FINISHED 2/2

Finished Game

This is the final finished game that I could produce within the allocated time frame.

Project Evaluation

Introduction

We were asked with creating a indie 2Dpixel game within the program Game Maker on a resolution size of 256×256 pixels. The creative problem we were given consisted of a important historical figure from a certain time period and as well as a location from a certain time period. I was given Oscar Wilde who was a famous poet, play-wright and novelist, I also was given the location and time period of the Jurassic era. We were in groups to plan the game with and also help each other out, these groups were treated as indie developer groups.

Pre-production

Story and concept

We had to create a story for the game to follow and make those two creative problems fit together and make sense. We brain stormed the ideas together and came up with various ideas but then all agreed on a story which made sense and fit both of the criteria’s we were given, it also complemented Oscar Wilde’s occupations as it involved him writing a new novel about the Jurassic era. The story carries on to explain that lightning hit the house he was living and it gave the ink which he was writing with produced a dark energy which pulled him into the novel and all of his other creations. He was stuck in he novel and had to escape finishing the story by collecting pages of the novel. When creating the story we wanted to make it original and no just have him teleport to that time period, we wanted to also pay tribute to Oscar Wilde so we added a part of the story around him writing novels that’s why he gets sucked into the novel.

We did concept drawings of the characters which we drew on paper to begin with on grid paper, we made it so 1 square equalled to 1 pixel on screen. We worked on 32×32 pixels and made sure that we made 3 concepts of the protagonist and 3 concepts of the enemies which the player will face while playing through the game. When working on the concepts for Oscar Wilde I made sure to include different art styles as I wanted them to be different from one another, also experimented with different clothing he wore and also different colours, but when researching he had hardly any coloured pictures which made it difficult to illustrate so I did my best and thought of what I his colours would be based off his personality and wealth.

Once we’ve drawn all the pixel art on paper we had to transfer it onto the computer and have a digital copy, we did that by scanning it in but this means it was very un-tidy and also had all the grids there. We had to go into Photoshop and create a 32×32 canvas which we then copied our drawing pixel by pixel in order to have a accurate copy to the one drawn on paper. Once we did that we were finished with this task and then we moved onto other things. Doing this step allowed us to have multiple copies of the pixel art and also allowed us to use these as sprites within the game which I have done for the final game.

Mechanics

When it came to the mechanics we had to think of something that would make the game interesting and entertaining. We thought of something to do with the we created which was to collect pages from the book which allows the player to get into the next area. We wanted to make it as you had to help certain people from the other novels Oscar Wilde wrote which also got sucked into the Jurassic novel, in return they would give the player a page to progress. Once the player collected all of the pages possible he would be able to finish the story and finally leave the novel once and for good, restoring everything and bringing him back into reality.

Research

When researching Oscar Wilde and Jurassic we split of our indie group into two, one half focused on Oscar Wilde and the other one focused on the Jurassic period.

The group who researched the Jurassic period focused on the dinosaurs at that current time which doesn’t include T-rexs which we were stunned to find out. They also saw what kind of dinosaurs were in what locations and made sure we only included dinosaurs that were found in Europe.

The group that researched Oscar Wilde focusing on the person himself, location he lived in, loved ones and also what he was famous for. We researched his novels and playwrights he wrote into. Researching the “The Picture of Dorian Gray” and looked into the characters within the novel.

Production

I will be explaining my processes with each of the following sections in detail.

Audio

I created the audio using a online program called BFXR which is a sound-effect generator used by a lot of indie game developers. This is a good program. I used this for all of my sound-effects within the game such as jumping. I have in total 4 sound-effects which are the following.

  • Sound_01_shot: Used when the player presses “space” in order to shoot a projectile.
  • Sound_02_jump: Used when the player presses “up arrow” in order to preform a jump.
  • Sound_03_hurt: Used when the player gets hurt by enemy contact or enemy projectile.
  • Sound_04_no_hurt: Used when the player shoots a dinosaur with a projectile informing the player that the dinosaur cannot be killed.

I wanted music within my game so I used some copy-right free music that I found on sound cloud and the person strongly wants people to use it for indie games. The person who created it is named “Eric Stuff” and created a whole album for indie developers, students to use it and he only asks for a reference. I have a total of 2 music clips which are used in the game and they are:

  • music_01: This music is used in the first level and the song used is titles “A Night Of Dizzy Spells”.
  • music_02: This music is used in the second level and the song used is titles “Ascending“.

Visual

Characters and Projectiles

There are a total of 5 character sprites and 3 projectile sprites created for the game. 2 of the character sprites were used together to give the player some animation when he jumps. They were all created using Photoshop and also having the mood boards and concepts done previously as reference.

Level one

All of the visuals were created in Photoshop and then imported into game maker. I made sprites which include the enemies and Oscar Wilde himself. I created the background by using 4 different images and put it into parallax which means they move independently creating depth. I will add the background images going from the furthest back to the closest.

I also created a foreground image to hide the surface the player will walk on. I did this because it gives it more detail and also allows me to not create a detailed surface and saves me time while making my environment. The final image above is the foreground.

Level two

When creating the visuals for second level it was a lot easier in a sense of not having to have multiple layers to a background. The background was made in Photoshop using the tile set I created before hand but I lowered the brightness of it so it gives it depth.

The tile set I used consists of 25 tiles which were all created in Photoshop. I made sure that all of the sides would flawlessly line up with one another and allows easier creation of the level.

Game maker

Objects

There are a total of 23 objects within the game files including the measuring sprite I created to determine the jump heights. These were the most tedious part of the game creation as everything needed some kind of programming. For example I needed to program the main character to be able to walk, jump, collide with objects, have gravity, shoot projectiles and be able to be killed by the enemies within the game.

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I had to do these events for each object within the game itself which includes the platforms too. I had to make the platforms solid by enabling a collision box around it.

With the enemies I made them to follow paths that I’ve created under the path section in Game Maker. If they were stationary I placed them within the world and made them be able to shoot projectiles if they’re ranged. I did this by setting a alarm event which creates a moving instance of the projectile I created for the enemy itself. I set the alarm to a certain time frame so it doesn’t just shoot 100 projectiles within a second but instead one every 2 seconds.

With the music within the game I had to create a object without a sprite and made sure it plays a loop-able sound clip when the player enters that level. When the player makes his way through the the level and enters the next level, I had to make sure to create a new entire object with the same events. I changed the music for that level and also made sure to end the previous music so it doesn’t overlap with the second music clip.

Room creation

Within game maker we made sure to create the initial first room in order to test everything. I called it rm_level_001 which at first was a test level but I did transform it into the started world because all I did was replace the old platform sprites to the newest ones.

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We added all our assets within the room and this is where our game proceeded to gain a resemblance to a game and not just unusable assets. There was a total of 5 rooms which are the following:

  • rm_start: This is the title screen which displays the name of the game as well as the controls to the game in case people are having trouble with the controls.
  • rm_level_001: This is the only world that is 100% finished and features 4 enemies including 1 ranged ink monster, 1 dinosaur and 2 basic ink monsters.
  • rm_level_002: This is the cave level and would lead up to the final boss room. This level isn’t complete and has a lot of bugs in. This level features 2 ranged ink monsters.
  • rm_level_003: This is a unused level due to a lot of set backs due to bugs and overall bad time management. This was going to be the final room which would feature a massive boss fight.
  • rm_fail: This was used when you were killed by a projectile or contact with the dinosaur, although contact with the ink monsters led to a bug where it would restart the game completely.

I also created the background within the level creator and as well as the following camera.

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To make the the following camera, I went to the view panel within the room properties and had to tick enable the use of views. I set to follow a certain object which in our case would be obj_001_main (character). Made sure to make the resolution of the view 256×256 as that’s the resolution of the game.

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In order to create a working parallax background I had to add each one into the background section. I made some to repeat horizontally so it doesn’t just when the player walks right or left. I had to then create a object in order to make the actual parallax work, then I added it into the world without a sprite so it doesn’t appear in the world when you play the game.

I also added the music in the world using the same method as the parallax object but I changed the properties inside of the object. Then I inserted it into the level next to the parallax object.

Problems faced

There was plenty of problems that I faced during the creation of the game which I will demonstrate the cause and the work around I did for the problem if there was one.

Problem 1

When creating the platforms the character would get stuck into them if jumped underneath them.

The solution was a gravity error and as well as the collides for the platforms not being set up correctly, after these were changed the problem subsided and wasn’t relevant anymore.

Problem 2

On different monitors the game would display darker and almost completely black, losing all of its detail and making it hard to play.

The solution was to increase the brightness of each sprite within Photoshop. The problem was that some monitors had different gamma and brightness settings and that would strongly affect how the game looked like. So I had to optimise it for as many displays as I could think of.

Problem 3

The characters projectile had a collision and it allowed the player to jump on top of them if timed correctly.

There wasn’t any solutions to this as I tried everything I could, even disabling collisions with the object itself but the issue persisted. I decided to ignore it as it wasn’t that game changing and wouldn’t matter much in the end.

Problem 4

The character would sometimes jump on top of enemies and not get hurt.

I honestly had no idea on how to fix this, I changed the collision boxes to tightly fit each of the enemies within the level but the issue still persisted.

Problem 5

When in rm_level_001, when the character walks left off the screen he would teleport to the other side into a wall and being stuck, unable to move.

The solution would be to place a invisible barrier outside of the map which would prevent the character to go left. I didn’t do this mainly due to focusing on other more important stuff which needed fixing or creating.

Post-production

Feedback and QA testing

After the game was done I wanted to get feedback on the game and wanted it in a informative and easy to read format, so I thought of doing it into a table. I wanted a qualitative feedback and also quantitative feedback, so the first 4 questions were detailed questions which I wanted information that I could improve on top of. The last question is a simple number question so I could find out the mean and find out how well my game did on a rating basis.

NAME PERFORMANCE FEEDBACK

(bugs, mechanics and level layout)

GRAPHIC FEEDBACK

(Character design, enemy design, audio design and level design)

HISTORICAL SETTING AND CHARACTER (Do you know the setting and character in the game) GOOD AND BAD

(Provide at least one good and bad thing about the game)

RATING OUT OF 10
Lars Ran perfectly fine performance wise, I did sometimes jump from the projectiles and the level layout is simple but good. Visually the levels are great however the cave area needs some variation in terms of shapes used, specifically. Looking at the character sprite itself it’s difficult to tell who it is but luckily the start screen tells me who it is, the setting is clear as day. It’s incomplete, and some of the enemies are unable to be defeated where others sharing the same sprite are. 6/10
Luke boeje The game ran fine and there were no bugs and I really like the level layout how you start outside and then go inside. I really like the visuals because they show that when you enter the underground that it is not as easy because its less colourful I can tell that it is set in the pre historic time period with dinosaurs but I cant tell who the character is. It is fun to play and has and interesting level design but it’s a bit hard to kill the enemies 7/10
Josh Shelley Level design was very nice, creative and effective, mechanics was good for the most part and I didn’t encounter any bugs. Character design was nice, the enemies were very nicely detailed, audio was good and kind of gave the feel of the setting. The character is kind of hard to make out but the dinosaurs give it away of which time period. It’s fun to play but the jump height needs a boost, need to be able to shoot in both directions and also some dinosaurs are invinsible. 7/10
Tom White The Level design was nice and creative. The mechanics work but there is some teleporting. The game look amazing but I can’t judge the sound since you failed to leave audio equipment. I can tell that it is set some time in the Jurassic but other than that no. The game is good but without a restart button you can’t restart and have to exit and reload the game. 5/10
Felix Movement is nice, character slows down slightly if you shoot when jumping. Overall is quite impressive, not much I can say to criticise. Yes because it was stated at the beginning. If it wasn’t I would’ve known the location but not the character. Good graphics, but no restart button, and can only shoot in one direction (no reference to the group) 7/10
Robbie Very buggy, jumping around is hard, you can only shoot one way. Very good visuals, spent too much time on one level. Pretty good, character is kind of hard to make out however, but I can tell its set in the Jurassic era. Visuals are good on the first level, however they are lacking on the second level. The game play is a little buggy so spend more time on game play rather than the look of the game 4/10
Billy Simmons Most enemies can’t be killed, can get stuck in platforms and terrain. The colours stand out from each other allowing to see things clearly. Yes the dinosaurs tell me that it has to be Jurassic. Visuals are good.

Quite a few bugs.

6/10

Once I’ve gotten all of my feedback that I wanted I concluded my game from the information I’ve gotten.

I will begin with the number question as it’s the quickest one to evaluate, so if I was to add all of the numbers up I would get a value of 42 and then divide it by the amount of people who wrote feed back (7) then I would get a mean value of 6/10. So that tells me my game was just above average which is okay but I could improve by a lot.

Performance feedback was very different from player to player as some experienced the same bugs and some didn’t experience any. For example 2/7 didn’t experience any bugs at all but the rest did experience some bugs with the projectiles. One person mentioned that enemies can’t be killed but that was purpose, I should of made it more noticeable that they weren’t killable. People really enjoyed my layout of the map and found the transition from outdoors into a cave to be interesting and good. One person mentioned that the projectile only went in one direction which was a flaw that I didn’t fix, although it’s a simple fix, it wasn’t in my priorities.

Graphics feedback was extremely positive, a lot of people seemed to love the graphics of the game saying things such as impressive and amazing. People couldn’t review my audio though as there wasn’t any audio device for them to use so that was my mistake. People have said that the second level which was featured in the cave was plain and didn’t have any variation, I could fix this by using more different tiles and not just blocks.

Historical and character feedback was half and half. People fully knew that the area the game was located in was during the Jurassic era, due to having dinosaurs and the overall visuals of the game. People had a difficultly knowing who the character the player was playing, although they did know due to the intro telling them that it was in fact Oscar Wilde but if that wasn’t there they wouldn’t of known. This would be hard to due to the resolution of the character sprite.

The final question was if it was good or bad. This is a very plain question but it would inform me if the person enjoyed the game or not. People overall did enjoy the game and found it fun even though it was unfinished. Most of them mention that the visuals were good and the enemies, no restart button and projectiles is something that they aren’t fond of.

Promotion

We created some early promotion of the game which was the character top trumps which were featured in a previous week. These were created in Photoshop and some chosen ones were featured on the walls in the college, mine was a select few that made it onto the walls. This allowed people to know about the game and also the character that was made for the game itself.

We made some social media accounts which we shared our progress on, this allowed more people from outside of college to give feedback on our work. This will also allow people to look at these and share them on these social platforms creating more promotion.

Conclusion

In short I found this to be very insightful on how a indie game would be developed, it was hard yet fun and I could proudly walk away with this experience with a more confident understanding on how a side scrolling platform game would be created.

I found the pre-production to be essential when creating anything as it allows you to develop initial ideas and cement them when creating the product. Researching into the characters and environment allows me to create a more accurate representation of what I wanted. I personally found the pre-production to be needed for the final outcome of the entire project and I see how important it is.

The production is the stage I enjoyed the most, I enjoy creating something that works and being able to create a game from scratch was challenging yet fun. The research from the pre-production influenced my final outcome a lot and was extremely helpful when creating the in game sprites. If I could change anything when during this stage of work I would of spent more time on the actual bug fixing and finishing of the other levels instead of focusing on the visual elements of the game. If I could change anything about the actual game play of the entire game I wouldn’t change much, the concept is fine and I enjoy working with it. I would of added some kind of health system instead of dying instantly and being set back to the start. I would of also added in the need to collecting pages as told in the story but due to my focus on the larger bugs and level creation I didn’t prioritise it as It would take a lot of my time for such a small thing.

I’m proud of the final outcome but yet disappointing on how short it was, I would of loved to extend the game by adding another level and creating this amazing boss fight but due to bad time management and also focuses on the first 2 worlds it wasn’t possible. I enjoyed the art direction of the game and love how visually attractive it looks. Would of added more animation for the character such as shooting and a walk cycle but I couldn’t due to the same reasons as before. If I could do anything else it would be to change the dinosaurs colour as it seems to be quite different compared to its surrounding and maybe just change the size of the sprite as well as the shape of it.

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