Game Jam 2017

Games Design

For our 2017 Game Jam we were given 4 week and a title of ‘Risk’ to develop a working game for our final project. Here are a some screen shots of the props and blueprints I worked on and developed for the game alone side a recording of the final project my team were able to complete within the 4 weeks.

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Prop Blueprints

More

Environment Blueprints

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Player Animation Tree

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One of the Prop blueprints, the rest are near enough recreations of this one.

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And the extensive Player Blueprint

And here is the Final Video for the game

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.

Hammer Girl Brief – Week 3

Games Design

 

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

 

Hammer Girl Brief – Week 2

Games Design

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.

XB1101 – Handheld Prop Guitar

Games Design

For this brief I developed a different take on creating a sword or an ‘Axe’. I started off my research by finding different variations of interesting guitars. I set my goals on creating a broken down Hofner/ Gretsch style guitar, mainly because I have one of these myself and could make the model accurate.

Here’s my Pinterest Board:

I then went and started to design my guitar by sketching out the outline in Adobe Sketch, I created a broken and beaten down guitar and a clean one.

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I then went into Maya and started to model the guitar and texture the final UVs in photoshop to give the guitar a Jackson Pollock style with the paint and the final renders I did in Unreal Engine 4, giving the pick ups a rusted golden material and the scratch plate a dark black texture

Hammer Girl Brief – Week 1

Games Design

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.

XB1000 – Hateful Eight Level Design

Games Design

For the brief based one of my favourite films I chose to do the stunning Tarantino film ‘The Hateful Eight’: a lengthy, but beautiful, three hour long film based around eight invdviduals in the barren wilderness of Wyoming. The characters are snowed into a local haberdashery and all they have to do is survive the night together, but some people may have ill intentions.

The Game

I felt this film would fit perfectly into a psychological thriller game that made the player try and figure out what happened in the haberdashery and play through the lengthy story. The main idea and theme in this game is isolation, creating a tense premise in this game to make player feel cut off from the world and stuck with these characters. When the player first starts the game they can choose one of the eight characters, the main aim is for that character to survive and finish what they came to do, whether that’s kill another character, rescue someone who’s been captured or just simply survive.

For my initial designs I started off by researching the film itself, this meant watching it over, and over, and over. I’ve compiled a Pinterest board together that really shows the ideas and feelings in the film I want to convey to the player from the film:

I then went on to design and sketch out my ideas for the actual level itself, because the entire film is set in one location the level was fairly easy to set out because there is lot`s of accurate footage of the set. I first sketched out the outside of the building very roughly to get a sense of the dimensions and scale itself. 

I chose a few specific scenes from the film to illustrate, this helped me develop a sense of scale and placement in the level for the characters and how also gave me further insight into how the characters as supposed to interact and engage with each other within the world.

I have also gone through and watched the film riggerously and attempted to map out every single significant element through out the film in the set, this gives me a basis of where objects are and how the should look in the game. I did this by creating a blueprint of the level, this includes: sweet Dave’s chair, the fire place, the stove and the bar. This is the blueprint illustration of the level. 

Gameplay

The actual gameplay of the game is a mixture between a mystery thriller and a crime game as the objectives and overall mission of the game varies depending on which of the eight characters the player chooses. WARNING SPOILERS FROM HERE ONE! Seriously if you don’t want this film ruined go and watch it now and then come back (it may take three and a half hours or so, but it’s worth it!).

Upon starting the game the player has a choice to play one of the eight characters story

  • Major Marquis Warren: Major Warren is very good at combat due to his excellent marksmanship, he also has a lot of power and leverage over other players due to his possession of a letter from Abraham Lincoln, however this is only useful until the real story behind the letter is revealed.
  • John ‘The Hangman’ Ruth: Due to his heavy stance and non tolerant demeanour John Ruth is scary in the eyes of other players and considered a threat as he would do anything to project his ’10K’. Because John wields a rifle characters are hesitant to say no to any of his requests.
  • Daisy Domergue: Daisy doesn’t have much leverage throughout the game until she really shows her cards, but until then she has to survive, wheather that’s not getting beaten up by the Hanman or not getting shot by either the sheriff or Marquis.
  • Sherrie ‘Sheriff’ Chris Mannix: Mannix  has a loud mouth and isn’t afraid to use it, armed with a pistol and his supposedly ‘Sheriff’s’ badge Mannix doesn’t pull much leverage in terms of scaring people, but his southern confederate roots give knowledge about almost everyone in the haberdashery
  • Bob ‘The Mexican’: Bob is the silent but deadly kind, whether he’s just minding Minnie’s haberdashery whilst Minnie and Sweet Dave went away for Christmas, or whether he’s just competently playing the piano… Either way he still forgot Minnie’s ‘No Mexican’ policy
  • Joe Gage: Joe is the silent cowboy type but he’s rocking a six shooter,  Joe sits silently in the corner writing his seemingly short ‘life story’, however his unexplainable wealth gives him advantge over others.
  • Oswaldo Mobray: The loveable Brit stuck in this entire scenario, Oswaldo doesn’t seem to be on anyone’s side and is always the voice of reason; wheather this is to make him less of a target in the eyes of others or wheather it’s so no one else suspects him all together.
  • General Sandy ‘Confederate’ Smither: Old, tired and worn out Sandy Smithers isn’t a threat to anyone, except those who don’t support his confederate cause.

Each of these characters stories will start on how the came about arriving at the haberdashery, for example Marquis Warren and Chris Mannix are both picked up by John Ruth and Daisy and taken to the haberdashery.

The gameplay is supposed to reflect the tone and tempo of the film for example the first half the the game will reflect the style of the film, very slow and engaging for the player allowing them to soak up the stories of the players and letting them figure out for themselves who’s lying about who the really are and who isn’t. However, the second half of the game will ramp up as tensions rise within the haberdashery and characters become dangerous and start to choose sides.

The game is supposed to be similar to games that follow the pattern of the Tell Tail games where they dive the player into a deep and emmersive gameplay filled with realistic story telling and also have elements of the crime solving in LA Noir in finding clues and pieces of a puzzle.

Mechanics

Basic mechanics such as: walking, running and jumping are still present in the game, but these mechanics are also supposed to be used alongside the negotiating and interrogating other characters in the game. Characters also have the abitlity to attack in the game, but depending on which character you choose  affects their ability to attack other players, for examples: if you play as Marquis Warren your shooting ability will be a lot more accurate and effective than choosing General Smithers.

The Enimies within the game are determined by who you choose to side with, if you’re playing as Joe Gage and want to side with Oswaldo through out the game you’re required to agree with what they say and also do just to keep their trust and make sure they don’t turn against you. Equally, other characters will try and side with you and  dependant on whether your character is dangerous, for example: because John Ruth has a gun many characters won’t try to indimidate him and will try to stay on his good side.

Within the game charcters have limited resources to work with, meaning the player have to come up with creative and interesting ways to go about using items in their inventory. Certain characters are supplied with items from the start such as guns, ammo and money; characters are also given the option to keep items like rope, keys and eating utensils for later use. This allows players to complete tasks such as extract information from other players by tying them down.

The player is also rewarded in the game by gaining money for collecting bounties on other characters and also the players can help their credibility by telling the truth to other characters. Gaining money through out the games also allows players to bribe other characters giving them more power.

Random generation is also supposed to help enhance the game by changing locations of key items within the game and removing items altogether, thus makes for a varied game every time allowing for the player to experience a different scenario every time. To develop and make an interesting gameplay the player can also chose to play an online multiplayer mode which lets the speak and interact with real people playing characters in their game.

Ultimately the players objective in the game is to survive the night in the haberdashery, to not be killed by any of the other characters or the storm itself. Collecting money does help the character after completing the game, but it is mainly useful when influencing other characters in the game. If a player survives they will ride to Red Rock the following morning with any of the other surviving characters but if they die they will have to replay the entire level.

Walk through

The walk through is only for one scenario seen as the entire game is based around the single level. For the scenario that John Ruth is interigating Joe Gage, Ruth would have to first enter the level through the front door (1) and walk over to Joe’s Table (2), due to the fact Ruth is keeping Daisy hostage this may be a bit of a struggle. Once at Joe’s table Ruth will go through a series of dialogue with the character which will help persuade him into determining if the character has good or bad intentions. Ruth will also have the opportunity to offer a bribe to Joe or threaten and intimidate the character. If Ruth finds or picks up any items (indicated by the stars) like a knife or a rope he can choose to tie up the character however this may be hard due to the fact he’s still trying to keep Daisy in cuffs. This chapter is once complete when the player has interigated and made up their mind on whether to trust all the characters or not.


On the floor plans there are are also different markers placed around the maps that are supposed to be used during gameplay. The yellow circles are supposed to represent object players can pick up and use or keep for later use, objects like rope, guns and money could be hidden in the these areas. These places will also randomly generate these items changing the way the player experiences the game each time. The levels also have blue question marks scattered around the levels, placed in locations specific to the film, these are little clues/ mysteries which the player can choose to investigate or they can ignore, they’re intended to be side missions to help develop the players story.