16 December 2014

Digital Games: Week 12 - Worlds of Etsy

All of this week has been one final rush towards the pitch. The entire team was running on very little sleep and plenty of enthusiasm for the last few days as we pushed each other forward with kind words and the occasional tea. When the pitch rolled over we had a prezzi that flowed with fantastic art, a demo, trailer and boxes filled with candy, a leaflet and even some merchandise plushies.

Toni introduced the project with a moody campfire story set in the Worlds of Etsy that called the audience for an adventure. Giovanni and Pong followed with an overview of Etsy and our game. Jacob explained the aesthetics then I did a letsplay of the demo. Below are some screenshots of the demo.

I didn't have time to playtest it and so design a streamlined experience that could be handed to newcomers however: The professors let out a little "Aha!" moment as I was playing and commentating the demo that made all those hours fighting with the program and wrestling bugs worth it. They laughed at the cute animations Pong did, completely understood the mechanics I programmed, and were amazed at Jacob's environment art. (I think I even glimpsed a little nod of approval between the professors.) The demo was absolutely vital!

To top it all off we finished with a trailer that had Giovanni working nights and me beaming with enthusiasm when he showed us the final version. But that is not all, for the questions and answers we gave each professor a goodie box with a plushie of the main character, a handout with all the vital information and some candy. The candy might be a bit much but we were so happy to see one of the professors put his plushie in his front pocket, much on the candy as he asked some great questions. I couldn't be happier with our team and the amount of work we put into this! Now to take a short break, take the criticism along with the enthusiasm and put it all into our design document.

The team:
Toni - Organisation Management, created the overarching narrative, marketing of the game including creation of plushies and kept us all sane.
Pong - Presentation Management, designed and made the prezzi presentation, design of the handouts, co-designed levels, character illustration and animation.
Jacob - Lead Artist, made the world incredibly pretty, co-designed demo level, environment and concept art.
Giovanni - Cinematic Designer, everything in the trailer is his magic, co-designed levels, narrative implementation, owner of the coolest mug in the lab
Rosa - Technical Artist, programmed the demo, co-designed levels, manager of asset pipeline, and provider of tea and squeals.

And of course the amazingly talented Annabelle of Brave Young God who kindly produced the soundtrack to come with the Worlds of Etsy. Listen to her soundcloud here and send her some love!

8 December 2014

Digital Games: Week 11

It's been crunch week as the team and I work towards the final pitch. Many hours have been spent in the labs, programming in the levels and fixing bugs. Luckily, a few undergrads decorated the labs, giving the place a very cozy and festive mood that helped all of us power through the final stretch.

A week in and this is what my work space looks like. As for the code, I have 150 lines of conditions on MMF. Most of the week I spent sipping tea in the late hours of the night, wrestling with a bug in the game. When I finally beat it, I jumped out of my chair and screamed in joy only to realise I had many startled faces staring back at me from behind computer screens.

But not all has been hard struggles (though 80% of the week has). We had an absolutely excellent theory class where we recapped on all the methodologies learnt throughout the semester and solidified them, all while eating delicious cookies Kelly had baked. In design class we created fireworks using fast loops. Then later at night, we played some board games with festive drinks and food.

This week's guest was Steve Stopps, producer of Lumo. He ran us through the production of the game Lumo Deliveries, what worked, what didn't and the secrets of how they managed to get in the app store's front page three times. Steve is an absolutely amazing speaker and I highly recommend every games student who has the chance to go listen to him talk. My notebook is now filled with his production wisdom sprinkled with a few of his quotes.