TWO Game Updates and the Release of my GGJ Game!
No One Is Home, my Global Game Jam entry was released over the weekend and I will be publishing the release trailer shortly after this post goes live. Additionally, Neon Gunslinger VR is receiving an update based on feedback from the Godot Discord Community mainly focusing on game readability and balance. Lastly, Concept Fling - Shinobi Defender is also receiving an update to add a resume feature for easier pick-up-and-play. Click the banners below to be redirected to their respective pages.
I figured it's a bit awkward to have my photos link to the home page of a website dedicated to my programming projects and games, so I made a separate space for them!
Check it out here.
In celebration of the one year anniversary of my website The Archive is now live, featuring the first four games I've ever made! Additionally the Projects tab has been streamlined to accommodate for all of the content I might add.
Some of the most valuable skills I can takeaway from the course are the strategies for the game development and testing discussed in the textbook: Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games by Tracey Fullerton. One of these skills is the art of play-testing and an understanding of its importance. Aside from actually testing the game and making sure that it's ultimately fun, the feedback obtained from players is extremely important to the development of the game. In fact several ideas that were added to Recess Rabbit Rumble were suggested and implemented after the first release.
Therefore getting this feedback early is important encase there are changes that need to be made to the games mechanics; while they aren't always necessarily large, any problem is better to be caught early. Prototyping is the easiest way to develop and iterate on the core mechanics of a game idea without investing too much time in creating a complete playable demo.
The MDA (Mechanic, Dynamic, and Aesthetic) design philosophy is something else that I will take away from the course. It's an interesting take on game design, and at the very least for me it's a more formal way to design a game. I will almost certainly continue to pursue game ideas that occur to me on a whim but having an idea of how I can break down the parts of a game and help to improve all of them is a huge plus.
Recess Rabbit Rumble (RRR) is an arcade style third person shooter starring two rabbits named Hoppy and Skippy. The current story for the game is that the two rabbits are the classroom pets of an elementary school and the class is trying to replace them. The new pets become jealous of the rabbit brothers and decide to try to get rid of them!
The main mechanics of the game were largely inspired by the arcade game Cabal which I had played and talked about in my first blog post. Additionally, the boss design takes hints from Cuphead since I've been enamored by that game recently plus the large set piece bosses of Cabal (being the large tanks, war boats and such) were definitely the most interesting part of the game so it felt natural to continue to expand on it.
Since everyone in the group was already familiar with the Godot engine, it made the most sense to use it when making RRR. After extended use there are some clear advantages to using Godot: many of its methods rely on Strings which makes it surprisingly flexible when wanting to change an image or even the entire control scheme.
Currently there are plans to have five stages (Slytherin Serpents, Sleeping with the Fishies, Fearsome Furry Fiends, Ravenous Reptiles, and The Terrible Tortoise!), plus the tutorial stage (Night of the Living Dummies). The game is being designed to work on the SJSU Arcade Cabinets however the control scheme will be altered when the game is released to the general public.
At this point there are very few people that are familiar with what Pokémon Go is or how to play but for the unfortunately uninitiated, Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game developed by Niantic where the player is tasked to walk around the real world and catch 'em all! After creating your character with a fairly robust character creator, choosing your starter Pokémon, and then catching them you're let off into the world. While simple, the first few steps that Pokémon Go walks you through are sufficient for having a new player understand the rules of the game. Those rules include:
The most interesting results of these rules stem from the fact the game is predominately controlled by simply moving; by using the user's phone's GPS to determine the player's position in the world and game, which as you are probably already aware had created a social dynamic to the game. People of the same team would naturally congregate in public areas to catch a rare Pokémon or friends would venture out to hike up a mountain in the hopes of finding more powerful bounty. The social aspect of the game is no doubt one of the more interesting developments to have occurred as a result of the game's inception, however the changes in people's lifestyles are another development. The act of physically venturing out into the world has encouraged many to swear by Pokémon Go as a way to motivate them to be more physically active.
Another way Niantic has encouraged player interaction is by making Gyms easier to take over for a team if you have more people form the same team attacking it at once. Also since release, Niantic has added raids in the form of Legendary Pokémon: large groups of players are required to work together to defeat one of the most powerful Pokémon in the game.
However prior to the introduction of these raids, players would often go to extreme lengths to capture rare and powerful Pokémon including trespassing. Hilariously this caused several public spaces and privately owned businesses to create their own rules about toward the game. Some shops encouraged players by providing wi-fi or outlets to charge player's devices in exchange for their business while others had to explicitly forbid people from playing the game.
One of my favorite developments that has occured as a result of Pokémon Go is the fact that players have discovered secrets in the game and started sharing them. Admittedly I miss this fact from the games of yester-year where you weren't able to look things up and were instead forced to ask around the playground for the latest tips and tricks; and while you're certainly able to look things up, word-of-mouth is very powerful in a game where everyone's already out-and-about.
By grouping players into separate and competing teams, Niantic creates an aesthetic of fellowship that is naturally created through the competition between the groups and the advantages of working together with people that are in the same team as you. Players are also able to express themselves by customizing their avatar and choosing a companion Pokémon; all of these elements are used to represent the player. Lastly, Pokémon Go is ultimately the realization of many people's fantasy of being a Pokémon trainer despite the fact that they don't have battling.
Day of the Devs was a fantastic event showcasing a lot of interesting and unique games from many developers. Since I saw so much and many of the developers there were more than willing to give me an interview my response to the event is over 3000 words! So that I don't just make one super long post I've separated them! You can find more information about my thoughts and impressions about each of the games in the following posts:
A huge thank you to my buddy Andrew for inviting me and Chaz for being my fellow game adventurer while we were there! Another big thank you to Alex Neuse, Derek Yu, Justin Ma, Garret from Choice Provisions, Kristen Kho, and anyone else who put up with my questions! And finally a huge congratulations to DoubleFine and IAm8Bit for putting on an amazing event, looking forward to next year!
Day of the Devs Post Preface:
Thanks to a very impromptu invitation from my friends, I was able to attend this years Day of the Devs (DotD) event in San Francisco. I treated DotD as I have the past few speakers and events I've taken part in and took notes on the games being showcased. A huge thank you to all of the developers I spoke with for being so open to my questions!
Aegis Defenders - GUTS Department