Posts Tagged ‘game design’

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


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.

EnchantJS – creating games with Javascript

January 20, 2014 Leave a comment

Last year I had a plan to start learning to create games with HTML and Javascript, and although I made some headway I got lost in the myriad of Javascript libraries. I tried CreateJS, which is free and good, but I felt it was a little complicated for teaching to my class, and I also looked at ImpactJS, which ended up being too expensive. I tried several other javascript libraries for creating games, but quickly ran into brick walls, suddenly unable to find quality tutorials or resources that were easy to understand.

Recently I discovered EnchantJS, which is described as “A simple JavaScript framework for creating games and apps”, and I am happy to report that it comes with some decent documentation that would be suitable for using with my students. Within a couple of hours I was able to implement some basic game elements with EnchantJS – sound, animation and input controls and finally felt as though I was getting somewhere with creating Javascript games. A bit more work is required to get a fully functioning game, but the tutorials and documentation I’ve discovered so far have been very good and have included excellent explanations (or at least better than for other Javascript libraries I’ve encountered).

For those of you interested in following this up, here are some of the resources I’ve found so far:

EnchantJS – download EnchantJS here. Also includes a starter tutorial that explains most of the basics very well.

Penguin Dive Tutorial – a step-by-step tutorial on making a complete game, with good explanations along the way.

CodeLeap – online tutorials on creating apps with EnchantJS. It’s in Japanese, so you may need to use Google Chrome to translate it to English. It has a browser based code editor that allows you to test your code right away.

Crash Course – created by Cal Poly, this course uses CodeLeap and takes you through the creation of a simple game.

Video tutorials – some video introductions to using EnchantJS.

Video showcasing some of EnchantJS features including OpenGL and 3D.

Slideshare on animation with EnchantJS.

Introductory tutorial (Japanese) covers the creation of maps. Google Translate does a good enough translation!

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.

One Game a Month

January 7, 2013 1 comment

This is probably madness as I’ll never keep up the pace, but I’ve signed up to One Game A Month – a challenge set for game designers to make 12 games in 2013.

You can check out my progress on my profile page and eventually try out my games as I post them.

Of course, my first game will be the Catapult game I posted about earlier this month, which happens to (almost) tie in with the suggested theme for January which is ‘portcullis’.

I already have the makings of a few more games that I started in the past, but never finished. We’ll see if it happens this time!

Follow the chat on Twitter with the hashtag #1GAM.

Computer Games: Media Assets

November 26, 2012 Leave a comment

It’s block two at college and we’re moving onto Computer Games: Media Assets for the next 12 weeks.

This is the unit that has the biggest crossover with other parts of the course that my NC level 5 students are doing. Already they’ve made animation and graphics, and had a chance to edit some video and audio, so they arrive at this unit with some of the practical skills.

During the first couple of classes we’ll be analysing some video games – examining the media assets in them and comparing similar games. We’ll be trying to assess if the graphics, sound, animation, etc, in a game can actually make it better. We’ll also be asking if graphics are a major appeal in buying a video game and if any other media assets, such as sound, have as big an impact.

Castle Smasher game

Castle Smasher

One of the first tasks we’ll do is a comparison of two similar games. This involves looking at two ‘Medieval Catapult’ games and comparing the sounds and graphics in each. The students will answer some set questions and then we’ll discuss which game is the best. The two games also have slightly different game mechanics, controls and interfaces, so this will probably come up in the discussion too. If you want to try this task yourself or with your own students then please download the tutorial. Feel free to remix it and share it with others.

Computer Games: Design – update week 12

November 21, 2012 Leave a comment

It’s the end of the first block at Carnegie College, and the last week of Computer Games: Design with my level 5 group.

So far 80% of the class has passed and there are a few students still working this week on a few final assignments (I’m expecting a pass rate of 85 to 90%, but may yet be surprised). This is an improvement on last year.

I’m reflecting on why the pass rate has improved, but I can’t say for certain what was different this year. Here are some of my thoughts:

  1. The students group seems more focused than previous groups. They get on well with each other and do a lot of work in class, rather than taking it home to finish. I can’t offer an explanation for this.
  2. The class seem more interested in computer games. Perhaps the interview process was more selective – directing students to more appropriate courses than in previous years.
  3. I may be getting better at it! It’s the third year of teaching these units. The first year is always hard – new units, assessments, lots of material to produce, lots of uncertainty. The second year is trying to identify and fix the mistakes of the previous year (yes, I make mistakes). In the third year most of the problems have been identified and sorted, so the focus can be on teaching and learning. If only teachers could be given adequate preparation time, maybe we could avoid some of the problems.
  4. More schools and colleges are offering the qualifications and I’ve been involved in lots of discussion about the units and assessment. These discussions have made me change how I teach and assess the subject.
  5. I’m teaching in a better classroom. The classroom is equipped with better computers that don’t crash as often, and have better software. The lighting is better, and although it gets too warm occasionally, there is a window we can open. It is less frustrating for myself and the students to work in this better environment.