Games Academy Spring 2018: Splash

Team

Manuel Gabarron – Lead artist, the hero we need but don’t deserve
Justin Granger – Lead programmer, and damn good at it
Mitja Immonen – Programmer, Unity guy & sound designer
Elli Leppänen – Artist, level designer
Sam Payne – Artist, character designer

The Game

Splash is a casual arena shooter centered on couch co-op. Currently in the game it has up to four person co-op, with one map, and four distinct guns. It is currently possible to be played against time, with max kill count or in endless mode.

Our original idea was to make a lan style shooter. We were quickly told though that it would become a beast if we didn’t immediately change scope. With that information we ended our sights on a couch co op game with a unique theme of water guns.

The game is already fully playable and people seem to enjoy playing it even longer periods of time. In-game pickups and switchable weapons make the game more interesting and engaging.

Design Process

Bazooka vs. Pistol – 2 Player split screen, Splash

After our brainstorming, and quick refocus, we took our idea to the drawing board. Coming up with map layouts and art boards. We spared no time in getting to work and with our three artists we set a person on the character, another on the environment, and our final artist on the guns and drops. As for the programmers we started creating the game control to make it as fluid as possible and the second on our particles and lighting as they would both be important to get the proper feel for the player.

As we progressed through the semester our team kept up a fluid pace communicating and passing work between us. There are still some optimization and improvements to do and we will be working on them after this semester.

Plans for the future

Menu rework render

We still want to improve our game and see how far we can take it. One of our last improvements is a complete rework of the menu, we discussed several ideas and ended up with a new unity scene that shows a cafe where the avatars will appear as the players join the match by pressing start, and the avatars are animated!

Cafe where players can join and spawn on the chairs
Player character sitting poses for cafe joining.

In the end we all were very happy with the outcome and proudly present splash!

Minimum requirements:

  • Beefy laptop
  • Two gamepads
  • Two humans

Google Drive Link (zip-file)

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

Last Habitat: Deep Sea Defense

Nice Nine developer team presents
Last Habitat: Deep Sea Defense

Games Academy Autumn 2017 – 2D game project Last Habitat: Deep Sea Defense

About the game

Last Habitat: Deep Sea Defense is a sci-fi tower defense game set in a grim future where nuclear wars have left continents uninhabitable and the last remaining humans are forced to live in an underwater colony. Your mission as a player is to defend this colony from human-eating sea monsters by building towers. There are four different tower types with unique properties you can built alongside a canyon that the sea monsters use to attack the colony. Last Habitat features an in-game Wiki that holds useful information both about the towers at your disposal and the four distinct sea monsters that you will encounter on your mission to protect humanity and its last habitat.

Wiki that can be opened from the main menu and from the in-game pause menu.

The game has five levels to play through and each level offers more content and new challenges to overcome. As you make progress in the game and unlock new levels, you will gain access to use new tower types and encounter new sea monsters to defend against. The focus of the game still remains the same: protect the colony by building up defenses and survive the waves of monster attacks that will otherwise wipe out the colony and  the entire human race.

Sneak peek from level 4: Lights In The Dark with open tower build menu.

Design process

The design process of the game started with a planning session where the team members narrowed down game ideas into one that could be created within a few months’ time frame. The game genre and idea was quickly chosen to be a sci-fi tower defense game done in pixel art, but initially the game was going to take place in space. To deviate from a popular choice of space as  a game setting we moved our project to take place in the deep sea.

Our design process continued with research on tower defense games to understand what requirements, elements and features should the game have to be a decent one. From that point we started to design the tower and enemy types and thought about how many of them would we need in our game. We came to agreement that we should aim for four different types of both towers and enemies that there would be enough variety to the game. We managed to accomplish this and also created a unique tower type: Solar Link, a twin tower that creates a damaging ray between two towers. Similar type of towers are very rarely seen in any other tower defense games and we are proud of our Solar Link -tower type creation.

One built Solar Link twin tower in action and another one is being built.

Our team encountered a few problems on our design process. As we were working on to create an Android game, the user interface and head-up display elements went through several changes in order to make them large enough and more easily understandable for the player. We tried to give the player more feedback about their actions and also created an in-game Wiki to give the player more information on the tower and enemy types as opposed to filling up the screen space with constantly visible lists or multiple pop-ups. The most troublesome design flaw was the initial use of an energy popcap instead of more classic in-game currency. Late in the project we had to make the hard decision to scrap the energy popcap and replace it with in-game coin currency with very little time to enhance the gameplay experience for the players.

Towers can be managed from the tower menu that opens when tower has been tapped.

Last Habitat: Deep Sea Defense has five levels to play through. At first we had planned that the game should only have three basic levels and an endless level but after few playtests we noticed that three basic levels weren’t enough. We decided that the four first levels introduces player to all tower and enemy types and the last level is a challenge to test the player’s tactics. Unfortunately we don’t have the locking system yet implemented, but it will be in the published game version like the other last adjustments that we are currently working on. We were also forced to drop the endless level, as the replacement of the popcap solution with in-game currency also mixed up the games balance. We hope to still implement the endless level to the game before launching the game on Google Play Store in the first half of this year. On the launch we will also implement the achievements to the game as we will be using the Google Play Services to do it.

Playable versions are available here for Android and PC:

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1LFnbrSjAm1pZhJVD1ndi5GkQy-cyW2kA?usp=sharing

Nice Nine developer team

Programmers: Lauri Leponiemi & Ville Niemi
Graphic designers: Nea Ohvo, Piritta Vaarala & Jerkko Valta
Sound design by Lassi Kähärä

Game Academy Autumn 2017: Robobox

ROBOBOX
by Team AF

Programmers: Max Louhio, Valtteri Ojanen & Lauri Kosonen
Graphics and music: Henrietta Kontio

About the game

Robobox is a 2D puzzle-platformer game where you play as a robot that commands box-shaped minions. The boxes are used to build structures, such as towers and bridges, to solve puzzles and get the player through each level. The levels are hand-built, compact and feature challenges of varying difficulty.

The player’s controls are simple movement and jumping, while the main focus of the game is in moving the boxes. The boxes can be attached to each other’s sides in any possible way and placed on buttons to activate doors.

Design process

The design process started with a card game. We had a pack of cards each containing one game mechanic and picked five random cards from the pack. After that we thought of a game concept that would contain all of the chosen game mechanics and fit into the three-month time frame. One of the ideas was a platformer in which the player creates new platforms using living boxes, which we decided to start working on.

In the beginning the game was focused more on the platformer part. We thought about adding more features, like combat, but quickly came to the conclusion that it wouldn’t fit the rest of the gameplay and scrapped it. Other features that were considered were lasers and reflective surfaces for more puzzle variety, wall magnets for more box placement options and a hub level. Eventually all of those features got dropped because ultimately we wanted the game to be simple and focus on solving puzzles with the boxes.

The levels were first going to be longer and the player would find more boxes on the way and sometimes abandon them to make progress. However, being forced to leave the boxes behind and to go back to pick them up again caused mixed reactions during our playtests. As a result, the levels were scaled down and the player was given the ability to teleport all boxes to their own location at any moment.

Playable versions are available here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B8qUyFDpU2FaZ2ZFUjJwM1U1UDA?usp=sharing


– Team AF