Archive for May, 2013

Ok so this is the menu system that has been created for the Rabbit Heart game project that we have been working on. It’s a simple menu with some of the concept artwork used from the Rabbit Heart project website of the character Ululu and the Rabbit Suit wandering in a field. I felt that this was a good image to use for the menu as it is a lighthearted piece of work that reflects the game rather nicely. In the first image, the menu system is the usual set up of a list of buttons, each one taking the player to a different part of the game. If they click on “New Game” they will be taken to a new game, as is obvious through the button labeling. There are also “Load/Save” “Options” and “Extras” If the player clicks on the Load/Save button, they shall be taken to previous saves so that they can continue their current games. Then if they click on the Options button, they shall be taken to the Options screen, as can be seen in the second image of the menu system. The player will be able to go into the Audio, Graphics and Video settings and alter them to their own preference. There is also a screenshot of the extras menu, if the player clicks on it, they shall be taken to the two options presented within the screenshot, either to go to the artwork gallery, which will display the concept artwork for the game, or they can watch the credits of the game. I feel like this final option to view the credits is not needed, but most games offer the option to watch them, so I have included it in this design.

GUI HUD Extras Menu

GUI and HUD Design Options GUI and HUD

Ok so this is the GUI/HUD design for the Rabbit Suit. First person, with the control sticks in sight, which of course when Ululu is sat in it will also have her hands shown to be holding them. There are three screens across the top of the display, these display the weapons that the Rabbit has, which at the moment as can be seen in the screenshot are missiles, with an ammo count of 20 and the Rabbits own Katana. The ammo will deplete as the missiles are fired at enemies and the Katana has no life span. In the middle screen is what I called the Ululu Cam, this gives the player a camera view of Ululus face, once animated, she would respond with a grimace, look of shock or fright whenever the Rabbit is hit for a large amount of damage or a part of it is damaged to the extent that it cannot be used, as the suit becomes more and more damaged, the more desperate her facial expression will become, till the suit is damaged to the extent where she needs to escape it, wherein she will press the eject button on the joystick and she will eject to safety from the suit before it explodes from the extent of its damage. On the final screen is a rough representation of the Rabbit suits health. Ideally the screen would display a face on image of the suit, with each part highlighted in green, as each part takes a hit, the colour will change from green to yellow, to orange and finally, red when it is damaged and no longer working. Once over 50% of the suit is damaged beyond use, Ululu would be forcibly ejected from the suit. Of course there is also a cross-hair in the middle of the screen so that the player can target their enemies in front of them, otherwise they would be aiming blind and there would be a really good chance that they could miss the intended opponent.

Rabbit Heart Rabbit Suit GUI

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is of course only a rough idea as to how the HUD would be designed, but I feel that it does its job well as it offers a solid design that doesn’t clutter up the screen with icons and screens, and yet at the same time manages to give the feeling that the character is inside the Rabbit suit.

Ok so this was my first design for the Ululu GUI. This is really, really basic, with next to nothing on it, spread out and rushed. This needed a major overhaul and thanks to the feed back I gathered from others in the group, I was able to take a look at this and change pretty much everything about it.

Main Game GUI

 

 

 

 

 

 

So after much reworking and design changes to pretty much every aspect of this GUI, here is the almost finished result.

Rabbit Heart Ululu GUI Inventory Closed

 

 

 

 

 

This is the reworked model, with a proper map and compass system in place in the bottom right hand corner. The backpack has been cleaned up and the white box around it removed, it is also no longer blurry. The health bar and energy have also been changed, the energy bar is now in the shape of a battery with a full charge, to show that the energy based weapon that Ululu carries is at full charge. This energy bar will deplete as Ululu fires her weapon, eventually needing to replace the depleted battery with a new one from her pack. The health bar shows Ululu with 5 frogs for her health, this is going on the frog plasters that were shown on the Rabbit Heart blog. Each time Ululu takes a hit, she will lose half a frog and she will need to use plasters to eventually regain her life. I have also installed a left and right hand icon set at the bottom of the screen, indicating which items are equipped in each hand, at the moment in this image there is the blaster, which is present in Ululu’s left hand. Her right hand is empty. There is also a small crosshair in front of Ululu so that the player can aim with their weapon and can also see what Ululu is looking directly at, this also offers help when it comes to picking up items, instead of just walking over them and them magically appearing in the empty storage slots in the back pack, Ululu could have to walk right up to them and pick them up individually with a button press or mouse click.

If the player either clicks on their back pack or opens it through the inventory hot key, then they shall have the inventory open up for them so that they can place items in Ululu’s hands or into the back pack for storage reasons. As can be seen in the screenshot below, the inventory has been opened and stored within the back pack are a spare battery for the weapon and Ululu’s Helmet. I have only placed four item slots within the bag because the game comes with a limit on what Ululu can carry, meaning that the player will have to choose which items to carry with them, so I decided that instead of five or six slots, there would only be four as this is much more limiting and gives the player more choices to make with their items, instead of being able to just carry lots of items with them. Some more pieces still need to be added, such as the arrow that will be going into the map to show where the character is on the map and which direction they are facing and travelling in.

Rabbit Heart Ululu GUI

This book is phenomenally useful. Offering ways to create characters, their enemies, their friends, even the world around them through lists, tips and tricks and examples. This book offers everything that a budding designer needs.

David Perry really knows his stuff and even though this wasn’t on the list of recommended reading, I bought a copy anyway and can safely say that I am not regretting the decision one bit. I have learnt more about how to create characters, using the lists within the book to create stronger characters and how to write about them, as well as giving them contrasting traits between the main characters and their counterparts, along with dynamic enemies and monsters for them to work with and combat.

It offers a lot in terms of information for starter designers and is worth the buy, for it will come in useful for many years to come.

Ok so I recently finished reading this. It was interesting if not a little disappointing. I definitely learnt plenty about creating strong characters, picking up such things as location, archetypes and personality traits that could all work towards the creation of an unforgettable character, one that would stick in the minds of players for years to come.

However, I also came to the conclusion that while it is full of useful information, the writer was also trying to stroke her ego. I know that in books such as this, scenarios are often needed in order to bring context to the explanation, but more than once it just seemed like the author wanted to highlight a part of her own very successful career, instead of just giving an example scenario that the reader could use to learn something useful and I found this frustrating after a while, because writers and designers read this book in order to learn how they can create stronger characters for their projects, instead of reading the highlights of someones career.

I did find this book useful overall, learning some new things about character design and creation, which is what I started reading the book for in the first place, but I feel that the author could have done to keep the examples to something generic instead of using her own work as examples. I know each writer has their own particular way of putting information across but still, it was a little too much and felt a little egotistical.

Quest Types

Posted: May 20, 2013 in Games Design 2
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Main Story – These quests are tied in with the main storyline of the game. No matter how many side quests and other events the player participates in, these quests shall be available and will eventually have to be completed in order to progress through the game. The way the quest is completed shall also work towards which ending the player experiences.

Side Quests – These quests are optional and can be passed by. However, if the player passes by these quests and pushes on with the main story, they may find that they will have missed out on some powerful items or bonus information or even potential allies that could prove useful later in the game. The player will have to balance their needs throughout the game, deciding whether they want to help a group of people that could potentially be their allies or whether they want to push on with the main story of the game and get to the end as quickly as possible. Side quests also offer bonus experience so it may be worth the player taking these quests so that they gain more of an insight into the history of the worlds and their peoples.

Time Based Quests – Throughout the game there shall be optional quests, similar to side quests that the player can take for bonus experience, the potential for extra items or a piece of information, but these quests are time based, so once the player undertakes it, they shall have either a matter of hours or days depending on where they are and what the quest entails.

Combat Challenges – These are simply chances for the player to gain a little bit of extra experience. They are infrequent and can easily pass by unless the player is actively looking for them. The player has a set amount of time in each of these challenges and all they have to do is defeat as many enemies as they can. Once the time is up, the challenge is over and the players kill score shall be tallied up and experience shall be awarded accordingly.

Secret Quests – These are the quests that the player must find with only a small amount of assistance from sources, they could be riddles that the player has to work out, they could be clues and stories from a local populace, but ultimately, the player must spend time working everything out in order to find these secret quests. Every time the player completes one of these quests, of which there are few, they will acquire either a new weapon or new set of armour or maybe even information that they need for something else, like a main quest, however, these quests are not mandatory to find and complete, and the information they offer may just give an insight into something extra for the player, but they do not have to be sought out.

Melee

Melee weapons are not all that different on the Human World. There are still the usual swords and staffs and knives, but the designs are very different. Instead of long swords and broad swords there are katana and short swords and instead of crude daggers there are switchblades. In addition to these melee weapons, there are also the likes of piping, crow bars, baseball bats and other items of destruction and pain that can be acquired as the characters travel and battle their way around and through the cities of the Human World as they try to save it. Weapons can be stockpiled in the characters home so that the player does not have to continuously buy new weapons, but there is a space limit, so choosing the appropriate weapons of each type is the key to maintaining a healthy and varied armoury. Certain weapons cannot be enchanted or enhanced.

A short list of available melee weapons (To be expanded):

  • Katana
  • Baseball bat
  • Lead pipe
  • Machete
  • Switch blade
  • Short sword
  • Crow bar
  • Shovel

Like with everything else, weapons eventually show signs of wear and tear, if a weapon is used repeatedly over a period of time then they shall become damaged and eventually they will have to be discarded. Taking them to the relevant shop means that they can be repaired; illegally acquired weapons will wear out quicker than shop bought counterparts and cannot be taken to the relevant weapon shop to be repaired, on account of them being illegally acquired.


 

Ranged

As the times have changed so have the weapons. Gone are the days of the crossbow and bow and arrow. Humans evolved and developed new and improved ways of committing murder on a large scale. These first came in the form of crude weapons that could launch metal ball bearings long distances at high speeds, changing shape and becoming the guns that we know and fear today. Some of these weapons can be enhanced with magick so that they deal additional damage or travel faster or are more effective at longer ranges, but none of these enhancements can be permanent. Some weapons cannot be enhanced or enchanted.

Guns – Guns come in many forms, normally as either rifles or pistols. They can be used by anyone, so all of the characters are able to hold them and use them, but depending on their class, some characters will be better and more efficient with firearms than others. For example a ranger class character is used to firing a bow and arrow or a crossbow, so they have a fine aim, meaning they could use a gun much better than a melee character that normally swings a sword around and has next to no aim at all. Rifles have the options of several upgrades, meaning they can deal more damage and ignore armour if they are upgraded with hollow point bullets or the character can gain increased aim if the weapon is upgraded to have a targeting sight attached to it. Guns can be upgraded, but they cannot be enchanted or enhanced.

Electronic Bow – The bow and arrow have survived the ravages of time, evolving as technology has evolved, becoming more potent and accurate. The invention of the electronic bow pushed it to the peak of perfection. The bow maintains its standard shape and size, but microchips within the curvature of the bow fuel a small targeting screen, giving the user the information they need such as wind speed and direction so that they can alter their position to account for the changes they need. Electronic upgrades can be applied at the correct store, making the bow more potent and have more options. The player needs to find the perfect balance with the bow, otherwise they could find that they have a high damage bow that can only fire short distances, or they will have a long distance bow that deals minor damage even when it hits a vital part of a body. Bows cannot be enchanted.


 

Arcane

Spells – Over the years spells have matured and changed in nature. While the spells within the realm of Dunkora are aggressive and openly destructive, because of the environment around them, mages within the Human World have to be careful to avoid collateral damage and destruction around them, so the spells have become much more focused and can be fired at enemies with a lot more precision than the spells of Dunkora, which had the chance of “splashing” onto other people and the immediate area, causing damage.

Enchantments – Enchantments have survived the times along with magick and so the mages within the group can enchant certain weapons while they are in the Human World. Once they are placed upon a weapon they cannot be undone, they imbue the weapon with a property such as being able to deal fire damage or they are more likely to cause a grievous wound when they hit. Some weapons cannot be enchanted.

Augmentations – Augmentations are similar to enchantments, however, they require a physical component in order to work, so certain items cannot be augmented because they may not have a slot on them for the augmentation gem to be placed into. Augmentations do not grant magickal properties to the weapon they are attached too; instead they may cause the weapon to fire from a longer range, deal more generic damage or cause a grievous wound to the enemy when they are hit. Augmentations can be removed, but once that augmentation is removed from the weapon it can then no longer be placed upon that weapon, so it is wise to make sure which augmentations you place on a weapon instead of wanting to change them all the time. Some weapons cannot be augmented. A maximum of two augmentations may be placed upon weapons.