Finalising Game Design, Crying

Against all odds, I’ve actually managed to make a level in my game. Well, I’ve half made a level (I’m yet to figure out how to make the enemies move and shoot on their own), but I do have a couple of scenes and they do have a great aesthetic so I’m calling it a win.

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I eventually found a really good program called GameSalad and after taking a brief “course” I was able to figure out how to plan out my scenes (levels) and how to add actors and make them move and change their attributes to do my bidding. It took me about 2 hours to get it to move side to side and another hour to choose the right laser beam my player would shoot—it’s green, obviously.

I remember the guy in the videos saying “computers are really dumb until you tell them what to do” and this process has made me realise that it’s so true. Every movement, object and aspect of your game has to be programmed all the way down to the tiniest details. For example, when programming my actor (the little spaceship players control) to shoot lasers, it wasn’t enough to tell the actor to spawn a bullet when the player presses the spacebar. I had to then tell the bullet to move! Upwards! At 300 speed! It was like trying to teach my mum how to write on other people’s Facebook walls instead of updating her status. Looking back, it’s rather obvious that those instructions were needed, but at the time, seeing those static laser bullets appear on top of my actor was incredibly frustrating. Where’s self aware AI’s when you need them?

Click on this link to open a whole new tab just to watch a 9 second video that proves I did something!

Another thing I learnt was that I needed to place actors that acted like walls off screen to stop said laser bullets from just flying off into the void forever, taking up memory and making me think too hard about data and 1s and 0s and the universe. I did learn this after I got the bullets working and sat on the game just shooting lasers into the sky for several minutes, and was left to wonder about all those little green pixels that I doomed to an eternal existence of floating through cyberspace. It got very existential.

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The style of the game has evolved from the original comic book look to a more 8-bit arcade look. Mostly because I found a really cute pixel art cityscape so naturally all the other elements in the game had to match. Ah, the creative process. After several hours trawling through Deviantart and various websites, I found the art I needed and while the enemies are not exactly Lovecraftian, they are quite similar and they work fine as stand-ins for my prototype. Nevertheless, I was able to finalise my design and despite all the elements not working 100% as they’re meant to, I think they make pretty cute screencaps and are pretty close to what I envisioned the game looking like:

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10 thoughts on “Finalising Game Design, Crying

  1. I really liked how you troubleshooted your game by adding in actors to act as walls in your game completely fixing the issues that arose in your game. Shifting the aesthetic from being a comic book style to the 8 bit look makes the game look more like the classic games that we are all used to seeing and I don’t think that is a bad thing at all. It make’s your game look retro and some people will only play games that are based on that style. I love this idea and I can’t wait to see where it goes.

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  2. Excellent work Nicole, congratulations on having a ‘physical piece’ of digital game! I like the arcade style your game has, it reminds me of the Nokia snake game days! These types/genres of games are still widely popular. Apps based on the old Nokia snake game are still being created…check this link out:
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dsd164.snake97&hl=en

    Due to your game using the method of ‘killing’ I was wondering, what your take was on the affect of violent video comes on children committing violent acts? Kenyota (2008) states in his article ‘Thinking of the Children: The Failure of Violent Video Game Laws’ that research on violent video games has not found any causal connection between violent video games and children committing violent acts. Interesting, right?

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  3. aaaaahhhhhh the artwork is sooooooo LITTTTT, just wondering what this game will be platformed on? Because I would go 0-100 real quick on IOS. And I feel your pain when it comes to having to tell the computer where to move ANYTHING. I cry for your struggles.

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  4. I really like the artwork you’ve created and the 8-bit style really gives it a feel of nostalgia that we all feel for classic games. Really brings me back to the days when I was younger and all I was able to play on mobile was Snake and Tetris. I think it’s a huge step forward to have created something that can actually work, it’s very impressive and it’s great to see the progress you have made over the semester. Can’t wait to see the final product!

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  5. Having created a game with some levels and lasers you can definitely call it a win! It’s amazing how people can now watch some tutorial videos and a few hours later they can make a game. It’s interesting how unresponsive the character is. To us we think that it would be common sense to spawn a bullet that will shoot forward. But computers needs those sets of instruction or else they would become AI #TheStartOfTerminator? Overall good job in making the game. It looks amazing with!

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  6. Its cool how youve begun to make and play the game youve invisioned. Its definitely a huge step and probably invloved a lot of tears haha. Its good to see that you are pushing yourself to actually create something, and learn some new skills. Like you said, you didnt even realise how detailed you had to be when designing a digital game, but at least now you know.
    I watched the video, and it looks awesome. Your design is very cool and aesthetically please. It looks very attractive for a game, like one of those simple and addicting games.
    Id love to see you really bring this to life, I hope you continue working on the actual production of the game and create some type of demo (although i have no idea how hard this could be). Good luck.

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  7. Man this was a really interesting read. You really told the story of your struggle in a way which made me empathise, backing it up with the idea that computers are just machines which need commands to know what to do.

    I really like the visual style your game has taken. Both screencaps have very dystopian stylistic attributes (which I must say has a soft spot in my artistic heart); and the little video you showed of the working project is mad. Did you also choose the music to match? Perhaps it would also be a good idea to include a sound for when your laser is fired.

    Keen to see what else evolves from this!

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    1. thanks! adding the music was the last thing I did in my last session, I figured out how to add sounds to different actors so next time I’ll definitely add the pew pew!

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