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.

GameCamp Summer 2019: The Sound Guys

The Sound Guys

Fansu Janneh: Music and Sound effects
Burak “Kake” Çağlayan: Sound effects and FMOD implementation.
Pauli Ondruska: Sound effects and FMOD implementation.

All About the Sound

Our teams’ tasks, working methods and goals were quite different compared to other teams as our focus was to create sound effects, music and sound implementation for games.

We were in a unique position because we were able to work with different projects either as a whole team or by spreading to multiple other groups at the same time.

In our collaboration projects we had a focus on using FMOD (a middleware digital audio workstation tool that’s used by various leading game companies around the world) to create professional level immersion and adaptiveness to game music and sound effects.

We also had personal projects that either related to learning FMOD implementation, like learning C# and Unity implementation, recording audio or just creating music and sound assets for other teams.

In indie games or games of small budget the typical sound personnel might have to be the sole audio recorder, mixer, composer and sound designer for the whole project.

Development

Stray Sheep

We did not want to limit our creativeness, so every team member was free to create and join in any part of music or sound production. We still started our projects by dividing the work according to our skillset and interests to keep ourselves from overlapping tasks. Kake and Pauli had their focus on in specializing in FMOD and learning to delve deeper into the world of adaptive music and 3D sounds. Fansu was interested in the raw creation of original music and sounds.

In a game called Stray Sheep, we split our workload to three steps. Kake created 8-Bit sound effects, Fansu created the music and Pauli arranged how the music and effects shift throughout the game in FMOD. Stray Sheep was all about speed and running so we got this idea that the speed of the main character advancing in the game makes the music more intense and the effects like thunder and rain to be more frequent as well as prominent.

Stray Sheep visual style was arcade-y and old school, so we wanted to use bit crushed sounds and instruments. We also wanted the music to resemble the atmosphere of an evolving storm, from slight rain to the full-blown storm, splattered with erratic drums and a more primal lead instrument.

 

 

Fansu composing music for a game and looking awkwardly towards the camera

Tavern Brawl

 

We also worked on a deeply thought-out turn-based strategic fighting game. The development team had specific demands for what they wanted the game to look, feel and sound like so we knew we’d have to get out the big “guns” for this one, and by guns, I mean shotgun microphones, industry standard audio equipment and a solid audio treated studio environment.

We recorded all special effect sounds from the ground up, it’s always a great feeling when you have the opportunity to record everything by yourself.

We went to the Mediapolis to record different audio like incoherent drunken dialogue, tavern background chatter, chants and yells. Also, we recorded and edited things like steps on different surfaces.

 

Pauli is setting a double microphone set up for recording dialogue

 

Eventually we had gathered all the material needed to begin working in post. We went through all the recording, choosing the best ones for our goals in mind, organizing them accordingly. Next the fun could begin.

It’s easy to start messing around and trying out new things when you have a lot of sounds recorded and organized neatly. With the theme of the game and the conversations with the development team in mind, we started to mess around with creating the audible world for the game.

Kake explaining sound recording techniques

You never nail the sound on the first try. You always end up trying out a lot of different sounds, layering them together to find the correct combination. It takes a lot of patience, but after a lot of trial and error we had something the we felt like fit the theme of a tavern brawling game.

 

Example of a dynamic music system within FMOD

We fiddled around with creating a dynamic music system for the games we worked on, because we wanted to be able to give better feedback for the player. Music had to be composed with this specific goal in mind. Using a middleware like FMOD allowed us more creative freedom for creating instances like these with ease.

Even though we understand the basics of C# language, it was not enough to start implementing the sounds into the code itself, so we worked together with different programmers on the course to get a better grasp of C# and to assist them with the implementation if needed. The procedures were painless after we familiarized everyone with the basics of FMOD.

All around a productive summer!

Cheers!

 

GameCamp Summer 2019: Tavern Brawlers

 

Team Mugshot
Rami Sihvo – Design, 3D
Jari Hirvikoski – 3D and animations.
Esa Nord – Code

Tavern Brawlers

The Idea

Tavern Brawlers tells the story what happens when bouncer tells ‘you are not allowed in here.’ The core of it is a turn-based fighting game using the same dice system than Rajakatse pen&paper RPG. Indeed designing the system was the easiest part of the game.

Tavern Brawlers uses WRS system in it’s character creation.

The most successful Finnish Fantasy IP

Rajakatse Fantasia is one of ‘Top 100 Finnish Games’ that are showcased in Finnish Game Museum. With the permission of the organization, we set out to do game on most successful domestical fantasy IP. Rajakatse is LARP organization, LARP meaning Live-Action Role-Play. Their events are tavern roleplay, hence why the tavern brawl idea came to mind.

 

Rajakatse Fantasia LARP at 2012
Rajakatse Fantasia LARP at 2012

Art design

The art style was chosen to be more like World of Warcraft like a cartoon with realistic twists. The main body of art and animations was produced mainly from Jari Hirvi, with Rami Sihvo  doing the additional items to levels. With the final build we noticed everything being quite brown. Well, another thing to fix for the next version.

 

Fierce tavern fight going on

Development

We came back rapidly from the grand plans and settled to make it level (tavern) based fighting game. Just dice rolling is annoying, so we added monster infighting and breakable items mechanics. You can knock people back, sending them colliding each other and NPCs starting fight amongst themselves. Esa was hard-pressed to code the game by himself, in retrospect another code would have made his job easier. Same applies with another graphics designer – could have helped a lot. That said, we see a good future with the game and will continue the project in the future.

 

Onwards to glory (or in this case, infamy)