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Friday, January 31, 2014

Yr1Wk2 New Game+ 2014 at ArtistRPG & My first #MelbGGJ #GGJ14 Game (Coming soon?)

Leonie's small blog island says hullo! (:


In this post: I did my first Melbourne Global Game Jam experience. Playtesters to the prototype welcome when the game is ready to go! (Keep an eye on my twitter/facebook to get up to date when that happens.)
Also Derp face returns.

    Let's go crazy! Journal Time.

    It's alien eyed Derp again; gosh she won't get off my blog. Mixed myself up with IlloLifeRPG and got to do a character sheet. And I just had to add in Zelda elements!

    Yup starting stats from the bottom so I've made all of them relatively low so there's room for growth (they are all from 1 to a maximum of 5). I put 1.5 for social life as I've pushed my quota a bit higher in the past year as I'd normally feel energy drained (hence I retreat back into being a introverted quiet hermit) when it gets too much. So...there's been improvement there! (: 

    This is probably a yearly thing for me; then I'll be Leveling up to an unknown level by then? You shall have to find out. You just set your own quests and XP gained really and you don't need to publicise your personal quests either. The character sheet is just there to excite up the crazy journey and this blog's About page. It also gives you room to reflect more on your "quests".

    A few of you might have seen this already on the 23rd at facebook too. But note there are many more amazing character sheets by other more impressive artists. (:

    Ah and from here on, I've decided to scrap the idea of preview images when starting off my posts.



    Year 1, Week 2 (22nd to 28th Jan)

    • PV; looking into festivals: aye getting overwhelmed with all this research on festivals. Spent another morning and afternoon looking through them. Need to submit a couple asap!
    • PV illustration: painting it up and slowly finishing it! Finally! Yes; it is done! Just nitpicking stage as I get and wait for kind, honest feedback from my team and Heath.
    • Arm strain; it will never go away completely as I find myself working too long sometimes. Take breaks!
    • Sketchpad adventuuures: So glad I have a Nexus to help take photos rather than my "dumb" phone
    Walk cycle and hands and an elf girl with angry eyes

    • Daily Sketches: found myself doing this randomly on Twitter. Just wanted to do something fun.
    Heartbroken (by that Toadstool lady). Topic was Bowser. So of course I had to do it.
    This made my brother uncomfortable (it was too cute apparently). Yes. Mission Accomplished.
    Werebear topic for #sketch_dailies. Went back to my pen here. Pencils are wonderful, especially knowing what incredible pencil illustrations that could result from them; I guess I want to make things risky and permanent for myself. Still, I haven't used pencils or any other traditional media for a long time. Starting to consider not using Instagram for every photo taken
    Let it be a sometimes thing as the boxed image restriction is unfavourable.

    • ArtistRPG: well...one needs to set quests so one could gain XP right? I did my Character sheet first before making quests because I was too excited. Haha.
    • Untitled001: doodling ideas for a secret project. Fun dooodling.


    • Melbourne Global Game Jam Weekend: I...didn't know what I was getting myself into.
    Before going in, I was testing to see if making 2D game assets is really what I'd like to do and to experience a part in game making. 


    My Game Jamming brainstorming notes, my labeled Game Jam mug (all Daniel's fault; told me to do it) and USB cable. These are some remnants from the jam.
    Doodles at Flinders as I waited before going to the jam 
    Got bored so I made portraits of Daniel: none of which looks like him. Then I drew an old guy from the Disney movie Tron and some other jammers' heads I don't know (I didn't meet much people as it was intense game making plus there's 150 of them!) Lastly a snapshot doodle of my workspace there. I took my tablet away at this point and was just checking up on the twitter tag.

    Some thumbs for the heading, our jam team's name Freedom Potato, Derp with her badly made paper plane and some assorted jammers and objects.
    Doodled another jammer with his special hat and one of my team members.
    I've learned heaps on my Melbourne Global Game Experience among some interesting tidbits...
    • Coming up with a game is the hardest part with constraints in mind as well as the team's wants. Especially when you don't know your team members too well. Found that I could not come up with any creative input in terms of what is/not possible in the game engine within the two days (I'm not a game designer with knowledge of pre-existing game mechanics after all). Scribing was what I ended up doing. But look up Pillow Castle's tech demo; it is incredibly cool. 
    • One chupa chup is enough for me; got a bunch of sugar and lumped it on my brother instead. Stole a fanta for him. Yes there was probably too much sugar snacks...
    • Fries! So much! A weakness of mine in moderation. (:
    • Intense jamming around the place; kept track of the tweets for #MelbGGJ
    • Was somehow livestreamed on twitch for a brief moment; it's boring watching derp anyway 
    • Internet was bad as usual
    • Shower cubicles were surprisingly great.
    • Been ages since I've slept on the floor; not that great as expected but I got some sleep! Had no pillow nor inflatable mattress like many smart jammers had. So it was painful every time I woke up.
    • Too much soft drinks; bleh
    • This jam isn't helping my left hand strain
    • People are intense when they jam hence are understandably unapproachable (unless they ask for feedback). There was a blatant countdown timer!
    • The Burger meal and the pizza was too much for me; overeating galore here. Food so good but not entirely healthy.
    • The "Avoid stepping on sleeping bags of people on the floor in complete darkness" video game needs to be made.
    • Need to stay awake versus periods of waiting as there's no art left to do
    • New skill unlocked: brushing teeth in the almost darkness of the night
    • Triple nights of 4 hour sleep...wasn't too bad as there was so much sugar food. Bad afterwards though.
    • This jam is making me use hashtags
    • Somehow my computer broke on the last day; I didn't have any art left to do by then though. Programmers Jayden McKay and Jimmy/James Heazlewood were tackling game making the most.
    • Amusing how teams disband from each other at the end (nothing new to say to each other anymore plus tired).
    • New level unlocked: first game jam and a 48 hour one at that. (Thanks to the kind people, volunteers, sponsors and Giselle that this happened).
    • I am now a braindead blob. Still hung around for the tiny thing afterwards a bit.
    • I need some time to fully recover...


    On my team's prototype Game; "Footsteps" (coming soon)
    Recommendation: Play it first before reading further. I shall post up the link again at facebook and twitter when it's ready for download as some bugs need fixing before it's playable.
    And feedback on the game appreciated!


    Snapshot of my Title animation for Footsteps. Eh, it looks somewhat better in game. 

    Credits Screen I did; I hoped to animate it smoothly between the title and credits animation when you press C but it's tricky & time is not on my side.



     *SPOILERS BEGIN* Scroll down till the Spoilers end tag.


    *I'm serious. Skip reading the following till you've played it. I'd like you to have some element of surprise when playing!*


    *I hope you're sure about this! Scroll down if you haven't played this!*

    *Okay, you seem determined. So highlight the font below to read*


    To start with, just a summary for those who want to know the thought process behind it by my other members' game design decisions.

    As you've found out, Footsteps is about a game where you "pulse" with the mouse left button to send out sound waves. It's called Footsteps the sounds your feet make, triggers these pulses as our programmers have been working this out. These sound waves are visually represented as white waves that light up the pitch black environment so that you could "see" where you are. You are essentially a blind being, navigating, exploring and interacting with things to find your way out.

    Generally I did random basic 2D distant background assets (2 of 3 environment sets I did weren't used at all but I didn't really mind), a passable animated title screen and the spoiler-ific "doodads" as my Art Director of my team calls them when he briefed me on what he wanted (it was his pitch after all). Well the creepy "doodads" kind of count as characters though they're heavily influenced by a Ghibli movie (Princess Mononoke). I designed 15 of the little ones and Daniel joined in the fun and designed and drew Arnold the football head giant.

    Quite a change of pace relative to my other projects as I was simply doing what Daniel gives me. It's interesting because I don't have to make the final decisions!
    If there was storytelling involved, I'll definitely have input but game jamming wise, anything that's unique, interesting and fun I'd like to experiment what others suggest and come up some small new visual ideas from there. Amusing how I tend toward the cartoony creepy stuff so far.


    As you saw above, I drew a random end image, spruced up the title screen + animation and made the credits page too but I can't show the ending or animation here. But you've played the game...right? 
    So...feedback is appreciated so we could possibly make it better! (:

    My team's game does have room to expand so some of us might work on it more, with more exploratory levels. It depends on feedback and if people like it. It's up to the peo-ple!


    *SPOILERS END 






    Other jammers' games I've played so far:
    So many cool games made by other people during the short playtesting; couldn't play them all due to crowds...and just not energised to do the social side of things and give proper feedback.
    Anyway, you could play them too! Here goes...
    • Played on the day:
      • "If Looks Could Kill" is a sweet party game; mix of Luigi's mansion 2 multiplayer or Nintendo-land mini game but more straight forward with an apt name as its gameplay. Got to chat with two of the team too. One of whom has a pun-erific webcomic.
      • Footheadcurtain Saga I didn't get to play the "reality/dark" vision via occulus rift but there is potential here if they had more time to ensure both pretty and dark worlds are substantially different and equally interesting. Heaps of fun poked at the name trademark issue. I just remember loud coin collecting noises.
      • You've gotta be Gridding me Much potential to be more fun with more feedback character death animations but I got into it and reached a tie at 8 vs 8 with Jayden.
      • They Don't Think It Be Like it Is, But It Do was really confused but got the hang of it even though I get negative scores. Haha. This playtesting forces me to use the unfamiliar Xbox controllers.
      • Split! The last level was most long and tricky as I played with Jimmy. Straightforward game with clear levels of different difficulties.
      • Screen-Cheat Fun fun game; I've played it a few times but I'm no good at Xbox controllers nor first person shooter games. I didn't mind losing though! 
      • Isla Didn't play it but I got to see it played in length; like a geometric Journey with tricky double perspective to get from A to B. Fairy Floss like trees.
      • a few others where I watched others play instead and some popular ones I couldn't play at all
    • Played online
      • The Beast of Empathy Appealing art by this gentleman, professional presentation and sound with disturbing undertones. I did feel lost at the invisible platforms (the ground is inverted above me?!), began wondering when does the game end due to how repetitive it got and what the two visions represent. Pretty & silly game all the same.
      • Dad? Very trippy and interesting game and disorienting. I couldn't finish it as the movement went all haywire at one point with the mouse. Visually busy so I found it hard to find all the things to proceed.
      • John Crisbee I saw it being played and wanted to try it out; cool music and pixel art platformer but I realised pressing the U button allows you to be bigger by choice. I also didn't realise what the buttons were until I pressed all the keys on the keyboard to find out. Pretty cool animation also! And there actually is an end to the level!
      • Perception Interesting take on the theme plus creepy whispering. Got stuck at a puzzle with a shooting contraption though.
      • Paintball Really straightforward but it tests your skill with button precision pressing which I do not have the patience train in order to go all the way. Much potential to get harder too.
      • This looks Safe Platformer though having to move my hand from the keyboard and mouse kind of breaks the flow of playing the game.
      • Casey's Shadow: Telltale's The Walking Dead art style here (kind of); executed really well. Music and sounds were great and gameplay was straightforward though right clicking in the web version makes the flash dropdown come up sometimes instead. Why am I running away from these monsters? What do the lights represent? Too early to ask of course.
      • Brow Brow Party Walrus Exciting: An Eyebrow Dancing Experience: I got the pink post its and webcam but I don't know if it's registering to my minimal eyebrow movements. Nothing's happening? I can only move both eyebrows at the same time at best; and I didn't expect to have a picture of derp plastered on screen after finishing the level full of walrus bizarre art and animations by this gentleman (kind of watched it through as I gave up trying to play). I saw that in derp's picture, she was "face palming" as she didn't know how to get it working. Shall deem myself terrible at this game and leave it at that; cool music and gameplay though. Surely the popular game.

    Final thoughts
    Would I do this again? Definitely if there's time. Probably with a smaller team of friends? Who knows. 
    Am I being vague? Yes. Was it worth it? Yes. Learned that if there is a next time, I need to ensure I won't have periods of having nothing to do (oddly enough) aside from trying to stay awake from sleep deprivation on the last day. That and it also reinforced that game design/mechanics fun is most important really (and taking care of yourself + have fun). 

    Probably the most fun as a whole is the game creating; struggling to find something uniquely fun and interesting (even though I couldn't come up with much input on this area!). Can't wait to play more other games next month as I didn't get to!
    In summary, I enjoyed making the characters the most I guess (I did make 15 of them) and being able to work with a bunch of game jammers. (:



    Other Adventures: 

    • Cabela's Dangerous Hunts 2011 (snippet): So crazy along with a crazy father in the "story"! The environments look nice though. Grizzly bears, cougars and evil wolves that attack you.  
    • Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD (snippet): watched bits of it for the nostalgia and the "Adventuuuure!!" vibes I had back when I played it. 
    This game is the reason why I frequently use the word "adventuuure!" in my blog. Wonderful game. (:
    Also watched bits of other Zelda games but yes. I know Nintendo needs to change how they do business to stay afloat and at times the gameplay isn't that challenging anymore to a point but I'm still biased towards Zelda and some other of their first party games. I still enjoy playing their games.
    • I have no Mouth and I must Scream (watching): Ellen does what she could in sabotage and Gorrister...has a hole in his chest as he find ways to die? Accidentally killing poor tortured animals just to get a key of no worth and eating stale bread with rat droppings so far.
    • Peggle 2 (challenge levels): timing and strategy
    • Fallout 3 (watching): Moira is very interesting as she gets you to do more experiments. I get the impression of constantly selling your loot (kind of boring to watch) and the people all kind of look like they're based off the same model template. Dogmeat the companion dies and more slow mo bizarre shooting at body parts. 
    • Disaster: Day of Crisis (watching): slowly drowning, why people dangle keys around so you could steal them rather than hide it away in games, more and more water, dolphin kick, hurricanes, window mashing and crazy car chase. Lisa...! She got taken away again hilariously enough. And more crazy walking against the hurricane sequence.
    • Yakuza 4 (watching): sofa swinging men, suicide combat, triple punk attack, lock picker coward and a homeless guy companion.
    • Barbie's Dreamhouse Party (snippet): What is this hilariously horrible game.
    • Prison Architect (snippet): so much micromanaging! Mutiny and prisoners going crazy.
    • Organ Trail: Director's Cut (snippet): Poor Clements; so much random happening.
    • Probably Archery (snippet): Terribly frustrating game
    • Looper (watched): Finally got around to watching this movie! So awesome! I don't like the protagonist at all, the kid's frighteningly evil but the way the story and action played out was brilliantly engaging. Top storytelling.
    • The Banner Saga (snippet):  the art and animation are amazing! Just saw snippets of different parts of the gameplay; no clue on story besides leading a whole army of vikings and strategy combat like in Fire Emblem.
    • Pharaoh (old game snippet): amusing when everything went on fire. Old school Sims in Egypt.



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    Reflection for the Week 

    ...much happened and I took part in my first game? Much to juggle as always.
    Ah Happy Chinese New Year for at the time of posting; apparently this is supposed to be a bad year for me but I'm not superstitious (predictions don't actually come true; it's like horoscopes!) For those who do get them, hope you get heaps of red pocket money (I know I won't expect much haha) and have a prosperous, fun, adventurous and magical 2014 with loads of good health. Hm, someday I'll actually attend to one of these Chinese New Year Celebrations (as I've never!)

    Again twitter/facebook would be where I'll notify people first when the game is ready!
    Thanks for reading & feel free to comment below! (:

    Until next time, Leonie
    (UUUinfinity/TripleUinfinity)