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Round 4, Session 3 Recap

Last Wednesday after some confusion as to which floor we were meeting on we gathered at a swanky high tech conference room in the Ontario Arts Council where Daphnee works to play and discuss our Scratch creations.

In general people found scratch to be interesting and fun but also frustrating at times.   Everyone agreed it was good for sketching out small ideas but that it definitely didn’t scale up well.  Even with our small projects we ran into issues like having to constantly re-import individual pieces of art every time we wanted to change an art element and having to copy identical bits of code into multiple objects.  However many found that the limitations on visuals were liberating since they forced us all to concentrate on the game mechanics and programming.  Still a few of us were disappointed when our carefully crafted art was imported and lost its detail and smooth edges.

Here are the games including some feedback and suggestions we gave each other for creating the final versions. These final versions, when completed will eventually find there way onto the blog for everyone to play!

Nadine – “Sheep Dodge”

Sheep Dodge

Sheep Dodge

Nadine’s vertical non-shooter wowed  us with it’s trippy artwork and several layers of parallax scrolling background and foreground elements.  In it the player must manoeuvre their flying blue sheep through twilight skies dodging submarines and gathering healing hearts for score and life before the timer runs out.  One unique aspect of the game is it’s vertical controls, hitting up or down moves the sheep to one of several discreet heights giving it a snappy digital feel.

Originally the game had an additional enemy, tiny super fast puffer fish that flew past and expanded exponentially when touched. Nadine decided to take them out because they were super annoying.

Suggestions for the next version included:

  • Adding a musical soundtrack and making the heart collecting sound more pleasant.
  • Removing the healing effect of collecting hearts since it made the game too easy.
  • Enemies who shoot.
  • Small visual changes as the score goes up, such as having the sun rise.
  • Flaming sheep death animation!
  • Fixing some minor bugs with collisions.

Daphnee – “Grab that Chedda yo! II”

Grab that Chedda Yo! II

Grab that Chedda Yo! II

In what is, to my knowledge, an Artsy Games first Daphnee remixed a previous AGI scratch game, Devin Risk’s Grab That Chedda yo! subverting it’s pro-capitalist message and updating it for our troubled economic times by adding elements of extreme personal risk and scatological content to the money grabbing action.  Control remains the same as the original, drag your mouse and the hand will slowly follow it.  However,  along with grabbing for random wiggling cash the player must now avoid the hazards all too familiar to the denizens of Wallstreet: meat cleavers, electric eels and floating feces.   In a terrifying twist grabbing any of these randomly appearing threats will result not in the loss of health or life, but in the loss of cold hard cash.

Suggestions for the next version included:

  • Sound effects for grabbing cash (the threats each had unique sounds when you grabbed them).
  • Having the threats drop from the top of the screen, currently they can appear anywhere including over top of the player’s hand making them impossible to dodge.
  • A winning and loosing condition so the game eventually ends.

Craig – “A Hit Videogame”

A Hit Videogame

Craig hit it out of the park with his metaphorical sports sim “A hit Videogame”. Employing the abstract distressed pixel style he uses in his films the game presents a setup that is Warioware like in it’s simplicity.  You’re at bat and must push ‘space’ to get ready and then hit ‘a’ at the proper time to hit the ball.  Success results in an image of two programmers atop a podium laptop held high in triumph as they are cheered on by several suits.  Failure results in a chance to try again… and again… and again… as buggy hit detection made hitting the ball an exercise in random frustration.   Perhaps an unintended extra layer of commentary on the unsteady, hit driven nature of videogame production.   The game also features some stunning audio with chiptunes, banjo sound effects, and Craig voicing the announcer.  Craig described his experience with Scratch’s instant audio recording setup: “You’re sitting at your laptop and you’ve got a banjo and a microphone and you can do anything!”

The original concept for the game would have been packed with terrible puns, after hitting the ball the player would run around the bases and then get shot by the mob. “Hit A” was going to be the only control however Scratch was unable to tell the difference between a keyboard button going down and being let go and so the spacebar had to be added as an extra button.

Suggestions for the next version included:

  • Fixing the buggy hit detection.
  • Cause the time of day to slowly change after every miss.

Phil – “Rutger Hauer: The Movie: The Game: The Ride!”

Rutger Hauer: The Movie: The Game: The Ride!

By far the strangest game of the evening RH:TM:TG:TR also has a  elegant Warioware like approach to gameplay and takes that games surrealism to new autobiographical heights.  Like Craig, Phil made great use of the sound effects recording function with lots of voice over.   The only thing missing was a losing condition.

Unlike the rest of us slackers Phil has already updated his game with a loosing condition and uploaded it so you can play it now!!! Rather then ruin it with more description I suggest you go play it.

Miguel – “Here be Monsters

Here Be Monsters

Here Be Monsters

The final game of the evening was my two player game “Here be Monsters” a classic cyclopidian squid vs flying turtle battle for coins.   Players steer their respective monster using asteroid like controls, fire bouncy lasers and cast magic circles in an attempt to stun their opponent so they can grab more coins before the timer runs out.  Shooting your own magic circle causes it to grow larger and larger.  Since the magic circles can be used both as shields against enemy shots and offensively to stun enemies on contact several emergent strategies are possible.  After several fierce monster battles, I mentioned wanting to some day make an expanded version of the game in Game Maker and we started brainstorming ideas for other monsters such as flying stingrays and robot whales.

Suggestions for the next version included:

  • Adding some music or drums to the ambient sound scape (just random waves right now)
  • Explain the controls before the game starts or create a simple tutorial before play.

Myfanwy – wrong file!

Unfortunately Myfanwy brought the wrong version of her game, hopefully we’ll get a chance to see it next session!

Next week…

After playing everyone’s games I introduced the tools available for creating our final games and showed a few examples (all local to Toronto and almost all from previous Artsy Games Incubators) of games created using those tools including:  The Landmarkers, Gedzundheit, Snow, Albacross and the incredibly disturbing Mouse Police.  For next week we have to each pick a tool and get at least a simple interaction working.

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Masthead: Miguel Sternberg | Design: Bob