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Posts Tagged ‘#1GAM’

3D Games and Virtual Reality

January 31, 2015 Leave a comment

Over the past year I’ve been concentrating mainly on improving my skills in HTML5 / Javascript games, and all of the games I’ve made during this time have been 2D. This year I’d like to improve my skills in 3D games and learn some new tools, so that will be my New Year resolution for 2015. I’ve been looking at the most popular tools for creating games on One Game A Month and it seems like Unity is the leader.

With this in mind I set out to make a prototype using Unity and managed to achieve this in around 4 hours thanks to some great tutorials on Youtube. I also managed to convert the game to work with Google Cardboard, the low cost Virtual Reality headset.

My prototype is a simple landscape with a couple of walls, a first person view (with two cameras to create the VR effect), and it is controllable with a gamepad. I’ve packaged it for Android and you can download and install the package from the link below (remember to enable ‘other sources’ on your Android device). I’ve only tested it on my Samsung Galaxy Nexus with an Xbox Controller and also an Ipega PG 9017 bluetooth game controller. If you don’t have a controller to connect to your Android device, then you can still download the app, but all you’ll be able to do is look around and not move.

Download the game (Android package)

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Loops game – update 2

February 6, 2014 Leave a comment

The game was lacking an ending, so it now has an ‘audience satisfaction meter’. The aim of the game is to keep the audience entertained and thrilled with stunts. If you fail to keep performing stunts and flying through the hoops the audience’s satisfaction will drop. The level is complete when the audience satisfaction meter is filled.

The meter needs a cool name, so maybe I’ll call it the ‘Thrill-o-meter’.

Screenshot of a stunt flying game

Screenshot of the stunt flying game showing the ‘thrill-o-meter’

Loops game – update 1

February 5, 2014 Leave a comment

Over the past few days I’ve continued adding features to the stunt plane, looping game.

Features added

  • wind pump – scenery object to avoid.
  • barn – scenery object to avoid, and points can be gained by flying through the barn.
  • background – parallax scrolling background.
  • smoke trail – pressing the left arrow key releases a smoke trail from the plane. I’d like this to be useful in the game, but haven’t got a definite purpose for it yet.
  • other plane – an object to avoid.
  • scoring – points are scored for going through hoops. Double points are scored for performing a loop-the-loop and passing through a hoop whilst upside down. Points can be scored for flying through the barn.
  • inertial movement – more realistic movement of the plane. The plane also tilts as it pulls up and dives.
Stunt plane game

Screenshot of the game so far

Debugging

Some problems I ran into during construction of the game.

  •  The explosion effect when the plane crashes was occurring in the wrong position when the plane was performing a loop. I fixed this by embedding the explosion object inside the aeroplane animation.
  • the smoke was appearing on the outside of the barn if activated whilst flying though the barn. This was fixed by removing the front of the barn from the display objects, drawing the smoke and then adding the front of the barn again so that it appeared on top of the smoke.
  • the barn and wind pump kept overlapping when randomly placed in the game. I added a function to check for overlaps and reassign a random position to the wind pump.

Future updates

  • I need to increase the difficulty of the game as it is quite easy to amass points without crashing. I may add more objects to avoid, such as a flock of birds and change the scoring so that you have to complete a certain number of stunts within a time limit to continue.
  • Title screen, end sequence, etc. I’ll probably create an animated start screen with the aeroplane taking off and a final screen when the game has been completed.
  • Sound effects and music. Upbeat ‘flying’ music. Engine sounds. Cow and chicken sounds as you fly through the barn.
  • Incidental / environment animations. A chicken that flies out of the barn. Clouds. People on the ground.
  • I may port the game to Android tablet, implementing on-screen controls or tilt controls to move the plane.

Play the game – UP and DOWN arrows to move. SPACE to loop.

February Game – Loops

February 2, 2014 Leave a comment

I awaited this month’s #1GAM theme with baited breath, hoping it would fit with my plans for my long term game projects, however the theme of ‘Loops’ just didn’t seem to fit at all. Brainstorming with my kids, we came up with ideas such as a ‘Tempest’ style shooter, a rollercoaster game and finally an aerobatics game.

Concept sketch of flying game

Concept sketch of flying game

Grabbing my sketchbook I scribbled down a quick idea – a side scrolling flying game where you fly through hoops to gain points, perform loop-the-loops for bonus points, whilst avoiding crashing into buildings and flocks of birds.

Next I had a quick search for existing similar games, coming across the fantastic Stunt Pilot on Miniclip. While this looked like a fun and playable game, it had a different control system from what I intended and also different challenges for the player.

Next I started a simple proof-of-concept prototype in Adobe Flash, with some block graphics. After that was working successfully I added a scrolling background and a nice clipart image of a biplane before making a screen recording of the work in progress. There’s still a lot of work to do to make this a playable game, but I’m pleased with what I’ve accomplished in such a short amount of time. Having participated in #1GAM for over a year I’ve found that the practice has made me much quicker at coding and resolving bugs – even anticipating problem areas well before coding begins. If anything, #1GAM has been an amazing workout for the mental muscles!

Here’s the result so far after only an hour of work.

January Game

January 14, 2014 Leave a comment

My plan is to do fewer games this year for One Game A Month, but these games will be bigger and better than anything made last year. At present I’m planning two games – the first is a top-down shooter and the second is a point and click adventure. My plans may change, and I may do some small games each month depending on the optional themes at #1GAM.

The top-down shooter is a project I’m working on with my Game Development students. They’re making maze games and some are adding features such as roaming baddies, shooting, combat and object collection. The game I submitted for January’s #1GAM grew out of the college project, as some students wanted to learn how to make a top-down shooter game. The working title is ‘Spawn of the Dead’, and the object of the game is to survive as long as you can against endlessly respawning zombies. My plan for the game is to add more levels, features, better graphics, sounds and a storyline, completing the game around May or June. You can play the current game (Flash required).

Spawn of the Dead game

The player movement was simple to implement, with the rotational movement and shooting the trickiest part so far. This is all working adequately, so my next task is to work on the zombie AI. At present the zombies simply run towards the player. This presents a small problem as sometimes the zombies overlap each other and get stuck behind walls. I’m trying to figure out a way to get them to behave more intelligently, perhaps moving in different directions if they collide, and trying to find ways around obstacles if they become stuck. I’m not sure how to implement this – perhaps they will have different ‘states’ – seeking the player, avoiding other zombies and seeking a new route. AI is not something I’ve used much, so this will be a bit of a learning process for me. I’m planning to do a few test games to try out different methods of implementing the AI.

Sketch of game

Original game concept sketch

Addendum: testing of the game has identified a fundamental flaw, in that the player can stand in a spot where the zombies cannot get them. This means that the timer can keep counting continuously and astronomical scores can be achieved! This will be fixed by changing the timer to a ‘number of kills’ score.

Reflection

December 29, 2013 1 comment

The original purpose of this blog was to reflect on my Game Design classes and provide information and help to others teaching game design. However for the past year I’ve been distracted by One Game A Month – a challenge to create one new video game each month of 2013.

I am pleased to say that I completed the challenge and hope to be in the top 10 of participants when the year ends. At time of writing I’ve slipped to position 3 in the top 100 high scores after keeping the top position for over three weeks.

no1

My original aims were to begin creating games with Adobe Flash and by the end of the year have learned enough HTML5 and Javascript to start creating games with those tools. This hasn’t happened unfortunately as the learning curve has been too steep for the short time I’ve had. Still, I managed to create 12 decent, playable games during 2013 and the practice has made me a much quicker programmer, with my last two games taking me only a few hours to create rather than days. Despite that, the games I’m most proud of are actually the ones I created at the start of the year. I had clear plans for these as they were intended to be used as educational games on the King Robert the Bruce website.

One Game A Month will continue in 2014, but at this time I’m not sure how much I will participate. Apparently the focus will be more on creating and updating games rather than making discrete games each month. This may fit in with my own personal plans, as during the next year I aim to create a game for the Android platform and have it available for purchase on Google Play.

For those of you who are interested in my computer games class (I’m teaching NPA Computer Games Development, Level 5), all of my students passed the Game Design unit and are making good progress in the Media Assets unit. Most of the students are working on creating maze-based games in Adobe Flash and one student is working on a 3D game using Blender. Top-down shooter games are the most popular genre this year, with bank heists, prison breaks and zombie survival being the most common themes. My students have been keeping a close eye on my progress in One Game A Month, and at the end of term they gave me a round of applause when they found I’d made it to the number 1 spot in the high scores. It was one of my most treasured moments of 2013, and I hope I can continue inspiring my students throughout their time at college.

#1GAM April – latest game development

April 12, 2013 3 comments

After a break of a few weeks I’m back into development of my next game for OneGameAMonth.com.

April’s game is about escaping from a dungeon. Continuing the theme of my previous games, this new game is about a medieval Scottish knight trying to escape from an English dungeon. Knights and nobles were often taken prisoner by invading armies so that their wealthy families would pay a ransom for their release. In the game you are such a knight, captured and imprisoned awaiting ransom. However your character has some vital information for King Robert the Bruce, so must try to escape to warn him of impending danger. Whilst trying to escape you also have side tasks of gathering information about King Edward II’s plans to invade Scotland.

Here’s a short clip showing the basic gameplay and mechanics. The player character and enemy characters will be different in the final game.