Mastery Journal Month Nine

Quality Assurance

The focus this month was Quality assurance and its integral component of the game design process, as the successful delivery of a game is dependent on an effective QA system that covers both the verification and validation of the product. This month involved, requirements generation, test plan planning and development, defect tracking, and user experience and play test assessments.  I was able to classify, and track bugs in real-world game development projects.

My first project of the month was to deep dive into any system in Unreal and present it in a presentation. I choose the VFX and Particle Effects system in Unreal and presented the transparency card system that makes up special effects foliage in video games. Fire, explosion, magic, bushes, leaves and trees are all made with card systems.  It was very interesting learning VFX inside a game engine instead of Maya. Maya does not have a restriction of parts in VFX.

I have been promoted to Art Lead at Zygobot Studios. Zygobot Studios is also the studio producing my game. This month I acquired seven people on my team for “Roll for Initiative.”

The presentation below is the month end up date if my game.

We are in full production of my game and it is technically playable. This experience has been beyond amazing. I cannot wait for you to play it!

Till Next Month,

Dylan Smith

Mastery Journal Month Seven

Reflections on the prototype Fluidity – 2D Side Scroller

The prototype our team made this month was called Fluidity. Fluidity is a side-scrolling puzzle game where the player controls a blob of water that can change its states of mater to get through each level. As a team, we were split into Dev and Design, consisting of six people in each group. In Fluidity, I was responsible for making the trap designs to hinder and assist the player in progress through each level. I put my full effort into working on the 2D trap models. I did add animation to assist the 3D and found out that it was not necessary. I had made a total of five usable models consisting of spikes, a fan, heat vent, crusher, and a buzz saw.

The prototype created by the team was viable. This venture allowed learning and utilizing Unity. The learning curve was steep with Unity compared to Unreal. The coming months will be focusing on Unreal.

What Went Right

  1. Balancing multiple ideas.  Over the month, everyone on the team put forward ideas that were implemented in the final prototype. A team of ten plus members with various backgrounds quickly came together around this idea. As a team, wanting to find a larger audience, we decided to make a game for a younger demographic.
  2. The game based on water. The synopsis of the game is a sentient blob of water named Como that can transform between the three states of matter (solid, liquid, and gas) to manipulate their form to complete puzzles. As a team, we came up with the idea so simple; it should not have worked; however, when putting this idea into a puzzle game, it worked perfectly. The controls were simple enough for almost anyone to grasp, and the puzzles made enjoyable by the fact you can change your state of matter.  

The player will be able to change between three states of matter, Liquid, Solid, Gas.

  • The Player will use the liquid state to squeeze into tight spaces.
  • The Player will use solid-state to push objects and click buttons.
  • The Player will use the gas state to float up.

3. Art direction.

It did not take long for everyone to understand the atmosphere of our game. This premise of an escaped lab experiment allowed for some very creative traps and environments. The team played with lighting traps and generated fans to enable the player to float. All the traps are set in a 2D modern laboratory.

What Went Wrong

  1. No in-person collaboration.

The most significant drawback of our game was that we could never meet in person due to the current state of affairs, pandemic. This led to some fatigue and a lack of communication.

2. Split the workforce.

Around week two, we decided to split into two teams, team A and team B. Team A was working on a prototype where the environment changed your state of the water. Team B was working on a prototype was that the player changed the state of the water. The problem was that team A was still working on team B prototype due to miscommunication, which led team A prototype unfinished for presentation. Team B prototype was polished by the presentation.

There are two prototypes that we focused on.

  • Team B- Button press to change state- this prototype has the following button map to change the state.
  • Team A- Environment Triggers- this prototype has only the basic controls and require points in the map that will change the state of the player.

3. Sick

Around week two, I got sick with the Covid19, which significantly impacted my ability to work.

4. 3D to 2D

My background is primarily in 3D, so it took me the better part of two weeks to catch up with the other 2D artists. I tried my best to keep up with what was required for the project. I faced two major obstacles during this course. First was working in 2D and an engine that I did not have experience in. The second was being sick, both things withstanding, I did everything I could to contribute to the level necessary for the project to be successful.  

Where Does Fluidity Go From Here?

I do hope our team brings this game forward to Roy’s next class. I can see this game being fleshed out and finished if most of us put in the effort. I will personally continue to learn Unity and practice my 2D art, so when or if we go back to Fluidity, I can contribute more than I did this month because I believe this prototype. 

See you next month,

Dylan Smith

https://www.nerdzgarage.com/

https://www.artstation.com/nerdzgarage