Capstone – In the middle of Week 3

Hi! I am David, one of the programmers for the capstone team Turtle Collective. Well, two weeks have gone by, so I figured I’d start out this post by recapping the last two weeks. Sorry if this ends up being a wall of text – once I’m on a more weekly posting schedule hopefully these will be shorter.

The team

Our team is made up of four people: Eva (a designer), Alexis (an artist), me (a programmer), and Ben (another programmer).

Week 1

Arriving at school for our senior year of college, we were all eager to dive in to capstone. We had one preliminary meeting using Google Hangouts over the summer, mostly just to discuss some of Eva’s initial ideas. During the first week, we basically just thought up a bunch of ideas (most of them being Eva’s, much to her chagrin (she wanted the rest of us to talk more)) and fleshed them out a bit through the course of several meetings. After that, we voted on each one and threw out the ones that no one wanted to do, or to pitch. After voting on the ideas and consolidating a few, we ended up with 9 ideas.

Week 2

We pitched all 9 ideas in class on the Monday of Week 2. Two days later, we realized we had some tough decisions to make. To challenge for the Initial Concepts stage, we needed prototypes of at least 3 games (as well as informal QA for each). Ben, Eva, and I had already started prototypes for three of the games, but remember, we had 9 ideas at the time. It was clear that we would not be able to prototype all of them in one week. Initially, we wanted to challenge on the Monday of Week 3, but it soon became clear that even with a reduced number of prototypes to make, we would really need to take 2 weeks to fully flesh out the prototypes (thus, presenting on the Monday of Week 4). So, we decided to cut 5 of the ideas and we ended up with 4 game ideas to prototype and QA.

The Games

  1. ACTF (Asymmetrical Capture-the-Flag) – A 2v2 CTF game
    • time element – the first “attacking” team (the one that takes the flag) sets a PR for how much time it takes them to take the flag. Once the teams switch sides, the other attacking team must beat their time.
    • verticality – the maps are more vertically based than most multiplayer action games. So, players have to climb to the top of the map to get the flag.
    • traps – the defending team can choose from a variety of traps to try and hinder the attacking team. Since the maps are vertically based, some of these (such as a trap door) involve sending a player to a lower position in the map, forcing them to waste time climbing up to the top again. Some traps are automatically activated, while some have to activated manually by a defending player.
    • Prototype: For this game, the element that sets it apart from other similar games is the traps. So, the prototype will focus on testing out these traps.
  2. Layered Shooter – A platforming boss-rush game
    • layers – the screen is comprised of 4 different layers that the player can switch between. When a boss attacks, its attack will take place on one of the layers, so the player can switch between them to avoid a certain attack.
    • platforming – parts of a boss will be on different layers. To defeat a boss, the player might have to climb up the boss by platforming and switching between the different layers to reach the top of the boss, where there could be a weak spot or something similar.
    • Prototype: Prototype the layer-switching and platforming with the layer-switching.
  3. Mutant Lemon – A stealthy 3d platformer
    • mutant lemon – you play as a mutant lemon in a supermarket attempting to mutate the other lemons
    • movement – your basic form of movement is just rolling around, which is quite slow (but quite stealthy). Since you are mutated, you have a few other movement options, however since these options incorporate mutant tentacles or something similar, these will freak people out if they see you (you are in a grocery store after all, so there will be plenty of people there). So, you must be careful to not alert any people while moving around with your various options.
    • NPC levels – while the average shopper may think nothing of a lemon rolling around, the store manager might think it’s a bit more suspicious. There will be various levels of NPCs, some more suspicious of certain actions than others.
    • duckling lemons – once you mutate other lemons, they follow you around like ducklings.
    • Prototype: Prototype the movement and a bit of the stealth gameplay.
  4. Alt Fireflies – An isometric action-puzzle game
    • glowing creatures – you’re in a forest at dusk and there are many creatures around that you must navigate around to get to your destination.
    • lanterns – you have various lanterns that can charge up the creatures so that they glow more, make aggressive creatures passive, and attract fireflies.
    • you can throw lanterns
    • Prototype: Prototype creatures moving around with glow and darkness fog-of-war.

Week 3 so far

So far, I have prototyped movement, the camera, and NPC AI for the Lemon game, as well as 3 of the basic traps for ACTF. I’ll be working on them more this week to get them ready for QA this weekend. Ben is working on the Fireflies game, and Eva is working on the Layers game. We’re going to help each other out on the prototypes as needed. Alexis is doing concept art.



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