Games Academy Autumn 2019 – Problemouse

The game

Problemouse is a single-player 2D puzzle game inspired by the classic Bomberman games. In the game you control a mouse and try to escape the mazes with limited amount of bombs.

 

Development

We wanted to take a different spin to the Bomberman games’ idea and make something new, and so we settled on integrating puzzle game elements into it.

Managing a game project was pretty new to the team, but we were able to keep the scope reasonable. Therefore we finished well in time with a decent amount of content in the game. During the development we received a lot of helpful feedback, which was used to improve the game.

 

Features

  • 20 different levels to get your brains in a twist
  • Different bomb types
  • Power-ups
  • Time challenges

Team SandSquare

  • Tommi Mäkeläinen: coding
  • Pasi Mäkitalo: coding
  • Pauliina Lahti: coding, level design
  • Marjaana “Beya” Staaf: art
  • Mikko Laitinen: art, level design

Download the game here!

Dog Flight

Dog Flight is an action-packed dogfighting game, inspired by retro and retro-style shoot ‘em ups like Luftrausers and Time Pilot. You play as the captain of a prototype fighter, shooting down hostile planes and deftly dodging their shots, facing overwhelming odds alone with only your skills to help you.

Fight your way through five levels and waves of enemies, and come out as the top dog!

Features

  • Fast-paced dogfighting action with flashy visuals
  • Challenging gameplay with nuanced combat
  • 5 action-packed levels with unique enemies and graphics
  • Both controller and keyboard + mouse support

 

 

Development

When coming up with ideas for our game project, we had a decent amount of freedom. We were given a list of retro games, and told to use one of them as an inspiration and base for our own game. However, while researching the list, one of the team members drew a connection between one of the games, Time Pilot, and a much newer game Luftrausers, by the Dutch indie studio Vlambeer.

Broadly similar games, both based on flying a plane and fighting enemies with full 360-degree movement, Luftrausers’ big gimmick is that movement is physics-based; the player needs to concentrate both on fighting enemies and keeping themselves flying. Pitching it to the team, we all thought the concept was interesting, and agreed to try and make something similar.

The development process of the game went fairly smoothly. As movement is a huge part of Luftrausers, that is also the part that took the most time to develop. Around the first month of programming was spent almost exclusively on getting the movement and camera to feel right – everything else came afterwards.

The biggest hurdle during the project was designing player feedback. As the game started to take shape, it became clear that a lot of features the dev team thought obvious were actually very difficult for players to figure out – things like health regeneration, player ammo count and the fact that enemies spawn in distinct waves. As it turns out, even a relatively simple game like Luftrausers has to do a lot of barely noticeable things to make the player understand what’s going on. Luckily, both by analyzing how other games do it and by playtesting the hell out of Dog Flight we were able to fix most, though not all, of our feedback issues.

Overall, we’re very happy with how the game turned out, and the things we learned while making it. We hope our players like it too!

Games Academy Autumn 2019 – Slip, Slap ‘n’ Quack!

GudGames

Jami Salonen – Programmer
Laura Halsinaho – Programmer
Niko Sarkkomaa – Artist
Naksu Kihlakaski – Artist

 

The Game

Slip, Slap ‘n’ Quack! is a 4 player party game where you compete with your friends to see who is the ultimate penguin. Play as a small penguin and waddle as fast as you can to stay alive.

Slip to go faster, slap to slow down your enemies and quack your way to victory!

Development

At first we got a really good idea of making a game like Frogger but multiplayer, where you play against other players. Everyone agreed on this idea and we decided to stick with it.

In the middle of the project we decided to rework the movement based on the feedback we got. This took quite some time from rest of the features we wanted to implement. In the end we got most of the features we wanted to add to the game and  got them polished to a point we were satisfied with.

Features

– Multiplayer with up to 4 players
– PvP
– Power-ups
– Random generating map
– Controller support

 

Download link: https://gudgamestamk.itch.io/slip-slap-n-quack

 

Games academy autumn 2019 – Marbles

Ludens productions team

Kalle Saarinen – Programming
Aapo Rantanen – Programming
Waltteri Junnila – Level design
Tomi Linkinen – Artist

The game

 

Marbles is a 2D puzzle platformer where player must go through exciting and challenging levels while collecting every ring in the level to get to the finishline and avoiding spikes on the way.

Development

 

We were working on a different game the first half of this autumn but we had to scrap it because it became too difficult and we would not get it finished for the deadline. We started working on a much simple idea, having our minds in old mobile game called bounce which is also a 2D puzzle platformer. We had a lot of ideas for this but the time was running out and we made this game in about 6 weeks. First week was a bit rough. We knew that time is not in our side and starting new in this point of autumn. But we made it. The ball movement feels smooth as we wanted, levels feels challenging and the art looks nice. We put a lot of time and efford to the ball movement especially.

 

Features

  • 11 Levels
  • 1 Secret level
  • 2 different obstacles
  • 2 different ball sizes

Link to the game

Play marbles for free in itch.io!

 

 

Games Academy Autumn 2019 – Little Red Raiding Hood

Little Red Raiding Hood is a fast-paced twinstick-shooter inspired by the classic arcade topdown-shooters like Shock Troopers. You play as Little Red Riding Hood and her purple-tinted compatriot fighting waves of Wolf Troopers armed with weapons more dangerous than the last.

Fire, dodge, duck and roll your way through this arcade-inspired bullet hell on your own or with a friend!

Development

Very early on, we settled on making our take on the topdown arcade shooter genre, and fairy tale setting was the one fun twist we wanted to add to it. Our original plan was to stay faithful to the source of inspiration, and have a separate button for locking your aim direction, but during the development we switched our controlling system to twinstick. With that addition we could develop much more fast-paced combat for our game which triggers an adrenaline rush for the players, locking them in the game.

We also planned on adding more content in the form of wholly different level designs, along with a boss-type enemy, but we realized we needed to drop those ideas due to the project’s time limit. Instead we focused more on having different enemy types to bring variety to the gameplay.

Our biggest developmental hurdle was planning concrete features from the start. We hung on new ideas for too long, and got our first playable version too late for adequate playtesting early on in the project. After the mid-season feedback, we picked up some steam, and the game started evolving fast into it’s current form.

The team worked well together from the beginning, and had overall very few issues during development. Despite having to crunch  in the last couple of weeks to get the game together, we are happy with the resulting game.

Features

  • 5 Action-packed levels
  • 7 Different enemy types
  • 1 Banging soundtrack
  • 1-2 Players

Try our game!

https://cavernaware.itch.io/little-red-raiding-hood

Team CavernaWare

Juuso Toivanen – Main Programmer

Petri Virtanen – Programming & Level Design

Esa Kotiranta – Character Design & Animation

Aleksi Jalonen – Technical Artist & UI-Design

With Music by Eetu Tirkkonen

Games Academy Autumn 2019 – Bombini

Synopsis

Bombini is a two-player co-operative pc game inspired by the 80s game Bomberman. You and your friend play as two children tasked with finding your way out of a monster-filled dungeon. Use bombs to break blocks and kill enemies to clear the way. Be careful and try not to get hit though, because you and your friend share health.

Development

Already from the beginning, we agreed to make a Bomberman inspired game. We had plans to make both a single-player mode and a two-player mode, but to limit our scope, we ended up only making the two-player one. We started thinking about different enemy types and power-ups to make the gameplay more varied and came up with a lot of ideas. Some of these had to also be cut out because of time restraints.

Everyone in the team had enough to do and although we encountered some problems along the way we stayed pretty well on schedule.

In the end, we’re quite happy with the game, although it could do with a bit more polish.

Features

  • 20 levels
  • 5 different enemy types
  • 4 pick-ups
  • 3 different traps
  • 2 players

Link

https://easegames.itch.io/bombini

Team

Emilia Aaltonen – UI, misc animations, traps, sounds, level design

Saku Pajari – tiles, character designs, animations, level design, vfx

Eero Salmela – programmer, level design

Arttu Knuutinen – programmer

 

GameCamp Summer 2019: Bug Arena and Rock-Paper-Scissors

Period of Play

Mikko Voima – Programmer
Jari Salonen – Programmer
Gerda Skrūzmane – Artist
Jemina Aittomäki – Artist

We present to you two games, one that we started to work on months ago and were able to finish during this Game Camp, and the other shorter project that we brought together in a week during the summer camp.

Bug Arena

This is a 3D arena brawler, where you play as a moth warrior facing off against droves of ants and beetles, using various weapons. The gameplay is broken into waves, where the previous batch of enemies must be defeated before the next can be engaged. The different weapons are littered around the battlefield and dropped by defeated enemies, and allow variety in gameplay as different weapon types have different attacks. 

Find out more about the game and download it for free on itch.io.

Development

Development for the game started in autumn 2018 and the game was eventually released in summer 2019. Our initial inspiration was the general idea of wanting to make a game with combat mechanics, as our previous projects were more focused on platforming and general puzzling. We took directions from Hotline Miami for the perspective and games like Breath of the Wild and Devil May Cry for the animations. Also inspired by the Devil May Cry series, we wanted a simple combo system along with different weapons.

The primary problem in the project was us underestimating how challenging it would be to implement the core mechanics in full, and making them work together smoothly. Player movement versus enemy AI movement, beautifully blending attack animations versus responsive and snappy controls were all interesting problems to solve. Some features were definitely cut out in favor of polishing existing ones. 

The design of the core fundamentals took a long time to figure out, and we went back and forth on issues of player and enemy interactions. As an example, we ended up deciding that to make the enemies threatening enough, they should be able to interrupt the player’s attack by landing their own first. This encourages the player to observe the enemy and exploit weaknesses. To not make the game too punishing or feel unresponsive, we allow the player to perform an invincible dodge from the ensuing stagger-animation. 

Not wanting to spend too much time both skinning the meshes and making sure they didn’t deform during animations, we opted to build the character models around the same armature from separate mesh parts. This also saved us the trouble of making multiple armatures which would have forced us to modify the animations for each armature or even make completely new animations. In the end, only a few animations stayed the same between the characters, namely the moth and the ant. The beetle itself was too different, looking both big and brutish, of a model to look good using the moth’s comparatively minuscule movement set.

In the vein of Hotline Miami, we had the idea of throwing weapons as a limited form of ranged attack, but we never got around to fully implementing it as the combo system took priority and it would have further complicated the control scheme. Another scrapped idea was environmental traps, that would have used the knockback effect of attacks to launch the enemies into spikes for more damage. The remains of this can still be found in the spiked duck you can find in the finished game.

RPS Switcharoo, or the “developers switch roles for a week” project

After such a long project we felt like having a little fun by switching the programmers’ and artists’ roles for a one week project. A Rock, Paper & Scissors game seemed like a good place to start. For programmers that meant opening Blender to 3D model, rig and animate a hand each. Meanwhile the artists would implement the game logic, score counting and animation controller while the graphics were being worked on.

With just the general idea of “Rock, Paper, Scissors” and a point-of-view of the scene to guide us, we ended up taking with the very different approaches to making a hand. One programmer made a slender hand inspired by photographs with short and sharp, to-the-point animations, while the other made a more blocky, chunky interpretation with bouncy, flailing movements.

The artists-turned-programmers learned the basic flow of code, from using public variables in the object’s components, all the way to checking which of the players has the winning hand. All in all, the code needed two heads and four hands on deck at all times.

Switching roles required quite a lot of hands-on mentoring from both sides but it was worth it. Overall it was a very fun experiment that also taught us a lot about what the other team members deal with in their roles on a day to day basis.