As the winter came I finished up the menus, fades, and the game manager while finalizing the soundtrack. I also went through and completed the dialogue and word design. I think things are well balanced in that regard. I also decided to add some ambience to the scenes which have no music, things like the sound of a fireplace, the hum of the train, the random office chatter, the boiling of tea, etc.
As the winter slowly makes its exit, I am finishing and polishing all the scenes as I put everything together. It’s good that I left myself instructions on how to build things out. I imagine I’ll get completely back into things soon enough.
Still have to find a song that guides and helps brings out the finish.
A quick update for The Word Is Not The Thing. I’ve completed the home and train areas and am moving toward building out the first trailer. Things are moving along well.
Some design notes include trying to understand what happens when I play through just the first area. It’s quite an interesting thing indeed. I think as long as you go in with the understanding that we are not rejecting the word, but seeing its effect, we can directly experience the feeling that remains when we remove the word. And if we do indeed keep observing, that feeling gets dealt with. I’ve spent a little bit of time trying to understand that myself. Intelligence sees, and in seeing the word’s effect we are left with the feeling. What happens if we don’t escape from the feeling with another word is up to you to find out. I think this excerpt from a J. Krishnamurti book sort of relates: “Intelligence sees the falseness of what is going on. When thought is free of this falseness it is different. Then it begins to be a parallel to intelligence.”
At any rate, I’ve also noted that each player will have a different response to any given word. So, in essence, somewhere along playing the game, there will be a word that a player has a stronger emotional connection to than others. The words and narrative are designed to build up from environmental words to the stronger emotional words we might just not feel comfortable with.
Started my latest game a few weeks ago. After thinking about its design for a little bit, I came up with a 3 day structure with interconnected characters and story that develop over those days. With five locations: Home. Commute. Office. Nature. Self. The self being the character’s own head, where the player chooses to go inside and ultimately finds their way through sort of a ‘mind maze,’ going up against the core fear.
Initially, I worked on some art assets and brought them into Unity, but ended up coding the player, dialogues, interactions, controls, camera, and particle effects right away. I’m using SVG Importer and TextMesh Pro for the vector graphics and fonts, as well as texture atlases on the particle effects to make each word destruction unique. Also, Anime Studio Pro now has a SVG exporter that works nicely with what I use SVG Importer for.
Further design notes include some of the little things. From the start, I wanted a simple and minimalistic approach to the graphics and I try to maintain that. I do provide a little bit of tutorial text in two parts of the game, unfortunately, but I think it helps. At the start of the game, we’re using mostly environmental words, seeing if they get in the way and as the story/game progresses, the emotional words start to come in. The game’s use of words, without faces, sort of explores the emotional effect words themselves have on us and if they get in the way of truly listening/seeing things for what they are. I think that’s interesting.
After playing with the simple mechanic a little bit, I can’t help but see things clearly. I hope that whoever plays just goes into it without reacting, defending or accusing, but that’s up to them. Also, there is also the fact that the the symbol/image is not the thing as well, but for the sake of this game, we’re using the word to go into this.
Up next, world building and fleshing out a trailer.
Finally got back into finishing up the little things with Paws this month. The menu scene is done, Facebook is integrated and the backend is working smoothly, even after switching to using GameSparks after finding out all of a sudden that Parse is shutting down next year. What’s next is implementing the virtual goods, designing the levels and animating our lovely Paws. Now back to Unity! ♥
The Facebook SDK (7.1.0) for Unity came out in late September and I’ve been playing around with it in Unity 5.2. I’m finding out what Facebook integration really means in terms of the api calls, posting scores, achievements, app invites, and sharing. I’ve also set up Parse.com to use as my backend for now.
Even though there isn’t much in terms of straight-forward documentation or tutorials online, it was possible to figure things out. Grey Zoned’s tutorials were helpful but I needed to update as things have changed a little in the 7.1 release. I’ve got things working well enough that I may consider creating a Facebook Canvas version of Paws on top of the iOS and Android versions.
The coolest thing is the integration with Parse.com that I am using to store my leaderboard/score data. As Facebook only allows the storing of one high score per game, I needed to store a score for each user for 80 levels. After connecting to Facebook, we grab the user’s FB id, profile picture and name, as well as store a list of friends that have authorized the game while also creating a new user on Parse using the FB id. The list of friends is used to query the top 4 high scores for each level from Parse and at the same time pull their profile pictures using a FB.API call.
Pretty neat. Look forward to going deeper into the Facebook integration.
New things since the last update include clearing mind jellys and using bomb pieces to clear entire rows or columns. There will be 80 levels with increasing difficulty, and the powerups are at the top. The powerups include resetting the stress meter, pausing the stress meter, 5 more moves, 1 more panic, and removing any one type of idea from Paws’ head.
Unity is far better than using Spritekit/Xcode. I’m glad I switched. Up next is the stress meter and animating Paws.
Poor little Paws. He overheard some humans talking about all the things they stress about and now he’s got all these crazy ideas about stress and relaxing stuck in his head! No wonder his stress levels are all over the place. Help Paws on his journey. Remove the ideas of stress and relaxing from his head. Ensure that he doesn’t panic! Calm him down and help him breathe!
Paws, my new game is starting to come together. I created a few mockups to help flesh out some details and how things may work together. I also started on a little backstory about Paws.
It’s no longer so much about balancing between stressors and relaxers, but to remove the whole idea of stress and relaxing from Paws’ head.
Somehow it’s turning into a match-3 game of sorts. There are 8 pieces, 5 special resources, a stress meter, target scores, move limiting, and stubborn pieces that are harder to get rid of than others. Point is to make matches to keep the stress meter from going up in order to reach each level’s objective. The more combos you make at a time, the happier Paws gets, the more the stress meter comes down.
Check out the layout so far and stay up to date on Facebook or Twitter for now.
Started on my new game last week. It’s called Paws. It’s a puzzle game where you have to balance between different stressors and relaxers while ensuring that little Paws’ stress doesn’t build up causing him to have a panic attack. And if he does, there is a little mechanic to breathe him out of it.
I’m excited. This is the first game I’m designing while actually learning some game design, as well as my first made using Unity and C#. Say hello to Paws, the character from my new game, getting an anime studio makeover.