This is the first of many to chronicle our journey through the Week of Awesome V game jam starting 07/08/2017 to 14/08/2017.
Thanks for reading, we hope you enjoy the ride with us!
Please excuse the long list of mistakes made as I'm low on sleep, concentration and annoyingly ill at just the right time...
We got a late start due to delayed flight but we got what we wanted to done.
I managed to have a quick look at the themes in the morning to start getting the ideas flowing and the cogs turning in the back of my head.
Chain Reaction | Assassination | Alien Invasion | Castles
Not bad, definitely not what we were expecting, though we didn't really know what to expect as this is our first game jam.
Our process was to split them off into all possible combinations and pitch as many ideas to each other as we could, write them down refine them and then whittle them down. There was a fairly even spread of ideas in the different combinations except for Alien Invasion, we couldn't seem to come up with anything too interesting or original. Not a problem still 3 other themes to play with.
After an initial pass to refine the ideas and make sure we both had a concrete understanding of each of them with eSach took turns nominating ones to be removed from the list. I feel like there could have been a better way of doing this, maybe a round robin followed by a knockout stage but time was limited after I got back late and we wanted to settle on a theme before the end of the day.
Eventually we whittled the list down to 2 finalists, surprisingly an Idea from each of us. we then each chose one and made an argument as to why we shouldn't make that one. with great confidence we both nominated our own ideas to be cut it took a while and we went over all the pros and cons of each, in the end we had one we were more excited about and we managed to remove a negative from the equation which was the amount of resourced needed to create it. All hail the asset store!
We ended up going with his idea using the Assassination and Castle themes.
The basic premise being a chasing with the intent to assassinate a target before they get to their destination in the large castle city. not that interesting at first thought however we're placing emphasis on the gritty and messy nature of hunting down and assassinating someone in a large environment filled with twists turns and intractable objects that can help or deter your chase. You won't end up killing your target in one hit as you jump off a 3 story high building gracefully landing without a single scratch or broken bone. Instead it's going to be an uphill battle where things don't go as planned or expected. We plan to make the AI as smart as possible with the objective of escaping you through erratic pathing through packed city blocks and using what they can in the environment to slow you down or injure you. You will use your reflexes, planning and resources to slow them down, steer them in the wrong direction and ultimately catch up with them to fight tooth and nail to put an end to them before they reach their objective.
Our biggest worry with this idea were the potentially high amounts of assets we'd need to make it look and feel good. However after doing a little research on the asset store as well as looking at the standard assets provided with unity we were confident that we would be able to make a great game with decent assets while having very little artistic skills as we're both programmers. Time was also a large factor so having access to great assets to quickly prototype and get our game playable was essential.
We ended the night making sure we had fleshed out the idea enough and gotten everything written down coherently and set up a Trello board so we could easily plan and keep track of what needed to be done.
After being awake for nearly 24 hours I crashed and got a late start to day 2. Nothing a strong cup of coffee couldn't solve.
We started the day with a meeting to make sure we knew what our current focus was and to make sure we were all in approval of what was discussed and decided upon at 3 in the morning the previous night.
We started trying to figure out Unity Collaborate as well as Scene Fusion. No simple task. We had conflicting unity versions as well as Scene Fusion only working with the older 5.6 version instead of the new 2017 version so it took a while to get up and running as well as figuring out how it all worked and what the drawbacks were. Scene Fusion is great for playing around in the scene together to work on level design as well as talk about concepts more easily by following the other person's camera. however whenever a file or script change is made and needed to be uploaded using collaborate we'd have to restart the sessions so making small changes to a script to see the changes would take a little extra effort and frustration. But we're getting used to it and it brings a lot to the table and adds to our experience of creating together in Unity.
First major goal - make something playable to see if this is fun or not...
we started by taking the standard character model, controller and camera provided by unity and teaking them until we had something pretty basic to run around in and have a feel for what we wanted. Most of the work ended up going to making a decent 3rd person camera that felt nice to explore the world with. After getting some decent terrain and buildings in the scene without much regard for position I worked on the lighting for the scene while my colleague worked on the camera.
We decided on night time for atmosphere/mood lighting reasons as well as not needing large crowds to make it feel alive and the complications, time and effort the bring with them. Some quick tweaks to the skybox, main directional light - color and intensity - and I began adding some environmental lights such as braziers and torches near and on some of the buildings. We also tweaked the movement and jumping of the character so that now he not only felt good to run around with but also to jump over things.
The camera took a lot of work and was filled with quite a lot of frustration but we got there in the end... Our camera is over the shoulder where rotating the camera where holding right click rotates the character with the camera, and holding left click is a more free look camera so you can see around you while moving but then snaps back to the direction of the character when you let go.
There were quite a few interesting bugs and whenever we squashed one 2 more popped up. One interesting one set the camera a random distance and direction away from the player after using the free look camera while another one snapped it back to the last position you let go of for the free look camera if you clicked left mouse button again.
We slowly got rid of them through trial, error and some oft underrated luck.
What we're left with is a smooth, intuitive camera that gives the player a large amount of freedom and control. On top of that we had a bit of fun with the character's gravity and jump strength to make for a convincing and fun superhero, definitely something to play with for future game ideas!
Thanks for reading this far it's been quite fun and interesting. I can't wait for tomorrow!
- Finishing off a basic environment to test in.
- Adding in the target and working on its AI.