Monthly Archives: February 2017

A Helping Hand

Today I stumbled across an article written by Gustavo Monforte, lead developer at Fat Panda Games which talked about the 5 lessons he learned while developing their first game – Flat Kingdom.

I think this article can be of some use to us while creating our game. We will be able to see points where professionals went wrong and avoid those mistakes. We will also be able to pick up many tips from the industry. Even if just as a reference guide I think this will be useful.

To view the article, click here.

R.A.M Pickup Item: Initial Design

This morning I have been working on designing the in-game pick up… The R.A.M.

I searched on Google for R.A.M to get an idea of how I wanted it to look and I also looked at cartoon style drawings. I initially begun by designing a 3D-looking image before deciding that our game will be 2D so it would look out of place.

Here is my first complete design. I will be having a discussion with Dylan about how he feels, whether he likes it or can suggest any improvements before developing further if need be.

RAM Pickup

I am happy with how it looks and I’m confident that it will be clear to see and understand what it is while in-game and in the world we create. I think that even if the player has never seen a stick of R.A.M before they will easily be able to identify this as a computer component or something of the sort.

Personally after having looked at the design, I think it could potentially benefit from being thinner, and maybe longer. It looks a little tall and chunky, whereas R.A.M is typically fairly thin and long.

– Ryan

Competitor Analysis – Not A Hero

Not A Hero

This game is not a coding game, however, we really like the style of it. This is roughly how we want our game to look. Not necessarily in art-style, but certainly in level design.

I personally feel like for our research we need to look away from just coding games and although this game isn’t educational either it still has the same mechanics in which we intend to include in our game.

In essence we would like to make a game just like this, however, make it educational because we believe that if you can get people to play games like this for just a few hours a day but with educational factors included in the game then we will have created a successful, educational project that can do good in the world.

This style of game will allow us to add all the aspects of the type of game we want to make, for example, the pickups with the pieces of RAM and the player interaction. This style of platformer game will allow us to bring the coding education and the game together as at certain points in the game we can stop the character and have them answer a coding question before continuing.

Watch Ryan test play a level from the game. (In-game footage/audio only).

-Dylan

Competitor Analysis – Basketball Game

Basketball game

(Click image above to play game in a new tab)

This game is worth reviewing because it is styled very similarly style with other coding games.

Almost immediately after playing these types of games Ryan and I decided that we don’t want to do a game like this because the drag and drop system doesn’t allow the player to learn as well as if they were writing the code themselves. By dragging and dropping blocks of code, the user can simply remember the block shape and therefor not even need to read the code, let alone learn it.

The game is simple and easy to play which is perfect for its intended target audience. We like some aspects of the game such as the character customisation – where you can change the hand. We also like how easy it is to play the game; you can jump straight in without any information.

The style of game differs a lot from our first thoughts of what we envisioned our game to look like. The layout of this game is similar to what we’d like ours to look like. We like the split-screen technique with the use of the court one side and then the lines of code the other, however we plan on having a larger game screen to improve enjoyment. We will need to have a well sized code area though as it is a big element in our project and we cannot shy away from that. In order to give the code element of the game more emphasis whilst still having a game screen big enough to be played it might be worth styling the code area to be similar to the game or to link one way or another; as if it were actually in-game.

We don’t like the drag & drop blocks in the above example because we feel as though the player is less able to engage with the subject matter at hand, and therefore is less likely to learn as they can simply learn which blocks go where by shape alone.

– Dylan

Paper Game Plan

Firstly I thought that I would start by getting our ideas onto paper of how want the overall game to plan out. Here are the results:

Wireframe 1 Wireframe 2

We needed to get a plan for the how the game navigation will work so I added 4 options; one to go straight into the game, a how to play button, settings and a button which will be linked to the partnering website. On the how to play screen there will be a lot of information on how to play the actual game so like the buttons (w,a,s,d) and alongside them there will be screenshots from in game showing an example. I have added a settings option just in case we need it or not so that is not final as of yet as we me not even need it but it is certainly something to consider.

The next part I have broken down how the game is going to look, for example you can see where text is going to be, where the character is going to be and the obstacles etc.

-Dylan