Reflection (cycle 3)

Student Name: Wai Man Ho

Student Number: n9659340

Reflection on Mini-Game Cycle 3

 

Limitation of Hitbox

The use of Hitbox may have its limitation. For example, it cannot handle multiple enemies hitting the game object from different directions at the same time. More than one Hitbox will be needed to put around the game object and above (if attack from sky) which will make the program becomes messy very quickly. Another way to do similar thing is using the game object’s own collider to detect collision and handling the contact points accordingly.

Calling of Damage() routine

If you do a global search of “Damage()” for the whole project, you will find no one is calling this routine. But this is the routine that create Hitbox and hence able to cause damage to the Game Objects in the scene. The secret: It is called inside the Animation as one of the event setting. I have created a few new animations when adding new enemies to the scene and none of them can create Hitbox at first because of this missing part.

Adaption of Prefab to the game

It is quite a challenge to use a prefab item obtained from the Asset Store and then modified it so that it is suitable to be used in the assignment project. As there are lots of details (such as scale, animation clips, shader etc.) that it needs to fine tune or change, so as to match with the rest of project settings, before it is able to work together with other Game Objects on the same scene.

 

Reflection across all three game cycles

 

How you have approached learning new things and/or finding new information during the semester

A lot of tricks have been learnt during the making of three game cycles, either by my own research or with the help of tutors. For example, a resize of the Enemy Zone will also changing the scale of the prefab that is sitting inside it as the child, but a change in size of its collider will not affect the prefab in anyway at all. I learn this trick through the hard way: After numerous of failures and experiments.

Sometimes, debugging may require you to run the game in a “step by step” fashion so as to see what is actually happening in the game play. Although the Unity has not provided just a debugging feature, but you can press the Play and Pause buttons alternatively very quickly to obtain the similar outcome. I learn this trick when I see how the tutor is debugging the program.

 

What additional, non-technical skills you’ve developed during the semester

Team work is a very powerful tool – We always can come up with the most creative ideas during the brain-storming exercise, which is vital to create the “fun” element in the game. As we hope not all the game are the same and we do needed to bring the uniqueness to our game design, so that it can stand out and appealing the target audiences. It is quite satisfactions to see that all our games design so far (in all three cycles) are off the “Main Stream” and have their own unique ways of presentation to the audiences.

It benefits most to me when working through all these game cycles, as they are representing different style of the game play and each has its own attraction to the audiences. On top of it, different style (e.g. FPS, Side-Scroller) of games will have their own limitations and difficulties that need to solve during the implementation of the actual game. That will broaden my abilities in problem solving under different circumstances and equipped with these experience will allow me to face the more challenged task in the future.

 

The most effective strategies you used for managing individual and team activities

Several strategies are used and the most important one is showing respectful to other people and others will respect you. Sometimes we can have arguments during brainstorming, but that is healthy debate to flush out new ideas, and do not have any intention to belittle anyone or proof that you are wrong and I am right attitude.

 

Ethical considerations

In a team-base environment, there are certain responsibilities required for each team mate in order for the team to function properly: Fair workload distribution so that no one is overloaded, tasks clarification so that each one knows his responsible area without overlapping and finally honesty to the team.

Game can bring educational value to it, and through playing games, people can learn valuable things and rare lifetime experience out of it. For example, in our side-scroller game, we could learn that some tasks cannot be done alone but require cooperative of different people, as each person may have his own uniqueness and special ability that no one else have

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Week 13 – Reflection

Student Name: Joshua Crowley

Student Number: n9719024

New Learning Approaches

Diving straight into the deep end of individual game development using Unity was a daunting task for me at first thought. I only dabbled here and there with the development software as well as Kodu Game lab from last semester, and thought to myself just how would I manage to create three games across this semester. I ended up finding that working in a studio helped me settle into the first few weeks, with my team mates being programmers themselves alleviated a bit of the stress. Asking them for pointers and tips certainly helped my progress, but I was still at a loss when I was tacking tasks on my own at home. Through the use of video and text tutorials online, as well as the prescribed videos for each cycle, it helped me step through the stages required to implement certain features. I’m relieved that I have been able to create three games, thought with varying success. To help assist me in future development cycles I may be involved in, I intend on persevering with self-teaching methods for programming.

Non-technical Skill Development

Over the course of the past 13 weeks, I have been able to reinvigorate my creative mind which I have been abandoning since childhood. Bouncing ideas off one another and iterating on concepts and themes has helped me shape my way of working through a design challenge. With each cycle, it became easier to communicate with one another as we tried to incorporate our ideas together where possible. This was helped by understanding how each person envisions the end project, rather than sticking to our own ideas, whereas during the first cycle we struggled to find a middle-ground where we all agreed. Additionally, with the blog activities we have been assigned, it helped me to understand other methods and ways of tacking the design process.

Strategies for Individual/Team Activities

Whilst I was struggling with certain aspects of the development process, contacting fellow team members or meeting up on campus definitely helped me progress further. Although what I lack in coding knowledge, I contributed in game mechanics and level layout suggestions. The majority of the workload, except for the blog entries, was done individually. In the future, I plan on creating more opportunities for in-person team meetings to see as to where everyone’s progress is, and allowing for time to help collaborate more with one another to ease the stress.

Ethical Responsibilities in a Team Based Environment

Within the context of a game studio, it is important to collaborate with one another and to help push each other to perform to their best through shared knowledge and team work. For the most part, our studio did well in terms of the creative and planning processes. But in terms of development, helping those who were lacking in particular aspects of programming would have been welcomed through regular team meetings.

Week 13 – Playtest Report

MenuScene 1Scene 2Scene 3

PLAYTEST SETUP

4 participants were selected to participate in individual play test sessions, each without prior knowledge of the game or development process. 2 participants are knowledgeable in games and mechanics, while the other 2 participants are targeting the audience of the “Sally” persona, as previously discussed on the blog. The play test setup is as follows:

  • Each player was set up in front of a laptop running the game, using keyboard controls.
  • Play testers were briefed on what their role was as a play tester, and were instructed to speak their thoughts out aloud.
  • Each test’s findings were recorded on a secondary device for note taking purposes, whilst observing and listening to the player’s game experience.
  • Each player was instructed to explore the level and explain as to what their actions would be to complete the level.
  • After the first play through, the play tester was asked to give general feedback about their experience with the game. Additionally, two questions were asked of the player that aim to investigate the fulfilment of our initial player experience goals. These questions are:
  1. Did the colour coded elements of each puzzle help you to figure out what to do? What was your thought process
  2. Did you feel that coordinating two characters to solve puzzles helped immerse you in the game world? Did the switching mechanics make sense in the context in each of the puzzles?

The PX goals for our game are:

  1. Players will face dilemmas that are designed to make them combine multiple game elements.
  2. The player must interpret the game environment by questioning and experimenting with game mechanics and objects contained within in order to achieve the goal.
  3. Players will feel satisfied after multitasking and coordinating multiple game elements.

At the end of each playtest, each session will be evaluated as to whether it satisfies the goals set according to the playtesting plan, for both experts and the target audience. The goals are as follows:

Goals of the playtesting session for Experts:

Goal 1: Is the goal of the game clear?

Goal 2: Are the interactions between puzzle elements clear?

Goal 3: Is the level or puzzle design confusing?

Goals for playtesting target audience:

Goal 1: Is the gameplay smooth and/or enjoyable?

Goal 2: Is the goal of the game clear?

Goal 3: Do the controls and mechanics feel natural?

Note: Due to a lack of time, the puzzles in each level currently do not function. Each level aims to show how the character switching mechanics could be harnessed in a final game release. The player can choose to progress to the next level by walking into a green square towards the left of each level. Each playtester was briefed about the functionality of the game prior to starting the session.

PLAYTEST RESULTS

Playtester 1 – Expert

General Feedback

  • The controls feel a bit floaty
  • The camera panning when switching characters is pretty cool
  • The colour coding of puzzle elements seems straight forward, pressing on a button should trigger an item of the same colour.
  • The level design needs to be further refined, but interesting concepts nonetheless.
  • Keeps getting teleported back to main menu

Q1. Did the colour coded elements of each puzzle help you to figure out what to do? What was your thought process

A1. Approaching each puzzle seemed pretty straightforward, I looked to see where each switch would activate a certain element.

Q2. Did you feel that coordinating two characters to solve puzzles helped immerse you in the game world? Did the switching mechanics make sense in the context in each of the puzzles?

A2. I’ve played games where you control two characters before, this feels more or less the same. It did make sense in the context of the puzzles, however.

Goals Achieved

  • Goal 1 (Not achieved): To solve the puzzles?
  • Goal 2 (Achieved): Yes, just had to switch characters to see more of the environment.
  • Goal 3 (Partial): Somewhat, as I had to keep switching characters to see what I had to do in advance

 

Playtester 2 – Expert

General Feedback

  • Bounce sound is loud
  • Jumping on the green slimes a lot
  • Jumping on the switches opens doors
  • Accidentally switching levels by bumping into green cube
  • Thought he could wall jump in second level
  • Character got stuck between blue and yellow tiles on second level
  • No restart button is a pain

Q1. Did the colour coded elements of each puzzle help you to figure out what to do? What was your thought process?

A1. Yes, Jump on the corresponding coloured pad to activate a door or platform.

Q2. Did you feel that coordinating two characters to solve puzzles helped immerse you in the game world? Did the switching mechanics make sense in the context in each of the puzzles?

A2. It was a bit confusing at first, but is a cool feature of the game. The mechanics suited the puzzles well.

Goals Achieved

  • Goal 1 (Achieved): Yes, to reunite the two brothers.
  • Goal 2 (Partial): Somewhat, as I wasn’t able to play the game fully.
  • Goal 3 (Achieved): No the puzzles are simple

Playtester 3 – Target Audience

General Feedback

  • Enemies are easy to defeat
  • “But they kill me after a while if I stand on the spot, not very intimidating”.
  • Not too sure as how to progress in the majority of the puzzles
  • Tried stepping on switches but noticed they don’t do anything
  • When asked as to what each switch may do, the playtester suggested the panels matching the switch would disappear in all levels.
  • Had trouble jumping up the walls in the second level
  • Didn’t really know what the end goal was

Q1. Did the colour coded elements of each puzzle help you to figure out what to do? What was your thought process

A1. In some ways yes, but I didn’t really know where else I could go as nothing changed when I stepped on switches.

Q2. Did you feel that coordinating two characters to solve puzzles helped immerse you in the game world? Did the switching mechanics make sense in the context in each of the puzzles?

A2. It was fun being able to control two people, but having to switch between them all the time would seem a bit repetitive and annoying after a while.

Goals Achieved

  • Goal 1 (Achieved): The game is smooth, somewhat enjoyable
  • Goal 2 (Partial): Yes, but is not easily noticeable on the main menu
  • Goal 3 (Achieved): Yes, but a bit floaty

Playtester 4 – Target Audience

General Feedback

  • The main menu is a bit cluttered, but tells me what I need to do I guess.
  • Was a bit annoyed with the puzzles not functioning
  • Tried to explore each level as much as possible, jumping on things to see what they do.
  • Got killed by slimes twice, had to restart.
  • The walls seemed to be hard to climb up in the second level, didn’t make it up.
  • Understood the majority of the puzzles, except for the third level. Suggests putting goal marker of some sort.

Q1. Did the colour coded elements of each puzzle help you to figure out what to do? What was your thought process

A1. It would be helpful if there was hints in the game telling me what to do next. The colour coded switches and stuff helped a bit I guess.

Q2. Did you feel that coordinating two characters to solve puzzles helped immerse you in the game world? Did the switching mechanics make sense in the context in each of the puzzles?

A2. It was annoying more than anything, I like to control only one character so I don’t have to worry about the other.

Goals Achieved

  • Goal 1 (Achieved): Controls as intended
  • Goal 2 (Not Achieved): No, needs some sort of hint system
  • Goal 3 (Not Achieved): Switching between characters is annoying

 

SUMMARY OF FINDINGS AND IMPROVEMENTS

As a whole, the majority of playtesters found the puzzles presented to them pretty self-explanatory due to the colour coded nature of the puzzles themselves. Between the two groups of playtesters, the Experts tried mechanics that they thought would have been already implemented into the game, as Playtester 2 tried wall jumping in the second level of the game. They also expected an easy way to restart the level, as they were able to exploit or glitch certain portions of the level and were unable to progress further in their current state. Both Experts seemed to understand the end goal of the game, and had some fair criticism about the polish and logic of the puzzles as being a bit simple, although effective in demonstrating the switching mechanic. As for the Target Audience playtesters, they tended to explore the levels more freely and tried to get the puzzles to work. Both of them suggested that a hint system should be implemented in the final release, as the colour coding on its own isn’t enough for those who aren’t as experienced with platformer and puzzle games.

PX goals that were set earlier in the cycle were partly achieved, where it was a mixed response to the switching mechanic, where some feared it may become tedious after constant switching. The game environment subtly hints to what is expected of the player when it comes to puzzles, and the majority of players agree also. The puzzles and switching mechanic seem to make sense to players also, but may not be challenging enough for those who are experienced.

Improvements to the game in the future would especially include fully functioning puzzles that are more detailed and that flow logically from one puzzle to the next. Additionally, an optional hint system would be implemented into an options menu for those that wish for additional assistance. The animations and sounds of the characters and enemies would also be further refined, as the current animation cycle for the player is very jittery, and the jump sound is a bit loud. The goal of the game must also be made clear to the player through visual cues, such as a light trail connecting the two knights to represent their connection, and encourage the player to bring them together.

In respect to the persona of “Sally”, I feel that this style of game after playtesting amongst two different audiences, is not well suited to this particular persona. Her previous experience with games such as Warcraft and Sims is more focused around the use of a mouse, whilst platformers rely heavily on either a keyboard or a controller. Additionally, the dexterity required of a player when jumping across platforms or timing enemy attacks is slightly different compared to clicking directly onto enemies using a mouse as it is more direct. To cater to this particular audience further, it would be suggested that the controls be simplified by having keys close together, and having an optional click to control method of movement, like in point and click adventure games.

Playtesting Report (Cycle 3)

Student Name: Wai Man Ho

Student Number: n9659340

 

Playtest Setting Up

Testers will play the game individually without seeing the other tester to play. Each session ends if the game is over. Tester will be asked to think out loud and work out the solution by them if they get caught in the game play. An interview will be done after each session ends.

Resources: PC for game play, interview questions, notepad & pen to take notes

Who are the Participants

Audience who has never played this game before.

There will be two types of participants: Expert player and Target Audience player.

Notes Taken of the Expert (tutor of another subject) Player 1 during playtesting

  • He reads the instruction screen very quickly with mouth murmuring the contents in order to help him understand as fast as possible and remember the keyboard keys to control the game.
  • He then presses the ESCAPE key to see if the game can terminate. (Which is failed at that moment as this feature has not implemented yet even it has mentioned in the instructions).
  • Next, he is testing the Zoom function with pressing key Z and X to get a feeling of what he could see after Zoom In and Zoom Out.
  • Then he moves the characters around the area, switching between two characters.
  • “The camera movement is too slow if the characters are far apart! Should speed up a bit as it takes too long to reach the other character.”
  • Observed: The camera takes around three seconds to switch between characters and he thinks it is wasting his time during the process as he cannot make any move while waiting.
  • He looks at me when the Bomb appears even before the chest has opened; indicate it is a bug that needs to be fixed.
  • Observed: At first he is wandering around the area and reading hints occasionally. Then suddenly I heard he says “I got it!” and then he is confidently moving the characters to solve the puzzles.
  • “Oh!” he cries out loudly with excitement when he sees the Giant Warrior is walking slowly towards the main character on the Top Floor.

 

Interview of Player 1 after playtesting

  1. Do you find this game fun to play?

May be.

  1. Will you play it again?

No.

  1. Is the game too easy or too hard for you?

At first I cannot finger out how to solve the puzzle, but finally I am able to work it out.

  1. Which part of the game you like most?

There are varieties of enemies and not just one type is good.

  1. Which part of the game you don’t like?

The keyboard control is a bit hard to use, it will be good if we can use mouse or joystick to get a better play experience.

  1. Any suggestions of improvement on this game?

There are few bugs in the game that need to be fixed. The animations should not play more than once if they are related to the puzzle, as we don’t want to solve the same puzzle again and again.

 

Improvement Work after first playtesting

Changes are carried out right after the first playtesting has done:

  • Flags have been added in the Game Manager to make sure the animations are only played once for the puzzle related theme such as sliding down of the wall and opening of the chest which should not play again once the player has gone through them.
  • The animation of chest box opening and appear of Bomb item on the chest box requires the detection of finish the animation first before making the Bomb visible on the scene. Unfortunately it is not easy to be done for the animator as the animation clips is hidden inside it.

 

Notes Taken of the Normal Player 2 during playtesting

  • Observed: Player tries to read the instruction when game has started, but the Bat keeps attacking and finally kill the character with a Game Over exit, even before he has finished reading the instruction.
  • “I forget which keys control what already!” as the player want to control the characters to move after restart the game again.
  • Observed: The player tries to move the character across the boundary at the far right end of Top Floor, the object is too thin and the sword can be seen going through the boundary for the next level.
  • “Now how can I go back to kill the remained enemies?” after he has read the Hint in order to finish the current game level.
  • Observed: Player tries to make the character jumping high and attacking the Bat at the same time as it is attacking the character.

 

Interview of Player 2 after playtesting

  1. Do you find this game fun to play?

Yes. It is playable, controls are working fine and the enemies are doing their job.

  1. Will you play it again?

No. As I know how the puzzle be solved already.

  1. Is the game too easy or too hard for you?

Too easy as the puzzle is not hard to solve at all.

  1. Which part of the game you like most?

The visual graphic of the game is pretty good. They are 3D and movement of enemies in their own styles and speeds provide a certain degree of fun in playing it.

  1. Which part of the game you don’t like?

“I cannot see the Enemy Remain status clearly as the yellow colour is almost the same as the wall’s colour for the background.”

  1. Any suggestions of improvement on this game?

Attack key f is too close to the Movement key d. they should be far apart to make the control more easily. The instructions should be display on screen all the time so that people will not forget which keys control what.

 

Changes are carried out right after the second playtesting has done:

  • Characters are moving a location that will not be attacked by Bat so that player can have time to read the instructions as long as he like.
  • Enlarged the trigger area of the Level Passing at Top Floor so that characters can be more easily to go back to other floors.
  • A Black background panel is added behind the “Enemy Remain” status to make it looks clearer against the background graphic.

 

Summary of further possible development after Playtesting

There are few improvements can be made to the game so that it is more users friendly and fun to play:

  • Brief keys control instructions are display on the upper screen all the time as a reminder.
  • Handling enemy attack from sky with additional Hitbox which should be located above the character’s head.
  • Medical Kit should provide an option that player is able choose not to pick up if the character’s health is not a problem.
  • The attack animation from the character should have more varieties and not just one type. Depend on the additional keystrokes control; the attacks can have angle slicing, pointing in and out, waving, x-crossing, vertical and horizontal strike.

Conclusion of the Play Testing

It seems the game has achieved its objective: Appeal the target audience with puzzle solving, strategy game play and exploration of the game world as adventure. The puzzle is not too hard to be solved if all the hints are read, which will display on screen once the character has reached the assigned location.