Get Kraken is a game the mixes two genres of tower defense and fishing together to create frantic and unique gameplay. The development of the game was an interesting experience. I worked on creating the fishing side while Luke worked on the Tower Defense side. It was very different working on two completely different sections as normally I will be working on various parts of the game.
The communication within the team was pretty good, especially between Luke and I. We had a group conversation that was actively used. It was extremely helpful in the past so I utilised it again to much success. It allowed up to easily talk about what we are up to and what we need help with.
Another thing we did well was get a prototype done in 2 weeks. It wasn’t playable, but all the core mechanics were there. This was extremely good as it allowed us to make sure it was going to work, which we believed it was at the time. The final execution didn’t work so well, but that is discussed later.
A major fault in the project was not getting play-testing from other people. The main reason for this is we didn’t get something we wanted to show done early enough. Another reason was we weren’t forced to do play testing which means we never got around to it. This was the biggest fault of the project as we got so much valuable information from the play test in the last project. It was a missed opportunity that shouldn’t be passed up ever again. I am disappointed we didn’t do it, and in the future, I will be sure to schedule play test time, even if we don’t have something we want to show. Even in that state, we can still get valuable information from people and the direction we want to go.
The final execution of the game could have been better. We only finished making it playable in the last week, therefore we didn’t have much time for testing and fixing bugs/balancing issues. This negatively impacted up in the long run as our game didn’t turn out to be the game that we wanted it to be.
During the Get Kraken Project, we learnt the true importance of documentation, so I created a really nice task list in hope that people would use it. I made it simple to use by adding dropdown lists for people who are to complete the tasks, automatic working out of how long the task is by giving it a start and end date and then having a big red message if we are running behind.
By making it easy to use, the team utilised it more often than in previous projects. Though we didn’t really use it for times, it was extremely helpful with looking at what to do next.
During the development of Get Kraken, I needed to place a sprite approximately 100 times downwards, to make the walls of the fishing lake. This probably wasn’t the best way to do it, but as soon as I had the thought of making a tool to do it for me, I decided to stick with it.
I didn’t want to manually place 100 sprites perfectly next to each other, so I made a tool that will tile and game object you give it in either the X or Y direction. In the future, I want to support the Z direction, but at the time, I had no need for it thus I didn’t think about adding it in.
The tool simply takes a game object, then you use check boxes to specify which direction you want to tile in and the amount, then you click “Tile”. It will make them all for you. It is also possible to tile along the X and Y at the same time to make a filled in area of the tiled sprite.
Now, for the video:
I participated in Make-A-Thing for the first time in September, 2014. It is a week even held at SAE Qantm Brisbane by Steve Halliwell that allows the students to come into campus and make a “thing” over the course of a week (40 hours). This thing can be a board game, a story, a piece of art, a video game or anything else you can think of.
I made a game with two other people. Pat Monaghan and Nick Shepherd. Pat is a programmer like myself and Nick is an animator. Together, we worked towards the creation of a game themed around the words Smell, Accord and Plant.
After throwing ideas back and forth, we eventually settled on an idea. We would make a tower defense style of game, where there is no grid and you would verse other people over the network. It would also be themed in a garden so the “towers” would be things like pot-plants and trees.
I learnt a lot this week, with the majority of it being networking stuff. I really enjoyed working with Pat to create the code needed to make the game work over the network. We ended up using a free asset called Photon for the networking rather than using Unity’s built in stuff as it was more user friendly and was much easier to write and use.
With the game being created in only 40 hours, there is a lot of rough edges. For example, there isn’t really intuitive controls. The user has to scroll to change which see they are going to throw, and that really isn’t communicated to the user very well. It would have been better if we had some sort of feedback such as a click every time the seed changes and a rolling animation of the current selected seed.
Overall, I believe Make-A-Thing was a great experience and a lot of fun. I will be participating again in February. I feel as though I have come a long was since making this game, and I look forward to challenging myself to make something bigger and better next time.
Now, time for some footage:
One day I wasn’t feeling too well and decided not to go to Uni. Instead, I worked on a small prototype I intended to use to get my Learning Outcome related to maths for, but I deemed it too simple in the end for the Learning Outcome. Still, it’s a pretty useful project that I can see myself using in the future.
The idea was that there would be missiles that find a target and home-in on it. The reason I deemed it too easy is that Unity does majority of the maths for you. I just needed to use things like Vector3.LookAt(). I did learn things through this prototype. The main one being how magnitudes oh vector3s work. It was fairly straight forwards, but now I understand the maths behind it.
I was using the magnitude of the missile position minus the target position to find the distance between them. I knew there was a magnitude function already in MathF, but I wanted to find out how it worked, so I looked and made my own function. It turns out the magnitude of a vector3 is just sqrt(x^2 + y^2 + z^2).
Now for some footage:
Steve wanted a website where we could put all our games and he gave us the choice of just using a word press site that he would set up or we could collaborate to make our own. Of course, we decided to make our own. I have had experience making websites before, but I was never extremely fond of making them. But I decided I really wanted to help make this website and I did.
I learnt how to use Bootstrap (which is a CSS library) which I have never heard of before. It made making the layout of the website extremely easy and saved us a lot of time. Normally I would make everything from scratch, but this experience has taught me that using already existing stuff is essential when working on projects over a small time-scale.
Another thing that was required for the website was to make it mobile friendly. This was something that was new to me too and I learnt a lot about making a website mobile friendly.
We set up a repo and a google drive. The repo was for developing the website together, and the drive was for allowing everyone to easily place builds of their games there so they can be added.
I did a lot of work towards the completion of the website. The main features I worked on were the layout, the index page with the slider, the game icons pages (which was later changed a little), the about us page, and adding in over half of the games to the website.
I enjoyed making this website more so than I normally do, probably because I was working within a team rather than by myself. I am happy with the outcome of the website and I believe that people worked hard to get this website done. Even though it was optional, about half the class jumped in at various times to give a hand.
Steve was happy with our work and bought pizza for the class. I really appreciate this Steve! Thankyou! I am really glad that we came together and got the website.
During the timester, I became interested in Shaders after a lesson in class that specified what shaders do, how they work and other things. I got linked to a really nice tutorial from a friend and I really got into it. I enjoyed learning all about how to write shaders and how they work even further that I spent a few days of my time just working on them.
One of the first tutorials was about getting the vertex coordinates in model space and using them for a colour. I got really interesting rainbow shaders. This tutorial was excellent to start out with as it was fairly simple, the tutorial explained things well and it got me excited to continue learning. Being able to make something so colourful and different in the beginning makes you want to find out exactly what else you can do.
A large part of my learning was about transparency with Shaders. I learnt about the different blend modes used to make transparency work. My favourite shader so far is a transparent object that the closer you get to the edge, the more solid it becomes. It gives it a nice glowing effect.
Overall, I have learnt alot about shaders this Trimester and I really look forward to continue learning about them during the holidays and into the new year.