Self Initiated Project: Evaluation

In terms of this Self Initiated Project, the primary objective of the semester was to create a playable level that would in time, house this game concept. This objective was achieved, although the level doesn’t have all of the assets and elements I would’ve liked to fully implement in the sense of assets and general population but still ascertains to the objective. The secondary objective was to look into the mechanics that would supplement the level and kickstart the inevitable game aspect of the project, this objective wasn’t achieved due to the primary focus being the level but I have personally researched the topic and how to do it in Unity so that may prove useful should I continue the project on within my personal time. The tertiary objective was to implement interactable objects and enemy AI/character models. This objective was partially achieved as I had the opportunity from another unit to combine work efforts and create something for both in regards to the people character models that will be used by the enemy AI.

There was a relatively sizeable period of time within the project whilst I was working on the people that my attention was turned away from the building the actual level and I think that because of this, the overall quality of the final product didn’t reach my own personal level of satisfaction that I would’ve originally wanted to attain.

Numerous amount of the assets shown within the level tended to be relatively rushed in regards to their quality. I feel like this was a result of my personal tendency to disregard their importance until nearer the deadline which definitely impacted their overall look. If I were doing this specific project again, I would most definitely look into utilising more project management tools to keep me within the parameters of my own objectives.

During the progress of the project I became self aware of the mistakes I had made during the start of the project, which meant that I would continually negotiate with the notion of restarting the entire building again, or attempting to piece together what was there. In hindsight I probably should’ve started again, knowing that I could’ve easily rectified the results in less time than it took me to adjust specific parameters of the project to it.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the project for the most part, regardless of the issues had and the grasping of Unity. It allowed me to pursue various avenues of development whilst sticking to a core concept and has given me the insight to see improvements that I can make in my work but also how far I have progressed in doing so. I would’ve preferred to have an actual game product as my final product but this project is a demonstration of how best to utilise my time and unfortunately I was unable to make that a reality.

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‘Distortion’ – Evaluation

Overall i like where the game is at its current state. I can see the flaws with the game and can see what i did right. The implementation of something actually moving is definitely a step up from last time. My greater accomplishment would have to be the in-game navigation, it was a pain to implement and construct the collisions, but it was worth it for the experience. Additionally the 5 movable characters was something i liked and looks far more impressive, personally than a selectable solo character moving around the screen.

I didn’t quite get to grips with stopping the companions from colliding with the walls, this is because of how they follow the leading characters path from a distance and cannot be moved otherwise. Additionally i ran out of time to put actual building quality detail to the buildings as i was too busy messing around with other things. Also, the combat system is very rushed and lacking some coherency in the sense that the AI would only either attack constantly whilst also healing at times, something that’s only avoidable if i were to rebuild the combat system, something i didn’t have time to do.

Rebuilding the combat system and enforcing navigational properties would be the pivotal improvement points going forward. I’d like to also make the entire system more streamlined, currently it’s a massive collation and accumulation of if statements.

Film Production Evaluation

End of The Road is a 1 minute narrative film that entails the highs and lows of owning a rather aged laptop and the trials of coping with this on a day-to-day basis. The story was propositioned as the character having a ‘bad day’ with the laptop being slow and ceasing to work all-together, this then would lead to a rhetoric confrontation with the inanimate object leading to a ‘flashback’ scene. This scene was to be a commemorative small piece to the laptop referenced in a humourous fashion, making the character come upon the realization that this laptop was worth more sentimentally to him than he knew initially. After going back to use the laptop, it repeats its former mistake and pays the consequences. This leads into the destruction stage of which the laptop is thrusted down a flight of stairs with the impact being caught on camera, this scene specifically is the only one without voice over and uses real-time audio relative to the scene as the impact, i felt needed a realistic ‘deadpan’ aspect to the scene that gave it an emphasis on humour.

The differences between the primary idea/concept that was proposed was this ideal of ‘total destruction’ as for a 1 minute narrative, time wasn’t on my side in terms of recording a sequence of destruction that would fit inside this time slot along with other material. From here i reduced the ‘casualty’ to a simple throw down a flight of stairs. The tricky aspect i found with it was that i was unable to get a multi-shot angle as there was only one line of sight directly propped to where i needed it.

Aspects I Felt Where Good

Personally i liked this ‘deadpan’ comedy aspect that i tried deliver that was softened for the viewers ears with the appropriate background music, it really added to the overall message. I think for the microphone i was using, it was a fairly decent voice over even though i have no idea where that accent came from and i did think that the monotoned nature of the voice over helped with that deadpan aspect.

Aspects I Felt Where Relatively Not Good

If you can see primarily on the film is a light reflective blur across the character, this was a attributed to the room the film was shot in. It didn’t have adequate dim lighting, nor did it have sufficient glare coverage from natural lighting, so i had to make do with what was available. With this also the shot couldn’t have been reversed as the natural light source would’ve rendered the footage useless. Additionally i think the resolution of the video itself was another bad aspect of the film, this being blamed primarily on the format the film was shot in leaving the infamous ‘black bars’ on the sides of the video but also the software Adobe Premier Pro, just generally misbehaving, if an inanimate piece of software could do such a thing. Going back on the lighting aspect again, their was a lack of differing angles because of the light source that blocked any alternate views from being view-able.

Things I Think I Could Improve Upon

Primarily i think next time an external site that has more appropriate lighting, possibly not natural would be a step up, although the situation and film itself would dictate the necessity for that. Although i liked the audio voice over, i do think that a better microphone for  it would benefit me far greatly as i had experience within the recording of the microphone catching sounds that a more professional microphone would stop being transmitted into the recording. Additionally, the levels for the background music could be turned down slightly as it seems the voice-over and music are near to the same audio level.

Overall i’m generally pleased with the outcome, i did initially think that the film quality would’ve been far less than i anticipated originally but i enjoyed the process of finally producing a film using editing software and i believe that it’s definitely played a pivotal role in my increasing understanding and respect for the professionals that do this on a grander scale.

Reviews Evaluation

Having completed the 5 reviews i feel it’s best to evaluate the progress made and to reflect on the experience throughout the project.

To begin with i chose 5 distinctly different games that had no comparative when it came to game mechanics. For example; A First Person Adventure (Dishonored) and A Third Person Action-Adventure (inFamous 2)

I started these reviews off with one goal in mind and that was to keep the judging of the games as unbiased as i possibly could have. To track the progress of these reviews i documented the score within a spreadsheet (link), and slowly found myself desiring more criteria to satisfy my need to be impartial. Eventually i found myself autonomously reviewing the games because of how much judgement it took away from myself overall. As you can possibly note throughout the reviews, i’m granted little if not any opinion whatsoever and this is due to the spreadsheet. It granted me my wish of an unbiased viewpoint yet sacrificed a large majority of my viewpoint towards the games.

It was an enjoyable experience using the system i created, i think the score system was effective in its purpose although initially it became a little complex to understand it was a learning experience nonetheless. It’s certainly made me think about how difficult it is to convey a relatively valid unbiased opinion within the modern journalism world today.

Bus Run: Alien Armageddon – Screenshot and Evaluation

For this assignment we were tasked with producing a concept and a prototype for a casual game. I set out on this task by coming up with a concept that involved a School Bus and an ‘Alien’ Cactus. The premise of the game was supposed to be a survival side scrolling game, where the player had to manoeuvre their avatar around the level in a Trials HD kind of fashion. Being that it was to be produced in Adobe Flash, I had to roll back the perspective to 2D to accommodate further.

PrototypeScreenshot

The Problem

When it came down to mid-development, approximately after the time I had successfully got the avatar to animate correctly, I began to question to mechanics of the game. You see, I was continually checking that the game was running as closely to its original premise as possible and this is when I stumbled onto a major issue. I discovered that the game had a logic flaw that would’ve doomed the player to certain failure, eventually.

In terms of gameplay, the player would effectively be predetermined to fail after a certain time. The problem with this is that the player had no offensive capabilities to get past said AI, so this would have meant that with the health system that was also intended to be implemented; the player was doomed to never make it past the first level.

From here I tried to negate the problem. I attempted to hypothesize ways around this issue without compromising the main premise. I initially was intending on making the bus leap over the AI, as they are situated in the ground but I couldn’t personally allow the logic gap of a bus miraculously leaping in the air to be permitted as it didn’t make any sense in terms of the original narrative concept.

I then thought of having the AI fall downwards onto the player, and this seemed like a viable option. However, the playable avatar was directly programmed to go to a certain constant speed to negate the navigational properties of the avatar going too fast. So eventually, the same fate would befall the original concept.

This is when I decided to back track the game and reduce some of the properties within it. I removed the AI and Health system and simply added a Time Score to mould the game in a slightly different direction. The game then turned into a Time Trials simulator, playing on the homage to Trials HD, as it was the closest game concept that could relatively work with the original concept.

Overall, I’m ‘satisfied’ with the final result. I wouldn’t say I’m generally content with the final product, having an idea that you’ve been working on for months be made redundant because of poor planning and foresight. As a learning experience this has certainly opened my eyes to how quickly ideas can and have to change to be moulded rapidly to fit into a deadline. If I could do this again, I’d certainly change the perspective of the game to a top down racer, for better AI interaction and to actually make it a relatively playable game.