Game Concept Planning/Research

Mood Boards

These are my moon boards I created to help me generate potential ideas for my future game. For characters, weapons, clothing, props and scenes, exploring a range of different images.

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Timeline

I looked into a very old style of 2D side scrolling, the well known Mario vs Donkey Kong series, as the game progresses from a simple retro style with low interaction. Eventually building up to high quality resolution with multiple interaction within certain areas of the game.

2D platform games timeline.jpg

Punch Club

I have been looking at multiple side-scroller games, in order to gain knowledge on how they’re created along with the techniques used and styles presented. The video game “Punch Club”  developed by “Lazy Bear Games”, a 16- bit game I have played due to its smooth game mechanics, story and incredible graphics. I highly enjoyed the experience playing through this “strategy /tycoon /street fighter-manager” game while in its 80’s to 90’s atmosphere with its hidden movie and game references. For example they used crocodiles to symbolise the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, by using the same names and colour styled costumes. The multiple choice interactions throughout the game play, giving players the options on how to complete the game, which path they want to follow and potential targets to be achieve within the game. This gives the player a sense of freedom as they make their own decision, within violent world of fighting.

I chose to research into this game as I find it highly interesting, while it gives me visual ideas for my game. I want my game to possibly be up to that clean pixel style

Image result for punch club

While researching this game, I discovered the development process. The developers decided to make the game into pixel art, to convey nostalgic sense as a reminder of their childhood. The digital drawings where originally none pixel art as the developers we’re acknowledging the detail in order to grasp the scale and each scene’s perspective, forming that clean 16-bit display while maintaining obvious detail. A created character body structure was used to produce slight manipulations, to create new characters using small effort. Animation files were duplicated from the original which was the protagonist’s and altered forming multiple characters discrete movements, however additional design ideas were gained from the game “Mortal Combat”

In depth scene realism was carefully thought about as “2:1 isometry, which means that for every 2 units of width, an evenly shaped object will have about 1 unit of depth”. These processes build up an atmosphere of realistic structure, maintaining correct perspective and dimensional scale.

The developers explained the process of how they produce the game’s design at a high quality. “All of the artwork is drawn at 1x, and then presented at 2x. The game’s engine automatically scales it at 2x which is why we look at work when it’s upscaled to that size. During our art-passes, all art is shown at 200% zooming (either using Photoshop’s zoom tool or something similar). 3x size is used when rendering the game at full HD I1080p), we don’t use this for sharing work or making promo materials, that’s just for reference on how it’ll look in full HD”. 

The coding process was developed using Unity plugins along with multiple software’s for certain mechanics. Such as Edit Console Pro, NGUI, Texture Overview, uScript, Build Report Tool and LINQ for iOS. Using these in specific ways, within different areas of the game process.

Punch club displays to types of HUD’s, the combat HUD and the normal HUD giving the player information about their stats, such as energy, hunger, happiness, health, money, coins and fighting stats (strength, stamina, agility). As the objective of the game is to progress through the game defeating opponents in combat. carefully planning out how to make use of the games currency for important items to help increase character stats.

The combat HUD changes, as you can see the characters health in detail displaying their energy level and health as a bar format. Typography matching the digital style of the game.

Unity Plugins process: http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/SvyatoslavCherkasov/20160119/263697/Unity_plugins_we_used_while_developing_Punch_Club.php

In depth information used to aid my research: http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/AlexNichiporchik/20161205/286829/Punch_Clubs_guide_to_Pixel_Art.php

Rayman Origins

I decided to start looking into 2D platform games for more ideas on how my game will be presented, thinking of the different elements of designing a game. A carefully planned process is planned out when designing games creating that atmospheric environmental space, key points such as visual space, barriers, sounds, lighting and colour. Besides setting a games scene, the development structure is also key, what limitations are set within the game. What are the goals of the game, are there simple or complicated components and what are their purposes, what are the mechanics and rules restraining the player giving them advantages or disadvantages. Along with Narrative, plot and final outcome, all of these builds up a game, successfully if planned carefully from various approaches.

The video game “Rayman Origins” the 2D side scrolling platform game developed by Ubisoft Montpellier, Feral Interactive, Ubisoft Paris, Ubisoft Casablanca and Ubi Soft SARL. I highly enjoyed my gaming experience as I travelled from calm set environments to fast pace action. Its cartoon style artwork aims at both children and adults, as all ages can enjoy playing an enjoyable game while being able to play with friends as their is local coop.

The sounds flow perfectly on each level, for example synchronous sounds project from drums, which is apart of the scenery on the level. The player interacts with the drums by jumping and falling on them creating noises. The non-diegetic sound adjusts to the mood of the scene, for example if there is a creature threatening the player, the music adjusts to a fast pace intense rhythm.

The mood of this game conveys various emotions, for example one of the scenes uses selective primary colours, the bight pink and passionate orange red projects relaxation. As the candles indicate a sweet fragrance is being inhaled. Possibly a slight tint of pink and red combined, and used on this scene.

A selected colour pallet was used throughout multiple levels, as the colours were used to represent the mood and temperature. Ice and water levels were clearly recognised instantly due to the fact that the colour range of blues, creating that imagery of something cold or wet. I can see monochromatic colour in the background, creating lighting from angles forming perspective. Textures of sharp edges for ice possibly indicates danger, giving the player that awareness that the ice may possibly crack destroying the landscape.

The use of the cool background colour within this water level, clashing with the primary dark red of the fish creatures informs the player that they’re being chased as the fishes stand out boldly. The fishes colours indicates danger as the colour red symbolises dangerous warnings.

Again use of colours, analogous colours ranging from red to yellow. These colours form an atmosphere of heat and fire, as soon as the player is presented with these colours, imagery of a fire or lava level comes to mind. The effect of this level is enhanced as the lighting highlights certain areas, creating shadows where needed to be. Giving 3D  visual effects throughout the level as fires ignites, causing a reaction of shadows changing scale and forms realistically. Within the darken areas of the foreground deep monochromatic colours of red are displayed, whereas a bright contrast of oranges where formed in the background, giving that extra perspective in the foreground.

Image result for rayman origins fire level

Mechanics of the game, as games throughout generations have developed drastically from graphics to mechanics. Within “Rayman Origins”, areas of levels are designed in certain ways to restrict the character from escaping the map. The image below one of the methods is using a hazards (the smoke below), instead of blocking the player with invisible walls they damage the player eventually killing them. Most of the levels, the scenery around the edge of the levels, prevents the players from escaping the map.

The graphic improvement since 1995 when “Rayman” one was released, its 2D display (top left) expanded to 3D perspective within the later “Rayman” games in two (top right) and three (bottom left). However as “Rayman Origins” was developed by Ubisoft Montpellier, Feral Interactive, Ubisoft Paris, Ubisoft Casablanca and Ubi Soft SARL, multiple drawings were produced and the best one was chosen leading to in depth development of the game’s design. Origins goes back to “Rayman” one’s 2D platform style,

 

Rayman Legends

The sequel of “Rayman Origins” which is “Rayman Legends” developed by Ubisoft Montpellier and Ubisoft Casablanca. Cleaner use of graphics and smoother mechanics, as fighting combinations are one of the main highlights within the game, giving the player various options on how to defeat an enemy. Through possible hitting combos, making use of the environment or reversing the enemy’s own attack back no themselves. In “Rayman Legends” perspective movement within the background travelling to the foreground introduced within the game. One example is that the mechanic dragon boss fight, the dragon travels in and out of the background, informing the player of that perspective while the game maintains its 2D platform style.

Image result

The game doesn’t really have a HUD, however when doing challenges to unlock prizes such as more characters and “lums” (which is the Rayman currency) in order to gain further prizes. Imagery and fonts are used to inform the player in the corner of the screen, on how long the level is taking them and how far the travel distance is to the goal.

 

Game comparisons:

“Rayman” has a completely different style from “Punch Club” as one is presented in a pixel style while the other is a clear quality cartoon style. Both “Rayman” games have less rules and limitations than “Punch Club” as the characters in “Rayman” have no stats therefore not enforcing combat limitations for the player. However both have similar perspective use, as “Punch Club” lets the player walk towards the background, whereas “Rayman” has animated background making it move towards the player in the foreground. Combat is different yet similar for both games, as there are various options on how to defeat opponents, but through different mechanics set in the games. I aim to use Punch club’s digital style while making use of Rayman’s methods influencing the player through visual and sounds effects.

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