BeerHunter Play-Testing PostMortem

Play-Testing is an incredibly useful practice in terms of game development. Having played the game from the beginning, from the conceptual stages, compared to picking the game up for the first time, reflect a major difference in understanding and especially, different play styles. I had learnt the level off by heart to the degree which I knew how to navigate the house flawlessly and I could also exploit a few things to gain an advantage in the race for beer. New players, on the other hand, had immense trouble figuring out the controls, navigating through the level and overall, playing the game was difficult for new players.

Upon reflection, which should have come as a revelation earlier, is that offloading all the tasks you can do yourself, onto someone else, leaves you with very little to do. So throughout the time I would have been developing a level in 3DS Max, I was modeling little models to fill the house with a few details to give it some life. Placement of the fridges was assigned to me and after placing them on a floor plan the animator took control of it all. So whilst pondering the best placement for a keg, it would have been much more important to probably collaborate with the animator as the only design student in the group.

I had a rather small amount of work to do whilst the programmers were still creating the scaffold for the game itself, and the animators were creating 3D assets, I was stuck doing the documentation. Game Design Document and the outline for the project. Creating the Gantt chart and organizing rolls in the group were the rolls I assigned myself to get done.

In short, to reflect upon recent events, after reading through the responses for the play-testing, it would be much more beneficial if i had stepped up and taken charge of the ideas, and even collaborating with others, to create game assets and piece the game together, instead of letting others go about doing the work I could help with.

Can you make a level using architecture skills?

Hey everyone, I felt like I should talk about my favourite topic, Level Design. Having worked on a game with 2 programmers and one other designer, as well as 2 3d animators, and coming across the issue of whether allowing an animator to create the level would be a good idea.

Level design is more than just a floor plan for a house, it has to have more thought put into it. Where will the player be going, how will they navigate the area, what challenges will they be facing? And whilst I had a nice conversation about these decisions to the animator, they were adamant that they could pull it off. They didn’t, it was a floor plan that worked but the layout for a video game area was confusing and I found myself confused navigating the level.

But as a reference, I guess you could take ‘The Last Of Us’ as an example. Throughout the game there is a plethora of levels that take place in office buildings, houses, asorted industrial structures. The level design for The Last Of Us is phenominal. It flows and it has had thought put into each detail and what mechanics are being needed to go about evironment. Comparing the house designs in The Last Of Us, its clear that they have been stretched out to accomidate several characters running through a hallway, considering real life houses have hallways approximately 1m-1.4m walking room. In video games, when i design a level, I’d like to have 2-2.5 character widths of space in a hallway, depending on what type of game it is.

So upon reflection, I shouldn’t refer to the projects I’m working on as Naughty Dog epics in design quality, but make sure I communicate my knowledge to someone working on something for me. Lesson of the day, Architecture =/= Level Design.

First Prototype of the Trimester Done!

Well after working with two other students at university on a prototype for a twin stick action shooter ‘Gun Blaster Tank-Ship Extreme 3: Infinty Laser’ I felt like it was neccessary to write a post mordum as a reminder to the things that did not goes so well and how they were overcome.

So originally I was going to work on balancing and working with numbers and playing the game idley for hours on end to get the working order of each of the enemies in the build. But when it came time to an unexpected misshap to arrive, I was truly baffled when it comes to coding because I had to find a way to make another weapon as our programmer was unavailable due to a power outage. I worked for a few hours on the code as I am not very skilled in scripting, especially when it is someone elses code. But as a lesson to be learnt from the experience is that if I’m having issues with code I need to seek help immediately and have someone explain what it is that I’m doing wrong because staring at a screen for a few hours will not solve any issues I have.

In short, for those who do not want to read through my issues, I cannot code, and I’ve discovered through a horrendous misshap, that I need to get my shit together and learn how to code properly just to do basic things in Unity script so I’m not a detriment to the rest of the team.

What do I want to be when I grow up?

Hey, I decided today to talk about what it was that i was aiming for in the gaming industry. I’ve been a long time fan of the Bethesda games such as The Elder Scrolls and the recent Fallout games, and I’ve always loved the way the environment tells a story and engages a player.

I have always wanted to be a level designer for video games because it gives me control of how a game flows, how a player can view and experience elements inside a game. From working in the G.E.C.K, the engine design toolset for Fallout 3, I’ve come to realise how much freedom I can get from designing a level to tell a story to the player. I enjoyed adding minute details to the game space and adding in triggers for specific events.

At Bethesda its highly reccomended to have a mind for creative writing and I’ve been writing for the majority of my life (despite how old I am) and its just something I like to do.

In short, I like to use assets given to me or I’ve asked for, to create a game space that is engaging because without a level designer a game is an asset soup that has no real way to demonstrate its mechanics and I like to create my own story inside another known Universe. From lighting to Navmeshing, I want with every fibre of my body want to work at bethesda Game Studios to have my hand in creating a game space that will be enjoyed by millions.

So yeah, thats me, I’m not particularly interesting, I just really want to tell my own story.