it was the learning process and our development that counted.

Back from Summer: 02.10.17

Today in class we went over what we have learnt throughout our 3 years of study and brushed up on some the things we may have forgotten because during the next few weeks we will be going over variables, functions, memory and return types, game architecture, object orientation, building worlds and designing code.

James also said that we would have 1 to 1 sessions if we needed help with coding or our work which was excellent and reassuring news. We went over variables and functions today trying to make our own code for inside a game i.e running, flying etc.Screen Shot 2017-10-03 at 16.47.03Screen Shot 2017-10-03 at 16.50.56

In the afternoon we learned about Linear Congruential Generation (seed value), Factorials and Binomial Coefficients (combinations), Percentile Mechanic (skills) and Binomial Distribution (probability).

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Linear Congruential Generation was interesting and got easier once you got used to the maths which is not my strongest skill. It’s been a while since I’ve done maths but seeing the remainder as a random number and having to do a value from a physical event like the amount of cards in a deck was enjoyable.

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I found Percentile Mechanic to be  most enjoyable because it reminded me of all the key mechanics in open world games like Elder Scrolls: Skyrim and Fall Out because it had to do with class skill systems which make a huge impact in gaming story and online.

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Binomial Distribution was just about probability which still does play an important part in gaming i.e facing off against an opponent far stronger than you or making a shot from a distance or against an enemy whose heavily fortified.

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