Trimester 3 is here!  So is the Rapid Prototyping course.  We’ll be tasked with putting out 4 rapid prototypes within the next 9 weeks, with each one allocated around 2 weeks of time.  The briefs we will be receiving typically will be combining some strange and tough constraints.

So we’ve just received our first brief and we’ve been tasked with creating a game with an internal economy and procedurally generated level design.  Two additional requirements are that the controls should be keyboard only and that we are allowed to use only text or icon menus.

I’ll be working with one hell of a game designer this trimester, Ben Herron.  His past work speaks for itself so please go have a look at the link.

Below is basically a vertical slice of what the game will look like.

I’ll explain what that all means in a minute.

Our approach to the brief begun with Ben’s seed of the idea [pun very much intended], which in short deals with the internal economy of a plant’s biology.  Basically, the absorption of sunlight and water by the plant and turning that into nutrients through the process of photosyntheses, our “converter” in game economy terms.  These nutrients are  basically growth mass, if you will, that the player must choose to grow from either the roots or the branches [see figure below].

There are however, dangers and punishment to allowing things to fall out of balance.  First of all, a certain ratio of sunlight and water is required for photosynthesis, so having an over abundance of one over the other will not reward a player: its a bottleneck.  Furthermore, in growing too many branches it will damage the roots and visa versa.  Absorbing too much water will drown a plant.  Absorbing too much light will burn it.

On top of that there will be randomized, surprise events such as changes of weather and introduction of pollutants that will damage branches or roots, creating an imbalance that a player must rectify.

Our aim is for Tree to have a semi-serious tone.  It will have themes of the “cycle of life”, and ecological conservation, while the graphic design visuals help eleveate some of that tone and attract casual players to it.  Some influences on our aesthetic and game play approaches can be found below.

Initial imagery that came to mind when first discussing the theme and game mechanics were that of Eufloria and Pixel Junk Eden: minimal and stylized.  Delving into the message we want to convey with the game we also looked at typology and typology collages specifically.  The irony was not lost on us that trees are eventually converted into paper on which type is found.  The result was expressing the trees as growing typology collages as above.

Some game play peers are shown in the above slide.  Euflora and Gorg are both examples of balancing resources.  Tomaguchi, like pets and and farms, are experiences based around [1] persistent care [2]personalization and [3] ownership.

The pitch has gone well so now its down to work, work, work!

Tetris House?

Another one of my old designs I’m pulling out of my archives.  Once again, I can’t help but wonder how much video games may have subconsciously influenced my architecture designs in the last 10 to 15 years.

I see Tetris.  I see a platformer world.   What do you see?

More images here.

Z3RO | Space Sim Prototype

I was a huge Wing Commander fan as a kid.  Its crazy to think that its been 20 years since those games, as well as the Privateer, and Freelancer games were around. My buddy and I would split the keyboard responsibilities, essentially switching roles as pilot and copilot.  Between writing up some fan fiction and my mind exploding from the return of Chris Roberts on the game scene with Star Citizen, I’ve put together a quick prototype for a space sim fighter.

I do apologize for the title, but i think im going through a phase of naming things with numbers replacing letters.

Anyway, Z3Ro [ working title ] is a side exercise in c# programming for Unity.  Working on a few things I felt I was rusty on and used a space sim fighter as incentive. It was a cumulative of 4 to 5 days work.

I’ve basically structured out all my scripts and code to work like a “real” space fighter as possible.  So I’ve got an avionics system that manages input from all the other systems as would a modern day fighter.  Code-wise it has references to each of the other scripts [systems].  The other systems, consist of:

  • Targeting
  • Weapons
  • Shields
  • Repair
  • Flight

Repair. All these systems can be damaged and therefore not work properly until repaired, with the exception of the repair system of course.  Once thats down, repairs can never be done anywhere.

Shields will recharge with time, and exist on the 5 different sections of the fighter.  Once shields are down in one section, armor takes damage.  Once armor is compromised, its game over.

Weapons system will consist of hardpoints, the number of which can vary from fighter to fighter by simply switching on/off a bool.  Each hardpoint can be occupied by, for now, 3 or 4 different guns/missiles.  The projectiles of each of these weapons will differ in damage, speed, and pattern.

Flight is basically whats shown in the video above.  Its proper physics with 1 engine for forward movement and 8 vector thrusters to control direction.  Theres more explanation in the captions of the video.

I thought that I had captured a second window as well which basically showed the same thing but from a fixed external camera behind the fighter, but apparently not.  Will hopefully capture another vid showing that soon as well as some visuals explaining the coding organization.

Have a look and please sound off below with any comment you may have.

Play Fort Z Proto


Fort Z is now available to play.  The usual disclaimers apply: it is an early version.

Available are the main game which takes you through the tutorial and “Test 2” which is basically a sandbox to experiment.

Please feel free to comment below for any suggestions.

To play Fort Z on your web browser simply click on this link : Fort Z Game

Download the CU3E | Prototype

For anyone interested in trying out CU3E, I’ve got a very basic version up for download.

All you have to do is follow the steps below:

  1. Click on the link below and it will download a ZIP folder.
  2. Unzip that folder to show 2 things: a Data Folder and a CU3E.exe file.
  3. Click on the CU3E.exe file to play!

Download CU3E

Below is a guide for the game controls.  Experiment and have fun!

Deus Ex: Human Revolution | Case Study Video

Ok, so still working on putting together a highlight reel of the overall presentation, but it will eventually go up on this space.  In the meantime,  I’m putting up some stills taken from the video.  You’ve basically got 2 ways of going through them, either the slideshow or for a closer view you can click on the thumbnails.  Both are here.  As in DXHR, the choice is yours.

CU3E | Gameplay Video

Finally gotten around to putting up this video of CU3E’s gameplay.  Keep in mind that its a prototype level game and that its a parody/homage to stealth games.  In it you can see the following:

  • Enemy following AI patrols.
  • Enemies changing behavioural states: patrolling, engaging, confusion.
  • The above states are represented by color.
  • The player going into stealth mode by cloaking.
  • A battery bar that depletes as the player uses cloaking and recharges over time.
  • The player using x-ray vision to see enemy positions through walls
  • Basic shooting patterns by the player
  • Death animations of enemies [“derezzing”].
  • A 3 stage boss fight where he changes visual states at every stage.