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.

The 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 rebuild the whole museum several times until we got the result 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. The 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, 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 intention is to publish the as game soon as possible on itch.io, but for now a playable version is available here for PC:

Google Drive Download

Team Owlet
Nea Ohvo – Project lead, artist
Henrietta Kontio – Artist, composer
Esa Nord – Programmer
Ilkka Tyni – Programmer

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

Game Academy Autumn 2017 – Brainstorm

Brainstorm by Iron Heron

Programmers: Valtteri, Kai Heikkilä

Graphic Designers: Elli Leppänen, Sofia Kari

 

Brainstorm is a sci-fi themed 2D fighting game where the players play as highly developed robots. The game is only player versus player, and it supports both keyboard and (Xbox) controllers. There are two different characters in the game.

When designing the playable characters we wanted to make the robots look highly futuristic with some organic aspects to them. Shapes and colours also played a big part in the design process; we wanted the characters to stand out – figuratively and literally – with bright highlights and distinctive shapes. The arena the robots fight in is appropriately a futuristic laboratory with lit consoles and test tubes lining the walls.

Our original idea was that each character would be a combination of a Brain and Body. Every brain and body had unique abilities, giving players a freedom to modify their fighter’s powers and style. Midway the project we realized that we wouldn’t be able to make that, so we cutted out the brains, only taking one or two properties of them and implemented them to the bodies.

We put a lot of thought into the game’s balance and dynamics. We wanted the two characters be highly asymmetrical and still be balanced against each other. We took inspiration from the common character archetypes in fighting games. We decided to make a well-rounded Ryu-like character and a quick rushdown style character.

We wanted the game to be accessible and easy to understand. All the moves are made with a single button press, there are no crouching or dashing, and each character has only three attack buttons. The attacks can be different whether the character is on the ground or in the air. Because of the small number of moves, we tried to make each of them useful in different situations.

It was important to prevent infinite combos and throw loops from happening. We accomplished this by keeping a close eye on the game’s frame data. We also made the attacks push the characters away from each other as a preemptive measure. Throw loops were prevented by adding a throw counter that could be executed instantly by letting go of all the controls. This was inspired by the similar mechanic in Fantasy Strike fighting game.

Link to the playable version:

https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=1RU4l40Z-7U8tHTO6sME5rWOU3zlHf-tE

Games Academy Autumn 2017 – D.A.S.H.

The starting screen for D.A.S.H

Kot Kot:

Toni Sundell – Code

Kalle Vikström – Graphics

Kimmo Heinonen – Graphics

Aino Kuismin – Graphics

D.A.S.H. – The Dimensional Adventures of Sir Hissington is a puzzle game centered around a simple dash mechanic. You are a Scottish golfer lost in different worlds due to an elevator that moves between dimensions.  Your only solution to move forward is to dash through different enemies and try to find your way back home. In each level there is a possibility to earn a golden star by dashing through all of the enemies with an optimal amount of dashes.

Here you have to dash through all 4 enemies in one move to get the star.

Along the way you will encounter different monsters, angry police pigs, flaws in the matrix, flying pizzas and lava to name a few. There are currently 30 levels divided between 3 worlds. The worlds have unique themes, enemies, obstacles and music.  As you complete a level you unlock the next one, so you can’t skip any puzzles. D.A.S.H. is a simple but challenging mobile game.

You died.

In early development we all took a sheet of paper and wrote down ideas for what we’d like to work on. After comparing thoughts and combining things, we ended up with a puzzle game for mobile centering around one mechanic. We wanted different worlds and a simple cartoony graphical style. So our core idea was pretty much set after the first brainstorming session.  We kept the scope small yet we still had to scrap a few ideas. For example at the start we wanted a customizable main character,  power ups and 5 different worlds. Even though we had 3 members working on the graphics, the amount of work spent on art and animation was going to be too much for the time we had.

Our coder did a fantastic job working solo on the game’s code. He reached pretty much every milestone we had and always delivered exactly what was asked of him. The only difficulties we had were with the animation and timing them correctly. Luckily we managed to get them working pretty much as was intended. We were also going to add different particles and lighting effects to increase atmosphere and make the game feel more alive. In the end we ran out of time, so we just added a simple light for the levels and a strong spotlight for the main character.

As for the graphics we decided to divide all the work for each of the 3 artists based on their skills and interests, so that everyone got to do the part they wanted and felt somewhat most passionate about. Early on we decided how the game was going to look and we agreed on the graphical style.  Most of the time was spend on making animations for the character and the enemies. We wanted to make them more interesting with different movements. We think that despite that we all have a different style of doing art we managed to make the game worlds and characters look and feel very good and consistent.

The internet master race surfer deserved some lighting as well.

A playable version for Android can be found here:

D.A.S.H. – The Dimensional Adventures of Sir Hissington

 

Games Academy Autumn 2017: The Night of the Lizards

The Night of the Lizards
by Pet Lizards

About the game

The game tells a story of a person having the worst hangover of their life, turning their night into a series of encounters with lizards and other creatures. The genre of the game is roguelike and it works like Mystery Dungeon games. The main character goes through randomized dungeons with different sceneries. There are lizards who will attack you along the journey, but they will also drop power-up pills that make you stronger. The enemies get stronger the further the player advances in the game but luckily the power-ups stack. There is a boss fight every 5 floors. The goal is to advance as many floors as possible aim for a high score!

The game is playable on PC and uses keyboard as controls.

Main character going through a swamp level.

Design process

We wanted to make a RPG game originally. At first we were thinking of having more elements in our game, like different classes, weapons and companions. Those ideas were scrapped quite early in the process as we realized that we wouldn’t have enough time to implement all those ideas. We chose to aim for a simpler game we could finish in time.

From the beginning we wanted to make a game which would have replay value. This is why we were thinking of making many enemy types. We ended up making 4 types of enemies: a weak enemy, an agile enemy and two different bosses. To add more replay value, we were first thinking of having different classes or slight character customization, but decided to stick with one main character only. Instead we decided to make randomized dungeons so every playthrough is a little bit different.

Main character in a boss fight.

We hope you’ll have fun playing our game. You can download it here.

Thank you for reading!
Pet Lizards
🦎


The Team

Pet Lizards
Antonio Rodrigues da Silva Neto (Team Leader/Programming)
Matias Bergström (Programming)
Anna Topolova (Art)
Oona Paavilainen (Art)

Music
Lassi Kähärä

Game Academy Autumn 2017: The Apprentice, The Dungeon and the Goddamn Teapots

The Ping Box team members: Toni Mutanen (coder / assisting artist), Ilkka Tyni (coder / level designer), Manuel Gabarron (main artist / level designer) and Jerri Ahonen (coder / level designer)

 

The Overview

The Apprentice, The Dungeon and the Goddamn Teapots is a hack and slash game set in a steampunk / fantasy world. The player’s goal is to fight through dungeon levels as fast as possible, while collecting golden cogs that drop from defeated enemies, which deducts time (2 seconds) from the clock. Getting hit adds time (4 seconds) to the clock.

The player can perform a three hit combo by keeping the attack button pressed. It is only a visual feature. We wanted the later hits to do extra damage, but we pretty much ran out of development time.

The Enemies

There’s two types of enemies in the game.The giant wasps that are fast, but can be killed easily. We thought about them being able to poison the player with their stings, but that feature had to be cut due to time constraints. They spawn out of nests. You can’t destroy the nests, but if you hit one, it’ll spawn another wasp (much like in real life). There’s also the animated armors, steam-powered horrors which can take a beating.

The Traps

There’s two types of traps in the game. Tesla pylons that zap the player if he / she stays next to the pylon for a set amount of time. The tesla pylons are destructible. There’s the steam jets that turn on and off in set patterns. If you learn the patterns, you can avoid getting burned.

 

The Destructibles

There’s some destructable items in the game. It’s rather fun having to hack through a bunch of crates to get to the exit. The volatile barrels explode when you hit them, there’s nothing to be gained by hitting them.

 

The Scope of the Game

Our initial scope for the game was way too ambitious. We’ll all try to be more conservative when it comes to adding features to games in the future. Here are some planned features that didn’t make it into the game:

  • We wanted to create an elaborate crafting system, where the player would gather different kinds of materials from defeated enemies. He’d / She’d return them to the forge and use them to upgrade his / her weapon. We figured out a system, where the the appearance of the weapon would change, along with it’s statistics. For example, the weapon would get longer, thus the player could hit enemies further away. Some elemental damage bonuses were also discussed. Given more time, those features would have been doable.
  • The main character has a mechanical arm, we thought about different abilities the character could gain from upgrading his arm.
  • Having another playable female character in the game with different characteristics was discussed. Maybe she would have had a different mechanical body part than the male counter part.

Development Process

We started off strong and ended strong. The middle part of the development wasn’t nearly as effective. Our Usability course had some very time consuming assignments, which slowed the development of the game. This was an essential learning experience, mostly on how to scope games better. SourceTree was a pain, until we learned how to use it properly. Everyone lost at least some work, because SourceTree overwrit made changes. We feel that we won’t be releasing the game, it would need a lot more content to actually ask money from it. Adding content takes time and our 3D game project is already starting.

Known bugs

  • The volatile barrels cannot be hit.
  • You can run outside the levels, since returning to the warp room doesn’t work.
  • Sometimes golden cogs fly to unreachable places.
  • Level 1’s clock doesn’t stop when you cross the finish line.

Download links

Google Drive: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ZCnowsUGSn2SXK8uFcPYzjhP9VInvq2z/view?usp=sharing

Dropbox: https://www.dropbox.com/s/eaa3m5muqtpyciu/The%20Apprentice%2C%20The%20Dungeon%20and%20the%20Goddamn%20Teapots.zip?dl=0