Week 13: Final Game and Trailer

Final Game Trailer Link: https://youtu.be/dz1hrT6t7K0

Final Game:  https://shifujontron.itch.io/meepoos-adventures/download/OgSm_JrPrBLwjDHvBQHZC9oVIdSeFPPv8w3XUaXl

 

Instructions for playing the game:

At the Start Screen, left-click the “Start” button. During the introduction cutscene, press the space bar to advance dialogue. Within the level, the heads-up-display (HUD) consists of a life/health meter on the left, a flower counter in the middle and a vase piece counter on the right. Use the left and right arrow keys to make Meepoo walk in the respective directions. To run, hold down either “Shift” key while walking to make her run. To jump, press the space bar.

Credits:

Reference code by Shaun Spalding

 

 

 

 

Week 12: Sound Design and Finalizing my work

The last task is to add sound to my game. I have to create a little theme that fits my story and style. I’m going for a lighthearted theme, maybe even a bit inspired by 8bit game tunes. The music has to loop throughout the game and probably be used in the trailer, so it is important that it fits and has a pleasant charm. I’m planning to have instruments that have a certain ring to them, to bring out a soft and happy feeling. Perhaps bells or chimes will be used but this will be mainly just me experimenting to compose something. There may be a few sound effects but this will be dependent on time and how much I want emphasize certain segments.

UPDATES: The sound will be heard in my game so if you have a listen, it could be worth while. I used the program, MidiEditor to create my pieces. The start screen theme will have piano, bass, bells and snare drums. The Main theme will have strings, music box and xylophones running through the piece.

Finalizing my Work

This will be my last post to update my workflow and ideas. The final post will have the link to the game trailer and the game linked.

My final week will consist of more bug fixes and a lot more play testing. Going through the game with another person really showcases how straight forward your game is and whether playing the game is worth playing. I found through my play testers that a few parts for the mechanics were confusing, therefore I took their feedback and made some changes. Some examples of this would be moving the floating platforms so that the course would flow better. So I am still working on the code to improve it constantly and playing through it to see if the new music works with it.

I have also created a 1 minute trailer for my game that will be posted on youtube and linked in the Week 13 blog. The trailer mainly shows the cut scene to not give away too much of the game play and keep it mysterious in terms of game play. The music used will be the two pieces I composed for my game.


Game Review: The Lion King (SNES)

How challenging was it to discover the value of the game? The value of this game is represented well because the story is based off the classic film pretty well. Some elements are less focused on as it is Simba’s journey such as the side characters and Mufasa’s death but it still follows through with the dark themes, especially around the end of the game. The values of trust and family really come into play here.

Graphics: 8/10

The graphics are colourful and set moods for each level making it visually stunning. Rich colours are put against muted ones to represent themes and a turn for darker events (such as the setting and colours for the final battle).  The characters themselves (including other animals) are not as expressive in terms of the face, as I thought they’d be but the motions are still well paced.

Sound: 8/10

The classics songs can be heard converted to a midi format which is still extremely catchy and upbeat. It is enjoyable and the songs change with areas and level too which is reminiscent to the film.

Story: 9/10

The story is based on the film itself, so you will have Simba exploring areas in Pride Rock and also battling against the villain. The game goes through each level one by one with different songs representing the mood. The game does however gloss over more heartbreaking parts with Mufasa’s death as it wants to keep the game still playable for younger audiences. While that focus is put more on Simba’s exploration, it does have a level dedicated to Simba leaving because he thinks he caused his father’s death (“Simba’s Exile”) and the ending with battling the villain( Scar) is still quite dark and true to the film.

Controls: 8/10

The controls are quite responsive and smooth which really help in the setting because Simba is constantly on the move, either exploring or running away.

Replay Value:9/10

I defiantly recommend this game and believe it has replay value because it is based on a classic film and is still very true to the story. The music in this makes you want to sing along and reminds the player how beautiful the soundtrack is, even without lyrics. If you enjoyed the film, have nostalgia for it and enjoy a fast paced exploration of the lion King story, then this game is for you.

 

 

 

 

Week 11: Start screen and fixing code

This week will be mainly adding codes for mechanics or editing code in game maker. I have learnt how to use code more effectively and to clean up unnecessary code. This makes the game less buggy and when in need, the code is easier to read and edit.

To update, Meepoo’s collisions are incredibly frustrating at the moment because she gets stuck everywhere. From the walls to the edges of the floors, she just can’t seem to move without getting stuck.  It will be something that I will continue fixing and testing.

I was looking over personal notes and testing the HUD (heads up display) which will be used for the health bar/ flower counter/ vase piece counter. These are things that can’t be interacted with and will just be visual in the game. The text boxes for the cut scene is something I am also starting to finish up. Since they are more of a GUI, they can be interacted with (to skip a text box using the keyboard perhaps?).

UPDATE: Finishing up the text boxes currently and I am adding text to it (script for characters and narrator talking), so there is a lot of rewriting to make sure it is simple and to the point. Surprisingly, this is taking quite some time because I thought I knew the story well enough to come up with character and narrator scripts instantly.  It actually takes a lot of editing to make it flow and understandable.

Coding language is interesting and in terms of coding for game, there are definite differences compared to coding for databases, websites or GUI’s. Using python again was still a challenging experience , even though I had basic knowledge of it. Since I was coding specifically for a game, having that past knowledge for coding databases, websites (HTML), GUI and python really made me understand it more and find errors a lot quicker. Here are a few examples of my coding:

controls
This is the code for the Keyboard inputs (controls). As a side note, I should also show the set of rules early in the game so players know how to play.
collision ground
This code is for the ground collisions. The script checks Meepoo’s contact with the ground tile and stops her from going/falling through it.
fade
This code is for the fade. This goes between rooms (in game maker terms) and it generates a fade transition. It will be used for the start screen, start of the cut scene and end etc.

I have also learnt to use time management better because in game maker, the engine follows your code to produce an outcome and when errors show up, you have to set time for testing and research. I am also learning to code more in depth for mechanics which I haven’t done before so having that success of a sprite moving or collecting something is really nice. I have to admit, I am not great at making a game or coding but I am trying my best to make things work and be less buggy. I have noticed that I am making more notes and changes to my game in order to further develop it. I only hope that the final outcome will be worth while and playable.

UPDATES: I have decided to not use slopes in my game because it creates more problems and I have already used too much time just researching and testing it. Even though I used a method that was a common fix for slopes )which we learnt in class and was online), I found that it caused more problems and still didn’t work.

I have also decided on using one enemy in the first level because while I had planned for two types, I found that the enemy I was more invested into was the Chumps (little blue creatures). The mechanic for admitting flowers took more time to develop as well because of the randomization, therefore I have decided to just use one enemy in level 1 and focus on this mechanic. I am also trying to figure out how to make them spawn from the sky and what amount would be acceptable to fight off. I think having this one enemy is already enough to push the player for obsessing over the vase piece because the more that they are in your way (since they come towards you) , the more you want to defeat them to get to your goal (finding the vase piece). This comes back to the idea that the harder something is to get, the more perseverance we will have to retrieve it. It depends on whether the particular item is a ‘need’ or a ‘want’ and how much we value it.

I also created a start screen for the game to open up with because I felt like it was appropriate.  The background was also for testing the colours and designs. This made it really helpful for shapes and objects. The start screen also includes some objects that i wanted to showcase and the two human characters. It’s not animated but will have some animation on the start button to emphasize it.

startscreen capture with gimp
Start screen includes the main character (Meepoo), Baguette (Friend), Watermelon (object Meepoo could collect if she goes back for Baguette), Vase pieces and a Burr Flower (to increase health)

Game Review: Kirby – Super Star

How challenging was it to discover the value of the game? The value of the game needed more time to be uncovered but from the beginning when the story is told, you get an idea that it is about justice and bringing back balance to Kirby’s home from invaders.

Graphics: 7/10

The graphics are nice and don’t just play towards bright colours in this game. It does have dark elements because of the change in setting and time (from day to night) in the level. The style is less pixel art based as some previous Kirby games have been, it has smoother transitions for colour and shadows which is a nice touch. I did find that this game has a lot of flashing for either boarders or sprites when in battle. This could be tiresome to the eyes and even triggering.

Sound: 8/10

The sound was really enjoyable and had that classic Kirby theme. A lot of whistling and pitched sound effects were used to bring that lighthearted mood. When you complete a task, the main theme that plays to say it was successful was also a piece that was very encouraging and delightful.

Story: 7/10

The story has Kirby go on an adventure to find all the stolen food before everyone in dreamland starves. is still the hero of the story and needs to go confront the enemies, King Dede and his minions. It’s not a rescuing mission but it is still about saving the day and does help reinforce the values.

Controls: 7/10

The controls are simple and there is a very helpful tutorial in the beginning if you are a new player. While it is responsive, I found that the flashing of Kirby constantly made the controls harder because you would get distracted and confused what to use for attacks.

Replay Value:7/10

This game is quite fun, especially in the adventure aspect, however the constant flashing of visuals, especially the main character you play as (Kirby) was very distracting and even tiresome for the eyes. So I wouldn’t recommend this if the player is sensitive or can be triggered by quick flashing lights.

Week 10: Designing the level and the Sprite Sheets

I am now putting all the components together to create the game and this includes all the visuals and implementing the codes for it to run. First I will create sprite sheets for all my characters, objects, platforms and background decorations. By doing this, I am able to see the flow of all the sprites movements, check sizing and check if things are in level with each other or off centered. The sprite sheets have been converted to .jpgs so excuse the quality and blurriness. Here are a few examples of my sprite sheets:

meepoo_throw
Trying the throwing mechanic if watermelon weapon is gained (watermelon only gained if player goes back for Baguette at the end of level 1.) This mechanic and sprite won’t be used for level one but will be used to try out code and develop the game.
meepoo_jump
Jumping Sprite For Meepoo

UPDATE: I ended up only using one of the jumping frames instead of all 10 frames (as seen above) because it made the mechanic crash quite often when changing between a jump, walk cycle and idle sprite. It also lagged less with one frame for the action, keeping it simple. I choose to use frame 6 because it had enough visual information to convey a jump.

meepoo_walk
Walk/acceleration (run) cycle

 

chat_meepoo
Meepoo chatting sprite sheet (used in the cut scene at the beginning)
chat_baguette
Baguette chatting sprite sheet (used in the cut scene at the beginning)
floating_platform
Platform sprite sheet
bg_trees
Background platform decor sprite sheet
health_emoticon
Heath Meter emotions sprite sheet

 

My visuals are then all exported and put through game maker. This is where I have to manually size the collisions for the visuals because even though they started out all in the same sized dimensions, sprites that have motion will have changes in placement of hair and body parts which affect the areas for collision.  So I will be checking this mainly after I have a few platforms down with my background.

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Game Level Designs: Concept/ideas

The game level will be as mentioned in the earlier blog posts but now have everything actually mapped out in Gamemaker. I am starting out with putting the sky in and laying down the first few platforms, adding collision and then bringing in Meepoo and Baguette. They both have to be at the start because that is where they meet and tell the story and tell the player how to play. I am also looking into implementing code for fading transitions and text boxes.

UPDATE: So far I have my characters in and moving, they can both blink and Meepoo has a working walk cycle which can accelerate. She can also jump now with one frame change which was a lot easier and straight forward than using 10 frames for one action (as seen above)

I will keep mapping out my game level design and test areas to see if the character can jump high enough to reach floating platforms, collecting inventory etc.


Game review: Pitfall – The Mayan Adventure

How challenging was it to discover the value of the game? The game has a focus on survival when the elements in the Mayan jungle are trying to hurt you. The player has to use wits and tactics to get out of situations and have a strong sense of timing as well. This is shown through using vines to swing across and battling enemies. The adventure starts because you have to go find you father whom gets kidnapped and shows value of family, safety and intelligence. Once you get into the gameplay, the values become pretty obvious and works throughout the story.

Graphics: 9/10

The graphics were impressive for the time and had a lot of details. Especially in the main character sprite where any action he did would have multiple frames to show motion. Such examples would be when he swings from a vine or lands. There isn’t a scene where his motions aren’t lively and this is extremely strong when he fights and jumps to battle the jaguar. At the time, due to technology and storage space, the layout of the background was essentially a large piece that got split and tiled when making the game. So the backgrounds are held up with tiles but the coding is done very well to hide any notion of split pictures/scene. This saved memory and would have been more work but it was done so seamlessly that it doesn’t distract the player and still allow specific areas of this design to be zoomed in on.

Sound: 9/10

The track that starts off the start screen and cut scene already builds an upbeat sound for adventure. Animal sounds were also incorporated into the gameplay as background noise which made the Mayan Jungle so much more lively and active. The enemies you meet also have build ups of sound which makes you have a sense of urgency when fighting them as they charge at you.

Story: 7/10

The story is simple, you have to rescue your father who has been kidnapped in the mysterious and hazardous Mayan jungle. The process for the story to develop is what pulls the game through and strongly emphasizes on how far you would go to save family. While the story isn’t anything new, it is the process for the story to develop which makes it enjoyable.

Controls: 8/10

The controls are responsive and each motion this main character has is visually stunning to watch. Whether jumping, swinging or using a weapon, the characters details make the simple controls much more lively and seem responsive.

Replay Value:9/10

This was a game that had mixed reviews by people but is still a childhood favorite of mine. I recommend this game and believe it has replay value because the beautiful movements and designs really shows the dedication and effort put into it. The story may be basic where you have to go rescue someone but the adventure, the process was exciting and creative.

Week 9: Designing Objects

This week, I will be focusing on the objects and the mechanics for them to work.

watermelon
Watermelon weapon concepts: For Meepoo’s Attack and is given to her by Baguette.

I have a couple of objects in my game that heavily rely on each other for the game play. An example would be Meepoo’s watermelon weapon that she can use for attacking enemies. The design had to stay consistent with the style and colour palette so I did tests against the platforms and sky background to check this. The watermelon was originally faceless but i decide to make it more cartoony so it felt more like a companion. Since it will be given to Meepoo by Baguette, it could also reference back to him  for that emotional connection. The watermelon will only be given to her if she goes back to help Baguette at the end of level 1. The watermelon is an that you don’t intend to gain but will help in future levels to defeat enemies.

I had to trial a few faces for the watermelon before making the final decision. The face had to be able to hold up a certain cheerful emotion that referenced to Baguette and Meepoo’s friendship and also not overpower the weapon too much.  This object however will not be seen in level 1 and only in Baguettes level (if player chooses to go back for him) and the future levels that wont be made. I wanted to make the design and use it in the start screen to hint that there is another object you can collect, besides the vase.

 

For the flowers, I had to decide on the designs and colours that my concepts didn’t touch too much upon.
I also used opposing colours to emphasize which flowers will be positive (healthy) and which ones will be negative (unhealthy).
20170529_124554
Concepts on how the flowers interact with the chumps
20170529_124614
Here are a few examples of my objects I have created so far:
UPDATE: The flowers that the chumps admit, (as seen below) will have a slightly different mechanic from what I mentioned in the previous blog. I decide that the positive and negative flower will only affect the Freckled Flower counter for lives and not the health bar. This is because it started becoming too confusing when trying explain this mechanic.  So I am keeping them solely for the Freckled flower counter which gives one new life to Meepoo when 10 positive flowers are collected.
health bar snip
Creating the Health meter/life counter with many layers. (The face will having changing emotions for Meepoo’s health status and the numbers are for how many lives she has left.)


Game Review: Super Mario World/ Yoshi’s Island

How challenging was it to discover the value of the game? Once you play through the levels, you start noticing the importance of each character’s roles which enforces the values of friendship and cooperation. Certain areas need team work from both Yoshi and Mario therefore the value is quite easy to notice.

Graphics: 8/10

This is a very pixel art based game but the solid colours and design make it still very appealing to look at. The use of illusions to create visuals were impressive and creative. Something like the water looking semi transparent when moving makes you take another look because there is no transparency on the layer but it is the pixel design and spread of it that makes it look transparent.

Sound: 7/10

The sounds were fun and really reminiscent of other Mario and Yoshi games. It was upbeat and lively to pull through with the adventure and the sound effects only make it cuter.

Story: 7/10

The story is another damsel in distress situation where Princess Toadstool is missing so Mario, Yoshi, and Luigi have to cooperate to find her. While the story is basic and common, the focus on having multiple heroes and for them to cooperate makes this really appealing.

Controls: 7/10

Simple controls that are responsive but nothing too hard  or new. It also definitely has influence from the original Mario 2D platform games.

Replay Value:8/10

I find that this game does have reply value, especially since it is also multiplayer to include friends/family for this experience. The reply value comes in on the adventure because you have to constantly cooperate and switch between characters for their strengths.

 

Week 8: Designing Game Mechanics

Paper Prototype: Testing the Mechanic of my game’s point system and defeating an enemy.

meepoo_paper

Meepoo will have to defeat these enemies called “Chumps” and she will destroy them by jumping on them. A puff of smoke will show up to indicate the enemy’s death and release a flower (object) at random that could either be a positive flower(makes her more healthy) or a negative flower (makes her less healthy).

A change I’ve decided to make was to have the flower (either positive or negative) hold in position on the platform for a while because it allows the player to choose whether to pick it up or not. This change was influenced by the testing of my mechanics and it ended up seeming too forced to have the flower collected once the Chump was destroyed. It keeps the idea of having unexpected outcomes from the players choices (to battle against the enemies) and wouldn’t agitate the player if the randomization created multiple negative flowers that Meepoo would have no choice but to collect.  So this change was necessarily and really brought out when testing my mechanics.

Also, when the maximum amount of flower points are collected (10 flowers), the game will give 1 new life to Meepoo and reset the flower counter to start all over again. There may be a colour change or little animations of stars to emphasize this.

The top left corner has Meepoo’s face as her health bar and every time she gets hit or hurt, it will change colour (from healthy:green to moderate :yellow to unhealthy:red and vice versa) and change her expression (healthy: beaming happiness, moderate: neutral, unhealthy: sad). The life counter, ‘x _number_’ (as seen in the .gif  ‘x3’) will indicate how many lives she has and once she runs out (‘x0’), it will be game over. When Meepoo has collected 10 flowers, her life bar automatically increases (+1 life) and a change of colour or a  few star animations may be used to emphasized this.

The Chumps will spawn out of the sky and slide across the platforms to try come towards Meepoo. When Meepoo stays still (idle), I will implement a code perhaps that makes the Chumps target her more to make it challenging. They will continuously slide across a platform and fall off when there is nothing underneath them. If not defeated or provoked, they will just continue their job and slide across but this just means Meepoo misses out on some flowers opportunities. The more Chumps destroyed, the more possible lives Meepoo can gain.

Using the ‘Clash Royale Pitch v1.1 [1]’ as reference, here are my two visual slides for my game treatment:

Game Treatment.png

Game Treatmentpg2v2SPELLING CHECKED



Game Review: The Old Tree

How challenging was it to discover the value of the game? This was such an interesting find because this game is only one level and is so well paced. The value of the game revolves around a little alien that goes from destination1 to destination2 and in that journey you get to see the destruction that has left the world uncomfortably eerie and destroyed.  It has great pacing to get finish the level but you really do need to go through it entirely before discovering a value.

Graphics: 8/10

The graphics were an interesting choice but blended well to create this sinister, almost ghostly setting. The alien also made it more bizarre and we followed it to it’s destination. The graphics were definitely an aspect I really liked because it looked so different and moody. Muted tones and strong uses for light really made it mysterious and exciting for exploration.

Sound: 8/10

The sound reinforced the uncomfortable visuals as only sound effects would be heard. The emptiness that is created through a quiet setting captivates the player’s attention heavily because you do not know what to expect or what may sudden happen.

Story: 8/10

This was a short game that took me around 15 minutes to complete but the entire 15 minutes were crucial to discover the underlying values such as creativity and expression. The eerie storytelling revolves around the character’s exploration to see the setting rather than tell the player through text.

Controls: 8/10

When clicking around, it reminds the player of PC games such as “Poptropica”  respectively because you explore with the mouse guiding the character.  Also it makes the player curious to travel through the surroundings and explore different choices. Using a mouse clicker makes the controls simple but it does mean that the speed is set at a certain pace. So you do wait for the alien to make it’s way across rather than controlling it with a mechanic of running or jumping which takes some time.

Replay Value:9/10

I defiantly recommend this game and believe it has replay value because while it is a small game with only one level, it satisfies the audience when the adventure is completed. It did not need more levels to make this story grow because the process of exploring already has you hooked for a solid 15 minutes.

 

 

 

Week 7: Game Maker, Backgrounds and Platforms

The background elements are coming along together with the style pretty well. It took a few sketches to decide whether I liked the design as a contentious piece of land that uses tiles to build (repetition of blocks but can assembled in game maker) or have a large layout designed, (reference to the 2D platform Lion King Game) where it is essentially a giant map. Making it a large layout would allow me to split it into titles (reference to how the Pitfall backgrounds are seamless but tiled) and allow specific areas of this design to be zoomed in on. This will mean that when following Meepoo across the adventure, the whole image would already be loaded or have individual parts of land (reference to Kirby) where sections are made and designed instead of a block or tile. There would be more detail this way and I would have a larger chunk that I could still assemble like bricks.

20170529_124510
Background Map Design and object notes

I am leaning towards the full on map design (reference to the 2D platform Lion King game) because I just like designing/drawing the whole image first so i know the layout of the game and where Meepoo would go. Also in terms of art style, it’d be easier to shade the entire piece/colour at once instead of little chucks or segments for me personally. It brings out the mood and theme of my game for me more and therefore i prefer doing the background this way.

20170529_124444
Platform mapping ideas

UPDATE: I changed my mind about having a full on map design because after some testing and research, I found that it was lot more extra work and harder for me to make collisions. This was because it is dependent on each individual design of the integrated platforms.So pre-made collisions would not fit for another platform and each one would have to be done again. Using platforms separately means the collisions stays the same and is reusable, which in the long run can save time and be more versatile.

UPDATE:I decided to not use a water colour theme for my game (as mentioned in an earlier blog) because while developing it, I found that it was more work and time consuming. The main issue was that multiple layers of watercolor pieces were needed for the multiple objects and the background details(trees, stone walls) in the game. I also found that I wanted to have pixel art incorporated into my game. This was because I really liked that nostalgic look from pixel art and how shading is just dependent on creative layering. Mixing pixel art with my transparency edge based characters and designs created a slightly different look, which I quite liked.

My platforms will now be created using pixel art style and sizing. From a distance (when zoomed out) I found that the harsh edges from the style actually looked quite nice against my background. If you look closely, you can tell that the stone elements have the softer edges (grey blocks) and the platforms have stronger edges.

sky
Mockup of background and platforms: Testing design, colour palette and style.

Game review: Kirby Dream Land 3

How challenging was it to discover the value of the game? I found that while being an adorable game, the game manages to put in their values from the start. You meet new friends along the way and have them accompany you across the adventure. You help them out and they return the favor and help protect you (as Kirby). The characters take turns with who is carrying who so they are dependent on each other. Examples of this include characters with no legs that need Kirby to take them around but they also fight off the enemies for Kirby. There is a strong emphasis on the values of relationships, friendships and balance, which is very nice.

Graphics: 8/10

This pixel art based game was a great reference for looking at creative designs. It had an enjoyable and cheerful atmosphere which really brings up the player’s mood. The sprites were adorable and had movements really nice movements due to the amount frames they drew for each motion.  Each character had a decent amount of frames, just for walking or the idle sprites to really push the motion.

Sound: 9/10

The music is so upbeat and has a strong 8bit game feel to it. The music also changes according to where you are in the game so the music isn’t as repetitive and you get a chance to hear something else. The sound effects puts emphasis on the motions, actions and make the game play really lively.

Story: 8/10

The story is also another adventure where you want to help the character get to their goal. There is also a start cut scene which introduces the characters briefly, Kirby interacting with them and the story in a picture format. Interestingly, it isn’t that long but you know the basics for your challenge which is enough. The story uses friendship and balance a lot so that you get to meet new characters and have them help you , while you return the favor.

Controls: 8/10

The controls are responsive and doesn’t lag, it also has a smooth flow from the mechanics too. It is really easy to figure out the basic controls and how to navigate in the game.

Replay Value:9/10

I defiantly recommend this game because it gives off such a charming mood when playing it. You can’t help but hum along to help Kirby and his friends and the cute aspect really helps. Overall the designs are excellent and so is the experience.