GA Spring 2022 – Monster Mayhem

Game Idea

Monster Mayhem is a 1v1 FPS style Deathmatch, inspired by early Quake and Doom games. The game is played as local multiplayer, with split-screen mode. The game has two different levels, one focusing on king of the hill style capture point controlling and the other on pure deathmatch.

Development

During the concepting phase, we played around with a variety of ideas, and eventually settled upon a priest and a demon goat in a battle of good vs. evil.  Visually, we were inspired by stylized, low-poly games, such as Solar Ash and Overland. We focused heavily on making the main mechanics and gameplay as fun as possible while creating an eerie atmosphere with the environments.

We knew that it would be incredibly important to keep the scope reasonable for this project. The initial plan to have the game be online multiplayer was changed to be local instead. It took us quite a while to get combat that felt good to play, as it was suprisingly nuanced, but it was important to get right, as it was the core of our gameplay. We also wanted to implement very asymmetrical gameplay. Unfortunately, this proved to be too complex in the time that we had, and it was scrapped for slightly more even gameplay.  However, we were able to implement two different game modes with different layouts and objectives.

Weekly in-person meetings were incredibly important in keeping all the team members in the loop as we continued development, but towards the end of the project, we had to switch to online meetings. We noticed that we should have had a playable prototype and begun playtesting earlier on in the project. Overall, despite any issues we faced, we all learned a lot about creating a 3D game, and came out with a game that we all feel quite proud of.

Link to build

Team members:

Olli Mähönen: Programmer

Matti Nurmi: Programmer

Essi Mäkinen: Artist

Anu Hautakangas: Artist

Lari Kettunen: Artist

Dominique Desanges: Artist

Tomas Wass: Artist

GA Spring 2022 – Isla

Download the game here!

A great escape from the high life of the elite city to the depths of the slum – back to your people.

Isla is a platformer game with mixed 2D and 3D elements, where you take on the role of a spy who escapes through a city on a floating island.  Be fast as the time is running and avoid the traps and evil robots who are sent after you by the high class of the elite.

The game features:

  • Mixing 2D characters into 3D environment
  • 5 different levels with platforms and obstacles

Development

We started the project by choosing a couple of games we wanted to use as a reference. We wanted to make a 2.5D platformer game with 2D characters and a 3D environment. Disney’s Hercules –  an old classic videogame, used mixed 2D and 3D elements like that and was one of our biggest influencers. That game also had areas where the character could run back and forth between different depth dimensions, and that seemed like a good idea to try in our game too. We also had other game references, for example, Shantae: Half-Genie HeroAC: Chronicles China and Indivisible, just to mention a few of them. We didn’t have too much previous experience with 3D art and we figured that making 2D characters instead of 3D would save us time. Mixing 2D and 3D elements would be an interesting experiment in any case.

The idea of a floating island with solarpunk inspired, partly utopian elite city atmosphere and partly dystopian poor lower area came quickly to us at the very beginning of planning. The prosperous but evil high class and poor lower class workers at the bottom of the city became the main conflict of the story. We wrote a script about an underground spy who gets revealed in the very beginning and starts her escape through the city with important information to people of the slums – her people. As the setting was futuristic, we decided to have robots as the active enemies of the game.

During the first weeks (and even later on) we spent a lot of time on concepts and ideation. There were multiple ideas that we had to abandon due to lack of time, for example, level six, small jump as a mechanic, a huge robot enemy in the middle of the game, a third robot enemy, 3D tree assets and so on. The basic mechanics of the game were decided quite fast as we tried really hard not to make the scope of the game too big and complicated. Despite that, after some valuable feedback in the middle of the game development, we felt that something needed to be added to give the player more of a feeling of pressure. We decided to create a timer and an hourglass collectible which would give the player more time. To make those work in the game we needed a lot of level design changes and playtesting.

Early concepts for the main character and the enemy robots.
Isla’s design went through multiple different looks and iterations to ensure she would shine as the main character.

For art stuff, dividing the tasks came quite easy to us, and everyone got to do things they enjoyed while also dabbling with something new. We knew 3D would be hard and time-consuming so we made sure most of the artists were focusing on that. Lots of voting was used both for artistic choices as well as gameplay and story aspects, to ensure fast decision-making as well as fairness.

The artists focusing on 3D had to start pretty much by learning the basics. Especially most things considering textures and materials, and importing the assets successfully from Blender to Unity, seemed to require a lot of trial and error.  At least we can say we learned a lot on that rough path, and the team members were helping each other out.

Storyboarding for the intro and logo ideas.

3D process was shared through Discord.

Overall, our biggest problems clearly had to do with difficulties in the level design, and our artists being pretty new to 3D. Despite encountering multiple problems we thankfully managed to solve most of our problems and ended up with a project we’re all very proud of as our first 3D game.

Just a portion of all the sketches and moodboards we did for the game.

 

Team Korvapuusti

Joni Nevala– Programmer, Project Manager
Ilmari Huhtanen – Programmer
Janina Korpela – Artist, Project Manager
Mona Westman – Artist
Niina Lahti – Artist
Nina Lahti – Artist
Aris Helin – Artist

Deniz Kirci – Music Producer
Akseli Koskinen – Sound Designer
Ioana Vasilache – Voice Actor
Lukas Ekberg – Audio technician

 

GA Spring 2022 – Pookie Island

-> DOWNLOAD THE GAME HERE <-

 

In Pookie Island, you step into the moon boots of Space Kitty, whose adventure didn’t start quite as planned. You find yourself on a planet with islands inhabited by frogs and their elemental companions: Pookies, which will help you on your journey through these islands.

We were inspired by titles such as Super Mario Sunshine, Jak & Daxter, and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, to name a few. Our main aim was to make a fun platformer with puzzles and some sense of discovery, the latter one influenced a lot on how we built the world; giving the player the opportunity to explore.




Development

Initially, our scope was a lot bigger than the end product. We planned to have fully, (or at least making it look like so) walkable mini planets with a bending horizon and all different biomes, but the whole idea and how to do it slowed us down a lot at the start. We ended up ditching the planets, changing them into islands with different themes. But the concepts we had already made didn’t go to waste, as we used a bunch of it as an inspiration for the islands.

Since we knew from the beginning our world was gonna be relatively big, we set up a plan to keep the graphics fairly low poly, textures simple and utilised a toon shader to cut down the time spent on creating the assets.

 

Mid-development

Due to unforeseen circumstances we had to leave out some features, like enemies chasing the player, and one pookie type. Cutting things down allowed us to keep the project a bit more manageable, but still by no means an easy feat. Biggest challenge was definitely easing the player into the game and what they’re able to do. Doing open-world level design and making all the features fit coherently in different places also proved to be quite tricky.

PookieSuckazz Team
Jere Joensuu – Programmer
Otso Alenius – Programmer
Elisa Pantea – Artist
Liisa Pirhonen – Artist
Karin Aimonen – Artist
Katariina Paulaniemi – Artist
Néd Richard – Artist, Project Manager

Additional Help
Miiro Kesti – Music

GA Spring 2022 – RÄKDOLL

Game:

The game “RÄKDOLL” is a 2-4 player local multiplayer fighting game where the goal is to be the last one standing. The player can pickup a sword or a gun during the match and use them to defeat their opponent. We took great inspiration from games like Gang Beasts and Human Fall Flat.

 

Development:

When we first started to figure out the game idea we had many ideas for the weapons that the players were going to use.  We wanted to have everyday normal objects like bowling balls and leaf blowers but had to wipe that idea due to lack of time. That’s why we went with the basic sword and a gun. For the stage theme we wanted to go with a pirate/tropical island. That’s why you can see a deserted ship and barrels on the stage.

(Early gun and character designs)

For the character we wanted to make a simple model that would have ragdoll physics. Implementing the ragdoll physics proved to be more challenging than we expected so we had to figure out a way that would work for us. We wanted the game to be purely gameplay that you could enjoy with your friends.

 

FINAL GAME LINK

Team members: 

Ville Vennonen – Programmer

Marko Saari – Programmer

Olivia Koivisto – Artist

Santtu Syväsalmi – Artist

Aleksi Karppinen – Artist

Joel Eklund – Artist

GA Spring 2022 – Hound Heist

Game Idea

Hound Heist is a game by Team Monki Flip, pulling inspiration from games like Hotline Miami. You play as a dog robbing banks run by evil, corrupted mafia cats and their minions (also cats). You shoot and bonk your way through the banks, stealing as much money and gold as you can!

Development

We had many ideas for a game as the project started but the idea of putting something gore-y but cute together won and we proceeded to make a cute version of a bank robbing game. 

We tried to keep the scope small because we didn’t have a lot of experience with 3D games and being too ambitious with the project could just lead to an unfinished game.

The game’s design was shaped while we were building it and most of the biggest design decisions came as cuts from the original idea. Also good little ideas and polishing features came up while we were playtesting the game ourselves. 

As an example we had planned a story, some dialog and character backgrounds but quite early we realized that they need to be cut and we need to focus on the gameplay and making it fun. Another main feature in planning was a boss battle with the big cat mafia boss but in the later stages it also proved to be too much work for the time limit. The cat painting on the walls of some levels is the only thing left reminding of this feature.

When we got the core features and gameplay working it was quite easy to start producing more content to the game. More levels, 3d models and then decorate the levels. Also making the sound design was quite a funny task because many kinds of animal noises could be added.

Team Monki Flip

Artists:

Emma Erjanne 

Joona Ljokkoi

Lana Stepišnik

Laura Suvila

Mikko Nystedt

Coders:

Veeti Karilainen

Ville Karilainen

 

You can download the game here!

GA Spring 2022 – Bergensjöfellbyfjord

Team Alpha DAWG and the game

We made a 3D, RPG monster-raising game inspired by animal crossing and Norse mythology where the player can do quests for the people of Bergensjöfellbyfjord. The player’s choices affect three different statistics – reputation in the village, bond with their creature, and money and they can unlock four different endings, two different evolution forms for the creature, and some quests based on how high their bond and reputation are.

Development Process

We had a hard time coming up with the final concepts for the game. We started by scoping too big and for a few weeks we were a bit confused about what the final game would look like but in the end, we did come up with the end goal for our project.

Artists started by creating concept art for the monsters, characters, and the world, getting the aesthetic direction down and creating more concrete samples for what the gameplay could be in the final product. Inspiration was drawn from norse mythology as well as already established monster collecting/raising franchises. These concepts were then turned into the 3D models, 2D art, and UI elements seen in the final product.

Creature ideation:

House Concepts:

UI

3D Models:

 

Coders started coding the basic structure of the game like movement, camera angles, dialogue system, etc. The main programmer focused on core mechanics and systems, and the secondary coder focused on minigames, worldbuilding, and the narrative design. After getting the basic working coders moved to quest systems, interactions and implementing UI.

We didn’t get the game as far as we had hoped but the team has already decided to give a few extra weeks of our free time to polish the game to its fullest potential.

While working on the game project we learned a lot about scoping and time management.

The members of Team Alpha DAWG:

Programmers:

Samu Lehtineva

Amanda Vanhatalo

Artists:

Siiri Syvänen

Coral Nguyen

Ere Kreula

Ada Ikonen

Erika Markkinen

We outsourced our music from:

Anna Haaraoja

More concept art/musings:

Link to the game:

Bergensjöfellbyfjord

 

GA Autumn 2021 — Pang: The Tainted Forest

Download the game here!

A forest in agony, and an unlikely hero.

Pang: The Tainted Forest is a reimagining of the old arcade game Pang, where you take on the role of a tiny rat, determined to free its home forest from the pollution that has suddenly taken over. Magical powers of the forest are by the rat’s side, as it uses nature as its weapon against the evil pollution bubbles.

The game features:

  • 18 different levels with platforms and climbable stairs
  • Multiple power-ups and different weapons
  • Highscore system
  • Beautiful 2D hand-drawn graphics

Development

We started the project by choosing the game we are gonna use as a reference, and Pang seemed the most fun to replicate. At first, we were considering making pixel art but ended up choosing not to go with it. We didn’t have previous experience of pixel art and we figured that we already had a lot to learn with Unity and game-making in general, and this decision ended up serving us well in the end, as we encountered multiple problems in Unity and GitKraken.

The idea of a forest setting with a mystical atmosphere came quickly to us at the very beginning of planning. It was obvious that the balloons had to be the enemy, and after pondering their function, one of our team members had an idea that they could be pollution. From there on we settled on the idea of the main character embarking on a journey to save the forest and wanted to showcase that with a small animated story.

During the first weeks (and even later on) we spent a lot of time on concepts and ideation. There were multiple ideas that we had to abandon due to lack of time, for example snowy and underwater levels with different physics, multiplayer support, a final boss, more guns, enemies, or additional helpful or neutral characters, and so on. The basic mechanics of the game came to be fairly quick, but the programmers spent a lot of time fine tuning the physics and making sure everything not only looked good but felt good as well.

The design of the character and themes for backgrounds was decided early on by voting.

Even though all artists were at first able to make sketches about everything, the dividing of the art creation happened naturally and in the end, everyone got to do things they wanted and also try something they weren’t that familiar with. For the character and the background, we had a voting system for the sketches that we would start working with. Around this time we also chose to make three different versions of the backgrounds, showing the player the progress of their quest of clearing up the forest.

After deciding to go with two different mystical forest backgrounds both having three intensities of pollution and voting the rat as our hero, it was time to also think about other important assets and their overall look.

Early gun sketches and comparing them to the character style and colors.
Screenwriting for the story cutscene.

Overall, our biggest problems had to do with our artists being new to Unity and Gitkraken. It was also a challenge to keep everything coherent with so many artists each with their own style. Despite encountering multiple problems we thankfully managed to solve all of our problems and ended up with a project we’re all very proud of.

Some of the multiple finished sprites that were done for the game.

 

Team Gamma Rats

Jere Joensuu – Programmer, Project Manager
Joni Nevala – Programmer
Janina Korpela – Artist, Project Manager
Mona Westman – Artist
Niina Lahti – Artist
Nina Lahti – Artist
Aura Solja – Artist
+ our lovely sound designers Deniz Kirci and Akseli Koskinen!

GA Autumn 2021: Rat Mash

Game Idea

Rat Mash is our team’s version of the original Rampage. You play as a radioactive rat in a post-apocalyptic world to destroy the leftovers of humanity! You destroy buildings, climb them, and beat your enemies to make your way to the start of it all!

In the picture above you can see our concept art for the main character and below you can see the final character animations.

 

Development

When the project started in September we originally thought about making Frogger with a twist but our team also saw Rampage on our list of games and ideas kept flowing in for it. We chose against Frogger and chose to do Rampage since we had more passion for it even if it was going to be more difficult to do and the scope was going to be bigger. 

We studied the original Rampage, its mechanics, movements, and flow and used it as a base to refer to and improve on.

Originally we had way more things we wanted to have in our game but as time passed we realized our scope wasn’t realistic for the game we had chosen, and the time we had, so we scrapped a lot of things. 

Our process was somewhat rocky with having lots of bugs, a big scope with imitating Rampage and courses to focus on. However, our team is very proud of what we achieved and we’re very happy we chose Rampage instead of Frogger.

Team Monki Flip

Artists:

Emma Erjanne 

Joona Ljokkoi

Mikko Nystedt

Liisa Pirhonen

Coders:

Veeti Karilainen

Ville Karilainen

 

Download here

GA Autumn 2021 – Superbuzz

Going through all the possible options to base our game off of, we fairly quickly all leaned towards Thrust. To give our own spice for the game, we first decided to try to find a theme which would then shape how we approached making our own version. From somewhere came the idea about “bees with guns” which very soon evolved to mech bees being invaded by mech spiders. And that’s how Superbuzz came to be.

Features:
The game is composed of 8 levels with increasing difficulty, including traps and enemies, with the main goal being making it out of the hive with the queen within given time

  • Honey hook allowing the player to grab different tools and the queen
  • Gate system requiring the player to bring a heavy mech-honeycomb on a pressure plate to activate it
  • Spiders blocking the way walking across the passages
  • Spiders shooting towards the player
  • Laser traps triggering every few seconds
  • Fireball dispenser providing the player a weapon to hook and clear a path

Development

First things first, our programmers got some basic player movement and a hook mechanic implemented as they were the most crucial mechanics for our game. Our biggest challenges were very much related to the player character. In the first prototypes the controls were heavy and not responsive enough, making it unnecessarily hard to avoid collisions.

It also proved to be challenging how to make the player character’s movement direction clear. The heroic bee would go through multiple iterations as we were trying to figure out what would be the clearest way to portray this advanced pollinator.

The heroic bee and some designs it went through
Queen and player concepts
Enemy concepts

Choosing to go for a color palette helped tie together our assets better as it was a bit tricky to keep the art consistent with multiple artists. We also put heavy emphasis on making the levels visually easy to read. Tilemaps made doing level layouts fairly easy, but also on the other hand easily left the beehive feeling a bit inorganic.

Early mockups for testing with colors to make the levels visually easy to read

Sometime midway the semester it seemed the project came to almost a complete halt due to some unexpected circumstances that required us to redistribute quite a bunch of the workload, but we clearly picked up the speed towards the end.

Looking back, something we would have done differently is playtesting much more. Being worried about the difficulty held us back a bit from making more fun and daring levels.

Altogether despite some difficulties and not exactly everything making it into the final build, we’re still very much proud of what we achieved.

Download here

 

Team Jousters

Ilmari Huhtanen – Programmer
Marko Saari – Programmer
Néd Richard – Project Lead / Artist
Karin Aimonen – Artist
Joel Eklund – Artist
Katariina Paulaniemi – Artist

Games Academy 2021: Pyramid Dash

Our Team Alpha DAWGs decided to make a version of the arcade game Boulder Dash with a visual theme inspired by cyberpunk and Egyptian mythology.  We chose Boulder Dash as our base game because it was a simple game that most of the team found fun to play.

We made a lot of concept art before finalizing the look of the game, tweaking color palettes and the designs of the characters and the environment.

Development Process

While the artists were working on finding the visual style, the programmers created a prototype of the game. The early prototype had character movement and boulder physics.

The team started adding more as the base prototype was ready, like polishing and adding visual assets and refining the core mechanics of the game. As we were working on the game the team had to balance their time between working on the game and other school work.

We added collectibles, character animations, and the Main Menu prototype.

After ensuring that the gameplay would work without bugs, the team started working on adding in animated backgrounds, enemies, and a lot of levels as well as the Main Menu and other UI. The game also got a score system and a timer.

As we were already quite far with the game, we decided to add in the dialogue story parts with animated character sprites to push the story of the game a bit further. This had been planned from the beginning as something we wanted to add if we had the time for it.

While working on the game project we learned a lot about Unity and the power of friendship. The communication within the team worked well and everyone did their part.

The members of the amazing Team Alpha DAWG are:

Programmers:
Samu Lehtineva
Amanda Vanhatalo

Artists:
Siiri Syvänen
Coral Nguyen
Ere Kreula
Ada Ikonen
Erika Markkinen

Also from outside the team, we received music from:

Brandon Emene

Link to final build