Hammer Girl – Week 4 & Overview

Games Design

This is the last post on my hammer girl project, In this post I will be going over the research and ideas that sprouted and initially flourished the game. Also, I will be doing a summary of what I have done over the past 4 weeks including what I have achieved in this final week of developing the Game!

Research

For my inital research ideas I took inspiration from the texture pack of the game which everyone was given. Whilst everyone took gleefully joy in using the sunny and bright default grass textures for the project, I took solace in using the dark and moody winter materials for this project. I felt, Hammer girl needed a deep moody feel which enhances the user experience, but also rather than just being an aesthetic in a game it adds to the physical gameplay by involving the player in the environment.

Here is a pinterest board that complies all of the rich environments I wanted to incorporated into Hammer girl. I wanted to capture the cold and desolated landscapes from shows like Game of Thrones and Games such as Skyrim. But, I wanted to create an homage to my local area which I come from, The Lake District, by designing the level around the sloping snowy hills of Kirkstone Path (On that one random day in june that it just decided to snow and everyone was very confused by the weather).

I did some research by actually playing games that encapsulated a use of good level design that help the players flow through levels or even an open world for that matter. Games like: Skyrim, and the Last of Us which really delves the player into that world so they feel disconnected and immersed into the game they player, but not only that. I watched some films that really convey the feel and experience the characters are being put through whether thats being exposed to the cold and ice or being trapped and isolated alone, films like: The Shining, The Hateful Eight and Game Of Thrones really prominently inspired me.

Week 1

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After doing some research I started to sketch some levels and concepts of how to transport the player from point to point in the level without directly indicating where to go.

Paper Plan

So this week, I have developed my Hammer Girl game brief by designing a paper plan for the level that encorperates a central village into the world that the player can revolve around and use as a reference point within the world

Level Layout

The general layout for this world follows the design of the paper plan, however I have extended the level into a ‘real world’ by populating it with foliage, trees, paths and background mountains to give the player a sense of scale and emmersion.

Overall Aesthetic

The general feel and emmersion of the game is supposed to convey a cold and icy feel across to the player, to successfully do this I have changed the post processing of the game to increase the exposure and blow out the highlights to create a colder feel, I have also increased the contract to give a very cinematic look. Alongside this, giving the game a tilt-shift look by decreasing the depth of field helps make the game feel very cartoony but also limiting the player’s vision.

Other Additions

I have also created an intro cinematic that helps illustrate the world to the player, I have also created a ‘frost’ effect that is connected directly to the players mana so when they lose mana due to being out in the cold it desaturated the colours in the screen and increasing the colour fringing, this give visual feedback to the state their player is in.

Week 2

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For the second week of the hammer Girl Brief I have developed and integrated some action into the game by adding some destructible  meshes into the world. These meshes consist of a barrel, crate and a rock. When these objects are struck with the hammer they are destroyed and left to reveal the gems inside.


These objects will be placed within the level randomly and will allow the player to collect gems to further progress through the game and eventually pay the inn keeper for the night.

Week 3

tower

This week I have gone ahead and adapted upon what I have developed last week by making multiple destructible objects within the world: a barrel, a box and a special kind of rock that will yield more gems for the player when smashed. This gives a seeking mechanic to the game as the player will require a certain amount of gems to complete the level.

Barrel And Boxes.PNG

The point behind having destructible rocks means the player will go out into the world to explore to find more rocks, however this exposes them to the other mechanic I have implemented. Because Hammer Girl is exposed in this icy cold woods she will become increasingly cold which will start to lose her health/ mana unless she some how gains more health. When she is low on health it will be indicated by both a visual heads up display which shows an  exact value, but also by the screen effects as the become increasingly de-saturated and as the highlights become blown out.

Rocks.PNG

The way Hammer girl regains health is she eats wild mushrooms scattered around the map which will randomly regenerate as the game goes on. Hammer girl won’t be affected by the cold when she is within the confines of the village, however out in the brisk woods she won’t be so lucky.

MushRooms.PNG

Week 4

For the final week of this project I was polishing off the final mechanics in the game and developing an actual objective to completing the level. The main objective of the game is to collect gems through out the village and woods so you can pay for a night in the inn. However, because there is a storm out in Red Rock when you’re outside of the warm village Hammer Girl starts to lose health and must eat in order to stay warm.

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I developed a system of periodically removing health from the player as long as they’re outside of the volume which encapsulates the village. When the player walks the get some health removed but when the run they get a greater amount removed due to sprinting. There are a variety of different locations within the level that are specifically made to spawn mushrooms for the player so they can regenerate health but it won’t last for long.

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The player also has an indicator on their Heads up Display about how many chests in the map they have collected. Each chest has up to 50 Gems in and 40 mushrooms which entice the player to go out into the wilderness and collect them.

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The hints at the start of the game have been made in a specific order to help new comers understand the mechanics of the game and catch onto how the actual level works, by guiding them through equipping the Hammer, smashing crates and collecting the gems to even picking up mushrooms to regenerate health. From there on, the player is guided by NPC characters which give hints to their mission and how to complete the game.

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Final I have integrated a small basic menu system that allows the player to start a new game but also quit the game entirely.

Level Screenshots

The level has been made in a specific way to guide the player through out the level key points which allows them to collect the most amount of gems but also allow them to explore the level and choose to either speed run the level or play the entire level and complete it by being conservative with their time to not lose all their health.

Overall Conclusion

On a whole I am very proud of this final brief as I have put a lot of hard work and effort into the game, I have developed new skills in using blueprints and using basic mechanics in  Unreal to create a fully working level. I feel like I could have achieved more in terms of game play or even expanding onto more levels if I had longer to do the brief, however I feel after being ill for an entire week and having a fully working game by the end is admirable.

Video

Please, please, please forgive the absolutely terrible quality of this playtest video, I WILL! be capturing a new one for the resubmission, however it was the best I could capture on such short notice.

Future Additions

I am currently waiting on a reply back from some of the Sound Design students at UCLan who are currently working on some sound for the game which I have requested from them, These sounds will be included in the resubmission and will really bring the game alive as sound is 50% of the experience and the player is really lacking that currently.

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