Game Design Document Version History

When developing my game I noticed that certain elements the game needed to be changed through my game design document. This is a common procedure when it comes to game development. The further along the development process you go, the more detailed the information will be. You can begin to expand the document without losing it’s readability [Ella, 2014].

One of the changes I needed to make was the rocks. at first I was going to make rocks as simple sprites and import them in game maker. It seemed simple enough as all I thought it would be is a simple sprite job. Later down the line of development however I realised how much work I would have had to have put into coding the enemies to crawl over the rocks. Not only would I have to code them I would also have had to animate them stretching over the rocks in a realistic enough method.

change1

In the end I ended up removing the rocks from the game. This is due down to not prioritizing them in the first place. When working on projects you cannot always know fore sure how hard every element will be unless you have had practice before. For future projects I can now see how much effort needs to go into game play elements as small as rocks and will think twice before sending them to the back of the prioritized list.

 

Another change I made was to the enemy. Through play testing the game I felt that only having 1 enemy was really boring. I received feedback from people who play tested my game and they thought the same way. I decided to add a bigger enemy to give it more of a challenge.

change2

For the bigger enemy I made him a red colour instead of green. I also made him inflict 2 points of damage to the barriers so the game would be more challenging.

 

A link to my previous GDD can be found here: GDDversion1

A link to my updated GDD can be found here: GDD

References:

Ella Romanos. (2014). How to write a useful game design document.Available: http://www.develop-online.net/opinions/how-to-write-a-useful-game-design-document/0196644. Last accessed 14/01/2015.

Game Design Document

I used a Game Design Document to help me in the designing process of my game.

A game design document is a document to express the vision of the game [ Tim, 2199] . It is where the designer can plan ideas, write them down and are then able to prioritize certain elements of the game [Tzvi, 1997]. In industry Game Design Documents are used for the whole design team so everyone can get an idea of how they are supposed to be designing things [Tim, 2199]. For more smaller groups or single developers they will help themselves mostly figure out how the game will be and played. As I began developing my game I noticed I was adding to my GDD along side it. This is because you can never really tell if some parts will work well with others unless you jump in and test them. This is why prioritizing the right things first is a key task. Game design documents are an important procedure when it comes to developing games. It has helped me get a clear vison and feel for my game. I can now prioritize the right things to develop my game in the most effective way possible.

The link to the game design document can be found here: GDD

References:

Tzvi Freeman. (1997). Creating A Great Design Document. Available: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/131632/creating_a_great_design_document.php. Last accessed 14/01/15.

Tim Ryan. (1999). The Anatomy of a Design Document. Available: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/131791/the_anatomy_of_a_design_document_.php. Last accessed 14/01/15.

Digital Prototype

 

I further developed my paper prototype in game maker. I made a menu screen containing the play button, which takes you to the game level. A controls button, which takes you to the controls level. The exit button that exits you out of the game. For now all the sprites and titles are placeholder sprites. These will all be replaced once I have gotten the main focus of the game mechanics sorted first. It is important to prioritize certain part of the game such as the mechanics over other things such as sprites. You don’t want to be spending ages creating a good looking sprite then realise you don’t have enough time to add core game mechanics to the game.

prototype1

The prototype as of now consists of a player, two barriers with their corresponding health set up and two bows that the player can pull back and fire. The enemies are also setup as red cubes that move towards the player inflicting damage on contact of the barriers.

prototype2 prototype3

 

Now I have setup my digital prototype I can further develop it with good looking sprites and fancy game mechanics that I don’t need in my game.

Paper Protoype

My Project prototype consists of:

barrier                 bow

The barrier                           The bow

 

char                    enemy

The player                                                The enemy

 

2 dice, one 20 sided and another 6 sided.

Rules:

– Every turn an enemy spawns 30 cms from the player.

– You can shoot once per turn and move left or right once per turn

– every turn the enemies move 15 cms closer to you.

– You can shoot once per turn.

– When you shoot. depending how far away the enemy is you roll the dice to see if you hit.

If the enemy is less than 15 cms away from you you roll a 6 sided dice, if he is more than 15 cms away from you, roll the 20 sided dice. for the 6 sided dice, 3 or more and you hit, killing the enemy. With the 20 sided dice, roll 10 ore more to kill the enemy.

– If the enemy hit the barrier, a health is taken from the barrier. The barrier starts with 10 health and every turn the enemy is in contact with the barrier a health is taken from it.

– If the barrier gets destroyed it’s game over.

 

I played the paper prototype for a good amount of time with other people to test my game. After playing the paper prototype I realised only having one enemy was a bit boring and I needed a bit of a challenge. Playing the prototype was really beneficial to me for play testing my game before I make it.

I got some feedback from players who were play testing the prototype. One bit of critical feedback that I received was to make the enemy continue to move towards the player after the barrier gets destroyed. It felt batter knowing you die once the enemy hits you rather than the barrier.

IMG_0438 IMG_0437 IMG_0436

 

Images of the paper prototype in action.

 

Concept Art

Background1

I initially was going to hand paint a lot of levels so I began doing some rough sketches in Photoshop. I then realised how long it would take to have to draw out each individual background and paint it. I chose to scrap that idea and stick to the original cartoon idea. I don’t think hand painted backgrounds would fit well with everything else being simple shaded and cartoon like.

CharacterLine

For the character I drew out a simple line drawing and scanned it in to the computer ready to work on in Photoshop.

charmain

I blocked him in with simple gradients to bring him to life. For a while I was using this character design until later realising he needed look a little nicer!

char_idle_1

I further worked on the character design rendering him a bit more giving him more life. I also changed the eyes around making one bigger than the other.

charwalk

Once I had the final character design in Photoshop layers it was pretty straight forward in animating him. Here is a walk cycle.

Concept Art

characterconceptart

Concept art is always nice to look at and gives you a better sight on how a game looks. I knew I couldn’t give my characters a realistic look to them so I created some still concept images of 3 characters. The character design 2 is the concept I used for my game. However I used a simpler and more cartoon like style for the game due to it taking to much time to consistently produce every asset in the same style and animate them.

Game Design Mind Map

mind map

 

I made a separate mind map looking into a tower defence game. I chose a few of the main key elements to what goes into a 2D tower defence game and broke them down into individual ideas I wanted to design my game around. I liked the idea of the game to have a cartoon art style and I made that very clear in this mind map.

Project Plan

ganttchartimage

This is my project plan showing the outcomes I was looking to achieve for each week of the project. The weeks are listed at the top from week 1 through 11 with the corresponding dates. To the left there are all the outcomes I needed to complete for the project. I filled certain boxes under the weeks I wanted to have completed a task in. Making a chart like this really helps you keep on task and help you realise what needs done and when it needs to be done for. However there will always be certain times like holidays where you cannot determine whether or not you can complete a task in so overlapping tasks is effective.

2D Game Research

Super Meat Boy

1269147417 [Team Meat]

 

I really like the timer mechanic to super meat boy. The idea of the game is to make it from the start of the level to the end and rescue a character called bandage girl. The idea behind bandage girl is that she is made out of bandages and meat boy is basically just meat, he is bleeding everywhere. He needs bandage girl to complete him. Once you make it to the end of the level you are given a time in what you made it in under. I think this mechanic makes player want to keep replaying the level to get a better time. I think it makes the game slightly more competitive.

I think the art style of super meat boy has some cartoon like features with vector style graphics. I like this art style a lot and it keeps the game feeling fresh and simple so the player can focus on the game mechanics while keeping the fresh clean look to the game.

The levels aren’t too complicated to look at. Your view distance for the whole level is really high so you can see all around the level without having to move there first. This helps you plan out your exact path in which you will take to complete the level in a good time.

There are obstacles in the levels that can kill you. Things like spiky balls will spin and try to make your path way to the end of the level more difficult. Avoiding these should not be a problem if you have some practice at jumping around them.

 

Team Meat. (). Media. Available: http://supermeatboy.com/media/1/Super_Meat_Boy/. Last accessed 17th Nov 2014.

 

Limbo

1404071-limbo_esrb_t_720p30_st_6300kbps_53 [Chris,2013]

 

Limbo is a 2d sidescroller game using silhouette assets. You have to make your way through the level without attacking anything until you move on to the next level. You have obstacles that you can move to help you climb up things and progress onwards. The game is put into a number of levels that you have to each seamlessly complete to finish the game.

The game is made entirely out of silhouette assets. No colour is in this game. This creates a very moody look to the game. It fits the title of the game and what it is about. The idea of limbo is about it being very empty and wiped of life. The greyscale silhouettes make this feel empty without colour. It’s like someone has turned out the lights and you can’t see anyone anymore so you ju8st have to keep moving on to try and find things.

As show in the picture there are giant spider creatures that can come after you in the game. Again these add to the spooky, creepy look and feel to the game. It puts you under a bit of pressure to run quicker through the level and gives you less time to thing when having to do puzzles within the level.

 

Chris Priestman. (18 October 2013). Playdead confirms that Limbo is no longer a PS3/Vita Cross-Buy game. Available: http://www.pocketgamer.co.uk/r/PS+Vita/Limbo/news.asp?c=54620. Last accessed 17th Nov 2014.

Book Research

I read the book, ‘The Hobbit’. It is a fictional story of the journey a young hobbit takes. This book was written by J.R.R. Tolkien, the same author that wrote the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It is set far back in the past where horses where the main use of transport. This book has a good selection of fictional beasts and monsters. It got me thinking of ideas for monsters in games and how they would look. This was good research for developing ideas because it had some very good descriptions of environments and general old time feels. This got me thinking and imagining ideas for games. It was great reading because without the picture it gets you to imagine so much more that what you can see. You create your own world on your take of the book. [Tolkien,2013]

 

IMG_0098

 

Reference:

J.R.R. Tolkien (2013). The Hobbit. London: HarperCollins. p1-389.

Film Research

Shrek the Third

I watched Shrek the Third and took a few screen captures of certain bits that I thought looked good for environments designs. This film was great for researching stage props and environments. It has some long scenes at the start and the finish of the movie that I managed to get pictures from. I really like the cutouts on the stage that are propped up from behind. If I was to do graphics for a game with this style to it I would add the little triangle prop up behind the cutout props such as trees. This makes it look like it is just a flat graphic on a cardboard or wooden sheet.

IMG_0087

shrek3shrek2shrek4 shrek5