woensdag 15 juli 2009

Crunch time

It’s Tuesday, the day before we have to complete the game and present it, so it’s crunch time. We did some play testing on Monday an got a list of fixe for the game. Today we had to implement the fixes and do some more play testing.

The fix list


  • Pixel Collission
  • PNG's on background
  • Turtle bite animation imported
  • Turtle Death Animation imported
  • Fish animations imported
  • Screens (main, pause, victory) states
  • Lift free on Boat exploit
  • Milestone props imported
  • Cloud accelerations (milestone related)
  • Enemy spawn curve
  • Bubble Effects
  • Fish die sooner
  • Streepjes terug op de nek
  • Floating Water effect (slide)
  • Sound Bridge on Cloud
  • Pause Option
  • Random Fish Colors
  • Smaller game scale
  • Tutorial flow


  • Turtle Death
  • Engine Loop
  • Poison Cloud Loop
  • Textbar Audio (bleep)
  • Fish Death
  • Shark Bite
  • Shark getting angry


  • Fish Model
  • Fish Animation
  • Fish to Frames
  • Turtle Death Animation
  • Start Screen
  • Controls Screen
  • Victory Screen
  • Pauze Screen
  • Life Icons (Heads)
  • Milestone Props
  • PoisonCloud Animation
  • Cloud Extension (breeder)
  • Textbar redux

Marries, Daniel and I continued coding the game. Daniel was inserting the last visual effects and animations, Marries handled most of the ‘Bug’ fixes and I concentrated on gameplay implementation.
Another important item on the to-do list was audio. A
s you might, or might not, know, finding good samples on the internet is like finding a needle in a haystack, especially if you want a good sound for a moving cloud of polution. Joerie was the one who was appointed to finding the samples and ambient sounds we need for the game. As you can imagine this was a days work.
Thomas created some final art, and as the teamleader was also responsible for creating the to-do list and tracking our progress over the day. The first thing he made was a new background, we used a vector based image for the background, but it was killing the performance of the game and was replaced by PNG
Anna continued with creating art. Another important item on the list were the menus which still needed to be made, so Anna created them.

Picture of the main menu background.

Around three o’clock most of the fixes were implemented and it was time for some more play testing. Some of us played the game, while I was tweaking the spawn algorithm. There are a lot of factors which come in to play when tuning the gameplay. The combination between speed (of the enemies as well as the toxic cloud), number of enemies spawned and the spawn interval wasn’t easy to get right, but after a lot of playing we nearly got it right. The biggest problem we still have is that the sort of enemy that is spawned is randomly chosen(not completely but still), which can cause situations in which you cannot outrun the poison cloud(desired at the and perhaps, but not at the beginning of the game).
After the gameplay was tweaked we realized we still missed a very important part of the game, a goal. To accommodate a goal Thomas created some more art. He crea
ted several milestones and the safe cave which would be the end of the game.

The safe cave

maandag 13 juli 2009

Monday production day

Today was all about production and play testing. When we started this morning we already had a playable game, which was great to see ( I wasn't working on the project on saturday).The prototype Daniel had made was transformed into the first playable version of the game. The enemies were represented by placeholder art. There was still a lot to be done, but the game was really coming together.

Capture of the game with placeholde art

After a short morning meeting with all the teams, we continued working on the game. One of the major things we had to do was change the placeholder art with the final art, which is made by Anna. the turtle was first. perhaps this is also a good venue to go into more detail about the features of the turtle and it's enemies.
The turtle the games main character. The turtle is threatend by the black cloud of poison that is slowly creeping forward. If the turtle is completely submerged in the poison it will die. To prevend this from happening the turtle has a very cool feature. he can extend it's neck and grab on to passing enemies to speed away from the poisoness cloud.The fish is the weakest enemy of the turtle and is in fact not really an enemy. The fish swims a little faster then the turtle so it can help you get away from the poisoness cloud. But because the fish come from within the poisoness cloud they will die after a short time after which the turtle has to grab another enemy to move forward.The shark is the biggest thread to our poor turtle. The shark is never in a good mood and when it smells the turtle it will come to it with it's mouth open ready to bite. When the shark passes the turtle and sees the poisoness cloud it will turn back. This is the moment the turtle can grab the shark and speed away. After a while the shark will notice the turtle and will try to bite it.

The boat is the fastest enemy and beacaus of that also the hardest to grab. when the turtle grabs on to the boat it's body will slowly move up coming closer and closer to the boats propellor. you have to release before you come to close or the turtle will lose it's head.

zondag 12 juli 2009

Digital prototype

On friday we started to work on the digital prototype, but not before we got some tips from a former student of the HKU who is specialised in prototyping. He gave us the tip to hack a prototype together as fast as we could and work from there. Because we have three programmers in the team we decided that Daniel would create a playable prototype ASAP, while the Marries and I started with the base implementation of the game.

Picture of the prototype Daniel made. the re cloud in the left is the toxic Thread which is slowly moving forward. The blue block is the turtle, the head of the turtle can extend.

While we were programming Anna and Thomas started on the game Art. Thomas made the placeholder art for the prototype and Anna started on the art for the final game. Joerie continued to work on the game and level design (he also made some art, see an earlier post). Because we were all working hard to startup the development phase of the project so this is a short post. Pictures and video's of the game will come in later posts.

zaterdag 11 juli 2009

Paper prototyping

The second day of the GameDev was all about paper prototyping. We started the day by debating the three ideas and filtering out the idea we wanted to prototype. The idea we were going to stick with was the Turtle game. Now that we had a game we had to think up some features and start prototyping it.

The article in the national geographic that is the inspiration for the concept

Because we came up with a lot of features for the game we decided that every body would demonstrate how he or she saw the different features coming together in the game. We all drawed it out on a whiteboard. The features were:

  • Turtle neck, the turtle can extend and retract its neck into it's shell
  • Panic mode, the turtle can retract all it's limbs
  • Turtle heads, the turtle has different heads for different purposes in it's shell. the turtle can change his head type to do different things.
  • Thread, there was a thread which would drive the turtle to move as fast as possible. The thread is a toxic cloud of polution which is slowly filling the level.
  • Current, in a current the turtle can move faster (finding nemo)
  • boost pads, the boost pads are crocodiles. the player can get bitten by the crocodiles. if the neck of the turtle is extended it will be killed. if the turtle is in panic mode it will pop outoff the jaw of the crocodile which will give the turtle a boost.
Below are the pictures of the differen ideas we all had, except foor Joeries idea because he was the photographer ;)

After we all had pitched our ideas about the features and how to use them in the game it was lunch time. After the lunch we continued by extracting the features we all found essential for the game. What we all agreed in was that there should be a thread in the game, so the Toxic cloud was going to stay. After we established we wanted Thread we started discussing the turtle neck. It was a very lively discussion after which we had the two concepts which we would prototype. The first was a concept based on the currents the second was based on a new feature. The new feature was that the turtle could extend it's neck and attach its self to a object that is passing by.
below are a picture and video of the paper prototypes and a picture of the white board on which we based out concept decisions.

Out decision board out of which the two final concepts emerged.

Picture of the paper prototype of the current concept. This prototype was made by Joeri, Thomas and myself. The white chips are the ground/obstacles. the green chips are sea weeds which would slow the player down. the pieces of white paper with the arrows on it are the currents.

A video of the paper prototype of the Fish concept.

After prototyping we decided unanimous to go with the Fish concept. After this the working day was over and we went over to Nixxes. Nixxes is a company that works on the engine of Tomb Raider (Underworld). It was a very cool excursion expecially for the coders, which I am. We got a very interesting look insed the kitchen of a company which mantains (parts) of a next gen engine. all the employies if Nixxes were very relaxed and it seemed they all loved what they did, which was nice to see for an aspiring game coder.

vrijdag 10 juli 2009

Design art

I did some quick sketches in the train regarding the mechanics and look and expression of the characters. I'm not the concept artist but since Anna is doing most of the modelling now I figured it was a good idea to give a clear image of what I envision for the final game.

Just some sketches of the turtle grabbing on to different objects and the path they follow.

2 elements are depicted here. On the top you see a level background that has 2 versions. One clean and one poluted. Maybe we can let the background slowly changes opacity's when it is in the area of pollution?

At the bottom right is a simple image of the shark and how he could bite the turtle when he has had enough of the turtle hanging behand him. He would have to turn his body somehow?

Different shark types we could chose and the turtle loses his head when they touch a shark.

The retraction(defending) system. The idea is that the turtle retreats in it's shell with only it's eyes looking out. So the fins and tail go in the shell as well. If this is hard to with 3d we do it with illustrator. I suspect that we do need to grant the player some movement in the shell (but slow) otherwise the pollution might catch up too fast.

Some other shark designs. We want it too look fairly mean but not monsterlike.

I figure something of a surfer pose when the turtle hangs on to things. Not really sure how yet though we have to play around with that.

A speedboat from the bottom (left) and next to it a speedboat from the side. The important thing here is that the speedboat is angled up slightly (cause of it's speedy travelling over the waves). It's important that the engine at the back is clearly visible so the player knows he should watch out for it. Also at the bottom of the boat is a fin. This is important cause we need a object on the boat that the player can grab on to.

On the top is a bit of a movement path of the player. Think of this as a flow line with the dots representing a slow motion (swimming and defending). The straight lines are boost periods when the player grabs on to something. As you can see it's hard to depict the flow of the game as of yet but I'm trying:P.

Lemme know what you all think ^^.

donderdag 9 juli 2009

Meet the Turtle

Yesterday the Dutch Game Garden (DGG) Summer GameDev started. The GameDev is an one week project in which several students, who are pasionate about creating games, collaborate in small groups to create a Game. When I entered the DGG building there were already a lot of the attending students there. It was great to enter a room where everybody shares a passion for creating games.
The first order off business was a short introduction to the project and a little more information about what we could expect the coming week. After that the groups were revealed and talked amongst them selves to get to know each other and to determine the tasks for the GameDev week. Our team consists of:
  • Thomas (Project leader)
  • Joeri (Design lead)
  • Marries (Tech lead)
  • Anna (Art lead)
  • Daniel (Elead)
  • me, Ferry (Blog lead)
After the team introductions the first lecture started. The subject of the lecture was the design steps which game studio Romino Games went through to create there resently released Wii Ware game Swords and Soldiers. It was very cool to get a more insightfull look into how a game developer goes about creating a game. We saw some shots of games which were the inspiration for Swords and Soldiers and some screenshots of the prototypes which turned into Swords and Soldiers.
When the lecture was over and we had lunch it was time to start working on our own game. As a handle for our creative process each team got several National Geographics as a source of inspiration. the Idea was that we should go through several issues of the magazine to find something we could turn in to a game mechanic. As you can imagine we came up with a lot of great, and some not so great, ideas. After a vivid debate we settled on three of our ideas.

The turtle game

The idea behind the turtle game was that we wanted to create a multiplayer coop game. The cooporation would be used to move the turtle. Each player could control one part of the turtle, of which there are more then players. By cooporating the players could move the turtle as smooth as possible.

Infectosaurus (I think it spells like this, right Thomas)

Infectosaurus was an idea in which the player should infect a human body. The way the game should work was the invers of tower defence. in tower defence the player builds a defence to stop hordes of enemies, in infecto saurus the defence is already build into the human body and the player should create effective hordes of infetious elements.

Light and Dark

The light and Dark idea was our most abstract idea which no one could really explain very well, but I'll give it a try. The idea that we created two dimensions, by lack of a better word, which existed simultaneous. One in the light (day) one in the dark (night). And after this point every team member has his or her own idea about what the games is.

The next step in the process of making the game is choosing the idea with which we are going to continue and start making paper prototypes of it. More about that in later posts