Archive for June, 2011

Extreme Parashrooming

June 21, 2011

Three weeks ago I sent a written proposal over to Game Career Guide for their latest Game Design Challenge. For the challenge, we were given a photograph of a large parasol mushroom and told to propose a game based on the photo. My entry was called “Extreme Parashrooming”. I would tell you about it here on the blog, but that doesn’t seem necessary. Why?
Because you can already read about it here! (See page 3) Pardon the ridiculously cheesy drawings. I never claimed to be an artist!

I’ve gotten on the ‘honorable mentions’ list three times previously, but this is a new first for me! I’m excited, but mostly just proud to be representing UAT.

That’s all for now.

Stencyl

June 19, 2011

As soon as I finished my project for the Thousand-Year Game Design Challenge, I intended to jump right in to June’s theme over at the Experimental Gameplay Project. The thing is, I’ve been using Game Maker, and while it can apparently be a powerful program, I’m just not happy with it for this project. Still, I started plugging away at my game. Then, I discovered Stencyl.

Stencyl is a program that lets you build games in Adobe Flash without actually having to know how to use Flash or write Actionscript. For my immediate needs, it’s perfect.
Oh, it definitely still has a learning curve. However, for now I’m using some of the built in resource packs to quickly build my game. There are several things I really like about the program, but two in particular may really help me down the line.

First, the ‘coding’ is all drag and drop, similar to Game Maker, but with a visual layout that is much better at explaining just how and why everything works. That actually leads directly into the second thing I like: Stencyl lets you view and edit the actual Actionscript. This could be huge for me as I develop a game, study the visual layout of what I just ‘coded’, and finally look at the actual programming to see how it all works. I’ve been wanting to learn Flash and Actionscript anyway, and I think this gives me a great opportunity to really dig into the meat of a program and see how it works.

Stencyl has a couple of other advantages. First, the included resources (along with many online) make game creation a littler quicker. As I said before, there is still a learning curve, and I’ve hit some roadblocks, but I”m confident I can resolve all of that with some dedication. The other thing is that Stencyl allows you to publish your games online. This means I can publish straight to a site like Kongregate where thousands of users will be able to see it. Game Maker’s sute has a similar functionality, but a much smaller user base.

I’m not totally giving up on Game Maker. There are several things I like about it. However, I will be shifting my focus to Stencyl from here on out. I think it’s going to provide me with some great experience and opportunities. EGP runs through the end of June, but I’m still going to be trying to stick to a seven day development window for the game. It shouldn’t be a problem, I already have some important elements finished for the game. Also, the design challenge over at Game Career Guide ended this week, so my next post will probably be all about my submission there.

I’ve got more projects on the horizon so stay tuned!

Antipode

June 14, 2011

Here is my submission for the Thousand Year Game Design Challenge.
The contest information can be found here at Daniel Solis’ blog:
The Thousand-Year Game Design Challenge

Antipode

Antipode is a two player abstract strategy game.

Contents
– 1 game board
– 2 pawns (1 red, 1 blue)
– 61 tokens (red on one side, blue on the other side)

Aim
The object is to form a line of your tokens across the board. To win, the line must stretch from any corner to the exact opposite corner. The tokens do not need to form a straight line, they just need to form a complete connection.

Preparation
1. Place the board between the two players so that each player is directly in front of one corner point.
2. Place a token on each corner point, alternating colors around the board. The corner in front of each player should correspond to the color they have chosen for play.
3. Place each player pawn directly on top of the token in the corner point in front of each player.
4. Place the remaining tokens in a position off the board that both players can easily reach. These tokens are the ‘pool’.

Setup

Game is ready to play

Starting the Game
The board should now be set up  so that each player is directly in front of his own pawn which is on top of a token of the same color, and should see two other tokens of that color in the corners diagonally across the board. In this game, blue always takes the first turn. Each turn consists of two steps which must be completed.

Step One: Placing a token
On your turn, your first action is to place a token on the board with your color facing up. You may place a token on any unoccupied space. Be aware that placing a token may cause other tokens to be flipped (see ‘Flipping tokens’ below). Before taking action with step one, you MUST be sure that it allows for step two to be possible.

Step Two: Moving your pawn
The second step of your turn is to move your pawn. You may move your pawn any number of spaces in a straight line, making no turns in the process. (Note that a straight line is considered to pass over a full space. You cannot, therefore, move in a position that would cause you to skip spaces by traveling the line between two spaces.) Your pawn must come to rest on a token of your own color. You may not land on an empty space, or one of your opponent’s tokens. While you are allowed to pass over as many tokens and empty spaces as you wish, you may not, under any circumstances, pass over your opponent’s pawn. Passing over tokens causes them to be flipped (see ‘Flipping tokens’ below). If you cannot make a legal move with your pawn, you must reverse your token placement for this turn and try again.

Each player has taken one turn

Flipping tokens
As stated above, each part of a player’s turn may cause tokens on the board to be flipped. Here are the rules that govern token flipping:
1. When a token is placed, any tokens in the spaces immediately adjacent to the space in which the token was played must be flipped. This means that you can turn your opponent’s tokens into your own, but also that you may cause your own tokens to flip to your opponent.
2. When moving your pawn, any tokens that your pawn passes over must be flipped over to display the opposite side. Just like with token placement, this applies to both players, so your opponent’s tokens become yours and vice versa.
3. EXCEPTION: A token occupied by either player’s pawn is protected, and therefore not affected by the ripple.

This is several moves into the game

The board is filling up!

Blue is in a good position here, but it's Red's turn!

End of the game
The game ends when one player successfully makes a connection from any one corner to that corner’s exact opposite. This means the connection will cover a minimum of nine spaces. As stated above, the connection does not need to form a straight line.
IMPORTANT: A connection is not considered complete unless it remains so after the second part of the player’s turn. For example, if you complete a connection by placing a token and flipping others, the game is not yet over. You MUST be able to legally move your pawn. If moving your pawn breaks the connection, the game is not yet over!

Blue makes a complete connection and wins the game.

Notes
If you manage to trap your opponent is such a way that it is impossible for that player to make a legal move with the pawn, you are considered to win by forfeit.
Eventually, the token in a given corner space can no longer be flipped, causing that corner to be ‘locked’ to one player. Be alert about this, as you may find yourself unable to complete a connection when this happens!

A Slight Change

June 10, 2011

I fully intended to have my entry into the 1000 Year Game Design Challenge finished and submitted yesterday. However, throughout the week a few things came up with the project that stalled me a little. It took me a while to get the gameplay just right (which I think I’ve done now). The biggest change, however, is that I opted not to actually submit a video, and just write up an entry on BoardGameGeek instead. I think that’s a more fitting place for the game than some random video on YouTube.

Now, I was going to do that yesterday, but my intense game testing has left the pieces looking a little worn. I’m going to repaint before I snap some images for the entry. I should be able to finish up this project completely before the weekend is over, so I’ll post a link to my entry once I’ve got it submitted.

I am going to go ahead and get started with my project for June’s Experimental Gameplay Project theme. Today is mainly just brainstorming and sketches, which shouldn’t be a problem. Brainstorming is actually a very enjoyable part of the process for me.

Check back soon for some status updates. I’m really looking forward to my project for EGP, which will actually be a fully playable game. After that, there’s so much more to come!

A Mushroom and a Millennium

June 5, 2011

Yesterday I finished my proposal for this month’s design challenge over at Game Career Guide.
Here’s a reminder: Parasol Mushroom

When I first saw this challenge, I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do. They had done a photo challenge before, but I didn’t participate. However, after I stared at the photo for a couple of minutes, a crazy idea suddenly sprang into my head. I’m not going to detail it here quite yet. The results of the challenge will be posted in about two and a half weeks, so I’ll reveal my submission then, regardless of whether or not GCG liked it.

I actually gave myself two days to finish this, but did manage to get behind by one day. It was okay, really, because I still finished up my DAY 1 tasks for my new project yesterday. Besides, I’m looking at these schedules as more of a guideline. The important thing is that I actually get these projects finished.

Next, I’m moving on to the 1000 Year Game Design Challenge.
Here’s that link again: 1000 Year Game

I’m giving myself six days for this project, the first of which I actually finished yesterday. Technically, the contest doesn’t end until July 31st, but I don’t want to drag this out that long.
Here’s what my schedule looks like:

DAY 1: Brainstorming. Concept rules and gameplay sketches
DAY 2: Rules – rough draft, temporary mockup of game board and playing pieces
DAY 3: Solo playtesting, session notes, refinement of rules and mechanics as needed
DAY 4: Build game board and playing pieces for prototype (day 2 was just a quick mockup for playtesting purposes, this will be closer to final)
DAY 5: Full playtest and final rule set
DAY 6: Final adjustments to game, write script for video presentation, record video presentation, submit entry

Today is DAY 2 of this project, so a little later I’ll be writing up a rulesheet and trying to figure out what I can use to test the game.

I’ll check back in a couple of days with an update.

A Schedule to Keep

June 3, 2011

I read something earlier today that suggested if you don’t set yourself a schedule for any project you start working on, then you’ll probably never finish it.
I believe it.

My name is Shane. I’m a student at University of Advancing Technology majoring in Game Design.
Actually, I’m in my final year. Yeah, it’s creeping up on me. That is both exciting and terrifying. On one hand, it will be nice to be able to focus on projects rather than assignments. On the other, I’ve really enjoyed my time building new projects and having intense conversations with my classmates and friends. I’ll really miss that interaction.

The point is, I’ve still got a lot to do. I need to build my portfolio, and that’s not going to happen unless I really buckle down and set myself some milestone goals.
I’m starting this blog to share what I have learned, what I am learning, and what I am accomplishing on my journey through the world of game design. I’ll share my thoughts and my projects, my questions and concerns, my hesitations and my excitements. Most of all, I’ll share my experiences as a game designer.

For now, I’ve got a few quite immediate goals.
The latest design challenge over at Game Career Guide has been posted, and I already know what I’m going to do with it.
I’m really jumping ahead of the game here, but I’m going to get that one submitted tomorrow. I’ve gained a few ‘honorable mentions’ from previous challenges, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what they think about this one. It’s just a 500 word proposal (plus images), but I enjoy working on these concepts over at GCG. Here’s the link to the challenge:
http://www.gamecareerguide.com/features/960/game_design_challenge_photo_.php

At some point, I’ll also post links to those honorable mentions they gave me, and expand the designs I proposed.

I’m also going to be submitting an entry to Daniel Solis’ 1000 Year Game Design Challenge. It’s a great concept: create a game that will still be played 1000 years from now.
I’ve been brainstorming a simple board game that I think could have this sort of potential, but we’ll see what the judges think! The contest ends at the end of July, and the winner will be announced sometime in 2012. I’m going to have my prototype built and my proposal submitted by June 9. I’m going to be building an actual, playable boardgame prototype for this contest, so that will be something tangible to add to my portfolio!
Here’s the link to that challenge:
http://danielsolisblog.blogspot.com/2010/12/thousand-year-game-design-challenge.html

That’s not all. Over at the Experimental Gameplay Project, the theme for June is “Mashup”. It’s an interesting challenge and I already have an idea brewing. As soon as I finish up with the 1000 year challenge, I’m going to start working on my mashup game. It’s supposed to be no more than a 7 day development period, and I think that works mainly on the honor system, but I’m obviously going to comply. More than just a proposal, this needs to be a functioning game. I’ll be building it in Game Maker, since I really don’t know any other programs
Here’s the link to that challenge:
http://experimentalgameplay.com/blog/2011/06/mashup-for-june-2011/

I do have another project in mind after that, but I’ll wait until later to talk much about it. Yes it probably sounds like I’m just drowning myself in work here, but this is a competitive field, and I want to blow away whoever interviews me for a position! I actually think this blog is going to be really fun. I’m looking forward to sharing my work with everyone.

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to check back soon!