Friday, October 31, 2014

Boss Battle: Analysis, Castle Of Illusions Jack In The Box battle

In preparation for our upcoming assignment to design a boss battle in game design we're analyzing a boss battle we thought was "kick ass". I picked The Jack In The Box battle at the end of the Toyland level in the Disney platformer Castle of Illusions. I chose this battle because it was simple and straight forward, the mechanics were presented in a way that felt easy to learn and understand, and it's challenging without being too hard not to be fun.

Toyland Boss Battle

Battle Introduction:
The player goes directly into the boss battle after completing the final phase of the toyland platforming level. The player enters a darkened room with a green box in the middle, the narrator gives a small intro and Mickey announces when the Jack in The Box pops menacingly out that "Now I'm in trouble"

Game/Level integration:
Using a jack in the box at the end of a toyland level is an obvious choice that fits in well with the overall level. Jack in the boxes are also kind of sinister I suppose due to the "Surprise" aspect, so it seems appropriate for a boss battle. The mechanics all incorporate springs in some way, which fit into the design of a jack in the box. The level also takes place on an over sized drum, which is fitting as there are a lot of toy soldiers in the toyland level that precedes. 

One of the ways the battle signifies that the player is moving to new stage of the battle, and hints that the obstacles are going to become more difficult is in a change of the music's pace and intensity. At the second and third stages of the battle the music is notably more frantic and powerful. 

Another way is the lighting. When you hit the second phase of the battle the lighting turns red, signifying things are getting serious.

Phases of the battle:

Phase 1
-Part one of the first phase of the battle starts with the boss bouncing around the scene on a spring. The player must avoid being crushed/losing health by running. Where the boss will land is indicated by the drop shadow underneath him. After the boss is done jumping, the camera fixes to a profile of the level and locks the player in place. We see a spring with a boxing glove coming out of a door in the jack in the box, facing the player, its obvious that you must duck to avoid this. When the player ducks and avoids the attack, the spring bounces back to the boss and hits him, briefly incapacitating him and spitting out a springed platform for the player to bounce on. The player then must time their jump and bounce on the spring to jump on the boss's head and take away a point of his health. 

Phase 2
In Phase 2 the boss stations himself in the middle of the drum and extends two springed gloves to the drums borders, and spins clockwise The player must time their jumps so as not to run into the spinning arms. After this, the same fixed player location and camera are used as before and the sequence the player used to damage the boss in the last phase is repeated. 

Phase 3
The lighting changes to intense red here, so you know shit is going down. The jack in the box folds itself back into its boxy form and from each side a boxing glove appears. The box spins around the drum randomly not fixed in one location and bounces off the sides. The player must run AND jump to avoid damage in this phase. Again, the sequence in which the player damages the boss is repeated at this point.

Phase 4 
Phase 4 repeats the same fixed location and spinning arms as in Phase 2, however, the difficulty is increased as there are now 4 arms instead of just 2. Also, the spinning begins clockwise but switches to counter clockwise midway through, another method of increasing difficulty. Again, the sequence in which the player damages the boss is repeated at this point.

Phase 5
The last and final phase the music becomes even darker and deeper. The jack in the box jumps around so hard that it creates shockwaves. The player overcomes this obstacle by running and timing their jumps, so that when the box lands they can avoid the shockwave. For one final time the player damages the boss in the same sequence as before.

Overview of Game Mechanics/How the obstacles are overcome:
The player overcomes the obstacles in the battle using quite simplistic mechanics, the first is running to avoid the jumping boss. The second is ducking. The third requires the player to time their button press to high jump onto a spring platform in order to jump on the boss's head to damage him. The third is timing jumps while the boss's arms spin clock and counter clockwise around the room.

Player Reward: 
In the end of the battle the player is rewarded with the orange rainbow gem. Collecting these gems are the game's main objective. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Mushroom Mania Presentation

This week we pitched our concepts in game design for the toy project. We're eventually going to be making an entire trailer based on our beat sheet and this pitch. The idea is to prep us for pre production for our thesis next semester. We'll be pitching a ton of ideas, so this is a good way to get a grasp on putting together a comprehensive concept.

Here's the link to my pitch:

And my full beat sheet:

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Hero Prop: Modeling Progress

This prop has probably been the hardest and most tedious assignment of the semester for me. It's the most complex thing I've ever modeled, and because we're rigging it  I've really been focused on making the parts fit together realistically so they can slide and move over each other without any bumping or grinding. It has been quite challenging at times. I'm not used to thinking like an engineer. 

My high poly model is sitting just around 633,403 tris, and I've just finished my second pass at getting my low poly finished. My low poly is currently at 19,605. I'm pretty happy with that number. Eventually we'll be baking the high poly down to normals.

Here are some shots of the high poly model so far:

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Final Hero Prop Design DFA: The E.E.L

This is my final for the DFA prop project that I posted about here I wish I had a bit more time to sort of polish up the render a bit, but overall I'm happy with the outcome. The most challenging part to figure out were the fins. I took them through a lot of revisions before I was completely happy. 

I'm in the process of modeling this now and it's quite challenging due to the overlapping plates of the body. We're also required to rig and animate this prop, which to be honest I'm a little scared of. We don't do a lot of rigging in the game art major and this object's articulation is relatively complex.

 Turn around showing some aspects of the object's articulation

Original designs that I posted earlier just for context:

Monday, October 6, 2014

Modular Kit Final: Sci-Fi Nightclub

Here's my final fly through and screenshots for the modular kit assignment. It was a really fun project and probably my best environment to date. 

I think the chairs in my kit are probably the best things I've -ever- modeled. 

I mentioned before that I learned a lot on this project, especially creating materials. It was a really good experiment in getting variation out of some fairly simple base textures. 

I'd love to have a little extra time to polish this piece up, but that's probably going to have to wait a bit. I'd like to add more floating holograms, particularly around the main "Disco" light fixture. I'd also like to make some more unique 1 to 1 textures for some of my assets.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Toy Level: Mushroom Mania

Mushroom Mania
A game by Sarah Lynn Reynolds


Mushroom mania is a trippy platformer set in a metaphysical plane of existence, aka the mind of someone who is high on mushrooms. You play a raver lost in a bad trip. To get out you must find your spirit animal and achieve immaculate PLUR (Peace Love Unity Respect). But mischievous riddling green elves and an ever-shifting landscape of platforms stand in your way. Will you be able to escape and find your spirit animal? Or will you be lost in your trip forever??!!

Because my game exists in a metaphysical space there will be elements of real world objects, but mostly composed of color and motion. Think many of the levels of psychonauts, particularly the dance party or the slo-mo scenes in Dredd. The time of year is not particularly important due to the fact that weather is irrelevant in a metaphysical space, but let's say it's summer time. In the world outside of the main character's "highscape" it would be night time. Little green elves and cosmic beings live in this plane of existence. The architecture might look quite geometric but nonsensical.
The player arrives in the level due to taking a lot of mushrooms. To represent the fact the player is not within their right mind, prior to the player arriving in their highscape the environment would have likely shifted and become askew and warped. The player will be led through the level using bright colors to attract their attention to certain important elements, while darkening out areas that are not important. 


As you can see in the iso map the difficulty of the obstacles scales like this:
 1. Question elf asks question, answer is hidden in room. This would be fairly easy to find as it's the first obstacle.

2. Once question elf is answered the triggers that allow them to move the blocks (my original toy) appear, and the player can move the block that sits in front of the door.) These triggers only allow horizontal movement for blocks.

3. Player enters next stage,  the triggers here allow vertical movement for blocks only. Player must move the block to allow themselves to jump to a high ledge.

4. The next stage features freely moving blocks, the player can now control the blocks using horizontal AND vertical movement. They must position their platforms to line up with the moving blocks.

5. Before the player exits this area they must answer TWO question elf questions, hidden in areas slightly more challenging than the first.

6. Players must avoid a borage of falling physics influenced balls. Hence the name "Trippin balls". 

7. The last obstacle is the most difficult and confusing. The player is faced with a mess of platforms and triggers, and must figure out which ones lead to which and how to arrange them to reach the exit. I'll likely also incorporate the "trippin balls" mechanic somewhere at the end of this to make it an extra challenge.

8. 3 Question elf questions. These will have been hidden around the platforms the player just needed to move.

One idea I may incorporate if time allows is the addition of the spirit animal being generated by a quick quiz at the beginning of the game (pre-question elf question). The player would answer a buzzfeed like personality quiz, and based on the answers of this the spirit animal would be different. (I'd only choose 3 variations to make it easier on myself. Maybe wolf, eagle, and bear or shark or some other hipsteresque animal)

Here's some reference for what I'm going for in the game:

The slo-mo scenes from dredd:

And here's a collection of images from the game Psychonauts and the real world event Electric Daisy Carnival.