Thursday, October 29, 2015

The finished game

Here we are, the finished game. What you see above is the game that will be presented tonight at the closing ceremony. It contains all the art, all the features, all the effects and more than we hoped when we started the project. The game in this state is considered done.

We are proud of what we accomplished and it was a great experience making a game together in Seattle WA, USA. The journey from nothing to a finished game was long and at times hard, but it payed off and we are proud of what we have accomplished. I(Mads) want to personally thank all of the readers of this blog, it was fun writing, I enjoyed it a lot.

Almost at the finish line, sound and more polish - Progress report #10

We added the sounds to the game and polished some last things in the game.

If you have sound on, you can hear that a pretty important and valuable part of the game has been added. Sound! Our artist and team leader, Mathias recorded sounds with our artist, Watson. The sounds were edited by Mads and implemented in the game by Daniel. Adding the sounds has really improved the feeling of the game, giving all the actions a a much stronger impact. 

The sounds were recorded in a soundproof room with a sound effects recorder. The countdown is voiced, when the seasons change Watson, the announcer, also announces which season it is. When someone wins, it's also announced which season it is. Having sounds takes the game from a work-in-progress to something that feels more complete, something enjoyable.

The map's obstacles are also randomly placed now, giving the map a new feel every time you play the game. This makes it more difficult to master the game as no two maps feel the same. Sometimes all the obstacles are on one side and there is a huge open area, sometimes they are evenly scattered and so on.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Art and polishing - Progress report #9

The game is nearing the finish line. The last art and more is implemented in the game.

As you can see, the game looks a lot more complete now that things like the particle effects and the last placeholder art has been replaced by the final art. In this version of the game, the boss' projectiles are a lot faster than usual, but this is not final. The final speed of the projectiles have yet to be decided. You may have noticed that the summer character has it's particles falling off her all the time. This is sand and it is to show that she is flying as opposed to walking or running like the other characters.

The characters are also getting their own seasonalized projectiles. The leaf you see here is the projectile used for the fall character. A pile of leaves firing a leaf as it's shot. The snowman also has it's own projectile which has been used since the first playable state of the game, the ice projectile. Only the summer and the spring character needs their own projectile now.

Today we also got a lot of feedback from a play-test that our teachers did. They came with a lot of valuable input that we will be considering and implementing over the next few days to make sure the game is completely done.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

New snowmen, aiming arrow when shooting - Progress report #8

Finally, the snowmen that has been the characters up until now are beginning to be replaced by the actual art. Placeholders out, final art in. An arrow for aiming the shots have also been added to make it clearer where you are shooting.

As requested by some players, an arrow has been added to indicate which direction you are shooting. This is because there are two ways of aiming your bullets in the game. There are still the normal controls where your bullets are aimed in the direction of your movement, but recently there was another control scheme added. If a player chooses to, he can use the other analog stick to aim his shots independently from the movement. However this made it, at times, unclear which direction you were shooting. A arrow was added to make it instantly clear which direction you are shooting.

There is a small amount of debate as to whether or not the arrow is having a positive impact on the players performance. I, myself, really prefer having the arrow there. But some of the other players, including Daniel the programmer is saying that it's making him play worse. A thought among us arose that it's not because the player is performing worse, but because the player is becoming aware of his aim.

These are the new snowmen! Finally, the final art for the snowmen has arrived. The increase in detail and cuteness is high. To the left we see the snowman in small mode, being small and cute. To the right we see the snowman in boss mode, big and scary. Side by side here, they are equal size, but in game the snowmen different sizes, of course. Now the only character that is left is the summer character and it should be coming right along.

Last environmental art, win condition - Progress report #7

More art for the game as well as a win condition, have been implemented!

To finish off the showcase of the environmental art, here is what the different seasons' floors look like when the seasons change. Mossy stones, snowy stones, leafy(?) stones and just regular stones for summer and no season. This ties into the obstacles that was showcased in the last post. So when the spring obstacles are shown, the mossy floor is also shown. However a decision was made to not include the leafy stones for the fall. It just didn't look right when the leaves were repeated on the entire floor.

A win condition has also been added to the game, finally making it winnable. Before, there was actually no way to win the game, it never ended. Now there is a way to determine who won and who has lost. When a player reaches a set amount of kills, the game ends and the player has won! This makes the game significantly more competitive and exciting, because the game has an end.

Monday, October 19, 2015

New controls and lots of new art - Progress report #6

The game now has more traditional twin-stick controls and a bunch of new art has been made!

A lot of new refinements have been made to the game since last progress report. The core gameplay is the same as last post, like the shooting, the boss mode. However, a lot of graphical improvements have been made. There is now a dynamic environment that changes based on which seasonal character is the boss. When there is no boss, the generic background is used to indicate that there is currently no boss.

These are the new characters for fall. The pile of leaves is the character when it's small and the whirlwind is the fall character in boss mode. When the player controlling the character reaches a point with enough charges, the pile transforms into the whirlwind of leaves. We chose the whirlwind because fall is characteristically windy and feels strong.

Here you see the different seasonal themes of the obstacles. When the summer character becomes the boss, the flowers grow in the box. When it's winter, the pine trees grow, during fall it's the fallen leaves that clutter the box. Finally during spring it's grass and sprouts growing. This adds flavor and gives the game a dynamic feel, making it more exciting and have more impact to be the boss. We want you to feel strong and victorious when you are the boss!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Reaching playable state and more art - Progress report #5

From the work done yesterday (Monday) and today (Tuesday) our game has reached a more or less playable state! More art has also been done for the characters

From the video above, you can see we have had massive developments since the last video. Now you can shoot instead of having a melee attack. The boss mode is now implemented, giving the game the 3v1 aspect that I described in the game plan post. Charges and a charge bar has also been implemented. The charges is what actually makes the small characters able to grow into their boss mode. The charge bar above each player gives visual feedback as to how many charges the player has collected as well as showing much more they need to collect before reaching boss-mode.

Actual code from the project
As you can see in the video, the small characters has to shoot the boss in order to kill him. The small characters are unable to damage each other. When there is a boss, it's the small characters' job to avoid the large burst of shots from the boss, as well as compete against the other small characters collecting charges. When there is no boss in play, it's only a race to see who can get the required amount of charges fast enough. As you might suspect, this is only work in progress and the damage numbers, spawnrates, health as well as several mechanics are still subject to change. There are still a lot of tweaks to be done in order to insure the game will be the most fun possible.
Spring boss-mode
What you see here is the boss form for the spring character that was posted in the last progress report. It's a lot bigger and a lot stronger than when the character is small. When the spring character has collected enough charges, he turns into this big, dangerous, all-smashing tree monster. It takes many shots from the small players to kill him.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Gameplay, attacking and dashing, character artwork - Progress report #4

This Monday we added several new features and got closer to finishing the artwork for the first character!

Today we have a "playable" version of the game. Playable, meaning that there is some sort of game to play. This wont be how the final game will be. Most of the mechanics and features are not in the game yet and the art is placeholder art. As the art for the game progresses, we will be adding four distinct characters, one for each season.

New and vital features for the game has been added, such as dash and attack! As you can see in the video, there is a dash feature, so when pressing the left bumper you leap across the screen. When you attack, you currently have a red marker as
placeholder graphics for showing how far your attack radius is. 

The first art for the characters! Here we see the spring character. This character might remind you of something you have seen before, but that's purely coincidental. It's a little tree character that represents the forest and growth. Each character will have three different pieces of art, front, back and side view. So soon those differently colored snowmen will be replaced with distinct seasonal characters.

Company logo, blog refinements, overall code structure - Progress report #3

As you can see at the top of our blog now, the company logo is done! As of now, the logo should be right next to our company name. The logo will be used to represent our company, Seasonal Games.

Header for this blog
The wheel to the right of our company name is supposed to show the four seasons of the year. Winter, summer, fall and spring. I'm sure you're able to see the connection between our name and our logo theme. Since last progress report, the logo now also contains the fall season.

Counter below the name and logo of the blog
Below our logo and our name of the company, I added a timer showing when our game should be done. When the timer has run out, hopefully the game will be in a finished state, playable and fun.

Our coder Daniel, has been working from Thursday through the weekend to create an overall code structure for our game. This allows him to add features and integrate new concepts and mechanics into the game in a structured way. It gives an overview and a structured and planned way to code and produce the game technically.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Fixing controls, making more art - Progress report #2

Today was a productive day! Advancing art and fixing a problem that had been bugging us a lot.

Fixing the controller problem

Our problem had been that our controllers simply were not giving a natural input to unity. The analog sticks felt more like four directional D-Pads than actual analog sticks. This means that it was very hard to move beyond the up, down, left and right directions. After fiddling around for a long time, it turns out the problem had to do with our game engine, Unity. By changing some settings, we were able to correct it and give accurate controls.

Game and logo art

The progress on the art of the site! The picture you see to the left is a work in progress logo for the game and our website. The logo represents all four seasons of the year in a wheel. Currently, fall is the only season that is not yet completed.

What you see here is more game art of the snowman for the winter season. Presently, this is only placeholder art for the character. Later we will have different art for the snowman character as well as art for the characters for the other seasons.

Current plans for the game

At this point, all I hear you ask is "So what is the game about? Tell us!" So here we go! The game, which does not have a name yet, is a top down versus game with four player multiplayer. In the game, the player is either a small character or the boss. When you play as a small character, the game consists of collecting charges. As a small player, you cannot attack the other small players, but you are able to attack and damage the boss. When the player reaches a point where they have enough charges, they become the boss.

Snowman by Birk
As the boss, your goal is to attack and kill the small characters, keeping them from becoming the boss. When a small player collects enough charges without getting killed, he swaps places with the current boss. When the small players kill the boss by attacking him, there is no boss until another player reaches enough charge. Essentially, the game is a 1v3 scenario where everyone gets a chance to become the one versus the other three.

The game is themed with the four seasons of the year. Summer, winter, spring and fall. Each of the players represent a spirit of the respective seasons. When a player reaches a point with enough charges, the season of the map changes to the season of that player, thus making them stronger and more powerful.


How do you win? 
You win by having the most kills as the boss when the timer is over.

What kind of attacks do you have?
So far, only melee attack for the both the boss and the small players are planned. This may be subject to change.

What happens when you die?
When you spawn, you spawn with a set amount of charges. When you lose all your charges, you die and you wait a set amount of time before you can respawn.

What if I want to play as the same season as my friend?
Unfortunately, only one player can play as each season, so each player has to choose their own season.

At this stage, that is our current plans for the game. It's possible that a lot of this will be changed, tweaked and finely tuned before the game is actually done.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Kickoff - Progress report #1

Today is technically the second day of work and we have made some awesome progress! The first code is already arriving as well as the first concept art for the game.

We pitched our idea for the game in front of our teachers and fellow classmates. We got some great feedback as well as some great ideas on how to further our game mechanics.

Although this might look like a stock photo, this is actually some work-in-progress code from our game. The lines you are looking at takes input from the controllers so you have the ability to actually manipulate the character and other things within the game.

Concept art from our brainstorms and initial development of the game. Drawings and characters representing the four different seasons. Summer, winter, fall and spring. This is our current way of theming and giving visual flavour to our game. As usual with art like this, it's likely that none of this will be used and that everything will change before our game is actually finished.

Meet the team

At Seasonal Games we are four members. One team leader and game designer, one programmer, one artist and one game designer and communication manager. The team is diverse and with very different perspectives on life, makes sure that our game is unique and fun to play.

Mathias Birk

Our super serious team leader and game designer. Going by his middle name, Birk is an ambitious and experienced leader within game projects. He has a passion that drives the game design in fun and inventive directions. He has responsibility and calmness to handle any situation that might arise. If there is a problem with the game or within the group, he is the guy to consult.

Daniel S. Å. Hansen

The main programmer and the brains with the numbers and the technical overview. Daniel has a passion for games and has been programming since a very young age. The technical abilities of this member renders him invaluable to the process of creating our game (still not named yet). Master of computers, sorcerer of code, Daniel is without a doubt the best programmer on our school.

Kristina Watson

The art and sense of beauty comes from the hands and abilities from the heart of her. Going by "Watson" for her love of Sherlock Holmes. The way our game will look and the way it will please your eyes is decided and created by Watson. Her inventiveness and creativity will surely create a thing of beauty. Her fascination for cute things with a twist of creepy will influence and create a unique style not found anywhere else.

Daniel Mads

Communications manager and game designer, goes by his middle name, Mads. Mads is responsible of all communications on the blog(s). He creates the videos, takes the pictures, compiles the information and sends it out to the world. Bouncing idea around, giving input and ideas, Mads helps guiding the game in a fun and engaging direction that makes the game the best it can be. He(I) will be writing all the blog posts that you see on this blog!

Welcome to the blog!

Welcome to the Seasonal Games blog! Throughout the month we will be posting updates about our progress on our game (yet to be named) with screenshots, text, photos and maybe the occasional video.

This is the team! From left to right, top to bottom: Daniel S. Å. Hansen, Mathias Birk, Daniel Mads, Kristina Watson and our teacher Michael Witus.