PC Game Design and Creation Challenge 2!

PC Game Design and Creation Challenge 2!

Welcome to the new and improved PC Game Design Challenge. Over the coming months we'll design a 1-3 level demo for PC. Ultimately there will be a part three, in which we can concentrate on what's next? The end of the cycle.

Every week a challenge will be set, so we can discuss how the design cycle affects us holistically. What's a good or bad idea, how to try and a approach more complicated subjects and breakdowns of certain ideas into the creation of a game. Not just dreaming about an implementation.

Game design parameters:

The purpose is to make a demonstration of a full game (a subset if you will) that can be showcased and used for marketing purposes. Genre types include (RTS, FPS, RPG) the setting is up to you (SCI-FI, Medieval as a couple of examples).

Length of the demo: Your demo must last for at least 30 minutes.

THIS IS A 3D ONLY CHALLENGE!.

Example goals are a guideline. They are there to reference as mile stones, if you don't get that far don't worry.!

Layout:

Note: New contenders to the challenge will be given a month additional to catch up.

Part 1: The approach!

How do we approach ideas?! Research!!

The first week will involve play testing an already successful game, although were not there just to enjoy them. Note down any interesting points, from artwork, to mechanics / flow of the game and how it fits together. From the UI / Sound right through to the story line and how said storyline affects mechanics.

Talk about creating an emotional response in visual mediums!. This is where you start writing the overall plot.!

Week 2: The design doc!

We'll touch on the plot and refine ideas (P.S try to word it so people can't guess the end before they've played it) just some general conceptions, the systems we'll implement and how to tie core components together estimating a timeline. A design doc can be updated, but it's essential we know what were trying to achieve. We'll discuss target market's and who were doing this for.!

Month 1:

Based on your design document Implementation, we'll be looking how to roughly prototype variable systems. At this point we should have the plan thoroughly evaluated. There should be no doubt about the processes and what needs to be done:

We want something functional by the end of this process, which enables us to visualise our end goal. We'll also discuss resource management and advanced game topics.!

Example goals for this month:

  • A basic blockout (cubes etc.) to figure out AI / Navmesh impact.
  • A basic UI that will allow you to exit the game, change basic settings and have basic interaction (pause, save).
  • A basic camera and player controller system.
  • A basic start screen leading into the game.
  • A rough prototype of more advanced systems (let's say your game requires an inventory for example.)
  • A basic combat mechanic system.
  • A basic navigation system.
  • Basic level loading / interaction (trigger volume) support.
  • A basic introduction to the story, the game must have a purpose.
  • A basic Health system, or reward system.
  • Create a basic understanding of time association for various mechanics.

Month 2:

Art Month, this is the part where we create assets and animations, talk about speeding up the pipeline.. Talk about maximising efficiency with tools and setting an engaging immersive atmosphere to further draw in your customers. Whilst the art doesn't need to be perfect, it does require you to get as close as you can. It's less to polish later..

A breakdown is required (don't be shy, we all can improve)..

Example goals for the month:

  • Turn blockouts into functional level design, using materials and textures. (Highly recommend shaderforge or equivalent for this).
  • Modular workflows and procedures.
  • Turn enemy's into collide able objects w/ animation, learn to use sockets and third party toolsets efficiently.
  • Learn and implement post processing, lighting systems, colour correction.
  • Learn and implement advanced material functions like world camera offset, noise masks, emissive materials and trigger post process for event cycles.
  • Learn and implement basic particles for various objectives.
  • Learn and implement systems like atmospheric scattering, light shafts and other useful tools.

Month 3:

Back to basics, in this month we'll learn about improving our skillsets. Instead of warping around in circles by yourself, we'll spend an entire month learning how to squeeze every last drop of knowledge out of anything we can find.

Essentially the goal plan is to learn new techniques (how crafting systems work, how to do advanced clean up AI, hair systems, cloth systems anything you believe will benefit your game)..

  • Learning state tree (BT) AI systems, or AI state machine functions.
  • Learn event driven camera tracking.
  • Learn advanced topics like destruction and cloth implementation.
  • Learn about performance impact, route cause analysis and how to asses profiling for distribution across multiple types of hardware.
  • Learn about the pro's con's of procedural placement and advanced workflow manufacturing.
  • Learn about advanced PhysX implementations and improving character controller system.
  • Approach design of implementation of said topics.

Month 4:

M3 is tie in month, this is where we'll discuss approaches on tying various systems together via plotlines and mechanics.. Upgrade systems and a little bit of polish.!

Example goals for this Month:

  • Interactive trigger event and release system mechanics.
  • System testing and analysis.
  • Fixing common issues.
  • What can we do to visually improve?
  • Dialogue or story transitions.
  • Reputation, selection and other player interactive mechanics.

Month 4 week 1:

At this point, we'll play test each others designs and give feedback on how to improve. Please note at this point artwork will not be finalised, there will be bugs and it takes an open mind to constructively criticise.

DO NOT give the test demo away outside of the entrants to this challenge!.

Rest of Month 4:

This is where we take the feedback of others and improve variable systems.

Month 5:

Were back on Art, we'll improve the UI / add more to our scenes to fill in the gaps and make it finally feel like an accomplished game with plenty of information to attract the eye. We'll discuss about extending scale in a linear fashion, so the player can't walk through the game in 10 minutes but we don't burn out. At the end of this we'll create a gameplay video to showcase our ideas.

Example goals:

  • Increasing scale with minimal impact on repetition.
  • Modular mesh and texture scales, using textures to split up the gaps.
  • Decals and other scenery improvements.
  • Polishing and sending out demo's for review.
  • Complete in-game UI settings for everything your other mechanics require.

Month 6:

At this point we'll scurry to polish the earth and moon, get some final feedback on parameters and start working on getting a trailer together.! We'll finally discuss the next phase "releasing the game" in preparation for part 3.

Goals!.. Have a demo ready!..

Any suggestions? Please let me know, if you want to join sign up below :).

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Hmm well if its going to be a 7th month challenge how about give people a few weeks to actually think about there ideas before starting it.

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Sure, the official start date is 31st of August.

I'm in! Although I really think that the format really needs a few major improvements:

  • Way too long timeframe. Reduce it to 3 months, we can do it in stages, maybe 'buggy alpha demo' stage first or something. We need to focus on short-term goal hitting or it just feels like an enormous undertaking and piles on the pressure. It would also help in improving this challenge if we could evaluate it properly at regular short intervals;

  • Too vague: Some of the things you wrote, such as:
    "We want something functional by the end of this process, which enables us to visualise our end goal. We'll also discuss resource management and advanced game topics.!" just doesn't give me enough information to plan properly. I would rather see a breakdown of what you want to see in my demo exactly, such as
    how many levels/minutes of gameplay, art level, etc.

  • Risk losing momentum during months 3 and 4. I think improving workflow and skillsets should be a continuous exercise rather than something that sort of pauses development. Some people will need it and others won't. Same goes for 'tying things together' some people will have done it during design and others won't. I suggest we have months of 'general polish' where people can simply do what they need to do, whether it be adding levels, adding UI, catching up on art etc.

I think that you're planning too vaguely in the short term and too specifically in the long term. Give people a bucketload of tasks to finish during the first month and we'll all hit the ground running. Here's my suggestion:

  • Month 1: Get your programmer art gameplay demo done and put it in other people's hands for feedback ASAP! Cubes, capsules and spheres all welcome. If you want to talk about stories and such that's great but WE WANT TO PLAY YOUR GAME NOW!

  • Month 2: Art factory (agreed here);

  • Month 3: Weld together your gameplay demo and art in 1-3 levels of buggy alpha prototype. More feedback! Now we can plan where to go next.

IMO your demo is who you are, where you are, and the critical thing for people to judge, it is your name, rank and serial number! Wave it around whenever anyone asks you what you're doing here! Update it continuously, your ideas mean nothing if they aren't in your demo! :smile:

Looking forward to it!

1 Like

Ok so on point one, as specified at the beginning… Every week we’ll discuss the goals and plans, a lot of this is going to come off the back of A) The research of games and B) the design documents… On top of that, new challenges will be set… I’m going full hog on this.!

Three months is simply not enough time, it’s not even really enough time to put together a decent design and prototype never mind an actual demo.

Months 3 and 4 is probably going to be the most intensive, you’ll be learning to take everything to next step :). Let me define it a bit more thanks :).

I can fill out with some more detail for sure, but as said a lot of this comes down to what you’re doing in the first place. I can’t judge at this moment how detailed it’s going to need to be if I don’t have a clue at what you’re trying to get out of it. Although I agree, maybe a monthly check in might improve moral and keep things on track…

@Aiursrage2k

It’s way too simple for me that’s potentially a couple of weeks to a months work??! It’s pretty cool though.

[quote]
Ok so on point one, as specified at the beginning.. Every week we'll discuss the goals and plans, a lot of this is going to come off the back of A) The research of games and B) the design documents.. On top of that, new challenges will be set.. I'm going full hog on this.!

Three months is simply not enough time, it's not even really enough time to put together a decent design and prototype never mind an actual demo.

Months 3 and 4 is probably going to be the most intensive, you'll be learning to take everything to next step :). Let me define it a bit more thanks :).

I can fill out with some more detail for sure, but as said a lot of this comes down to what you're doing in the first place. I can't judge at this moment how detailed it's going to need to be if I don't have a clue at what you're trying to get out of it. Although I agree, maybe a monthly check in might improve moral and keep things on track..

@Aiursrage2k

It's way too simple for me that's potentially a couple of weeks to a months work??! It's pretty cool though.
[/quote]

Look, I think your plan is a pretty good one in general, but I feel you've underestimated how easily people can lose focus and motivation. How many people here (and I'm talking about those who spend most of their spare time on game dev, not just weekend warriors) do you think have stuck with things continuously for more than a few weeks let alone seven months? I'm not saying it doesn't take that long, but I think it would be a much better idea to forget about the last four months for now and make a challenge around the first three or so.

You say that what @Aiursrage2k posted (btw where did that comment go?) is too simple, but not only is it more complicated than 99% of the games that get finished on these forums, but if you added great graphics to it it would be very pretty as well as interesting. So I say let's focus on getting that simple game going first.

You saw what happened to the other thread. People were interested, wandered around for a while, and left. Too little clarity, too little commitment and too many vague updates. Extending the timeframe to seven months without setting a lot of clear short-term goals I don't think will help.

Not trying to criticize btw, I think you've got your work cut out running a sort of game workshop over the internet, but I feel quite a few of the reasons the last thread bombed are still here and they can be easily fixed.

If I were you, I would set the first few weekly challenges now, in detail and find out who's committed and who's not. And make sure that people cough up content ASAP. Otherwise it simply won't work IMO.

@Billy4184

If you have a look at the top, I've updated with example guidelines and expanded it out.. Month one is all about the "simple" prototype.. :)

Phew it took a while..!

Yeah where did that go? Odd, well it looks simple it might not necessarily be that simple. I didn't watch all the way through TBH.. Was trying to improve the design spec. :smile:

Fantastic! You’ve really specified the first couple of months and that is what we all need to get started :slight_smile:

ps I didn’t watch it really tbh, but my point was that that sort of thing was what we needed to aim for first, even if simple.

I will post my first feedback demo (couple of minutes long) today or tomorrow, just making sure all the newly implemented coroutines are working as they should (just started using them btw, probably the most useful thing I’ve learned in a long time).

[quote]
PC Game Design and Creation Challenge 2!
DO NOT give the test demo away outside of the entrants to this challenge!.
[/quote]

Just to be clear, what does this mean? By that stage I think it would be a great idea to get the demo into the hands of as many people as possible, to build publicity and get more feedback...

I would like to join the challenge as well. I couldn't join the last challenge due to time limitation but It should be better for this one. I like the clear goals for this challenge. It should make it easier to follow.

I have one question about 3rd party assets such as A* Pathfinding. Can I use it in the project?

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I’d highly recommend against it until you have a demo sorted with a clear direction, keep it between the game makers for now who can fill in the gaps and suggest improvements. General gamers won’t be so kind and reputation can spread, so I tend to keep everything closed group in the beginning.

@ShadowX

Of course you can :). Use whatever will make your life easier…

@ I'm planning on posting around the Unity forums such as Feedback Friday ... I get your drift though, outside the forums I'll probably stick with gameplay videos and dev blog until I have something solid.

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Well i was thinking of the game just released volume. Now its selling for $20 on steam, we havent seen a game like it since the VR missions in Metal Gear, it has a nice pleasing art style that programmers could do.
http://steamspy.com/app/365770

It would fit in with the quote from the steam-spy guy's quote:

I actually already have an idea for a game myself already (and my initial though) and I was kind of surprised that there hasnt been a game like it for a while - except for 1 game and it was really weird. And my idea is a on rails shooter - like starfox 64 or panzer dragon.

[quote]
F*ind the right niche*
This one is easier said than done, but it is the only way to stand out in a crowded market like Steam, where almost 2,000 games get released every year.


An indie game without retro graphics! How unusual!
Your expertise is probably limited to handful of genres anyway, so look into what hasn’t been done lately. A couple of good examples: “Darkest Dungeons”, which is not a retro roguelike (that’s something these days) and “Cities: Skylines”, which is basically “Sim City” and we haven’t seen a good “Sim City” game in decades.

You could check user tags statistics for this on Steam Spy to research which niches were potentially not catered to for a long time. For example, the classic base-building RTS genre is relatively orphaned right now.
[/quote]

A Starfox 64 type game sounds awesome :)… The issue I’ve got is the examples you showed could easily be sent out as a mobile game, it’s outside the scope of this project. BUT! As I’m guiding this challenge through and offering advice, there’s no reason why you couldn’t expand it whilst keeping the art simple.

Look at the stealth demo in Unity to introduce yourself to similar core mechanics (guideline) and look at this Sci-Fi pack, it’s basic level geometry wrapped in decent textures. That reduces the pressure on art whilst still looking decent, you could simply use Pro-builder to create these levels… You wouldn’t even need to touch a DCC apart from characters.

Or if you do, there’s some great blender corridor stuff by quill18creates on youtube too. If you are skittish about art, I’d highly recommend removing any thought of outdoor scenes.

It’s a matter of changing camera perspective mostly, the concept is still the same and can be improved :).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TAY-U9eACg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sk0dEiYHI6M

[quote]
A Starfox 64 type game sounds awesome :).. The issue I've got is the examples you showed could easily be sent out as a mobile game, it's outside the scope of this project. BUT! As I'm guiding this challenge through and offering advice, there's no reason why you couldn't expand it whilst keeping the art simple.

Look at the stealth demo in Unity to introduce yourself to similar core mechanics (guideline) and look at this Sci-Fi pack, it's basic level geometry wrapped in decent textures. That reduces the pressure on art whilst still looking decent, you could simply use Pro-builder to create these levels.. You wouldn't even need to touch a DCC apart from characters.

Or if you do, there's some great blender corridor stuff by quill18creates on youtube too. If you are skittish about art, I'd highly recommend removing any thought of outdoor scenes.

It's a matter of changing camera perspective mostly, the concept is still the same and can be improved :).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TAY-U9eACg

[/quote]

Those Sci Fi textures were what I had in mind when thinking about space station combat ... given the longer time frame I MAY reconsider that idea, since my space combat is really coming together fast. Demo coming in a few hours...:smile:

And it could be modernized as well for example also have a rogue like with sudo random levels (using "level chunks in the binding of issac fashion), a variety of bosses (that are randomized) (and a hardcore roguelike mode -- with perma death for those that like that).

Ah looks like skyrogue already beaten me to the punch. So it sold 6k units already at $10 a pop so it shows theres a niche market for it
http://nihilocrat.itch.io/sky-rogue
http://steamspy.com/app/381020

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[quote]
Any suggestions?
[/quote]

Reschedule. This weekend is Ludum Dare.

I would love to seriously take on this challenge properly this time, but University starts in like 2 weeks and I have to also work part time during my semesters. I think it will be ok for me to try the challenge as I already have a pretty solid framework going on my old one, and I seriously need to learn some 3d modelling / art skills and would love to be part of that.

Just I will probably be gone for a month at times as I will have finals / giant projects to finish, if you guys are ok with that? I understand the expectations of the challenge, but I would love to take it more as a self learning tool and getting me finally doing something right with my time.

Allright!

I'm going to get the ball rolling with my first demo, even though there's plenty of time before the challenge even starts. This is mostly because I was about to post it before the previous thread got a makeover, and it would be a shame not to do so now. However, many things may be changed before the first month is over.

HAVE A GO NOW!

Fixed a webplayer link problem!
Important: Press the I key to see controls info during flight

2260945--151233--screenshot.png

The game, as it stands, is designed to be a space combat game in the vein of Starlancer. More than that I'm not really sure about yet since I'm opening up the design again due to the challenge being reset. I have all sorts of ideas from adding space station combat, adding strategy elements (e.g., wingman control), flying capital ships, etc etc. If you have any ideas for where I should take this let me know!

At the moment, the demo simply features a 5 vs 5 fighter brawl in space. Please note that the art is NOT representative of the final product, it is mainly stuff I made for mobile in the past or cooked up as placeholder art. That said, I tried to tie it all together a bit to make it ok to look at.

I'm looking for feedback on:

  • Ease of control of ship;
  • Camera behaviour (check out both cockpit and 3rd person views);

  • How it feels to fly, anything you like/don't like, is it fun?

  • AI (although I've dialled it down to be pretty easy for now). Taking that into account, do the AI behaviours make sense?

  • HUD (still missing stuff such as weapon info);

  • Weapons;

  • Anything else you might like to comment on.

Thank you very much!

2 Likes

@Billy4184

Link doesn't work :smile:..