Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Global Game Jam 2014

Its that time of year again. Time to blog about how things went at the Global Game Jam.  Well if you were looking for a spectacular success story of how me and my team(Raid+) created a short game that was raved about by the everyone who played it, you wont find it here. The jam began with most of  the Raid+ team(minus most of our artists) in our usual class room. Waiting excited for the keynote and the topic to be played by the jam admin. We were "competing" with several other teams. The matc Capstoners + Alumni, Raid+, Second Semester Noobs, and Two teams from UWM (also The admins Mike and Emil made an unofficial game). The time eventually came. The keynote was long and boring. The game jam topic was:  "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are."  Raid+ rushed off into brainstorm mode. After a while we decided to make a First person survival horror game where the player could view a number of night vision security feeds by looking at an in game tablet. I loved this idea and I felt like it had a lot of potential to make for some very creepy and unsettling moments. though unfortunately soon after that feature was nailed down, I felt that many of the designers started making really bad decisions about what was going to be in the game. The first of these decisions was to make the player unable to move while holding the tablet. This was a bad decision because it limited the ways that the player could navigate the level. I was thinking that the fun of the game was going to be learning to navigate levels from several different perspectives. Instead the player was to enter a dark room, Open up the tablet, look at the environment, then close the tablet and try to remember how the level looked from a fucked up weird perspective. There are other games that use memorization as a way to progress but the player never knew where the cameras were in relation to the player character, rendering them useless and completely disorienting. Also I just want to point out that at the time I did realize that these were mistakes and I do blame my self for not pointing out these flaws to my team earlier. I just didnt want to hamper the awesome creative juices of the designers at the time. Also I thought it would become obvious later that those changes needed to be made but they never were. Another bad decision was to make the environments completely unseeable. This one I thought was completely ridiculous that nobody else caught earlier. 

 Above: A picture of our game jam game...Yes it was that dark. I don't know why this issue wasn't resolved. What were we thinking! Another issue that seems kind of irrelevant now but was a big deal at the time was that the designers wanted to put in a mechanic where the player can trip over certain items. The game is unplayabley difficult to navigate already, I dont imagine being able to trip over tables would have helped much. When I mentioned that tripping over things was a terrible idea I also mentioned that we should cut out some features and they completely disregarded what I said. When Noah our lead designer, was asked why the game was like this he blamed the games quality on the fact that we went to buffalo wild wings instead of ordering dominos again. That is super dumb. It is clear to me that the reason that our game failed was because Raid+ had once again out scoped a project, and because of a few bad design decisions early in development. Other than that though I had a ton of fun making it.In programming specific news I learned a lot about corountines and how useful WaitForSeconds() is in unity. I had always tried to avoid WaitForSeconds() because you cant exit out of it until the end but it is really useful for delaying things that dont exit out of being delayed. Also learned some about cameras and occlusion. Also I just want to add that I am very proud of the way the tablet turned out especially because programmed it. 

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