GameJam 2018 : A Vending Mission Jan 26 - Jan 28, 2018
Programmers : Nixon Poon, Parker Old
Level Designers : Joey Fonda, Leslie Leung, Kennedy Kan
Concept Artists : Kin Chi Ching, Kin Lok Ching, Madaline Raatz, Yanni Fong, Alex Chow
Modelling/Animation Artists : Hin Sun Lee, Samantha Lee
Rigger : Lorenz Wan
Baring Transmission as the theme of Game Jam 2018 in mind, we have created a game was about Cash transmission. That a coin was being transferred from the vending machine from to the drink itself. However, the coin went into the wrong path and endangering the machine. Your mission as cogs and gears are to transfer this coin back to the right track. Play up to 4 players, each player has 1 button they can press to control the environmental assets in order to reach your goal!
The 4 buttons that players will be clicking on correspond to a color unique to them. The way you know when you click is if the object you want to interact has your color (or inplied). If you keyed in the right color, the mechanism around the coin will start animating. Your goal is to transfer to coin from point A to point B.
We started with around 20 people meeting in the hall. However after the trip to Mcdonalds, we realize that 7 of them decided to join up other groups to give them support. This leave 13 of us and only 4 of us know how to use Unreal 4. Parker (programmer) and I are both from Kindled Dreams, we are the only programmers.
Game Jam has a very restricting time limit of 48 hours, therefore we must strategize creatively to avoid overly complicated functions. The challenges wouldn't be on the programming but on the design. The team has decided that I should teach some of them how to use the program while Parker test the program prototype.
We started from basic block out, thinking of gameplay and then functionality. After that, that group spread into 3 different groups, modeler, 2D artist, and level designers. At the end of the day, we have 2 very fancy level of approximately 10 minutes of gameplay. We also realize that it is our job to ensure that artist have easy control on their design, therefore, we have decided to create tools for artist and can be easily placed and adjustable.
Taking advantage of Blueprint interface, we have created an actor that runs a boolean within itself, and that boolean information will transfer to actors around it at a fixed distance. With the BPI, a function can be sent out but doesn't have to interact if it so desire. This system in itself reduce a lot of bug, extra casting and time. A sphere-trace function was added to see what mechanism is around the coin. Each time a player presses a button, it updates the boolean.
The above Blue print shows the responding of the object. This is simply a checker to see what was pressed and arrange it on an array that keeps on updating. If the object was given the right information, it will animate and get the coin somewhere else.
We also made the object with the boolean public, so that designers and artist can simply check the boxes for the color they wanted for the object to animate. This is what the designer or artist will see on anything they want to place around:
Base on this system, after coding everything, we went into see if the designer and artist need any help. Then we start designing the level and to make sure it wasn't overly complicated. With this system, we avoided any hardcoding that can waste our time.
For the last 10 hours, we have already got the game packaged and is time for the artist to make the trailer and game testing. The team put me on to voice over the game trailer video.
I realize the importance of the programmer's position to provide artist and designer the best support we can to make their life easier. I realize that it has accelerated the game progression. I learnt the importance of planning before starting on a big project as this. It is a team effort that bring this game to life. However, I believe that we could have done better if there are more organization. We spend a lot of time designing the game, but we should have done more for mechanics. There are many aspect of the game such as the clawing machine has not been put into the game due to the complication on it. We could have develop more mechanics using that time. We are so focused on small detail that we have ignore the benefit of being simple.
The project was overall a very energy draining progress, the leader (Joey) has done their best to get everyone working but not over working. I believe that at least for programmers, we should have put down what we are doing and guide the art team more for their creation. We should also have put more emphasis on content creation. Making the game more obvious to the goal and its purpose. A game is not without meaningful play, I completely agree with our teacher on his criticism that he didn't feel the magic circle concept in the game.