Games Academy Spring 2018: Splash

Team

Manuel Gabarron – Lead artist, the hero we need but don’t deserve
Justin Granger – Lead programmer, and damn good at it
Mitja Immonen – Programmer, Unity guy & sound designer
Elli Leppänen – Artist, level designer
Sam Payne – Artist, character designer

The Game

Splash is a casual arena shooter centered on couch co-op. Currently in the game it has up to four person co-op, with one map, and four distinct guns. It is currently possible to be played against time, with max kill count or in endless mode.

Our original idea was to make a lan style shooter. We were quickly told though that it would become a beast if we didn’t immediately change scope. With that information we ended our sights on a couch co op game with a unique theme of water guns.

The game is already fully playable and people seem to enjoy playing it even longer periods of time. In-game pickups and switchable weapons make the game more interesting and engaging.

Design Process

Bazooka vs. Pistol – 2 Player split screen, Splash

After our brainstorming, and quick refocus, we took our idea to the drawing board. Coming up with map layouts and art boards. We spared no time in getting to work and with our three artists we set a person on the character, another on the environment, and our final artist on the guns and drops. As for the programmers we started creating the game control to make it as fluid as possible and the second on our particles and lighting as they would both be important to get the proper feel for the player.

As we progressed through the semester our team kept up a fluid pace communicating and passing work between us. There are still some optimization and improvements to do and we will be working on them after this semester.

Plans for the future

Menu rework render

We still want to improve our game and see how far we can take it. One of our last improvements is a complete rework of the menu, we discussed several ideas and ended up with a new unity scene that shows a cafe where the avatars will appear as the players join the match by pressing start, and the avatars are animated!

Cafe where players can join and spawn on the chairs
Player character sitting poses for cafe joining.

In the end we all were very happy with the outcome and proudly present splash!

Minimum requirements:

  • Beefy laptop
  • Two gamepads
  • Two humans

Google Drive Link (zip-file)

Games Academy Spring 2018: Fur Will Fly

Needlework:

  • Miska Rantala – Team Leader and Programmer
  • Juri Laitinen – Creative Director and Artist
  • Antonio Rodrigues – Lead Programmer
  • Satu Kiintonen – Artist
  • Anna Topolova – Artist

    Additional help: 

  • Riki Hakulinen – Music

About the game

Fur Will Fly is a 2-player jousting party game for PC. You’ll both take control of your own rat knights riding their loyal foxes, as you try to knock the other player from their mount. The game is a best-of-five, so the first player to hit 3 wins is the champion! The game is played with two controllers.

Development

Originally our team had three different ideas to choose from (a platformer focused on stealth, asymmetric competitive multiplayer and jousting party game), which all were equally loved within the team. After thinking about the scale of the projects and the time we had for the course, we decided to start developing the jousting party game, now known as Fur Will Fly. Miska offered to be the team leader, writing documents and such, while Juri was titled as the creative director, as he had the best vision of the project.

The development started right after the decision. The first week was used to write the Project Plan and Game Design Document, get some movement into the game and plan out art style and characters. While the decision to go with rat and fox came almost naturally with all the concept art lying around, the armour took some time to have its finalized concept.  

The following weeks the programmers worked on getting the split screen and movement working as well as possible, while art team worked hard on characters, environments and animations. After a while of trying, we realized that the movement wasn’t working as well as we hoped and Antonio decided to redo the whole movement in the game, right before a presentation. Everything went well and the game felt smoother after that point.

Final weeks of the development was focused on getting the art assets into the game and doing some changes for the lance movement.

Problems

The biggest failure in the project was failing to meet the design of having a physics-based game like the inspirations we had (e.g. Gang Beasts). The wonky physics are easy to create, but to make them look and feel good is a really hard thing to do. Communication was also a bit off, making some decisions and coordination harder. The project would’ve needed more time and polishing to get even close to our vision. We also didn’t learn all necessary skills until the final weeks of the project, so Google and “trial and error” were one of the main solutions in this project.

Sum Up

All in all, the project was a great learning experience and a fun way to spend the Spring in Games Academy. Working in 3D was more challenging, but also freer to work in. Though it made some things way more difficult with the 3rd dimension, it allowed to do all kinds of things we couldn’t do in 2D. Though I like working with 2D, this project was definitely a breath of fresh air. We are proud of this project and will probably publish an update in near future, to add few things that we didn’t get in.

So, here’s Fur Will Fly 1.0. Enjoy! (LINK TO THE GAME)

 

Have a great summer, everyone!

Needlework

Games Academy Spring 2018: Space Hen Hassle

Space Hen Hassle

Team Colbanum

Kimmo Heinonen: Project Lead, 3D Artist
Jerri Ahonen: Lead Programmer
Suvi Kemppainen: Programmer, Sound Designer
Piritta Vaarala: Lead Artist, UI Designer
Kalle Vikström: 3D Artist, Effect Designer

In an Eggshell

Space Hen Hassle is a multiplayer party game for two to four players. The goal of the game is simple – collect the most chickens within minute-long rounds and emerge as the winner by the end of them, but don’t forget to cause a little mayhem by sabotaging your opponents’ game!

Screenshot of gameplay

In Space Hen Hassle you play as tiny astronauts on a space farm. The core mechanics are picking up chickens and throwing them either at your opponents in order to stun them or into a wandering chicken collector that will keep them safe. But everything comes with a risk – the player with the most chickens is sure to attract the attention of their opponents, a missed throw equals a lost point and aiming for the chicken collector costs precious time.
Space Hen Hassle is easily approachable, entertaining and a completely non-violent party game for PC and it’s playable with Xbox controllers.

Core mechanics illustrated

Development

In the very beginning of the project the game idea and scope were completely different as we planned a more or less story-driven exploration game starring a child lost on the moon, annoying space chickens you could throw to break items and a quest to build a spaceship. After scrapping the first idea we turned our course towards party games and kept the baby astronauts and space chickens. Eventually we settled for what resembled a mixture of Bomberman and the chicken throwing mechanic from Zelda games.

With a party game at our hands we needed to concentrate on what would make the game fun to play and would keep the players engaged, and so we concentrated on making the mechanic as simple as possible but with a twist, which in this case is risking your own chicken count to try and drop the opponents out of the game. For that reason the movement and throw mechanics had to be perfected and took the most fine-tuning out of all aspects in the game. On the other hand, to keep the actual gameplay fun we needed to make sure that the end goal – most chickens out of all players – is present at all times, which meant we had to work hard on the balance.

Character selection scene where players can choose from four different coloured astronauts

Over time the project changed directions more than once – initial low poly look was exchanged for a soft cartoon-y look, realistic environment went through a neon dye and mechanics were changed to fit the gameplay – but each change tied the project better together into a solid entity. By the end of the actual project timetable we had made a product that we were already really satisfied with. However, after winning both first place and audience’s choice in Finland’s first student game development competition Bit1 ( link ), we are now determined to keep working on the game further to perfect it for its launch.

For now, you can download a playable demo from the link below!

Download link

Space Hen Hassle

Dante’s Infernya – GA Spring 2018

Dante's Infernya logo

Genre: 3D action platformer

Platform: PC

Team: Period of Play ( Mikko Voima, Jari Salonen, Gerda Skrūzmane, Jemina Aittomäki )


We really, really like cats. That’s one of the things we bonded over during our first game project – Lethal Tentation – and so we decided to stick together and dedicate our new game to our beloved pets.

Portraits of five cats that are pets of the game developers

Dante’s Infernya lets you play as a mischievous cat on a mission to cause absolute chaos in his owner’s apartment. Destroy breakable items and misplace others as you try to avoid being caught and taken to the Box of Shame.

The main core of the gameplay consists of 3D platforming across furniture, hiding from the human AI and using the swipe attack to knock over items. The cat also has a super jump that can be precisely aimed to access hard to reach places.

During this year we also participated in the Bit1 student game competition, and Dante’s Infernya earned 3rd place and will be one of the games representing Finland in the White Nights game conference in Saint Petersburg at the end of June. As such, we will continue working on the game at least until then, and publish the full version afterwards on our Itch IO page.


An in-progress build of the game can be downloaded here –

DANTE’S INFERNYA BETA

Unzip the entire folder and double click on “DantesInfernya.exe” to launch the game.


CONTROLS

Keyboard / Mouse:

  • Movement – WASD / arrow keys
  • Camera – mouse
  • Jump – space
  • Super jump – hold left shift, aim with mouse, release to jump
  • Swipe – left mouse button / E

Xbox One controller:

  • Movement – left stick
  • Camera – right stick
  • Jump – X / Y / A / B / left stick press
  • Super jump – hold left trigger, aim with right stick, release to jump
  • Swipe – right trigger

Games Academy Spring 2018: Ukonkuula

Creativium team members

Toni Mutanen (3D modeling, texturing, sound, code), Lauri Kosonen (code, sound), Valtteri Ojanen (code, sound), Ville Niemi (code) and Sofia Kari (Texturing, 3D modeling).The concept

Since Finland had it’s centennial celebration last year, we wanted to pick a finnish theme for the game. Kalevala was an obvious choise, our national epic poem. Surrealism and heavy metal music / mentality were also brought in to freshen things up. We first played around with an idea of a game where you would defend a boat from the witch Louhi, but we figured the replay value of that game would be very low. Then Lauri suggested we could make a pinball game. We all thought that a pinball game would have a fitting scope for short spring project. Oh, how wrong we were. Pinball design is a skill that is mastered in years, not in weeks or months. Kalevala wasn’t the easiest topic to convert to a pinball table, since the poems mostly focus on the characters and their developments. For research purposes, as a team, we went to Vapriikki’s game museum, since there’s a Twilight Zone pinball game there. We got a feel for the game, shot some video and took some photos for reference.

Tuonela’s swan guards the ball gutter.

The development process

The playfield layout was discussed many different times and it went through several iterations. Some work was wasted, because we didn’t lock down the layout early on.

We had plans for other game modes, in addition to the the sampo mode. A pinball table usually has more game modes than just one. It would be easy to add more, now that we have the play mode framework done, if we decide to continue the game’s development.

Sampo rises from the playfield, once the sampo game mode starts.

Pinball physics were suprisingly difficult to replicate. The ball had to have the correct weight so it would move at realistic speeds etc. We decided to use a path based ramp system, which disables the default Unity physics while the pinball is on a ramp.

All of the playfield lights had actual spot lights in them, which had a large performance impact. We had to remove them, for playability’s sake.

Communication could have been better, which lead to some team members being idle, not knowing what to do next. One team member didn’t have a smart phone, which lead to some annoyances.

Unfortunately, our main artist Sofia, had very limited time to do project work, since she was working long hours as a waitress. Pinball tables are usually full of art, our table looks rather plain.

Kantele Hero

The game needed a mini-game, like most real life pinball games. Once the colored dots reach the larger lights in the bottom, you must press the corresponding flipper button to play a note. If you miss five times, the mode ends prematurely. Kantele Hero gets harder every time you enter the mini-game, but gives out more points.

A rhythm mini-game.

The music

Suprisingly, we managed to get rights to use music from the finnish folk metal band Wolfhorde. Their music was very fitting to our game, since they use kantele in their songs. What we learned, lesser known bands are easy to approach and are more likely to grant usage rights to their sonds.

https://www.facebook.com/WolfhordeBandOfficial/

Try out our game

Download it on Google Drive right now.

Controls

Left flipper bar – left ctrl

Right flipper bar – numpad enter

Launcher – enter

Nudge left – q

Nudge right  – p

Games Academy Spring 2018: Gone

Gone – a game by Team Asylum

Gone is a sneaking/exploration game that takes place in an asylum. You play as a child looking for their mother. The game has several rooms, enemies and a little story that unfolds through reading the pages of a story book.

We started with designing the layout of the rooms and getting a placeholder version of the player character into the game. We then moved onto designing the enemies and their AI. We modeled the objects in the game and put in the final versions of the player character and enemies. Bit by bit, we started to have all the pieces together to build the rooms. We then started to do other things while building the rooms, like sounds, menus and spicing up the visuals. We ran to many problems during the project, but were able to get through them.

A bunch of stuff we did for the game had to be redone and some mechanics and features were added. This was due to not really having that strong of a vision for the project.

But this meant that we had the chance to learn a lot of new things. We became more efficient with the use of Unity and learned more about the aspects that come to making a game. And all of us got to do 3D modelling, for example.

In the end, we got a playable build of the game done. It’s missing some things that we planned on having in the final version, but all in all we are happy to have gotten the game to the point we did.

Teamwork was important and we stayed in touch well during the project. We are glad to have taken upon this project.

Here’s a link to a playable build, that you can download:

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1Xgfz_DT1ZIGPDSGl3_14YIdUsBvP6fzQ?usp=sharing

 

Team Asylum

Juuso Etelämäki, Aino Kuismin, Henri Gullsten and Jaakko Liukkala

Games Academy Spring 2018: Super Sprocket

Super Sprocket

from zero effort

About the game

Super Sprocket is a 3D platformer inspired by games such as Super Mario 64 and A Hat in Time. You can test your platforming skills on nine different levels with varying difficulty from easy to frustratingly hard. Complete three levels to unlock the next set, and tackle the harder difficulties. You’ll unlock checkpoints as you go, so don’t worry about losing progress.

After you start playing, you’ll quickly find out that each stage is different. Some require precision with jumping, others perfect timing. Super Sprocket also features three themes that are shared with all of the nine stages: Beach, Cave and Lava Temple.

Design Process

Initially we wanted to make a game with focus on adventuring and combat, something akin to the early Zelda series (A Link to the Past, Link’s Awakening). We decided to shift focus into more platforming/puzzle oriented gameplay, because implementing combat features and enemies would’ve taken more time than adding new obstacles, such as spike traps, movable boxes, switches, etc. Obstacles like this take considerably less time to make and provide more gameplay variety than an entire combat system and an enemy or two.

We wanted all of our game pieces to be modular, with options to link them together. We had four programmers working on different pieces, but they’re made to be able to interact with each other (for example, a switch that’s made by one team member can be used to activate a platform or a trap that’s made by another member).

Get the latest version of Super Sprocket here!

M0ti and Crash Ball (release name might change)

Story behind Crash Ball.

We started with 4 person team in mid January and our game idea was player climbs mountain in 3D platformer with some simple problems for player to solve. Our vision was never clear inside team and that lead to motivation problems what lead to communication problems.

After 6 weeks at time of first playtest with Gareth we had little something but mostly nothing. Reason for this was that only two out of four team mates had committed anything and what was committed felt and looked bad. We decided to kill that project.

We formed new two person team, M0ti. The very morning we killed old project we started new one with smaller scope to fit two person team and the lost 6 weeks.

New project named Not Crash Bash (renamed to Crash Ball later)

The game idea is more modern version of Crash Bash’s game mode called Ballistix. A simple 2-4 player competitive local multiplayer airhockeyish/football game, where every player plays a goalie in a small arena and tries to keep balls out of their goal and get them in other’s.

The basic design we copied from Crash Bash and we made playable game in three days. Then we added Pulse mechanic that pushes nearby balls outwards from player. After that we started adding Stunball, Magnet mechanic, ball trail chancing color. Making menus took time but we did do something different like color selection from Hue.

Big improvement we needed was controller handling and we decided to buy Rewired for Unity via asset store. Game Academy paid for two copies of Rewired that we needed, thanks! We added sounds late and we used FMOD for better sound handling and control. Implementing these two tools to project took time since it was our first time using these tools but both are easy to use once you read some documentation and check some tutorials.

Thanks to Rewired and FMOD!

-Toni Sundell, Max Louhio

Edit: Link to game download

Games Academy Spring 2018: Heist in the museum

Heist in the museum

by Team Owlet

Step into phantom thief’s shoes!

About the game

For the 3D game project, our team decided to create a stealth game with puzzle elements for PC. The game has a heist theme and is set in an alternative world resembling the early 20th century.

In our game titled Heist in the museum, you play as a phantom thief that must steal a treasure from a museum vault unnoticed. You control the thief with mouse and keyboard from third person view.

During the heist the thief must figure out how to get the treasure from the vault while avoiding guards. The thief can distract the guards with lights and sounds to make moving in the museum easier. If the thief is detected by a guard, the game is lost. You win the game by escaping the crime scene with the treasure undetected.

In the future, we are planning to release Heist in the museum on itch.io when we have finished polishing it.

Design process

Our vision was to create a 3D game that would have a heist theme and set in an alternate world resembling the early 20th century with a simplistic art style. Our initial game idea was to make a heist themed room escape game for PC. After pitching our original game idea, we needed to rethink it based on the feedback that we received from Gareth Noyce. Therefore, we decided to change the game idea to a stealth game with puzzle elements to cut our workload. The basic concept is still the same as it was in the beginning, but only the puzzles were harshly simplified.

Thief’s heist plan.

Like the name implies, our game, Heist in the museum, is set in a museum. We spent a lot of time designing the museum layout, its rooms, camera angles and the course of the game. We had to redo the whole museum several times until we got the results that we were after. The game currently has one level that is divided into six rooms that contain guards, puzzles and interactable items.

Things don’t go as planned as museum vault key parts are missing.

Based on feedback we got from playtests, we changed the thief’s controls a lot during the project. The game was originally controlled only with a mouse but later we settled on mouse and keyboard to make the game experience more pleasant. The thief was also given two different speeds and now players are able to switch between walking and sneaking whenever they want to. While sneaking, the player makes less noise and is harder to detect, which comes in handy near, because the guards will notice the player when they come too close. The game is lost when the thief is caught and it gives an option to reload from the moment the player entered the room.

Be wary of being caught as guards patrol the museum.

Our intentions is to publish the game soon as possible on itch.io, but for now playable version is available here for PC:

Google Drive Download

Team Owlet
Project manager, artist and game designer: Nea Ohvo
Composer, artist and game designer: Henrietta Kontio
Programmers and game designers: Esa Nord & Ilkka Tyni

Games Academy Autumn 2017: Abysmal Lair

Abysmal Lair

By Team JuMi²

Game Idea

Our team decided to make a top down dungeon crawler type of game with simple mechanics, simple story and one boss. Our aim was to make a game which feels good to play and to fight enemies, in other words mainly mechanics based. Idea was to make an atmospheric and dark (“abysmal”) dungeon with blood trails guiding the player to the final boss.

The player is a human sacrifice to the god called Alphaurn the High Adjudicator but he decides to rebel and fight his way through the dungeon to kill the god. On the way player is able to uncover some of the story through old cave paintings.

Development

We decided to use a beta version of Unity for development because it had the new tilemap system built in. Because we used a new feature which had not been fully developed yet, we ran into many problems game design wise, which our main programmer tackled very well, but that took some resources away from other development.

Our project ended up being quite graphics heavy before any real game mechanics got implemented and some animations ended up making the responsiveness suffer. However we improved and optimized these animations and added movement directions from 4-directional to 8-directional, which clearly made the game look and feel better. Character graphics and animations were exported into sprites from 3D models. Background graphics and UI was designed in Photoshop.

Game has specifically designed sounds and music made by one of our team members. He also designed multiple particle effects on player and enemies, which give them a nice finishing touch.

Conclusion

Game has everything implemented that we had in our initial plans, but ended up lacking a bit in playability and it might not be that easy to find the “fun” in the game at this stage. However we are especially proud of our clever enemy AI and player’s fighting mechanics, let alone our extensive character animations. Our team got to learn a lot of new things. Through many hits and misses we have gained a lot of new knowledge for future projects.

Play

Windows: download

Play in a browser