• Propose and sketch out 2 ideas for a game for which you will develop an interface
• Gather feedback and justify which one of the 2 designs you will develop further
• Design and build a visual approach of a computer game based on the tutorials practiced in class (this should be presented in a storyboard format)
table of content:
- winning idea
- how it works
- the trick is in the paddle
- scores and lives
- the next level up
- self evaluation
MAJOR PROJECT BRIEF: BRICK-BREAKER GAME
my MIND MAP
idea 1 galaxyDiscover
part of my decision process was looking at galaxies and ethereal concepts at the beginning to then start aesthetically getting more defined. while that definition was getting clearer, I also realised i was doing a journey through my research into the galaxy and the idea of a concrete and not only spiritual journey seemed stronger.
I then researched games around and it seemed to me there is none both on kind of the chakras side or train side BUT for sure i know that mediation, yoga, spirituality are now getting a strong grip on the mass market (well they have been for 10 years now, you are late mate!) so i thought, by the time I get this game to work, there will be something out there already about travelling through your chakras and i need to have something at least original to make up for all the rest (my non very skilled student skills). plus i really am getting fed up with all these fake yoga practitioner that are more self-centred than world centred – what a dichotomy, you do meditation to be more connected with mother earth and THE spirit and then you just become a ego-referred being that only cares about feeling good with itself! So let’s use this brick-breaker opportunity to make a statement … you wanna travel outside of this shallow, temporary, ephemeral world and into the much greater galaxy we are all connected to? good, you gotta work hard, get your train to work, get it to score, sweat! the more you sweat the better trains you will get and the cooler and stronger your journey will be… and the more different from anyone else you will be: you are your train into this galaxy and your train fuels from the galaxy’s force.
the WINNING idea:
the galaXXpress _ a voyage into the galaxy with a special steaming paddle on top of a train we don’t see until the very end of each level, which reveals the train the gamer has been riding on for that level and makes him want to discover the next level train.
As mentioned in my research section, my game does play on a strong consumer insight about individuality and at the same time to another consumer insight of thrive to connect, so there is the element of individuality within the train each individual gamer gets, the individuality of the gamer doing its own individual journey. at the same time there is the spiritual element of the galaxy, the connection to a much bigger picture the sense that we ARE part of a much bigger thing.
each level has a different aesthetic theme that dictates the background colour palette, the bricks design, the train revealed at the end of the level.
So as each level is supposed to get more and more difficult, our voyager needs to be braver and stronger.
The upper the levels the more cyber/end-of-the-world/steam-punk the train aesthetic gets.
The lower the level, the less defined, the more comic, childish, simple, flat the Tain, its drawing, its colours, its lines.
References and similarities and points of contact with my idea come from my youth:
the galaxy 999 manga cartoon (see pics above) that came about round early 80’s and had a fabulous design, same for captain Harlock manga cartoon i loved and i watched daily, these voyages into the unknown galaxy, these dark but good and real character that seem to have survived the end of all worlds and come back cooler sexier and stronger.
how it works:
My galaXXpress is a classic brickbreaker game, where the aim is to reach higher levels: the better the score the better the trains in the levels that will follow, the more of an amazing adventure this galaxy voyage will be.
the trick is in the paddle:
as every brick-breaker game, also mine has different bricks that trigger different reactions, points , scores. For example there are bricks that get destroyed at the first instance they are hit, others that need to be hit twice, others that just do not disappear and others that give you lives or bring you straightway to the next level.
But it was still missing some proper technical difficulty, it’s same as everywhere…. so I thought I’d put the trick in the paddle. The paddle i developed is quote complex (well it was for me) as it basically is a train steam, as if the gamer is seeing only the top of its machine: the paddle the gamer is seeing and driving is the top of its train, is the pot and steam of the train he is driving. and it is animated steam… so what if the ball bounces properly on the paddle if and only if it hits precisely the paddle on the animated steam? say if it is already below the steam, it won’t bounce even if it is hitting the paddle? so that the difficulty DOES BECOME about how AN EXPERT GALAXY DRIVER you are. Can you swoosh amongst the planets, the galaxy rubbish, can you hit the asteroid exactly where it needs, can you avoid the tail of this, hit that, can you basically be extremely precise in your inputs, can you be the Master Puppeteer of your paddle? If you can, you will deserve better, more complex but also much cooler and stronger trains, so well done!
here some pics of how hard and how long it took me to get to the paddle idea working ….
I was very drawn initially to try and have a hyperrealistic look of the smoke so looked as you can see from the pics above into real steam animation, i tried and do it but it wasn’t good enough and it was clashing with the whole aesthetic idea of having non realistic visuals to try and steer away from this trend of hyperrealism when we can actually do so much more than that! (see essay, task 2)
so I looked into cartoon style smoke/steam as well, into pots where this steam should come from… above some research pics for you to enjoy…
and then I tried to make it my own….
animate it…. (see swf file included in the paddle folder that i cannot attach here)
and then finally decided to definitely go for the cartoon version. here is the result of my 4 months pregnancy ah! what a birth, I certainly took my time!
The interesting bit of this paddle is the fact that because the animation of the steam goes from one side to another of the paddle, of course when the direction of the train changes, the steam should change too! that is why you can see two versions of the paddle, one with steam left to right and one with steam right to left. in the game, every time the player changes direction of the paddle, the paddle actually changes itself consequently: cool!
luckily my wall is both on top and bottom of the brick-breaker screen so the fact that the actual pot is laying on a black background does not show so I do not have to modify that channel as well.
I have been djing with vinyls only and strictly vinyls for 13 years now and I have also produced music with a friend so it was really important for me to manage to give some sound-life to this game, even more so because i did not manage to do that in my first term unfortunately, but I did promise myself to do it in the second term and I did!
That’s why I introduce sfx both for the actual bricks when they get hit and for the paddle/train when the gamer reaches the next level.
the idea being here too that at the progression of levels also sfx become more interesting and complex then the classic tuuu tuuuu!
scores and lives….
you will see an icon for the lives, it’s quite steam-punk style but it is inly a place holder for the time being as I haven’t had the time to code that part in. scoring is the same, I am planning it but not had the time yet.
interestingly though I am more and more trying to bring original elements in so am thinking if i want a steam-punk style heart as a life (and the image I placed is free of usage by the way so i could) i would much rather prefer to take a picture of something that sparkles my imagination and modify that. this is what I am planning on doing with this potato…..
the next levels up:
here’s my first level train in all its beauty
and some conceptual research into the evolution of the trains’ aesthetic in correlation to the levels achieved. it’s a work in progress, meaning i need to actually draw my own trains and elements for the next levels but the idea is there and is clear at least (:
what I found hard: i really find hard to get a proper grip on all the different softwares.
Please do not get me wrong, this is not a discharge of responsibility, the following is actually an honest take on responsibility, mainly discipline I guess. so… the bottom line is… I need to find more time for this, I find it really hard to get things working straight away. for instance… I have a mac with gm2 we work on pc with gm1.4, the computers at school have adobe 7, I have adobe 6, so I need to do some things with my computer and not from school, I do not have office-word, so I need to write at school, I lost my USB one weeks before submission, I lost three weeks worth of work (the other 3 months I saved on another drive as well luckily) so … I cannot really practice at home, I have to work 3 days a week, lessons are three days a week… sometimes I also need to breathe…. so I should really stop working and only doing this but I can’t afford it in london. I just can’t so am gonna stick to doing as best as I can with the time I have and rather do one level of game but with the elements that I want in then three levels of crap/draft. I really do care about the creative concept and the execution and I do have a clear vision of what I want in my game so I am not gonna compromise on quality just for quantity… not until I am paid specifically to do that… in which case I’ll think about it.
Now it is my time to do things exactly the way I want them, for what I can, to show to the world my perspective, my individualism, my character so I shall, even if only a little because I AM TOO SLOW, I NEED TO GET MUCH QUICKER AND TO DO THAT I NEED TO HAVE TIME TO PRACTICE.
good thing is that I at least made a timing and tried to stick to it, I was quite in good shape until I lost the USB and that is why I am actually able to submit something because I was in good shape up until mid january! so lesson learnt from first term, always try and keep your work up-to-date on all your drives. lesson learnt from second term: now get a proper grip on the softwares.
what I enjoyed doing: i love developing the idea, planning the structure of the idea, its conceptual development, its aesthetics in relation to its vision. basically i love doing in computer gaming what i loved doing for 20 year in the communication industry: creatively strategize a concept and bring it to life as a Master Puppeteer.
I am good at coming up with original but relevant ideas, building structure and narratives behind ideas, i am good at making them with legs that can walk a long way, i always make sure they are in some way relevant to a specific audience both conceptually and aesthetically otherwise they won’t last or hook. i am not so good at…. the production side of things is where i am slow but i think it is also because i am such a generalist, a bigger picture kind of person that the details come always after for me (and take loads of time because i focus my energies firstly on the idea creation and strategy).
what I can do best: I am pretty eclectic in my skills, I mean I am a good creative strategist and I know that from my successes, I understand consumers and the importance of insights to be relevant to them, I know how to create a story that can grow in years, keeping innovating without changing its initial concept, I have a good understanding of music and can produce it, I know very well the links between sound and movement as I have been a puppeteer in my early career and am now an animator (concept is the same, only difference that puppeteer give life to physical puppets, game developers give life to virtual puppets).
so… from what I say above it seems like… I am all set for success, if I can have enough discipline to focus on it and not get distracted or side-trapped by London’s expensive life. I have decided to leave my flat and rent it for the third and last term so I can solely focus on school and give myself a chance to see if that really makes a difference. if it doesn’t that i am missing something and it’s not worth, i missed the train kinda thing. but if it does (and i am pretty sure it will), i will enroll in the second year and keep it as that, no job, not my cosy flat but renting a room somewhere, but much more time to actually give it a proper 100% go.
so let’s see!