Thursday, November 12, 2015

Homework Midterm Update

Team 2 - Game Document Update for Midterm



 Our story, told in a linear fashion, will unfold beginning in an environment in a world familiar to that of ours. Our hero, Gaya, the child of Mother Nature, is awakened in a peaceful area of Eden that will provide a place for them to learn and practice these newly acquired elements (game mechanics) that they must use on their quest. Once leaving this Eden, Gaya will enter a world of turmoil and imbalance--the only progress will come through the mastery and practice of the elements to reestablish balance. A foreign race of creatures, Malterra, has destroyed Earth’s environment and is abusing these elements for their own desires. The Malterra will use these elements to fight our hero in combat. Gaya will use all four elements to battle the Malterra, to display balance of elements over the abuse of the single element being used by the individual Malterra. 


 We are using a fairly standard video game setup: our game runs on a computer, the graphics are displayed on a monitor, sound plays through whatever speakers are available, and the player interacts with the game by using a gamepad or a keyboard.


 We are currently working on models to represent our game’s main character, but the current model is the default mannequin. We have particle effects in place to denote the character’s current stance. Apart from the third person template map, we have one level that features maze-like mountain formations.


Our current player character can move around in three dimensions by running and jumping. The player can utilize a basic three-hit combo to attack enemies. In order to move from one combo attack to the next, the attack button must be pressed during a certain window of time. While attacking, the player cannot run or jump, but can slowly turn in order to fine-tune the direction of the attacks. The four stances can be activated with the d-pad on a controller or the T, F, G, and H keys on the keyboard, although these stances only generate particle effects at the moment.

Member Contributions

Itiel Agramonte: character models, simple map

Daniel Hoekman: character controls and attacks

Arthur Karapateas: enemy AI

Michael Uria: background music, sound effects

week 1:
Itiel Agramonte: finish Mixamo characters and animations
Daniel Hoekman: make character attacks functional, create enemy that can take damage
Arthur Karapateas: upload basic AI
Michael Uria: get music playing in-game

week 2:
Itiel: finish basic map
Daniel: give stances unique properties, work on combo system
Arthur: work on enemies
Michael: work on music, provide sound effects

week 3:
Itiel: map detailing and troubleshooting
Daniel: refine character attacks and abilities
Arthur: work on enemies/boss
Michael: finish music

Friday, November 6, 2015

Homework 8: game analysis

Team 2 Game and it's Element's of the Tetrad

Featured above is a possible working title of our game that was designed by our team members. This image, although simple helps clarify the important elements of our game and how they work together. 

1) the Tetrad

  • Story: Starting this game's campaign we wanted to introduce the player to a world of nature. One that introduces turmoil and tranquility since our games focus is eventually about balance and making all of that work together properly. Most of our story will unfold in dialogue being spoken by a narrator while the player fights against foes. This will be done using technology to record our voices for the characters of our game. The gameplay will continue during times of exposition and hopefully this method of story telling will keep up engaging gameplay while being told. 
  • Aesthetics: Our games aesthetic is one that will include many natural environments, including those that seem to clash. As our character is the balance between all the elements of nature, this aesthetic will help portray the narrative we want to convey. We will also be using many premade models found in unreal, especially those from the Infinity Blade starter packs. These include many wonderful resources, especially for environments like fire areas, and snowy regions. 
  • Mechanics: Our gameplay mechanics will involve switching between 4 various elements of power to fight against opponents. The fifth element will be an ether that is used to keep the player alive, so it acts as a health system. As the player continues fighting and stays alive for longer they will be rewarded with new powers to continue providing various options for combat to prevent a lack of emergence in gameplay. 
  • Technology: The technology we are using to create our game is unreal engine and the power of our computers. We are also planning on allowing a player to plug in a usb controller to control the main character. The D-Pad will be used to seemlessly switch powers, and we believe that this is immensely important for the mechanics of our game to feel good and fun to play. The technology will help us portray the aesthetic we are looking for with the models and texture packs we will use, and the story telling will then help better be told. 

2) Balance:

Our games balance will come from the player learning how to use which elements against which enemies properly. Some enemies will be effected more by a specific element, and the player will be especially weak to enemies of another type of element. This way the player will be constantly thinking about which power to use for each combat scenario. We as a team believe this is the best way to make our game feel balanced and fun to play, while also continuing to be engaging. Balance will definitely be the most difficult aspect of our game to make it feel right, but our goal is to achieve a good sense of balance that is fun, while also having a good learning curve. As the player eventually masters their elements against certain types, we would eventually like to include enemies of various elements in the same area to make the combat feel more frantic, this will be the most difficult part of our game to balance. Our map for the player to play in will also be a map made of 4 sections. Each of which cater to a specific element more so than an other, so this will help prevent any one element from being used more than an other.

3) Emergent Properties:

As our players learn about which elements work best against certain enemies and how to use their powers to manipulate the environments around them, we want to introduce enemies that might be containing more than one element that they can switch between. This emergence will be mostly a change in difficulty if the player survives for a long period of time. This will help create a new sense of focus that will prevent the player from feeling like the difficulty is stagnant. Rather than picking a difficulty mode, this will help create an emergence in difficulty. Other emerging properties will be power ups found on the map that can make certain elements more powerful, and maybe certain events that happen within the map like challenges to overcome as you survive for longer periods of time. Our game is seeming to lean more towards a survive on the map for a period of time with events that unfold as you play to help keep the player engaged. Unlocking new abilities as you play will also be something that will help keep the player engaged as they play.

4) Interest Curves:

As our players continue playing we want to make sure that events occur that seem not only threatening but also engaging to help them learn a new ability. This will happen as our players continue surviving on the map. The new abilities could include flying with the air element, sliding with the ice ability, rolling with the rock element, and burning with the fire element. These new methods of movement and combat will be introduced to the player as things also get more challenging and they need to travel across the map in a quicker rate to protect the environment around them. The dialogue will happen continuous as the player plays so that they do not feel alone in the world that they are fighting in. Hopefully these elements of emergence will help continuously keep up the players interest in the game to continuously survive. A high-score/leaderboard being implemented  will also be important to helping players feel interested in continuously playing our game to see who can survive the longest. That competitive aspect will also hopefully help keep interest in the game. 

5) My opinions on the game so far

Based on these design choices I am liking the game that we are making. About halfway through development I was not too happy with our design decisions because the goals of our game were very unclear and not seeing an end in sight. As soon as the tagline, "Master the Elements, Master Yourself" was created we all started to see a much clearer vision for our game. Our games development has become a lot more fun and engaging, and I believe this will help make our games elements feel a lot more passionately created to actually be fun to play. Our goal is just that, to make our game fun to play. Our story telling will just be to get the player into the world around them so that they can start playing and so that they can start learning how to have fun with eh mechanics and the world around them. As the development has become more fun, so has the game.

Game Contributions this week:
After pushing AI mechanics to github, I also included a field of view for our enemies, and the ability for enemies to patrol certain areas, and go to specific spots on the map after certain things occur. Next up is working on making the enemies attack the players, and being able to be defeated by the player.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Homework 7: Setup Source Control

Above is the URL to the source of our online repository. I'm currently working on adding more detail in animations to the AI movement, and adding the animations for the attacks of the AI. The Blueprint scripting for AI Movement was added to the repository by myself this week.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Homework 6: Analyze two games

1. Halo: Combat Evolved

Official Website URL's of the Game:
Original Release Date: November 15th, 2001Developer: BungiePlatform(s): Xbox

Original Cover Art for Halo: Combat Evolved

When it comes to thinking about a game that I like amongst the first to enter my mind is Halo: Combat Evolved. It was a game for myself that took me on an epic crusade through space, and at the same time introduced me to the wonders of playing a game with friends like no other game had done before.

1) The Tetrad:

  • Story: Starting this game's campaign I am immediately thrust into a world of conflict, one with mysterious new enemies, futuristic equipment and machinery, new planets, and places I have never journeyed too. This game's story immediately captivated me in the exhilaration of the fast paced story. The story also introduced me to the mechanics properly, the aesthetics of the alien worlds, and was better told using the strong graphical technology of the Xbox to show me places with a new depth and attention to detail.
  • Aesthetics: The games aesthetic was one that felt both familiar in the beginning by taking inspiration from other sci-fi stories like those from the movie "Alien", while at the same time expressing new worlds and technology that I have never seen before over time during the story telling. The human weapons and armor all had a familiar aesthetic but the worlds I journeyed too had a new aesthetic, one that was mysterious and attracted me to continue through the game to discover more about it. 
  • Mechanics: Over time the mechanics were introduced to me through on screen prompts, explanations from character AI, and an intro tutorial. As the game's story progressed I was also introduced to new vehicles that provided immense strength, mobility, and the power of flight. These new mechanics introduced over time were what captivated me so well and made me fall in love with the gameplay. 
  • Technology: The power of the Xbox was unparalleled at it's time. It supported fantastic graphical capabilities, similar to that of a very expensive computer at the time. Through this graphical power the worlds I explored featured an immense amount of depth. The battles felt immense, and at the same time I could play the entire game's campaign with 4 friends together, something I could previously not do. On top of this the Xbox featured LAN capabilities like a PC. This allowed me for the first time to be able to play a game with up to 16 people in a versus mode. I knew that this wasn't a new concept, but at the time I could not afford a computer that could play any video game. Even running the original Diablo gave me problems on my Dell Dimension with 256 kb of RAM. The Xbox, with it's technology, and Halo, allowed me to experience large scale LAN for the first time, while also being an affordable piece of technology compared to an expensive PC powerful enough for gaming.

The setting of Halo, a Ring shaped structure floating in space

2) Balance:

This game exuded Balance constantly. It was always fair in it's ability to teach the player, through trial and error, and in versus modes provided all players with the exact same abilities and weapons at the start to always allow a fair start to a match. Challenge was provided through various difficulties that were rewarding, difficult and varied in many ways. Also if the player selected a difficulty that was far too challenging and they could not progress, the game would even prompt the user the option to lower the difficulty. The game always made me feel like it provided me with the tools to succeed, while it also never felt like it held my hand through everything. Skill was determined through my weapon choices  when it came to using plasma weapons or human weapons against various AI, and also knowing their weakness'. Chance was also a factor in the game, especially in PVP game modes. Taking a chance to go for a certain weapon placed on the field was always risky, but if you succeeded you always felt properly rewarded for doing so by claiming a powerful weapon for your arsenal. Cooperation was also something that was balanced well in campaign. Depending on how many friends I played the campaign with determined how many enemies we would fight in various scenarios to always keep a good difficulty. The length of the game also felt just right. Depending on the chosen difficulty would also determine how long it would take for me to triumph. Playing the game again to master the biggest challenges was also a great aspect of this game. Never did I feel confined in the environments as exploring was something that was encouraged in order to better prepare for combat, and the landscapes were always believably confining.

An environment on Halo
3) Emergent Properties:

While progressing through the story properties or strategies that arose because of simple actions that the player took were whether the player would choose to take certain routes over others, or to use various tools and weapons to succeed. For instance in one level the player is introduced to stealth cloaking technology to go through a close combat area stealthy, or they can proceed through an area that is filled with far more enemies but they have a tank to succeed. Both of these options provided various strategies and new ways to interact with the game not previously introduced.

A general interest curve demonstrating the overall trend in Halo for myself
4) Interest Curves:

In Halo the game immediately starts off in an exhilarating and engaging scenario of escape. Then the game slows down and gives the player time to learn how to interact and explore the new world theyre in. Constantly this game provides a form of ups and downs in an interest curve. This provides the player with new things to hook them with and then time to play and master that gameplay mechanic until they get to the next exciting vehicle/scenario. Constantly this creates a gradual increase in interest to find out what the next new vehicle, enemy or weapon will be. The game ends on an amazing finale that once again involves an escape much like the beginning. The exhilaration also comes from the fantastic musical score in the finale that hooks the player into a deep focus to escape a an alien planet about to explode.

5) Overall the reasons written above are why Halo: Combat Evolved is a game that I hold dear to my heart. I felt like it did everything right when it comes to crafting a brilliant game, and it is the reason as to why this game had so many sequels, some good and some not so good, created for over 14 years. The game's constant hooks, it's ability to provide constant challenge and a sense of accomplishment, and the ability to share all of this with my friends through cooperation and competition, are some of the many reasons as to why I love this game.

2. Destiny

Official Website URL's of the Game:
Original Release Date: September 9th, 2014
Developer: Bungie
Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360

When it comes to thinking about a game that I dislike, the first to come to thought is Destiny, a game I was immensely looking forward too. It was developed by the same Game Development Studio that created one of my favorite games, Halo: Combat Evolved, but this time I did not enjoy the game they created.

Cover art for the game

1) The Tetrad:

  • Story: This adventure began in a world of conflict, and mystery. One with new aliens but in the setting of earth and other local planets within our own solar system. The largest problem with this game's story telling was that it never provided any sense of reward or explanation as the player continued throughout it. New things were shown but never was there any explanation given to the player to want to continue the journey, and the player also wasn't provided a menu or codex in game to learn more about the story. Rather the developer opted to tell the story of the game through an online codex on the game's official website. 
  • Aesthetics: The games aesthetic was fairly beautiful and similar to that of the other Halo games that they developed, as our heroes were futuristic super soldiers. Magic was something new within this game's aesthetic, and the environments were very beautifully designed to create a sense of a space fantasy.
  • Mechanics: In this game the mechanics are introduced to us almost all at the very beginning of the game. The player can purchase weapons and unlock weapons overtime that they can use. All the weapons vary in rate of fire, and damage but other than that do not provide new mechanics for defeating foes. 2 vehicles exist within the game to learn how to use but overall the mechanics never grow from what was introduced in the very beginning. All foes are defeated with the same mechanics introduced to us in the beginning so their is no room to want to learn new mechanics to succeed. Magic is a new mechanic in the game that is introduced to us in the beginning as well. This was good for the introduction but as the story progressed we never learned to use our powers in various ways. 
  • Technology: Newer game systems with powerful processors and graphics cards provided this game the option to have very beautiful graphics. Also this game introduced an immense amount of online gaming capabilities for co-op and pvp gaming with dedicated servers, but lacked the ability to chat online and to play local multiplayer.

Three players on the moon

2) Balance:

This game struggled with balance in my mind more than most games I have played. The difficulty in the game was not based on the way AI acted but rather their health and how much damage you do to them. If you wanted to play the game on the hardest difficulty at times you could not if you were not the proper level to deal enough damage. This did not create a good sense of balance at all. The  challenge was also non existent if your character was a higher level than some enemies. Skill in this game existed solely through players accuracy and ability to predict enemy movement. Chance existed in this games PVP mode, in which random weapon and ammo drops would occur in certain areas. If you are in that area then you could get that weapon before someone else could and vice versa. Cooperation was not balanced well as the more people you played the story missions with the easier it was to succeed since they could revive you and the enemy count did not change per level depending on how many allies you have with you. The length of the game was very short at around 4-5 hours. Playing the game's missions again wasn't to master the biggest challenges since the only change is the damage and health of enemies but rather to unlock more powerful weapons. Many invisible walls also prevent the player from exploring the entirety of planets rather than providing environmental landscapes to prevent player exploration. Overall balance in online PVP was also very little. Since all players customized there starting weapons and powers, everyone started off differently. Some weapons in the game were always better than others, and not everyone started off with balanced skills to combat each other.

 Once your supercharge meter would fill you could use your magical power

3) Emergent Properties:

While progressing through the story properties or strategies that arose because of simple actions that the player took were power unlocks. These were unlocked by gaining experience points through defeating enemies and completing missions. The power unlocks changed player damage, health, and changed some elements of the characters magical power. For some these unlocks are very engaging but for myself they did not provide enough variance in strategy to engage me. Rather they felt like milestones meant to extend the playtime of the game.

4) Interest Curves:

In Destiny the interest curve started off very strong for myself by thrusting me into a new world of immense mystery. This world had new alien life and aesthetics new to me. I was intrigued to learn more about the world around me and was also ready for an engaging story to progress me throughout the game. Rather I was constantly provided with more and more questions and a lack of variance in combat. This constantly declined my interest in playing the game. Also the game lacked any form of local multiplayer. This severely disappointed me since not all of my friends can play games with me online or they have a different gaming system than I do. I did't have anyway to play with others I knew and so after completing the game's story I had no reason to return to play the game again.

5) Overall Destiny was severely disappointing for me. I began interested and the gunplay felt very good at first. The lack of variety in the guns, the enemies, the worlds, and a lack of many various vehicles is what made me lose my interest. It failed at providing a strong interest curve, the game had very little emergent properties throughout, and a poor sense of balance in the online gameplay. The technology was primarily focused on graphics but not on features to bring me together with my friends to play together.

Game Design Update:

Currently I am working on adding AI to our Beat-em-up game and to add a hit reaction animation. I uploaded all my AI data and blueprint information to source control so that we as a team can all work together on the same project files, and I am now updating our main project file to have the AI that I have been working on with movement and following of the player.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Homework 5 Blueprint and C++ Usage for transformations, arithmetic, and overall movement of objects

Using Blueprints I was able to create a system that enabled enemy AI for our game to follow my character as I played. This will be crucial for our game, since we will be creating a beat-em-up style fighting game in which the main player will be fighting many AI that will be chasing them down. Below you will see that the AI chasing the character are able to move at a variety of speeds, and soon I will be implementing jumping for the AI to traverse over platforms in order to chase down the player, and eventually I will add attack animations.

I have created 3 AI in the game that move so far.

 This is the general overlay of the blueprints for the movement of the 3 AI

 This Blueprint was for the first AI movement I worked on that enabled the AI to walk towards a certain spot. I controlled the variables of his speed in C++

 This code was for the movement of the AI that followed the player character

 This AI follows the other one that chases down the player and they move at a slower speed

 The basic movement of the AI chasing down the player

Below you can also see the AI walking to their destination 

Another viewing angle of the varying speeds

Below I also demonstrated working on transforming an object and adding particle effects. I utilized C++ for this because the video tutorials for doing this in Blueprint were unavailable on the course website when I clicked on the video for reference. I did find good tutorials online for this to be done in C++. 

C++ code for floating object, possibly powerup

Floating Object that moves up and down

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Team Homework 1

Contributions of Team Members this week:
Arthur: AI-controlled characters, one that follows a set path, one that chases the player
Itiel: a basic terrain asset accompanied by a Material Blueprint
Michael: several WIP pieces of music
Daniel: basic combo system using Anim Notifies 

Problems encountered by myself:
Some struggles that I encountered were using the volume based mesh box and making sure that all of my blueprint code was properly implemented within the game once I ran the game. Eventually I got it all to work, but at times it was stressful.

How my progress implemented elements of the Tetrad:
My progress this time was mostly just a utilization of technology to get the enemies working and to have some enemies created. This will be used to push our story onto the player, and to help further immersion in a living world that is engaging. 

Expected contributions for next week:
Arthur: To have Ai that can attack the player, and to react to the players attacks
Itiel: To add more detail to the terrain and landscape of our game
Michael: To work on more music for possibly a future battle scenario
Daniel: To further implement a combo system, and a reaction to hits

Our video was being worked on together and we were going to splice together all of our footage into one video but we stumbled upon the problem of footage lacking audio when it was all put together. This could possibly be due to all the videos being recorded in different formats. My footage is included below, and only contains my contributions. Daniel will be updating us when he completes the final footage of all of our progress all spliced together in one video. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Class Participation 3: Draw a Landscape for Class Game

In this Landscape that I drew, it was of an island, for the mindset of a plat-formming game. The starting point is on the bottom left, and I attempted to draw the island in 3 dimensions. The goal is to get to the flag on the top of the volcano. Along the way there are treasure boxes on certain difficult to reach platforms that challenge a different aspect of platforming. The straight path to the goal is fairly simple, but if you want the maximum amount of points, you must open all treasure boxes. The trees are used to prevent the player from leaving the landscape. There are platforms, ladders, bridges, and ropes(to either swing with or balance over) throughout the level. Also in the lava streams coming from the volcano, there is molten rock that is safe to stand upon for a little bit of time before it sinks into the volcano. This provides many different options for getting to all the different treasure chests, and for recovering from a possible mistake.