Friday, October 31, 2014

Bost Battle Analysis: Super Mario Sunshine's Manta Storm

Fun, hectic, and somewhat terrifying. This is the best way I can describe Super Mario Sunshine's Manta Storm boss battle. When one enters a world called Hotel Delfino, one would expect to see, well, a hotel. Instead, the player is greeted by a peaceful resort exterior that has now been decorated with-

  -massive amounts of goo. Electric goo, to be precise. One touch and you'll get electrocuted, causing you to lose a life.

The massive trail of goo leads you to an angry pianta (or palm-tree people) couple who're bickering with one who seems to be the hotel manager. You approach this hotel manager, trying to figure out what's going on. "A massive manta came and covered my hotel in goo! Now my hotel is gone!" press the A button a few more times on his dialogue and...

The paper-thin beast of the sea returns! And with more goo than ever! As Manta approaches, you have no choice but to start shooting water at it. This causes him to slow down at first, then break apart into to Mantas that move a bit faster. As the boss battle progresses, you must continue to spray water at the Mantas, who continue to divide into smaller and smaller segments that move faster with each divide.

All this while avoiding the electric goo in the environment, and keeping your water tank full throughout the fight. Tall locations in the level such as palm trees prove to be useful vantage points for evaluating the state of the battle, while small huts serve as safe zones for the player to rest and think over their plans (this boss is made out of light, impeding them from entering shadow covered areas like the hut.

Once all the mantas have been divided into their smallest form, they will glow read and begin moving towards you, chanting a rhythmic chirp as they approach you. 

After you've sprayed down that final manta, guess what?! You've won the battle! The goo evaporates from the level and Hotel Delfino rises once more. A eccstatic hotel manager dances for joy and the level's star is all yours.

As a child, I remember this felt like one of the most daunting boss battles I ever experienced. You have to keep a lot of aspects into account ( water level, life) while being spatially aware of the places that you're stepping or will be stepping in a few seconds. And that's exactly why it continues to be one of my favorites. It's exciting, daunting, and thrilling till this day.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Final Toy Trailer

After many phases of tweaking and tinkering, our Toy project has been completed. Here's the final trailer for the project (bits of gameplay can be seen near the end).

Monday, September 22, 2014

Toy Project: A Game Mechanic Exploration

After finishing our FPS shooter level, we're advancing to a more complete form of a game. In our upcoming Toy Project, we'll be designing and programming our own game level based around a mechanic of our choice. From 2D sidescrollers to 3D shooters, we're allowed to reach for these ideas so long as it is feasible for our abilities.

The following are ten ideas I've explored as possible candidates for this project:

1. Side-scrolling puzzle solver. (Player finds intricate stone keys that they must levitate and move around in a 3D space in order to find their right fit for a keyhole. Found in Legend of Zelda's Skyward Sword dungeon key system).
2. Physics based pulley systems and see-saws. Player must find objects with the right amount of weight to activate pulley systems and counterweight balances in order to rise to the highest point of the level.
3. Hunt or hunted. Survival of the fittest. Player evolves as they defeat other enemies/players. Their primary skill is strengthened throughout each evolution.
4. Changing forms in order to clear level obstacles (Example: Player is a spirit wisp that possesses different creatures in order to traverse the level/ Player must shape-shift into different objects/animals in order to complete level)
5. "United we stand. Divided we fall" A game where the player accumulates clumps of itself in order to cross obstacles and defeat enemies (Example found in"Pikmin")
6. Divergent thinking. A player encounters everyday objects and is forced to think differently of their function in order to solve puzzles. (Example: Player must use a chair as a key to turn a square shaped lock with 4 holes on each end).
7. A game where two people play on one keyboard. Two players must synchronize their movement in order to solve puzzles and defeat enemies.
8. A player's attack creates permanent structures in the world that help the player climb through levels and hinder its enemies (Example: Player jumps, then slams the ground. Impact creates spikes and jagged protruding shapes that might be used to climb to a higher platform in the level).
9. A stealth game were players try to maneuver out of a level by deceiving/manipulating enemies and triggering changes within the environment.
10. Players gather bait to lure creatures that"ll help the player traverse an environment (Example: A player uses giant leaves as bait for a large stegosaurus-like creature to come close. Player then uses stego-creature as a bridge to a higher point in the level.

More updates on this project coming soon. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Growth of a Team: Young Horses Studio and Octodad

The last few days I've been doing some small research on startup game companies and their experiences on making their first marketable game. I hoped to gain a bit of light on the team building dynamics that may happen during the early stages of a company as it transitions to its first degree of maturity. Thankfully, I found a presentation that honestly revealed this process in a refreshing yet educational way. If your interested about hearing of a young companies adventure through the completion of their first wacky game, do check the following link:

Welp, back to work.

Friday, September 12, 2014

FPS Map Proposal

Here's my FPS Map Proposal. I'll be using my Modular Kit pieces from my 3D class to set dress the level.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

FPS Analysis - Neotokyo

Neotokyo, originally started out as a modification of Half Life 2 for the Unreal Engine, is a multiplayer fps developed by Studio Radi-8. It takes place in a futuristic of Tokyo after a military coup’detat has taken place. Now two factions, the nationalist Jinrai and the Japanese National Security Force are locked in combat as they both try to gain control of the Japanese government.

When the game starts, you are given the choice to join with Jinrai or NSF. After you’ve chosen, you select one of three player classes: recon, assault and support. Recons are capable of using unlimited sprint, longest camouflage time and are capable of night vision, but have little armor and hit power, making them highly vulnerable. Supports are the full opposite, capable of large amount of damage, thermal vision, and staying well protected with their heavy armor. But they are the slowest to move (they have no sprint ability), making them easy targets in ambushes or chaotic scenes. Assaults are the mid-ground between Recon and Support, with limited sprint, motion vision, and a moderate amount of armament and firepower to level up the playing field.

Neotokyo has two game modes: Capture the Ghost (a version of capture the flag) and Deathmatch. In Capture the Ghost, players must capture and retrieve the upper body of a cyborg that has been placed randomly on the level. In Deathmatch, teams fight for the highest number of kills. Its leveling mechanic makes Deathmatches a more complex, as players can level up and gain higher ranking when achieving a kill, but lose points when killed or committing friendly fire.

Since there is no timeline in the game, all maps are battlegrounds to present the current struggle between the Jinrai and NSF forces. The map selected is a mixture of a Japanese garden and an underground computer lab, giving the environment a mixture of open areas and small corridors to plan their battles. It also provides areas of cover for players to move from one end of an open area or corridor to another while still leaving area for confrontation and open fire.



Gameplay footage:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Jumping Into Platformers

For our Game Design III class, we'll be working on creating our own side-scrolling platformer throughout the semester. But before jumping into our own crazy ideas and inventions, we've been given the task of studying and breaking down an already-existing platformer. Here I'll be breaking down the first level of a game called Cave Story?

Cave Story, a platformer-adventure game created by Daisuke Amaya "Pixel" in 2004, does a fantastic work at keeping players entertained by constantly challenging their problem-solving and coordination skills. From the start of the game, the player is given no instructions, no controls, no target location. Its the layout of the level that pushes the player to learn all the skills they'll need through the game. Whether its understanding the length of your jump while dodging enemies, using a weapon to destroy obstacles and enemies, leaving a body of water before your oxygen reaches 0 or hitting spikes that can one-hit K.O, all the small events that take place in the starting level serve as the main building blocks for all the other tasks the player will be executing as they progress through the game.

When the player falls into a body of water, their oxygen meter starts to drop. When it hits 0, its game over.

Players who are not familiar with the platforming genre may find that the game will require a certain amount of coordination to move around, as there are tons of ways to lose health or die in every level

I guess I died a few times...

When you combine this with shooting through a dozen of enemy creatures and projectiles, keeping track of all the information on the screen can get a bit hectic. But it's that kind of complexity and challenge that keeps this game fresh and alive, even in our current year. When it comes to Cave Story, nothing feels as satisfying as speedily finishing a level and booming through enemy swarms unscathed and unharmed.

The following images are a visual layout of the first level and a video playthrough of the level brought to you by ZDS Group.

And if you're REALLY curious about Cave Story, here's a full one-hour talk by Daisuke Amaya "Pixel" about his ideas and challenges faced while developing this gem of a game. It's a bundle of sweet sweet knowledge, and I encourage you to watch it if you have the time. Thanks for reading~

Friday, April 25, 2014

Racing Level: Final Beauty Shots

Here are some final beauty shots of my Sophomore racing level. Let's see what the next project holds in store.

Sophomore year DONE! Wow, only two more years left...

Monday, April 21, 2014

Python/MEL Script Ideas

We're at our final rite-of-passage in this semester's Programming class. This time, we're learning scripting, and gosh darn, it can't get any funner! For our last programming assignment, we need to create a scripted tool using either Python or MEL that can help speed up our work process. Here's a brainstorm list with a few ideas for that last tool:

1) A tool that can quadrangulate and triangulate meshes back and forth.
2) A script that allows you to generate stacked cards for foliage meshes (with a UI containing a selection of foliage types).
3) A tool that can mirror faces.
4) A tool that can select a line of uv edges once you've selected one edge.
5) A script that wraps a tube-like mesh around another selected mesh. Could be useful for ropes, decoration, and other possibilities.
6) A tool that, when choosing to split vertices, spaces out vertices so that they're easier to see and select.
7) A script that can generate abstract forms and shapes with good silhouettes.
8) A script that notifies you when you have an n-gon/flipped normals.
9) A tool that thickens texture seems to you can see where they're located in the model.
10) A script that produces cubes with cute puppy images every time you open Maya straightens faces to either x, y or z.

Speaking of coding, do check out this video. You might be surprised by the speaker:


That's all for now. More updates soon to arrive.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Game Trailers: Second Lap!

Our racing levels are done, and we're all off to create a trailer for the class. Which means: we're back to reviewing racing game trailers! This time I chose GRID 2's trailer. It gives enough exposition to environment and racing gameplay, as well as introducing a good deal of vehicle selection. Overall, it has a comfortable pacing: not too long, not too short, but just about enough time to give you the right amount of information on the game

More updates coming soon!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Particle Effect Final Image

Particle effect: Complete! Here's an image of the final product.

Final video coming soon! Stay tuned~

Friday, March 28, 2014

"Shocking" Particle Effect Research

For our next assignment, we've been tasked with doing some sort of particle effect for our racing level. I'll be aiming to do an electric particle effect for my obstacles. Here's some video footage of slow motion lightning in nature. Darn, electricity is really impressive.

Particle Effect Example in UDK:

 And here's a shout out to my friend, Hadidjah, who made an awesome Thundershock particle effect on UDK


Go check out the rest of her stuff!

 Last, but not least, here are some tutorials that I might be taking from to create this particle effect


 More updates coming soon!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Final Destructible

Here's the final result of the destructible we've been working in our Programming class. Many thanks to our instructor for finding a way to create the illusion of movable destructibles.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Destructible Process Work

The destructible asset adventure continues! Here's a bit of work in progress on this project.

(Adjust video to high-quality for best results)

More updates on their way~

Friday, February 28, 2014

Destructible in Games

The next assignment for our programming class involves creating destructible objects that may be used for our futuristic, sci-fi racing environment. These destructible will be objects that, when the player impacts or attack it, will fracture into pieces or slices while being affected by the in-game physics. These can also be followed up by other effects such as particle systems to make the breaking object more believable . Here's a few examples of game play presenting destructible found in games.

Destructible footage starts at 14:29

Though I've yet to play Mass Effect, this environment run-through shows a great example of destructibles and particle effects seen during gameplay, as well as presenting a destroyed yet believable environment.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Explosive Barrel Progress

For our Programming Class, we were assigned to record the first prototype of our "exploding barrels." Welp, with prototyping comes silly troubles, such as barrels not exploding when hit by weapons, but through rapid impacts. I guess it's a fun way to remind oneself that, during production, some things can just make no sense.

Oh well. Time for some playful problem solving! And a heck-ton of barrels

Racing Intros

I've played only a few racing games throughout the years. But one game intro that I kindly remember is DiddyKong Racing's opening. It's a lighthearted, colorful introduction that exposes the different vehicles that the player can choose to race, the cast of characters, various environments, and even the game's main antagonist (personally, I haven't seen too many classic narrative elements such as these in racing games).

Friday, February 21, 2014

An Explosive Blog Post

What does a game need? Barrels! What do barrels do best? Explode! Here in our Programming class, we were assigned to create our own type of "exploding barrel" for our race track. After a few silhouette practices, I decided to keep this asset simple; a floating orb with two rings (I guess that's simple... right?)

More updates coming soon!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Rough Isometric Map: First Pass

We're taking our first maps, and giving them a bit of a twist on the third dimension. This is a rough view of how the track might look, curve, rise and fall in 3 dimensional space.


Monday, January 27, 2014

The Power of Play

During my last History of Game Art class, our teacher played us a fantastic TED Talk by Staurt Brown. Here he explains how "play" is more than just a simple recreational activity. It is a vital part of the human's cognitive and social development and well being. I could talk all day about it, but why not go give it a view instead?

Map Minimization and Beat Sheets

Process work continued:

-Diminished the size of the racetrack
-Beat-sheets created

More updates coming soon!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Obstacle Ideas, Preliminary Map, and Inspirational Images.

As mentioned on my previous post, our next project is going to involve the creations of obstacles for the player to interact within the race track level. Below is a preliminary map and obstacle ideas for the current level design:

And lets not forget some inspirational imagery to keep that idea spark alive and burning:

More info coming soon...

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

New Semester, New Project! Racing Game Preparations

After a speedy winter break, it's back to working on our next Game Art project. This time, we'll be working on developing a racing game! From modeling and rigging vehicles to programming traps, to designing our own race courses, this project definitely promises a lot of novel and exhilarating challenges.

So first thing's first. In order to have a solid concept, you have to do some solid research. Whether it's from real life, movies, or preexisting video games, it's important to take this time to search every resource around you for elements and ideas that can enrich your level concept. One of the gaming elements we'll be working with is creating virtual obstacles. These may involve, stunts, traps, and any other mechanism that can either help or hinder a player. And, since we're doing a racing game, what better source to learn from than crazy car stunts and racing videogames! Here's a few videos that inspired/helped me out during my research:

Real Life Examples:

Video Game Examples:

More research and preproduction posts coming soon! Stay tuned!