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MoorZombol

MorrZombol screenshot

MoorZombol is an arcade highscore shooter. It’s Moorhuhn with Zombies. Zombies spawn randomly in one of 4 lanes and move through those lanes (left to right or right to left) across the screen. The screen can be moved to the sides a little, and the player can shoot the zombies, one hit is a kill. Every kill rewards points, and the player has 90 seconds to play.

MoorZombol was the first game I ever made using a game engine, Unity in this case. I made it for the internship application test at headup games, the task was to “make a simple moorhuhn-clone game”. As Mark, who gave me the task, mentioned that I would receive additional tasks to get familiar with Unity, I decided to use Unity for this project already. I had not used nor heard of Unity before, the only prior experience with code I had was some Java programming at school (See RPGGame).
I received the task on December 15th 2014 and was given time until January 5th. However since I was going on holiday, I learned the engine and delivered the game within a week, on December 23rd.
Mark was positively impressed and I got the internship.

You can download the game HERE.

Semester Task BA4: Crapmania

crapmania screenshot

Crapmania is a no-contact multiplayer racing game where each player races to beat the others’ and their own best times. As players will race around the same track for a certain time and restart every time they finish, the players will eventually come closer to driving the perfect round, in the absolute best possible time.
The game features LAN multiplayer with player login to a local wamp server. The game will show each player’s best time, and the server best time. The player best time is saved to an sql database o the wamp server, and will be checked when a player logs back in.

I made the game in the fourth Semester at cologne game lab, for the programming module.
The task was to make a multiplayer game with potentially infinite life players at a time, using a C++ Server.
I made the client in unity and the server in visual studio as a windows console application. The c++ server communicates with the sql database through php.
Everything that involves server-client connections as well as php and most of sql was new to me at the start of the semester, so I felt very happy with what I managed to achieve in the two weeks I spent on the project.

You can download the game HERE!

RPGGame

RPGGame screenshot

RPGGame was the very first computer game I made.
It is an Applet/Text-based, turn-based Dungeoncrawler. The player fights his way through a dungeon to defeat the Dragon Fafnir.

At every new turn of the dungeon, the player can find a potion seller or a monster. There are different monsters with strengths and weaknesses and a bossmonster, which has special abilities.
It features a helpbox with tips about gameplay, and cheats.
The fights play a little like Pokemon, in that the you have 4 options (Block, Attack, Potion, Run).

I started making the game in my own time, and was then allowed to adjust and hand it in as my Facharbeit in Year 10 at school, March 2013. I added the Bossfight afterwards, when I decided to improve the game for my brother’s birthday.
Being the first video game I ever created, RPGGame first made me think about becoming a professional gamedev, although I didn’t make another game until nearly two years later.

The game was written in Java, and needs BlueJ to play.

You can download the game HERE.

Getting into the thick of it (Weeks 3&4)

Oct 16 – OCT 29

I got a lot done in these two weeks. I dived into AI behaviourtrees and expanded on what I had done before. A lot of my time was spent on the item delivery system, and on restructuring the class-design. I hit a lot of obstacles I didn’t expect, but managed to solve them. We also had the first presentation among our peers.

Continue reading “Getting into the thick of it (Weeks 3&4)”

Game Conception and Starting Slow (Weeks 1&2)

Sept 27 – Oct 15

I knew I wanted to make Warriors and Serfs for a while before the Project phase started, and after almost an entire month of semester break I was starting to feel restless without doing anything productive to break up my gaming, so I decided to start a bit early. I also knew that getting into a productive rhythm again would take me some time, so I started off with easy tasks and only a couple of hours of work every day.

Continue reading “Game Conception and Starting Slow (Weeks 1&2)”

Self-Initiated Project BA5: Warriors and Serfs [WIP]

Warriors and Serfs is a 3D real-time city-building / strategy game for PC with a focus on building a settlement with a functioning economy, set in the medieval era. The game features a single player campaign as well as a multiplayer battle mode.

Warriors and Serfs puts you in the place of a Count in the medieval times. Your king has given you the task to build a new settlement and defeat his enemies, so you set out with a few loyal servants and materials to do as he commands.

Unlike in typical rts games such as the Age of Empires series which have very few different resources (ie. wood, stone, gold, food), Warriors and Serfs allows you to gather a multitude of different resources and refine them into food, building materials and weapons.

Every item exists physically and can be transported by your ever-diligent Serfs to construction sites, the weaponsmiths, or the warehouse. Therefore the placement of your buildings is a major factor in the effectiveness of your economy. once your economy stands and you’ve built your army, you are ready to attack the enemy player to claim their lands as your own!

Position your archers behind your infantry and flank their archers with your knights, in combat you have full control.

This game is currently under development, and you can follow the process HERE!
I am making it as part of the Exchange & Practice Semester. We have pretty much free choice on what we’re doing for this Project, so I chose to make a game I have been wanting to make for the last year or so, but knew I didn’t have enough time to really work on it otherwise.

You can download the latest version of the game HERE! (This link should remain valid with updated builds!)

Semester Project BA4: Trash Chicken

Concept Art 1

 

Trash Chicken is a Top-Down Shooter Destruction Fantasy.
The player is a giant chicken bent on destroying the evil foxes’ city, and freeing the captured chicks from them. As the chicks are being freed, they join the horde following the player and attacking the foxes until they become an unstoppable force.

Trash Chicken was created in my fourth Semester of studying at CGL as the collaborative project, with Rick Hoppman, Caterina Böhm and Omar Ruiz.

You can download the game HERE (PC, Mac, Linux).
Or you can watch a Gameplay Video HERE.
You can read about the development process HERE.

Final Presentation and Post Mortem (Week 6)

JULY 24 – JULY 28

The final presentation is on google drive HERE.

Final Presentation

We didn’t spend quite as much time on the final presentation as on the intermediate presentation, but we had time to go over it all together after Rick made the first draft, and since everyone mostly wrote their own parts, everyone was pretty confident in what they would say.

In the intermediate presentation Omar did a great job convincing the audience that our game was somewhat experimental and related to the topic of the three wise monkeys but this time it didn’t go that well.
We received repeated questions about how our game related to the theme and genre, and we could only admit that we didn’t manage to implement them well.

All in all I think the presentation went decently. All of our group members presented their own part well without any of the typical mistakes people tend to make. We played the prototype while waiting for questions, which didn’t seem to be a good idea at first, as people were paying attention to the gameplay, but a few questions came in at the end, and some feedback as well (more on feedback later).

Game Exhibition

The Game Exhibition was two days later, on Wednesday. For the exhibition, I did some balancing and added a few more buildings to the almost empty town, fixed the mac / Linux bug which made the cursor huge and added credits to the game, which we needed to credit some assets we bought or got to use for free.
We had a few issues setting up for the play-testing. The first pc we tried had graphics issues at a high quality setting, and at low settings the camera lerp didn’t work (due to my error). We couldn’t log in on the mac we tried next because someone else forgot to log out before. But the next pc we tried worked, and it was in a pretty good spot, so we had no issues with it.
Players & Feedback

I didn’t stay with the game much because I was still not confident it was fun and anyone would play it, and also I wanted to play other games. I did routinely check on it though, whenever I could, I threw a glance to see if anyone was playing. I saw one guy playing and decided to observe him inconspicuously. He was having a hard time but after losing the second time he moved from a relaxed legs-to-the-side position to a serious all-attention-on-the-game position. Just observing this made me feel a lot better about the game.

focus on destruction

He won the game that round. After he did, I walked up to him and acted like I wanted to play the game. I asked him how to play it, and he explained it as “basically just kill everything”. He gave me a hint on which weapon was the best (the automatic) and that I needed to kill the foxes and the fox spawners in particular. He didn’t tell me to kill the “foxes”, in fact he didn’t recognize them as such, he first thought they were rats, and later squirrels. He also didn’t really know what to do with the chicks, he thought they might be helping out, but wasn’t sure what they were doing.
He also told me not to pick up the rocket launcher, because it wasn’t as good as you would think.

I watched another player complete the game in a similar fashion and received similar feedback. When I told him I made the game, he said it was the coolest he’d played that day, the most like an actual game. Since that was exactly the goal of the project, his comment lifted my spirits.

I watched a few more people play, some of them left the game quickly because they died, but I saw the winning screen when I came back one time, meaning at least one more person must’ve beaten the game!

There was also this guy who tried four or five times, his companion getting visibly annoyed.

must kill foxes

Post Mortem

We made a game that was more “game-like” than any other project this semester. There were other projects that were very ludic; TAST, Gridrunners and Unlight, but I think they were less mainstream than ours. In that regard we were successful.
However our game ended up being quite bland as a consequence. The chicks were fun and kind of novel, but as they lacked proper game design, they were not the focus of the game.
Besides making a ludic game, another goal I had was to have less influence in the game design, and not be the project leader, so I could focus more on the programming aspect.
In retrospect maybe I shouldn’t have joined Rick and Cata, since they didn’t have specific game design in mind, only this vision of a Godzilla-Chicken. As I’ve seen with projects all around, our game designers work best when they work on a project they came up with in the first place.
Sadly Omar was no exception, so he struggled a lot. I didn’t make it easier on him, as I -contrary to my prior intentions- wanted to have a lot of influence on the game design. I shot down most of the ideas Omar proposed because they didn’t fit with the vision I had in mind, it seems I was unwilling to bend it in a direction Omar could work with.
Once Omar stopped giving input the development process ground to a halt on my side, because I ran out of things to implement. It was only when I started to implement whatever, and see to the game mechanics later, that things started rolling again.
I failed as a project lead here, I did not talk to Omar properly as I should have, instead I asked him about his progress with his tasks, expecting nothing out of it.
I should have talked to him one-on-one to ask him what isn’t working for him and how we could fix it, but I only posted in the group chat, thinking he would speak up about it himself.
The biggest issue I have is that I, once again, have not put enough time into the project. I simply haven’t spend as much time on it as I could have, and that definitely affects the final quality of the game.

What’s Next

Rick has created a page on itch.io and we had planned to publish the game there. We decided not to go through with it though, as the game is lacking appeal.

In the end, I should’ve just gone with an experimental group and made something weird. Or I should’ve at least gone with an idea that was proposed by a game designer.
Either way, I don’t regret my choice, as I could find a few things to love about the game in the end.

 

CUTE CHICKS (Week 5)

July 16 – July 23

New week, still no creative input from game design. Omar did give feedback on the builds I sent the team which was important, but there was no initiative from him.

Animation

I got the final animation assets for the player and foxes, and realized my statemachine was too simple, so I reworked the system again.

foxanimator
The Fox Animator controller. Transitions are between left and right, and from walking normally (attacking = true) to walking scared (fleeing from player, attacking = false) and back.

I learned a lot about how the animation system in Unity works, and I’m glad I did, because animations were a thing I had struggled with before, and I’ll now be much more at ease dealing with them.

Chicks

Chicks were the first and only major addition to the game after Week three, but they’re my favourite feature in a game, in every aspect.

We planned on having little chicks in the game from the get go, they were in the first concept arts and they were a major part of the original vision.
However we did not decide on a way to implement them before. We had different ideas, each chick could give the player a small damage buff or they could act as meat shields, or they could be thrown as a special attack, or they could be directed by the player similar to the pikmin in Pikmin, or they could just beat up any enemies around them.
I thought the small damage buff would feel too insignificant and not connected to the chicks to feel good, Omar said them dealing direct damage would be too OP once the player has collected some chicks, and Rick noted that using the chicks as meatshields or projectiles would conflict with the player’s intention of saving them. We also couldn’t do the Pikmin approach, because that would need more Buttons and we wanted to keep the controls simple.

The first assets of the chicks I got from Rick had a walking animation, a happy and a sad animation. The sad animation was played while the chicks were in the cages, and the happy animation was played when they were freed.

Implementation

I implemented the animations first, having the chicks follow the player, still without knowing how we would implement them as a gamemechanic.

On the next day I decided to go with the idea I had liked best, so I gave them a little bit of contact damage. Since the chicks were simply following the player, this meant the player had to use the chicks as kind of a net, to maneuver them into the crowd of enemies where they would deal a lot of damage.
While this was in itself an interesting mechanic, it felt more like you were herding cows than leading an angry mob, so I gave the chicks some behaviour.

chickbehaviour
Chickbehaviour is split into two behaviours, the third (walkToPlayer) is more of a utility.

The chicks would now seek out nearby enemies and follow them to beat them up. But as they’re small chicks, they get scared when they lose sight of their mother, so they will scuttle back to the player when they are a certain distance away from the player.
For this purpose I asked Rick to make an attacking animation as well, and with all of it in place, I was extremely satisfied with the result. The chicks looked super cute and added meaningful gameplay to the game. Using their different animations allowed us to evoke some emotions in the player.

 

chickhappy
Happy Chick animation
chicksad
Sad Chick animation

I also used Rick’s rig for a pose in the presentation which I’m really proud of.

thinking
Concerned chick thinking about their future

Also…

Another important change was made to the camera. The camera is no longer locked with the player at the middle, instead it is now focused between the player and the cursor. This really increases how much the player can see, without increasing the size of the camera anymore. Increasing the camera size (field of view) any more would result in the player appearing smaller, conflicting with our “the player is a huge chicken” ideal.

I also made a whole bunch of minor changes this week, including animations for weapons, tweaks to guns and movement.

changelist
Full list of changes for this week (click to view)