GA Autumn 2020 – Penguin Rescue

Game name

 

Penguin Rescue is a 2D platformer game where the player goes through different levels while saving their little friends and eliminating hungry dingoes. The adventure is nothing without dangerous traps, such as ice spikes coming from the ground and icicles falling from the ceiling. That’s not all; the player also needs to beat the timer on each level in order to continue the game. The player gets health back by eating the fish that jump around the levels.

The game is easy to learn and fun to play. The game is challenging but not too hard, and it fits well for someone who hasn’t played a lot. The timer encourages players to go for the best time, and what’s more fun than comparing the results with your best friend, right?

Download the game from this link:

https://shaakku.itch.io/penguinrescue

Jumping fish

Development 

Our team, Hungry Hamsters consists of two programmers and three artists and we are all first year Games Academy students. Our mission was to make a 2D game by using one of the given old-school 2D arcade games as a reference. Our top two options were Bubble Bobble and Dig Dug, and after an intensive discussion and planning with the team we ended up with Bubble Bobble.

Pretty quickly it was clear that we would use the reference game only to generate ideas for our own game. Little by little we managed to figure out the game we would like to make; a platformer much like Bubble Bobble. The objectives of the game were formulated along the way, which took a bit of time to figure out. When we were clear on the objectives, it was easier for programmers to focus on coding and artists were able to start planning and creating the game graphics.

We generated ideas throughout the project, but we had to leave many features behind due to strict time limit. Our team worked well together, and we were able to discuss things with honesty.

The biggest issue we encountered in this project was the fact that we had to work remotely for the whole season. It brought new challenges our way and had an impact on all team members. Despite these challenges we were able to make a good-looking and entertaining game and that’s what we should be proud of!

Features:

  • Running and shooting platformer fun!
  • Rescue cute little penguins from predators!
  • 9 levels
  • Hazards such as spikes and falling icicles
  • Timers in levels encourage speedrunning
  • Get ratings from each level; replayability!
  • Fun and sleek graphics
  • Solid and addictive gameplay
  • Controller support

Hungry Hamsters:

  • Aleksi Asikainen, programmer
  • Lassi Ojainväli, programmer
  • Sanni Kataja, artist
  • Salli Ruskamo, artist
  • Eini Kuha, artist

 

 

GA Autumn 2020 – Bomberfox

https://tehn1ppe.itch.io/bomberfox

bomberfox logo

The goal was to clone an old-school arcade game, and we very quickly ended up with Bomberman heritage as the team agreed on creating an action game. We set out to play and watch videos of other Bomberman-style games to draw inspiration from. The main ideas were roguelike elements and an asymmetric co-op play, where players would have different but complimenting abilities. As the scope of this project for us as relative beginners became clear, we simply ditched the multiplayer aspect and concentrated our efforts on creating a smooth single player experience.

concept art

The first steps were creating some concept art and themes, and a simple game prototype. One of the early mechanic decisions was about player movement: Would we go for a tile-based movement or give the player free reign to run through the levels? We started early with a completely free movement, but as the bomb-laying and its relation to environment and enemy destruction became convoluted, we changed to a grid-based movement. This turned out to be too rigid for us, and since we were not using tilemaps in the game, the grid wasn’t that useful for us anyway. We ended up with an amalgamation of both; The player having free movement, but bombs and enemies using whole number coordinates, for ease of environment destruction and AI behaviour respectively.

prototype screenshot

As the art style and core game loop took shape, we started having a more tangible sense of the scope. We wanted to keep things relatively simple to be able to deliver a working game that was fun to play. We had 3 different enemies, a configurable bomb, a simple level and the player character, and early feedback with these drove us refining the core loop further with smoother controls, fluid player movement and animation, and more challenging enemy behaviour. Once this basic flow was established, we could turn our gaze to expanding the gameplay and refining the look of the game with lights, effects, additional animations and even a dedicated story scene.

Bomberfox assets

Our original plan was to give the player some currency from killed enemies and a power-up shop to use it in – either when the player dies, or when transitioning between levels. Difficulties in deciding the exact mechanisms along with feedback given drove us to redesign this part of the game. Instead of recycling the killed enemies through a currency and a shop we decided to drop this idea, and instead give the enemies a chance to drop power-ups directly. Since the bombs were already configurable, creating variation for them wasn’t hard – the difficulty arose from deciding which kinds of power-ups would actually be useful and how players would use and store different bombs and bomb upgrades. We floated ideas between a single special bomb slot to having an inventory of them, and ended up with simply having 3 types of special bombs and a dedicated button and inventory slot for each. The player could only carry a single one of each of these, but they would be complemented with range and capacity upgrades to the basic player bomb.

The idea of endless progression in the game had been in the backs of our heads from the start since we had the concept of implementing something roguelike to the game. At first this was simply adding enemies and changing how the levels looked, but as the enemies themselves were somewhat configurable as well, they ended up getting faster as the player progressed through the levels. At this point we also featured randomly generated levels, but ended up using a combination of presets and randomly generated content to prevent creating dead-ends and unreachable positions in the layout – this turned out to be the easiest solution without using any kind of pathfinding algorithm.

Level preset

In hindsight leaving the UI and menu mechanics to the end of the project was probably a mistake as it wasn’t as easy or simple as we thought it would be. The implementation of tasks like pausing things and navigating menus became surprisingly difficult because we hadn’t factored them in from the start. Despite this we got everything working and managed to snuff out or avoid game-killing bugs – according to our release candidate testers the game turned out to be fun to play as well, so we are happy with the results!

Gameplay screenshot

Eppu Syyrakki: Programming
Laura Huovinen: Programming
Hannu Timonen: Graphic Design, Animation, Music
Niilo Kajala: Graphic Design, Animation, Management
Pekka Juntunen: Sound FX
Emilia Mikkola: Animation, Level Design

GameCamp Summer 2020: KitsuCare

Team

Laura Julkunen – main developer
Toni Sundell – code assistance

 

Game idea

The idea for KitsuCare is something I came up with during winter and during spring I figured GameCamp would be a great opportunity to bring this pixely fluffy hybrid creature to life. I got frustrated with how much PlayStore’s pet games felt like clones of each other. For the pet design I came up with the idea of mixing a jackalope and a kitsune since they’re both cool and bunnies are adorable. I used to have a Tamagotchi and I wanted the nostalgia vibes in my game. Thought about what I used to enjoy in virtual pets but also how them not having any endings made them a bit repetitious in the long run. I wanted to put a spin on the game and have some endings in it too.

 

Development

The game is still incomplete. There isn’t any audio in the game (at least yet) so development has mostly been alternating between planning/designing how to implement what, animating/drawing and coding. Animation took a lot of time. I started with pen and paper first most of the time. I’ve had to learn a lot: developing for mobile, animation and more programming.

For things I wasn’t familiar with yet I used tutorials, googling my issues and occasionally asking help with them directly. There was a lot I just didn’t know. Especially earlier in development issues with the save system caused headaches. As a more experienced coder Toni was super helpful with sorting that out. Later there was lots of spaghetti code too which needed to be optimized.

 

I ended up developing the game a bit differently than I had visioned it originally which to be fair is extremely common in game development. My original vision would have required an even more complex animator system to be implemented. As game development takes a lot of time, I’ve thought about what’s necessary and what’s not.

Feedback from testers can also alter the design of the game and course of development if people are clearly confused about something in the game. Especially early on getting feedback from multiple different people was valuable. It was interesting to notice how different people pointed out different problems they found.

 

 

Playtesting is a bit tricky with this game though as some features only appear after a certain amount of time and many are yet to be implemented. I also discovered that to some people my game wasn’t as intuitive to play as I was hoping it would be. I’ve thought about it and I hope the changes I plan on implementing will make it clearer how the game works.

GameCamp Summer 2020: Project: Space Pirate

Project: Space Pirate

HURLY AXES

Aleksi Asikainen – Programming
Heikki Gauffin – Programming
Sanni Kataja – Art
Lauri Kullas – Art, Audio


Game Idea

Project: Space Pirate was coined as an unholy mixture of Towerfall, hero shooters and that 20th century space western VHS your mother wouldn’t let you borrow from the local library.

Having made a simple two player football game earlier in the summer, we were all quite confident in the idea of taking what we’d learned during said project and building upon it to the best of our abilities in this one. There were things we had never managed to add – controller support, for example – and this felt like a good opportunity to scratch that itch to oblivion.

And speaking of oblivion…

Development

So, obviously things didn’t quite go as planned, even if others did. Pairing the largest scale of game we’d make this summer with a growing sense of exhaustion within the team was – in retrospect – a mistake. Yet, we made do with what we had and could, even if several tasks required seemingly endless hours of energy drinks and quiet decay to learn and overcome.

Our most significant struggles arose from trying to implement controller support in a way that would allow for two-to-four players to select their characters simultaneously and wrapping our heads around Unity’s Pixel Perfect Camera, which was essential in getting the game’s pixel art looking as crisp as possible.

However, controller support…

Controller support didn’t make it.

But boy, were the pixels crisp.

In the end, what we ended up with was more or less a demo version of our original vision; two characters instead of four, two players instead of four, one map instead of several… and the list goes on. But forgetting the things we didn’t manage to do for a moment, we’re more than happy with the things we did.

And that’s pretty cool, too.

GameCamp Summer 2020: C.H.I.L.D

Team Halcyon

Luiz Gustavo Bezerra (Art, Modelling)
Toni Heinonen (Coding)
Onni Heinonen (Coding)
Waltteri Junnila (Level design, Art)
Niklas Isaksson (Audio)
Miika Minkkinen (Art)

Game Idea

A third person shooter with roguelike elements, based on a sci-fi world and story made by Luiz.
In the game you play as a mecha pilot, chosen for the C.H.I.L.D project. You carry an important mission as a key component in solving the war between humanity and The Omega, an empire of robotic beings united by their common faith. You level your character’s stats through conversations (a series of one-shot, 5-dialogue-option interactions) with the child you’re pregnant with.

Development

Coding

Coding went very fluently. We had two coders on this project and we made clear distinction on what each of the coders would do. I was in charge of coding the UI and everything related to it, for example stats, dialogue, sounds, inventory, saving and loading and so on.

Onni was in charge of coding all the gameplay elements. I did not need to code anything 3D or physics relates, which was the plan all along. Only problems we had in the beginning and a little bit in the middle was merging our branches to the master.

Good thing was that we rarely touched each other’s scripts or the same scene, so the merge conflicts were easy to solve.

 

  • Toni

Developing and coding the gameplay elements went smoother than in my earlier projects, but I had trouble with some aspects, namely the third-person camera controller, which I swapped from one made by me to Unity’s Cinemachine, and the character controller’s ground detection feature. In the end I’m happy with how most of the game’s elements turned out and I think the project was a success and a great learning opportunity.

  • Onni

Art

Art development poses its own set of challenges. The concept art for the enemies wasn’t solid at all at first, but as the game progressed it gained a slightly more cohesive identity. Overall, I didn’t come up with a clear and original visual identity for the enemies, but at least it was partially cohesive. Texturing took an extremely long time, but in the end it mostly paid off in the form of a dramatic quality improvement in relation to my earlier projects.

3D modelling went a lot faster, with the exception of weight painting, which had its own pitfalls as I have never weight-painted a mechanic body before. Since the joints aren’t stretchy, isolating the painting from each articulation was quite difficult. The result was the most successful in the form of the main character’s model, a giant mech with which I’m quite satisfied (especially its animations).

I have rarely finished a 2D digital artwork, especially one with such visual complexity as the one used in the title screen portrait of a pilot in the cockpit. That was achieved through such careful handling of digital art program features the likes of which I have never done before.

The environmental props turned out glitchy, with missing faces, without the normal maps I had made for them and placed in a very messy manner in the levels. The biggest mistake here was having started transferring most of the content from Blender to Unity in such a late stage of development that I couldn’t find enough time to fix them there. Not having given enough focus to Unity was the downfall of this project from the artistic perspective.

I’m quite proud of the 3D mecha design and animations and especially the 2D portrait of the pilot in her cockpit that serves as the title screen. I came out of this project a much more meticulous and methodical artist, something I was in dire need for.

 

 

  • Luiz

Making maps took longer than expected, especially that they had to be large due to the huge player model (15 meters tall). Everything looks so much different up high so it was quite hard to get into that mindset. But humans are adaptive creatures. After a few trashed attempts, things started to look better. Making interesting and big maps is challenging but I think we succeeded well. Some polishing would be good but time ran out.

  • Waltteri

My responsibility in the art department was enemy character concept art, texturing and I also did a couple basic models at the end as well. My texturing started out as making completely new textures from scratch, and in the later parts of development I started reusing and reassigning parts of already made textures. I learned mostly from my teammates, and while I had little experience in doing textures from before, I learned a lot more new during this project.

  • Miika

Audio

In this project I was the audio designer focusing on sound effects. I had zero experience in making sound effects for games prior to this project so right from the beginning I knew that I was facing an interesting challenge!

Luckily I did have some experience with working with DAW’s so I didn’t have to completely learn a new software. Still I spent countless hours researching game audio, watching tutorials and just trying out stuff. I’ve learned a lot about audio design during this summer, but still have a long way to go in mastering the secrets of it.

During the project I had almost complete artistic freedom in producing the sounds needed for the game, but also managed to fulfill some great ideas from the team members. All of the sounds that were made did not get implemented, but we still got a great set of good sounds that makes the game a bit more vibrant.

  • Niku

GameCamp Summer 2020: Hell-o

Hell-o

 

GGames
Marko Halin Programming, Level Design
Eini Kuha Art
Coral Nguyen Art
Amanda Vanhatalo Game design, story writing

 

Game idea

Game idea was to combine visual novel into 2d platformer. Game setting was set to hell, mixing 7 deadly sins and layers of hell we best known from the book Dante’s inferno. In game you had choices that would raise or lower your empathy points and give you different ending depending on those choices you have made. Platforming part would be simple, mostly to have player more options to explore around.

Development

At the begin we brainstormed lots of ideas and picked things we liked most in the end. Visual novel and platformer ideas were top candidates, thus made sense to try mix them somehow. Next, we thought about possibly interesting setting and did end up going with hell theme with personal growth as backstory. Dante’s inferno was heavily inspiring for the story. Idea was to have different set of art and levels for every layer of hell and sin.

Developing the platformer part of the game was inspired from hollow knight, to have that control of your character that could feel good and keep the player in charge. For level designing we first had levels that could take few minutes to explore and complete, but after feedback we cut those levels shorter.

 

Unfortunately, our visual novel part didn’t make it in time, so it had to be cut from build and the game is not ready for release.

GG.

GameCamp Summer 2020: Sir Yron

by CavernaWare

Petri Virtanen – Programming
Juuso Toivanen – Programming
Esa Kotiranta – Art
Aleksi Jalonen – Art
Fansu Janneh – Music & SFX

Sir Yron is a top-down 3D hack’n’slash with arcade-inspirations. You battle endless hordes of undead in a quest to slay as many as you can before they slay you.

Development

We started GameCamp 2020 with the idea that we would try to make a game where everyone would have the chance to expand their skillsets and try new interesting things. We settled on an arcade-type approach due to the freedom they have in their design. We took pretty much the first idea that came to us and started to build on that, that idea being a loose 3D-version of Super Ghouls ’n Ghosts for the SNES. We were lucky to get a passionate sound-person on our team early on, and working with him was easy and effortless.

Early game prototype

 

Core concepts / mechanics

The base idea of the game would be the player battling against progressively larger and harder hordes of undead monsters while traversing through procedurally generated islands, armed only with a 3-strike sword combo and a shield that can block or knock enemies back. The one thing we wanted to copy almost directly from SGnG is that the player’s HP would be presented as the physical armor they had on – when you get hit, you lose the armor. If you get hit without the armor on, you die. We wanted to keep the horror/undead setting of our inspiration, but also keep the game more light-hearted and toonish.

Late game prototype

Challenges along the way

As is tradition, the scope got a bit bigger than we could handle in the two months time, though we knew early on that we would continue development after the course deadline. Landing on a consistent ledge detection system took more iterations than we thought, and we had to write a supporting algorithm for Pathfinding from scratch. Apart from those, and a massive memory leak we solved on the final week of the course, things went pretty smoothly in the big picture.

While development is still ongoing at the time of this blog post, we are happy with how the game has turned out.

Download our game on itch.io!

GameCamp Summer 2020: COWBOY SHOOTER

COWBOY SHOOTER

TEAM 1+2

Daniel Bardo (Programming)
Juho Mansikka (Programming, enemy design)
Jaakko Leskelä (Level design)

 

Game idea

At first we just wanted to make a simple FPS game in one week but weren’t really happy with our progress so we decided to stretch the development time to few weeks. The game is inspired by the old school 2D FPS games and we went for a western style. Player has to shoot enemies that are moving towards them and clear the level of all baddies.

 

Development

Our development didn’t go very smoothly. At the start of each development week we talked about what each team member would do for that week and then everyone worked independently for the rest of the week. This lead to some issues with build conflicts and we didn’t use Git very effectively. Better, more frequent communication would have alleviated a lot of the issues. On the bright side, we did a good job splitting the tasks between members and we each knew what part of the game we were working on.

We didn’t have an art department so we resorted to using Unity Asset Store and Google images for majority of the art/graphics.

 

GameCamp Summer 2020: PUNK BUSTER 2069

 

TEAM

Lenny Smith Code, project management
Eero Salmi Code
Luca Virjo Code
Juhani Nevala Art
Aatu Seppänen Art
Edgars Zinovjevs Music

 

DEVELOPMENT

Being already a battle-worn veteran in the world of competitive shooter games, Eero suggested that we make a first-person shooting gallery as our first week prototype. After the initial shock of hearing each others voices for the first time over Discord, we started cooking up some hot ideas and eventually decided to go for the cyberpunk theme. While not taking the project itself too seriously, the end result made the whole team proud.

Next few weeks passed, prototypes were made, sleep rhythms were disturbed, levels of sanity were questioned and everybody was having generally a good time. We now had the chance to dedicate the next 4 weeks into a bigger project. Eero – having already emotionally invested into Punk Buster 2069 – pitched the idea of trying to finish the project into a more fleshed out version. Riding his neverending love and enthusiasm for Spas 12-shotgun, the team managed to dish out a decent game.

The core gameplay revolves around shooting stationary enemies that shoot you back and drop health or ammo pick ups. You have 3 different weapons and 3 different maps to choose from. The game ends once you clear the level or you lose all your health. The game calculates your clear time and accuracy percentage.

 

 

Realizing our ideas into a functioning game was a rather streamlined process. Everybody had their own set of things they were expected to deliver. We did implementations and testing piece by piece to ensure functionality and progress on the project.

There were many first-timers in the team, so listing what we learned is a bit of a stretch. Instead, let it be mentioned that the whole team got a solid experience of game development in its core. All of us worked hard and we put in our best effort to have a game we can present to others while holding our heads high.

GameCamp Summer 2020: Sound guys

Fansu’s Sound Design POV

The introduction: Fansu

My name is Fansu Janneh and this was my second year in GameCamp. This time I wanted to focus on one bigger game rather than multiple small ones.

CavernaWare was in need for SFX’s & Music with a splendid game idea so I reached out to them and poof, the next thing I know, I was provided with a plethora of different interesting ideas they’ve been thinking to fit the game.

I was so excited to be working with such passionate people I decided that I’ll try to focus on the transparent communication with Team CavernaWare to ensure that the vision they have for the game is met in the world of sound design.

Because of the global epidemic I just had this “small” drawback — This whole project is to be done remotely.

 

The introduction: Allan

 

Hi, my name is Allan Castellanos, and it is my first time at the game academy. My dream of learning how to implement music and sound effects in video games started this summer! Downloading and installing many gigabytes of new software, watching, and following audio tutorials were just the beginning of this new adventure.

A team was looking for a solid audio person, and I quickly became very interested in the game because of the game idea and the atmosphere they wanted to create “magic and fantasy”. After the first meeting via Discord, I got a list of sounds that may be necessary in the game and what kind of music could be good for the game. My idea for the music was to create something that sounds magical and deep and a little bit retro. So, I decided to give a try to my modular and play some random chords. For the foil sounds, I asked a friend if we I could use his studio because he has a collection of “weird” instruments, so I could try to create unique sounds, the recording was mainly inside a closet filled with blankets. In the end we got a great collection of sounds with great quality that my team could use.

The plan

I decided that the best way to ensure transparent communication is to combine both audio as well as visual ways to convey my thought process.

I made mind maps to show my demos step-by-step to the group members through discord, tested the demos with my friends and asked a few questions like: ” what kind of game do you think this kind of music fits?” or “What era of time do you think the game is set?”

I asked for any concept art or background story from the devs, because even if it’s never gonna be in the game itself it helps me set the mood and the feeling through the songs.

I like to think music can tell the unheard story of the game and music has a nice meta-level to it’s storytelling — The story it tells might be different among the listeners.

 

A simple flowchart of the way the music reacts to combat and non-combat stuff with loopand transition regions falsely named as parameters 💩.

The process

Music:

The common theme of the game was this medieval fantasy world that doesn’t take it self too seriously but also doesn’t sell itself too short.

I wanted to compose something that has a grandiloquent or pompous feel to it, but still fun and playful full of clichés.

The “grandeur” of the songs came from the orchestral instruments. Spitfire Audio, world renown provider of epic orchestral tools, gave BBC Symphony Orchestra Discover for free and most of the orchestral elements were made with that.

I also used a free harp vst to create some feel of wonder to it. Sampling was a big part of making things swing in the songs as well.

For battlescenes I layered orchestral, arcade synths and rock riffs and synthetic percussion to create contrast and to tell the player this is still “just” a medieval-hack’n’slash-stylized-zombie with playful earworms and “what nots”.

 

SFX:

I don’t want to make this blogpost too long so I’ll try to keep the explanation at minimum.

The vision was to use mostly organic voices with some magical synthetic sounds here and there. I asked for some animations in video format, put them into ableton and made sfx while using the video as a reference to trigger attacks n’ tails of different sound layers frame accurately.

I used own sounds, stocks and synths, layered different stuff and experimented like crazy with different effects like Valhalla Supermassive (It’s free, amazing and you should go get it now!)

 

Menu screen theme was to be more like a lullaby:
a sad/hopeful orchestral composition.

The adaptiveness

FMOD is something I don’t have too much knowledge about as I mostly do music and sfx’s and the only time I ever have the chance to do dynamic transitions in music is to games here in game camp.

Here’s a graph that explains a bit of what I did:

The end

To wrap things up I had so much fun and I would come here again again to expand my knowledge if only that were possible.

I’m quite sure these gamecamps where the highlight of my school years cause I got to be as creative and childish I wanted to be, doing the things I enjoy.