Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Simple Level - First Project

I thought I should post some screenshots of the first project I had in 3D back in August, since I never showed it before. I would've posted a video of a play-through, but making videos of levels is really tedious 8\  The level consists of two rooms; I thought of it as an abandoned underground bunker beneath a rainforest, and these rooms are two of many in a vast network of chambers.

Room 2 (through the sliding gate door)

Looking back on it, I wish I had done a lot more with my level, but at the time I just wanted to get the basics down and had spent so much time struggling with UDK crashes in the beginning that I didn't have much extra time to work on it. Oh well, it was still fun!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Team Hex - Days 1 & 2

Team Hexagon has met a few times a day for the last few days, and we're only at the beginning of day 3! The days before Day 1 we met a few times to buy all of our supplies, cut out all 200 hexagons, and tried to find a place on campus to get them laminated, but never found out where it was, so we used the plastic sheet covers we bought instead. We cut those out for each hexagon, put the hexagon inside and folded over the extra edges of the sheet, then taped each fold so it laid flat against the hexagon. Even with help from some friends, it still took a few hours! The most tiring work was taping down each edge of every hexagon in formation on the ground in the hallways. We used clear packaging tape, which ended up not being the best choice because it was so light and not as sticky as we had hoped. After observing the day before, we decided to only place the tiles down on one hallway (the one running from Outtakes towards North Hall), because the other barely received any traffic at all. Because of this, we also moved the second "Day 1 - Level 1" sign from the other hallway to the beginning of this game (right outside the doors of Outtakes). For Day 1 the hexagon configuration was straight, evenly spaced tiles.
Spencer and Diana graciously helped us set it up, so here's a picture of the tired team (plus Spencer haha) when we were finished.

Day 1: When we came back to observe the next day, two of the tiles had already ripped up, but we left them as they were so it wouldn't skew the pattern, and observed people for a couple hours.
Hyung-Min set up his camera to his laptop remotely so he could take sneaky pictures and video around the corner and watch from his laptop screen.

Day 2: The tile formation ended up more complex than we had thought. In theory, each color would just cross to reach the opposite side of the hallway by the end, but in the middle they all ended up crossing and it got a little crazy. We had also gone out and bought a new kind of tape - good old duct tape - since the packaging tape hadn't worked out.
Here's the team partway into setting it up.
And finished!

Yeah. It was a good thing we switched out the tape, because today (Day 2 observation) it rained pretty hard most of the day, but the new tiles still held up 8)  They not only stick much better, but also look nicer in the way they frame the tiles, and are more noticeable as well. Why did we ever question duct tape?

On to Day 3! I'll make another post with more pictures and all of our observations for all four days along with our notes.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Space Egyptian Map Greybox

For 3D for Games we turned in the greybox of our Space Egyptian level, which means we had to have the basic level blocked out. We also blocked in colors on the elements to differentiate them from each other so that not everything is covered in a mesmerizing checker pattern, haha.

Here's my basic map layout after many variations (the first variation was a few posts back!) The city is going to be half-surrounded by a jungley forest and the right side of the town (bottom of the map) will have the cliff-sides of the crater in the terrain. The screenshot is a top-down view from UDK.

Ignore the lighting - it's actually going to be a nighttime level, I just set up a few "work lights" for now. The first three screens are going to be the placements for the final "beauty shots" of the level. The second three are before and after shots after getting some feedback from upper-classmen playtesters 8)
 White blocks are buildings, orange blocks are marketplace stalls, and the railings are stalls with an open back that you can see through.
The big round structure thing here is a stand-in for a fountain, and the pillars will be obelisks.
 People said I should make the map much smaller, cut down some parts of it, and consolidate the big areas so there were less open spaces. The before and after shots are taken from high vantage points so all the changes can be seen.

The next step we're starting is modeling the modular building pieces in Maya, and starting on various props c8

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Real-World Mod Proposal

Hacking the real world is fun c8  Here's the final presentation slide I put together for Team Hexagon's real-world alteration proposal (as discussed in my last post) :

I keep getting more and more excited for this, it's going to be so awesome haha. I MUST TAKE VIDEOS.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hexagons and Cameras

After every Game Design student did their own real-world observations of an everyday mechanic, four favorites were chosen and we broke down into groups. Our first group meeting for the continuation of the project, the "real-world alteration" project, was today, and it was extremely productive. We figured out everything we're going to do and set out a time-line for the next two weeks, as well as put together our document layout for presenting our alteration. Christina Auo, Hyung-Min Mun, and I have named our group Team Hexagon. I made a logo for our group to use for the presentation.
Our mechanic is walking, specifically down the long, narrow hallways along either side of Searing Center, where there are no doors and nothing to look at but the blank, enclosing walls and the pathway ahead. Instead of this walk being a boring journey, since most CA/GAD kids have to do it several times a day, we wanted to make it into a game. Using red, yellow, blue, and black paper, we're going to cut hexagons and place them in paths along the ground down the length of both hallways for them to take like stepping-stones. Like walking on only the black tiles on a black-and-white checkered floor, or hopping from one lonely blue tile to another in a grocery store, we're hoping people will choose the color they like most and predictably step from one tile to another along the path, making it into a game for themselves. Some people might be wary and try avoiding the hexagons altogether, but it's a tendency for people to make things into a game, especially when they're not being engaged. We're going to be observing what people do over the course of four days, changing up the tile's configurations each day. Starting with Level 1 on the first day (indicated by a poster at the beginning of each hallway), the tiles will be straight-forward and evenly-spaced, but each new day will bring a new Level - Level 2 will have the color paths cross over one another, Level 3 will have large spaces between each tile, and Level 4 will have the color tiles scattered and weaving everywhere. Watching people step along the paths is going to be so amusing. This is going to be so much fun c8

Team Hexagon at work! And here's the presentation layout rough we came up with:

I also fixed up my Alleyway level a bit more today and cut down on some areas, and I think the layout and everything is pretty much done! I set up my still-shots and cinematic camera fly-through and now we're going to start detailing and dressing our environments c8 GOOD STUFFS.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Alley Map Layout

The first variation of my map layout for the Space Egyptian city. I'm on the fourth variation now and it's really different, but I still kind of like the simplicity of this map. I'm almost done gray-boxing the city in UDK though, which is the most tedious part ffff. I can't wait to start modelling and texturing! So excited c8

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Stratego Deconstruction

Stratego is a turn-based two-player game played on an 8x10 square board. It is an age 8+ family game. The version being deconstructed is the 50-year anniversary edition, meaning that it was redesigned so that instead of two armies fighting against each other in a World War II setting - as in the original Stratego - it has two futuristic armies fighting on a distant planet. Whoever captures each other's flag first is victorious.

Goal of the game: To capture the opponent's flag by finding where the opponent has placed it, standing beside it, and attacking it. Secondary goal - To lose the least amount of pieces possible, while eliminating the most amount of your opponent's pieces possible.

Core Mechanics: There is the red team and the blue team. Both players line up all thirty of their pieces horizontally on the first three rows on their side. The pieces each have a picture of their class (or item) on it, and the pieces are placed strategically on the board. The player's opponent cannot see the front of their pieces with the class picture on it, and so can only guess their opponent's pieces and strategies. The classes are as follows: there is one Spy (rank S - considered "no rank"), two Spotters (rank 1), five Scouts (rank 2), five Miners (rank 3), two Sergeants (rank 4), two Lieutenants (rank 5), two Captains (rank 6), one Major (rank 7), one Colonel (rank 8), one General (rank 9), and one Marshal (rank 10). This makes eleven player classes in all. Per turn, players must either move one piece, or attack. Pieces can attack squares to the front, back, or either side of themselves, but never diagonally. When attacking, the player announcing their attack says their piece's class and rank first, taps the piece they want to attack, and then the opponent being attacked has to announce their piece's class and rank. Whoever has the highest rank wins. The loser's piece is permanently discarded from the board. If both pieces have the same rank, they are both discarded. Apart from the eleven player classes are six bombs and one flag. The flag and the bombs cannot move or attack - they can only wait for the opposing player to attack them. Players place all their pieces at the beginning of the game, before gameplay starts. When the opponent finds and captures the flag (by attacking it when they are one space away), they win, and the player whose flag it was loses. The red player always goes first at the beginning of the game. Four pieces - The Spy, the Spotter, the Scout, and the Miner, all have differing special abilities, though they are also the lowest-level classes.

Space of the game: In all there are seventy-two squares on the game board - it is ten squares wide and eight squares long. One side is allotted to the red team, and one side is allotted to the blue team. The board has a map of desert-like terrain underneath the grid where the pieces are placed. Two "lakes" taking up four squares each are next to each other in the middle of the board, separated by two side-by-side squares. Since there is no grid in the four squares occupied by either lake, players cannot move there. Players can only get around the lakes by either the two squares between them, or the two squares on the outside of either side of the lakes. Both players line up their thirty pieces, one in each square on the first three horizontal rows on their side of the game board. How the players place their armies in the beginning is extremely important due to the different ranks and special skills of pieces. The flag is normally hidden somewhere in the row closest to the player so it's hardest to get to, and least exposed. Bombs are normally placed around it to protect it, though they can be placed anywhere.

Objects, Attributes, States: Both players have thirty pieces in all. Of those pieces are twenty-three army soldiers. Four different classes of soldier each have special skills: the Spy (rank S), the Spotter (rank 1), the Scout (rank 2), and the Miner (rank 3).
The Spy, despite it being the lowest rank (rank S, which is essentially rank 0), is the only piece that can defeat the Marshal (rank 10). The Spy loses to every other rank if attacked. If the Spy attacks the Marshal, the Marshal loses and is removed. However, if the Marshal attacks a Spy, the Spy loses and is removed.
The Spotter may move, then use their special attack in the same turn. A Spotters' special attack is to identify one enemy piece. In the same manner as attacking, the player taps an opponent's piece and tells them they are "Spotting" it. The player whose piece is being spotted must reveal what the piece is. The player who is Spotting must then guess the opponent's piece, and if correct, the piece is removed from the board (in-game it is known as a "laser barrage"). If the player guesses incorrectly while Spotting, nothing happens, but the Spotter is revealed. The Spotter may only guess the identity of a piece on the square in front of it. Spotters may also spot and capture bombs, as well as the flag. Lastly, Spotters may attack normally instead of Spotting.
The Scout can move across any number of open squares forward, backward, or sideways, but only in a straight line. Scouts can also move and attack in the same turn. If a Scout moves more than one space its identity will be revealed, so a player may choose to move their Scout one square per turn to hide their identity.
Miners, as their picture suggests, wear special armor that allows them to disarm bombs without injury. When a Miner attacks a bomb, the bomb is removed from the board. The Miner then moves into the bomb's square.
Besides the twenty-three army soldiers, each player has six bombs that they place at the beginning of the game, and one flag. When attacked, a bomb blows up, killing the attacking piece. The bomb does not disappear, however - it remains in the same square, ready to blow up if attacked by the opponent again. The opponent has to try and remember where the bombs are if they blow up one of their pieces.

Actions: Players rotate turns, back and forth. On a player's turn, they may either move one piece to a new square, attack an opponent's piece in a square next to their piece's, or use a special attack from one of their Specialist pieces.

Rules: This game is for two players. Players decide which team they want to be - red, or blue. Both players set up their thirty pieces on the first three horizontal rows closest to them. Once their pieces are done being placed, the player on the red team always goes first. Once a player moves a piece and removes their hand, they cannot change their mind on where to place it. Only one piece can occupy a square at a time. Pieces cannot jump over or move through an occupied square. Pieces cannot be moved back and forth between the same two squares in three consecutive turns. The flag and bombs cannot move. If a player's piece attacks an opponent's bomb, the player's piece is removed from the board (unless the piece attacking is a Miner, in which case, the bomb is removed and the Miner is moved into its square). When bombs destroy an attacking piece, they remain untouched on the board. The only way to destroy a bomb is with a Miner. Any piece, however, can attack the opponent's flag, capturing it and winning the game.

Skills players learn: Players learn strategic placement of pieces, memorizing what each piece does and its attributes, learning how best to move your pieces strategically on the game board, memorizing opponent's pieces, planning ahead, formulating strategies, implementing and revising strategies, reading opponents by their reactions or pieces' moves, reading opponent's strategies, accurate guessing of opponent's pieces, balancing offense and defense, how best to attack opponent's pieces, how best to defend your own pieces, how to fake-out your opponent to take them off-guard with your pieces' strategies, and how to count from one to ten.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Poker Mod

In Game Design we each had to come up with a Poker mod and a one-page design sheet explaining our mod. We play-tested them a bunch in class, and everyone really seemed to like mine ;v;  It's a fun, light-hearted, social mod called Poker Face 8>  Here's my one-page design:

Monday, September 5, 2011

Alley Concept

In CA for Games - aka 3D for Games - we started on the main project that lasts the entire semester, the Alley Project. Everyone had to come up with an idea for an alley, find picture references to supplement our idea, do research on everything regarding our idea, make concept art, make a presentation, and pitch it to the class. As a class we voted on the idea we liked most, and that became the environment that we're all going to work on fleshing out and building for the rest of the semester. The one we chose is a colony of people with an Egyptian-like culture who evolved on asteroids in a ring surrounding an uninhabitable planet (due to toxic gases). So we're going to be building these space Egyptian's cities on asteroids, which is pretty awesome haha. SO EXCITED.

I started off with a ton of ideas for the project, but after narrowing it down to six, I enlisted help from my friends and they helped me eliminate down to two to show my teacher. My final idea I went with was called "The Pillar Cities of New Guinea" and it was that different native tribes in the jungles of New Guinea got into territory battles, so the tribes started building their towns on top of these tall sandstone pillars that're connected with hanging bridges.

 Each town is pretty small since they all fit right on top, and they have the feel of a Mayan-influenced culture, with mostly clay and stone buildings. The towns are segregated by class, with the poorer people having to build their homes into the cliff-face.

A giant sandstone arch shields some of the pedestals built under it, while the marketplaces are on pedestals farther from the arch so they get sunlight for longer, and therefor are able to sell their wares for longer.
  Groups of hunter-gatherers travel down to the jungle floor to gather food for the tribe by using Pterodactyloids - which they're in a symbiotic relationship with - and steering by using the crests on their heads. The Pterodactyl-like creatures come when the hunters call them with special crafted whistles, because they're fed when the hunt is over, forming the symbiotic relationship.

 The culture is polytheistic and builds angular, intricate temples to worship their gods in.

Here's the concept art I did for it, of one of the upper-class pillars:

 I was going to do a "cinematic view" concept art of the houses on top of the pillars from afar, but didn't finish it on time for the presentation 8( Oh well. Though I like the idea overall, I'm glad we went with the idea we chose, because I was already getting kind of tired of thinking about this one LOL.

Lastly, I'll be starting two or three web-comics for the "One New Thing" project and will make separate blogs for each of them. I'm gonna try and keep them frequently updated, but I want to experiment with them and narrow it down to the one I like best and then stick with that one. I've been wanting to start a web-comic forever, I'm so happy ;v; I'll post up links once the comic blogs are made!