The Museum: June Progress Screenshots

Here are a few screenshots of the areas I’ve completed so far. I still need to polish all of the areas up before I can make it playable to other people, especially the centering of certain UI menu elements on the screen and some of the dialogue (as seen in the level 2 screeenshot).

Start Screen Start Screen SS
House EntranceHouse Hub Entrance SS
First Level (Zzz)First Memory SS
Second LevelSecond Memory SS

The Museum: Weekly Update #2

Oh shit, it’s been a week already?

… Really?

Well anyways, here’s what I got done for this week.

Dialogue

This week, I set up a way for characters to communicate to the player. I tried to avoid using the convention of having a huge dialogue box on the bottom, covering up a big chunk of the screen (similar to Inner Vision). This time I’m taking the route of ‘floating, transparent thought bubbles on top of the players’ heads’. This part of the gameplay requires the player to look at what the people are thinking about and try to solve conflicts. What the conflicts are exactly about are reliant on the current story of the memory… Which is a fancy way of saying I’m still working on it.

Here’s a screenshot: wk2 dialoguev2

 

 

Boss Fights?

Yes, boss fights. I know it may seem like “normal” boss fights wouldn’t really fit into a game where you look at paintings and into peoples’ thoughts, yet I still feel like it’ll add more energy to the overall experience. At the end of every memory, you are introduced to a new kind of gameplay. During these segments the player will take on a giant monsters, where each giant monster will encompass themes found within the previously played memory.

The reason I went this route is because I think boss fights are really important in games, and are a cool concept in general that makes sense in terms of why they’re there. Most boss fights encompass the skills you’ve gained from the level you just played, and adds a feeling of accomplishment as well as closure to the newly learned concepts. In the future, I’ll go more in depth with how the gameplay will function during these boss fights (and why I think boss fights are the coolest).

Here’s a screenshot of the player HUD during boss battles: wk2 boss fight

 

Unfortunately, that’s all I really got done this week. A lot of the time was spent simply thinking about and designing the puzzles that will go into the memory sections before the boss fights. Puzzles still take me some time to come up with, while still trying to make it feel cohesive to the overall game.

Well, that’s all I have to say. Until next week!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Museum: Weekly Update #1

Since I’m a lazy bum and don’t really “work” on anything besides my game, I decided it’s probably a good idea to have weekly blog posts about the progress I’m making on my game, currently called “The Museum”. This allows me to gauge my progress, and make decisions based on them. So, here’s the work I got finished this week:

 

Layout

I completely changed the layout of the level structure last week, and decided it made sense enough to rework it into the game. I spent the first half of this week setting up the layout and used a bunch of cubes with temp textures as placeholders. I needed the layout to strike a balance between art museum with hanging art, and an environment that’s unique to each level. The level I’m currently working on takes place in a corporate office. Because of this, I decided to limit my color pallet and focus on lots of grey. I needed the level to evoke emotions of boredom, monotony, and dread. The reason for this is story related.

Here’s a part of the layout of the first level:

BP 1-3

 

GUI

Another big portion of what I worked on this week was the GUI. I had most of it in place, but I decided to polish it up a bit, fixing the positioning and coloring. Now, the GUI consists of 3 main elements. The first part is the ‘Score’ count on the middle top portion of the screen. On the upper right side of the screen, the player will be able to view the ‘Words’ they’ve collected. And on the bottom, there will be a steam of text that narrates the story of the game. Score, Inventory, and narration: these three make up the meat of the GUI.

There is also the GUI layout when locked on to an object. When locked on to an object, the ‘Words’ that were found in the upper right corner will turn into buttons. The player must find the right button to choose that corresponds with the locked on target. (I’m saving the specifics of the gameplay for a future post, definitely too complex to shoehorn into a weekly progress report!)

Here’s the current GUI:

BP 2-3

 

Other Random Stuff

I added a visual indicator for the player’s progress for the amount of interpretations needed to complete a painting. Before, I had it as a number out of a number (i.e. 2/6), but now I just have a wave of particles that have a constant force going up. When the particles reach the top of the painting, and the picture dims, then the player will know that they “beat” it. I really value non-text communication in video games, and it’s a thing I want to see more games do.

I added an overworld hub that actually makes sense in the context of the story. This actually took me a while to create, but thankfully I eased my stress by reminding myself that the overworld isn’t actually that important. I mean, it is important since every part of a video game is important, but relatively speaking I needed to focus on the core gameplay and make sure to refine the hard design edges and find the most efficient solutions. So, I focused on the first level and tried to create an experience for the player that will be most beneficial.

I also found a few cool 3D models online to use as placeholders (under creative commons) and decided to pose them and make sure they’re in the right positions. Hopefully when I find a 3D artist to collaborate with, they can replace it.

Here’s a screenshot:

BP 3-3

 

Hope to make more progress this weekend and the following weeks. Until next time!

Asian Art History Side Project: Jataka Tales

I’m currently taking an Asian Art History class, and decided to make a little game to serve as my final project. The game is about you finding story books on a floating island, and these books contain stories from the Jataka Tales.

I currently only have a web version working, and finishing up on a PC/Mac/Linux build, just need to test it.

You can play it here.

Cheers!

Ludum Dare 29 Complete!

Ludum Dare was this past weekend, and I decided to ditch all my responsibilities to zone out and fully focus on a game. What came out of it was a game that I think is the best designed out of all the games I’ve ever made. The theme of the game jam was “beneath the surface”, so I decided to make a game about a drill! Also I put the game on GitHub, maybe someone can find it useful as a learning tool.

You can play the game here:

Web

Windows

Source Code

 

Here are a few sceenshots:

 

I’m really proud of what I was able to create in such a short amount of time (48 hours to be exact). I decided to work with my strengths and not focus on the visuals too much (specifically creating sprites), but rather the game design and color aesthetic. I realized that color gradients are kind of the best, and can really make a game look clean and focused. I also decided to stick to an extremely simple/silly story. Not all games need to take themselves seriously!

 

I also really tried to apply some game design lessons I’ve been learning over the last few months. Get rid of any filler, focus on one central mechanic, and treat the player like an intelligent human being. My game has no tutorial, has a very focused game style, and doesn’t have any levels that serve as filler. Each level teaches the player something cool, and I tried to avoid inserting things that don’t add to the game’s central mechanic. I hope to make more games such as these and really try to get better at game design.

 

 

Second game complete: Time

Time: An Interactive Short Story

gameSS

Description: An interactive story about 3 animals fighting against the biggest villain: Time.

Finally, I finished my second game.

A little interactive short I made in about 3 months (on and off). It’s very silly and random, very dissimilar from my previous work. I’m working on 2 huge projects at the moment, so I decided to make something small, creative, and simple. All the art was created by me, and… well it’s terrible. I’m a programmer, and I seem to have some difficulty finding a 2D artist…

But alas, it is what it is. Maybe if I have more spare time I can revisit this game with an art overhaul and come up with a solid episodic structure. Regardless, I did learn a *ton* about 2D graphics, animations, and blending/tweening. I hope you enjoy it!

Web (May take some time to load): Click here.

Windows: Click here.

I have a Mac/Linux build in the works, I just want to test it out before I release them. I hope you enjoy my weird little game!

The music is by various artists I found online, mostly from freemusicarchive.org

Here they are:

  1. Foamform
  2. Jackson F. Smith
  3. Japan Japan
  4. Krackatoa
  5. Lucas Perný a Miloslav Kollár
  6. Mudlark
  7. The New Mystikal Troubadours
  8. Soni Ventorum Wind Quintet

As a side note, if I have more time in the future I will probably continue making more mini shorts like these. The Show of Shows won’t end that quickly!

Current Projects

Here’s a few projects I’m currently working on. All the games will be completed at separate times, but it seems like I’ll be finishing Time first:

The Museum: This is the game I’ve been posting the most screenshots of on my blog. It’s quite a big game, and hope to finish it some time before the end of 2015. I’ll spend the most time developing this one during the summer time, since that’s when I’ll have the most free time. Also, my cool friend Matt Guringo is helping me out with the story and writing.

museumSS3 MuseumSS2 museumSS1

 

Time: Time is a game I’ve been developing mostly as a fun little side project. The reason I’m making this game is mainly to practice my writing and character development. I’m mostly a programmer, but I enjoy creating whacky characters and environments. I have this weird idea that it’s good to practice all fields of game development, even if you are the best at a certain area (mine being programming as opposed to art).

TimeSS1TimeSS2 TimeSS3

 

Broken: This game is being developed for a game development class I’m currently taking at my university. The class requires everyone to assemble in groups of 4-6 people, and make a video game using Unity3D.My group’s project is a side-scrolling action game where you ride on a bike and take down biker gangs as they try to attack you. It’s refreshing to be able to work on a game that’s focused on tight mechanics.

BrokenSS

Inner Vision conversation, stats

I recently responded to an e-mail. It was someone asking about Inner Vision, asking for some data and my motivations behind it. So, I thought I’d just share our conversation (I’m also too lazy to actually write a blog post about this, heh):

Message 1:

Hello Sunil,My name is [].

I am currently working on my PhD in Clinical Psychology and my research focus is in suicide prevention. Someone forwarded me your game Inner Vision some time ago and I’ve wanted to talk with you about it since.I think that the game was a fascinating experience. I wondered immediately if you had a background in psychology or were familiar with suicide prevention research, since the game is so evocative of what the science represents.

Also, I would love to know if you have any data about the game (e.g. how many people were “saved”, how many times the game has been played, how many people have seen the game, etc.). That my be wishful thinking, but I would love to see some data on the game.

If you wouldn’t mind talking about the game a little more in depth I’d love to talk to you about it. What motivated you to make this game? Why this presentation? Why suicide as your subject matter? I have a ton of questions.

But overall, I did enjoy the experience. I’ve forwarded it on to many of my colleagues.

As a final thought. I felt the music for the game was outstanding. I don’t know if you had an outside composer or if you did it yourself, but kudos. It was the perfect complement.

[]

Message 2:

Hello [],

Thank you for taking the time to play my game, I really appreciate it. Now to answer some of your questions:

I actually have no background in psychology. I’m currently a junior undergraduate student going for a computer science bachelor’s degree. Some of the characters and conversations found in the game are based on real life situations I found myself in while having intimate conversations with friends. I wanted to share my experiences and feelings on suicide, so I decided to go to my favorite artistic medium: video games.

Unfortunately, I didn’t really implement any data tracking into the game. The only data I received were from the e-mails/messages I got from people who were really moved by the game. Here are some things that I’ve collected:

- People had the most difficulty with the last character, Oscar, who was homeless and suffered from drug addiction.
- People felt very sympathetic towards the first character, Miranda, who was struggling with her bisexuality (Interesting note: This character was 100% based on a real friend of mine)
- People universally hated Yama, the skeleton that heckles the player throughout the game.
- Everyone that I’ve gotten messages from stated that they beat the game and thought it was relatively easy/simple

I made the game at a very interesting point in my life. I was severely suffering from depression without really knowing the cause, and I needed an outlet to share some of my dark/morbid thoughts that had been circulating in my mind. Then the idea of making a video game out of my feelings came to my mind. I started to ask questions: Can I make a game that touches on serious/dark subject matter while still retaining a positive message? Do I even have the skills to do this? At the time I was very new to game development. I heard of a few success stories online, and just thought, hell, why can’t I make something too. So, I stared developing Inner Vision mostly to express the strong emotions I’ve held, and to prove to myself that I can make a game that derives from the norms and tropes of mainstream video games.

After spending a few months on it, spending all the spare time between going to classes, I finished the game. I posted it to Reddit hoping that some people might think it was neat/touching. Lo and behold, it kind of exploded. It got ranked number 1 on Reddit, video game outlets started writing articles about my game (Kotaku, RockPaperShotgun, etc.), and I started to receive e-mails. Since then, I’ve been working on another project that hopefully will delve into more topics that video games don’t really explore.

I hope this helped, and again thanks for liking my game. I would be happy to discuss the actual design of the game further if you’re interested.

Oh, and the music was not created by me. It was created by a very talented Cellist known as ‘Takenobu’.
The song is called ‘Exposition’ on Takenobu’s album called ‘Introduction’

From,
Sunil