GA Autumn 2021: Rat Mash

Game Idea

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

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

 

Development

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

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

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

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

Team Monki Flip

Artists:

Emma Erjanne 

Joona Ljokkoi

Mikko Nystedt

Liisa Pirhonen

Coders:

Veeti Karilainen

Ville Karilainen

 

Download here

GA Autumn 2021 – Superbuzz

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

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

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

Development

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Download here

 

Team Jousters

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

Games Academy 2021: Pyramid Dash

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

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

Development Process

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

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

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

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

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

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

The members of the amazing Team Alpha DAWG are:

Programmers:
Samu Lehtineva
Amanda Vanhatalo

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

Also from outside the team, we received music from:

Brandon Emene

Link to final build

GA Autumn 2021 – Manse Madness

Download here

Manse Madness is a reimagined version of Frogger, in which the player is a student traversing Tampere and beyond. There were a lot of features we wanted to add to the game in order to take the basic ideas of Frogger and develop the game further, such as power-ups and enemies. Initially, we had planned on telling a story with the game. While there is progression in the locations the student visits, we were not able to add many story elements into the game.

Original title screen from early development

Development

We wanted the game to have a vibrant and playful feeling. With some ideas for the basic look of the game, we got to work creating the assets and integrating the game, all while refining the core of the gameplay. We noticed during our development stage that our lack of a clear vision for the visuals ended up working against us. While we had been making very steady and consistent progress, the stages looked pretty disjointed. We created a color palette to unite the game, but it meant that many assets had to be redone. A very noteworthy lesson about the importance of planning!

The early stages of the level tilemaps as the color scheme was decided

Once we had the basic elements of Frogger within the game, we began focusing on power-ups and abilities to really make our own game shine, as well as adding an AI enemy.

Our work was done remotely, but weekly in-person meetings and check-ins on our progress helped the game progress as smoothly as possible. We were able to keep our scope reasonable throughout the project, which gave us time to add additional features towards the end. The game we ended up with is visually appealing and enjoyable, and we all learned a lot while making it!

The finished downtown level
You can’t have a Frogger clone without rivers and logs!

Download here

The Retro Foxes:

Olli Mähönen: Programmer

Matti Nurmi: Programmer

Essi Mäkinen: Artist

Anu Hautakangas: Artist

Lari Kettunen: Artist

Dominique Desanges: Artist

Games Academy 2021: Rift Hopper

Rift Hopper

 

Our team Sigma Katz decided to remake the original Pac-Man with a little twist. We wanted to add multiple different themed levels with procedural generation, so that every level will be different from each other. Travelling between levels happens through rifts, so this is how the game got its name, Rift Hopper.

 

The goal of the levels is to collect all the coins without dying to the enemies.

 

Features 

  • Single player 
  • 3 different themed levels 
  • Procedural generation so every level is unique 
  • Multi-room system 

 

Creepy Castle; where you must watch where you step or you will burn.

 

Development 

The project started in September. It began with a brainstorming, and we quickly got ideas of how to modify the classic Pac-Man. The basic idea was to make a game with multiple themes, new graphics and some interesting features. We decided that each level should have a different theme, so every artist can have something entirely their own to work on and show off their styles.

This semester was very busy and we had other very time consuming courses, so many of the level ideas and different types of power-ups were dropped off. Game is still a work-in-progress, but most of the basic elements are implemented.

This project taught us much and it was a good learning opportunity to us all. The most important thing we learned from this project is that communication and weekly meetings are important in order to keep on the good pace.

 

Team Sigma Katz 

Aleksi Karppinen – Art 

Olivia Koivisto – Art 

Tomas Wass – Art 

Santtu Syväsalmi – Art and sounds 

Otso Alenius – Programming 

Ville Vennonen – Programming 

GameCamp 2021: KitsuCare

 

Team

Laura Julkunen – developer

Development in 2020

KitsuCare is a virtual pet game for mobile devices and it’s still under development. I started developing this game in 2020. I’ve explained the game’s concept here: https://homepages.tuni.fi/laura.julkunen/kitsucare/

Last year’s development more in detail on my GameCamp 2020 post: http://www.gamesacademy.fi/page/2/

Development in 2021

After GameCamp 2020 I’ve continued development in Spring and GameCamp 2021. It’s been interesting to notice that even after a year of development areas of improvement still crop up. The way most transitions between areas worked started to bother me personally, so I changed them. One tester was really distracted by blinking prompts, so I replaced those with using stripes instead. GameCamp’s great for getting feedback from your game, most of the time clear improvements can be made. I also learnt that heat waves really melt my brain, that was an unexpected hinderance to development.

There’s surprisingly lot of different things that go into the development of even one game. I hadn’t originally thought that I would need to touch anything related to physics, but then in Spring I messed around with that a bit to implement a minigame. A while ago when I started implementing more visual guides in the game I noticed objects don’t act as I expected, so I need to adjust how one guide works. I also encountered some very confusing bugs later in summer, turns out I need to adjust how nighttime works.

My biggest mistake has been continuing to rely on pure enthusiasm which unsurprisingly lessens with time. Not having been able to implement actual progression to the game so far has also added to the atmosphere of stagnation. Though at this point development is far enough for me to start developing progression to the game. What I plan on changing in my development now is to make it a bit more of a routine which will be a more efficient strategy for eventually finishing this game.

GameCamp 2021 – HIDE

Download link : https://jolied.itch.io/hide

Game idea

HIDE is a horror game in which the player takes control of a young boy, investigating his school in the middle of the night. Unfortunately, he’s not alone, and to escape the building, he will have to gather items and unlock doors while hiding from a mysterious monster, wandering in the corridors looking for prey.

We were greatly inspired by the indie game “Walk 散歩”, a PS1-stylized game taking place in a japanese setting, where a schoolgirl is chased by a yokaï on her way home. We really liked this visual style, and as we already created PS1-like assets for a previous game,  we decided to stick to it for our bigger project. 

The game revolves around simple horror-game mechanics such as exploring the school, finding items to progress and open locked areas, and finally getting out of the building, all the while avoiding getting caught by the enemy. The player can crouch behind props to avoid getting seen, or try to outrun the monster during chases.

Development

We started thinking about the context of our game, and as we appreciated the idea of having a “kid main character”, we quickly came up with the idea of a school setting. We created a circle layout that would allow players to always have a way to reach the desired area, without ever being totally blocked in a corner by the monster.

The artists started making props to fill the different rooms (classrooms, cafeteria, lounge…), respecting the PSX-style, by modeling with as few triangles as possible and low-res pixelated textures.

Our programmer focused on making the enemy AI, by giving it a path routine, making it wander through the building and react to the presence of the player in its detection radius.

It would also be our biggest challenge, as the monster would sometimes get stuck in walls or not react to the player at all. But we were aware from the start of the difficulty of making such a balanced AI which wouldn’t be too powerful, but also enough of a threat to keep players on their toes.

We learned a lot about PSX-style visuals, helped by renderers and lots of post-processing effects, also about event triggers that would block players’ progression until they find the appropriate item.

All in all, development went quite smoothly! Being a small team definitely helped us to keep an organized schedule and have efficient communication along the project!

Team:

Joni Honkanen – Programmer
Liisa Pirhonen – Artist
Néd Richard – Artist

GameCamp 2021 – Transgressor

Game Idea

We swooped into our final GC21 project hungering for an FPS game, since none of the team members had worked on one before, but all of us had a special place in our hearts for the genre. For inspiration, we peered quite far into the past;  to the days of Quake and Unreal Tournament, where the polygons were few and the gameplay fast.

Dual wielding and gliding became a core part of the player’s arsenal, since we wanted to have a thing or two to differentiate our game from most games in the genre being published, even if neither of those things – on their own – were anything new or unique.

So that’s how Transgressor crawled out of its sarcophagus.

screenshot

With a lot of shooting comes a lot of tomato sauce, so what better theme to go with than vampires? Choosing to be a bit more Legacy of Kain than Twilight, our designs took influence from both the ancient and the gothic, feral and civilized. We wanted the player character to tower over most enemies as they rained carnage across the level, be it on foot or leather wings, and made you feel like a god playing 4D chess with mere mortals.

Also – perks of being a vampiric creature – bathing in the blood of your enemies heals you, and if you miss the showers, you can always pop their corpses like human-sized pimples with a melee attack. Neat.

Development

We hit the ground running on the first week, where our programmers created a strong framework on which the rest of the game was promptly built; at least on the technical side of things. Since we were about to move fast and shoot hard, a lot of testing and thought had to go into not just designing the level, but making sure it felt as good as possible to traverse.

For one of the programmers, it was the first time trying out Unity’s NavMesh system for the AI navigation, which proved to be a bit challenging, especially in a game where the platforms are large and far between and there’s a considerable amount of verticality to take into account. We also got to try out some of the shader graph basics and now understand what kind of things can be done with it and how it could be utilized in the future.

concept art

On the art side of things, plenty of firsts were also experienced; our character/weapons artist had minimal experience with Blender – or 3D modelling in overall – and a lot of things had to be studied up and learnt while working on the assets. Naturally, crafting a larger scale environment also had its own struggles and challenges to overcome.

A few weeks into the project, it became very clear to us that this was something we’d love to work just a bit longer on, and thus paced our work accordingly. This, however, meant that the game wouldn’t be “finished” during the summer, but rather, we set our sights on an itch.io release later in the year.

Team:

Eetu Pohja: Programmer

Heikki Gauffin: Programmer

Katariina Paulaniemi: Artist

Lauri Kullas: Artist, Audio

 

Download the latest build on

Google Drive

Itch.io: TBA

Game Camp 2021 – Azimuth

Azimuth is an isometric hack ‘n’ slash game where the player is a brave treasure hunter who explores the dry air pockets in order to find the secrets of underwater ruins. The path to the secrets isn’t easy since countless enemies will try to stop the player from advancing. We were heavily inspired by a video game named “Hades” and brainstormed until we ended up making hack ‘n’ slash with an underwater/Atlantis theme.

Our original plan was to create a game where you go through levels in randomized order until you reach a boss fight room which would have been the last level but due to time restrictions we had to drop the idea. Instead the player can now go through as many randomized level loops as they can before they die. The task might sound simple but the enemies get tougher and more dangerous after each loop – how far can you get?

Our programmers faced a challenge with the isometric perspective regarding the movement and visibility in levels. How to make sure that the player hits correct targets upon clicking the screen and how to make sure that enemies don’t hide behind walls where the player can’t see them. These didn’t stop us and we found answers to all our troubles.

The game’s theme and looks caused problems among the artists. Initially the game’s theme was supposed to be a mix of Atlantis and Bioshock/steampunk but none of the artists had much experience with steampunk. After many discussions, we slided away from steampunk and more towards art nouveau which turned out well.

In the end we are pleased with how the game turned out and it was a great learning experience for the whole team.

 

Team

Eero Salmi: Programming, Audio

Laura Huovinen: Programming

Jirko Haapapuro: Graphic Design, Animation, Level Design, Character Design

Juho Mansikka: Graphic Design, Animation, Character Design, Particle VFX

Ada Ikonen: Graphic Design, Environmental Design

 

Download here

GameCamp 2021: Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead

Game Idea

Idea to make a bullet hell style, danmaku inspired shooter had been brewing inside the head of one team member and this was the perfect chance to try it out. Everyone thought that this type of game would offer a lot of interesting challenges and opportunities to learn, while being reasonable to complete in our time limit.
For the art style we took inspiration from NES style pixel art and cartoon series like Adventure time and Owlhouse. We wanted the color to be more nuanced and muted compared to the 16 bit era to give the game a modern look.
Gameplay wise we took inspiration from games like Touhou 7, Jamestown and MegaMan. From Touhou we studied boss design and took notes on how the game uses music to elevate the gameplay. Jamestown served as a good reference on how to keep more muted colors readable and clear. Megaman was there mostly for the vibe.

Development

The development process ran smoothly throughout the whole process and gave a lot of valuable opportunities to learn. With the game having a lot of moving parts the developers had to learn how to keep the code organized and clear. Building solid tools for content creation was crucial for reaching the finish line. We learned quite early that getting all the parts is only a minor part of the development process. Most of our time was spent tweaking things and trying to find a good balance for the game. The small details that make a game satisfying to play seemed to take as much time as we were willing to dedicate to them.

We had to learn how to keep the graphics compatible and consistent between two artists. The moodboard design document helped with this greatly. It allowed us to have a reference point and thus keep the style consistent and true to the vision we had.

The moodboard in question (the bird being the most important component):

First the looping of the background art was challenging but it was resolved easily and some graphics had to be removed and changed later to more suitable ones but as always the best result comes via testing and learning. The biggest challenge apart from consistency was keeping the art easy to read as the gameplay could be rather hectic and the ability to separate enemy bullets from the background was paramount.

In the end we’re very happy both with the end result and with what we learned along the way.

Play it here: TBA

Team Members:

Kaarlo Kangas: Project lead, Programmer, Audio
Ville Karilainen: Programmer
Joona Ljokkoi: Artist
Samu Hujanen: Artist