Archive for the ‘Aspects of Play’ Category

I feel that the presentation I gave for aspects of play was more rushed than I intended. I had planned to pace my self much better but prepered for a 15 minuet presentation not a 10 minuet one which ruffled me a bit. I think that the constant thought of getting everything done in 10 minuets made me stumble over my own words and I brushed past points to quickly. I also thought to leve out my game demo in favour of getting through every slide, however I did show it after I finished in time and was questioned weather I had a playable vershion or not. In hinesite that would have been a bad thing to leve out as it is the focus of one unit and I had feedback saying it was one of the most engaging parts of the presentation. This makes sence if you are presenting a game to someone and have less time than you think you should cut everything but the game demo as that could be your key selling point.

Overall I think the presentation went well although I need to learn how to keep more composed and adapted when things change and not feel the need to rush and cut things out.

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Cognitive dissonance is a situation that involves conflicting beliefs, attitudes or behaviors. Been in this situation leads to feelings of discomfort until one of the conflicting ideals is chosen over the other to make the correct choice or action more clear. One of the most popular examples of this I saw while researching was this one “when people smoke (behavior) and they know that smoking causes cancer (cognition).” They have to choose the behavior over the cognition to continue smoking and may say things to comfort them selves like they know someone who never smoked and got lung cancer so why should they stop, this is them trying to relieve them selves of the discomfort they feel while choosing to smoke knowing its harmful.

This theory was first conceived by Leon Festinger in 1957 his theory states that a powerful motive to maintain cognitive consistency can give rise to irrational and sometimes maladaptive behavior. We hold many ideals about the world and our selves, its when these ideals conflict that we get feelings of discomfort and tension that is cognitive dissonance.

This is something that happens a lot in video games when you as a player are forced to perform actions that you know are wrong like killing someone, stealing and other things that you would never do in real life. However you have the other knowledge that this is all a video game and it doesn’t matter because most games do not encourage or discourage you’re behavior to a point were you should feel guilty. This means the knowledge that this is not real allows you to overpower the sense of whats right very easily and continue without conflicting feelings. There are games that do add weight to each of your actions making you question weather it was the right thing to do. Games like this usually get you so immersed in the game’s world and characters that you then have the feelings that you don’t want to kill off someone you like, or be torn between the choice to save the world  or save your companion. One of the best example of this I can fink of is The Last of Us in each situation when there was danger I felt the need to survive and an uneasiness in some of the situations presented because these are things that I know are wrong and I know this world is not real yet I was invested in the characters and wanted them to avoid the situations or felt the weight of the choices I had to make.

This is something more games should try to replicate giving more consequences to your actions to make you question your actions more as it adds another depth to the immersion of the player.

This can also be linked to B.F. Skinner’s theory of punishment and reward because if a person gets punished for doing a specific action they will have an uneasy feeling when are going to perform that action again as you are weary of the same punishment happening again.

After finishing my 30 comparison reviews and refining the criteria adding things from a variety of theorists I thought I should compare the game I’m making to the same criteria and think about how I should deal with each aspect.

Name: Cancelled?

Type: AGON & MIMICRY

Platform: PS4, PS3, PS Vita & PC

Quick Breakdown:

This game falls under AGON because you will be ranked at the end of every stage, these ranks will go all the way from SSS (the best) to T (for terrible). You’re ranking will be based off damage taken, number of continues used, time taken to complete each stage and enemies killed. The rankings will be entered into a leader board automatically which can be compared amongst your friends on your private leader board and across the world on the open leader board.

This game falls under MIMICRY because you are taking on the role of Shin Haroki in his quest to make his manga No. 1.

Forms of play:

LUDUS – This game has clear preset rules and goals.

What needs does the game fulfill:

Competence – There will be a variety of stages with multiple parts allowing for a sense of progression  You would not get the same sense of progression if each Level was not made of several smaller stages as one long level would seems to go on forever and feel more like an endurance match.

Autonomy – I would like to have a dialog tree for each of the main characters interactions. The player will then choose from different dialog options and have them lead to different conversations and items. I would also like to have multiple endings that will add replay value as well as a larger feel of control.

What player type(s) does this game suit best:

Explorer because I would like to have multiple endings depending on the players choices throughout the game.

Achiever because of the rankings you would receive from each level which would unlock bonuses.

Examples of Punishment and reward within the game:

As the game goes on check points become more scarce making the player have to go further back till their skills are sufficient to complete the obstacle. Dieing will cause the player to return to the beginning of the stage or the closest checkpoint if a player dies while they have no lives left its game over and you have to load the game. You will also loose points in the rankings at the end of each stage for using continues and taking damage. Rewards will take the form of power ups and new skills gained from beating bosses or reaching a specific milestone as well as higher rankings at the ends of stages for performing well and not taking damage.

How does it deal with the Hedonic Treadmill:

I would hope that the competitiveness between friends would motivate people to play stages again. This is why I plan to include a private leader board which only compares you to people on your friends list, which means that you can see which of your friends scores are higher than yours and then you can try and beat them. The inclusion of multiple endings and branching dialog trees will help keep the story mode from feeling to much the same. The inclusion of other playable characters after you complete the game would also increase the games life span. Trophies and achievements will keep people who play that meta game playing until they have unlocked everything adding extra incentive to casual players to pick the game back up as well.

Final Thoughts:

Doing this review made me think of things that I was overlooking like what platform I would like to put my game on and what type of player was I aiming to attract. I chose only Sony consoles because of the cross play feature they provide allowing you to continue your save no matter which of their systems you are playing on. I also chose PC because of the promotion you get from being sold on a store like Steam, new launches on steam are mostly featured on the from page and it is one of the most used digital stores in the world so that is a big deal to be seen on the front page of a store that gets a huge amount of traffic.

Braking things down like this really helped me see how my game would fulfil each element and writing it down in this format made it more clear to me. This is something I will definitely keep in mind and review future game ideas in the same way to make sure it will fulfil its full potential.

I decided the main characters special attack would be a supersonic punch that brakes the sound barrier. This is my sketch of the five steps to the animation of this move.

Scan0099

to make this work I would have to replicate the motion of each pose in my characters cat rig and set up a code for when the animation should be played and how the damage would work. I currently don’t feel confident in my skills with rigging or coding to perform this as I am still unable to export a walk cycle into Unity. These are all things I would need help with or more time to research.

 

With all the components ready from the tutorial I did I decided to build from that project and make it into Cancelled?. Using my sketches I created a block out of the level with some changes made through personal testing.

Sketch of sections one & two.

Scan0096Block out of section one.

Level 1 section 1

The only difference I made to section one was the inclusion of moving platforms in the cave instead of several jumps from side to side as well as an elevated plane for the extra life to stand on. I marked the spikes with a red texture to indicate them clearly.

This is the first secret area in the game which will be accessible by performing a wall jump with an extra life as a reward. I currently do not know how to code a wall jump in unity but I have an idea, if i remove the script which stops the character from sticking to the wall and use the slip material on all walls I want the character to slide down and left the walls you can wall jump on sticky you may be able to wall jump.

Level 1 wall jump

wall jump demenstration

I attempted the theory and took out the friction code and added the material. This part of the step worked perfectly making the walls with the material slippy and the ones without sticky but because of the direction the raycast shoots (down) you cannot jump while attached to the wall so I would need to know how to code a separate raycast or make it fire down, left and right. This is something I will look into later on if I have time. I feel if i add it to the existing code it would stop my jump because the raycast would then require a hit at left, right and down to enable the jump command.

wall jump attempt code

wall friction texture

I also tried to add a death tag which would kill the player when they touched an object that used it. This would be placed on spikes and down pit falls, things that should instantly kill a player. However the script would not work Unity did not complain about any errors and I copied  and modified the hurt tag script yet the player would not die on collision or lose any health. I left the failed script in there as well as the tag and just marked it out of use.

Failed Death tag script

Block out of section two.

Level 1 section 2

Level 1 bridge

Section two of the level however stayed mostly the same except with changes to the directions the platforms moved. I highlighted the area of the bridge I wanted to fall with a black texture to make it very clear as well as marked the enemy with a green colour. The enemy use to be able to run through all walls ignoring collision which was a real problem, luckily the solution was simple I just needed to add a ridged body component to the enemy like the player. Though I don’t have a combat script in place you can knock the enemy cube on its side and it’s movement speed is more than halved allowing the player to defend themselves in some way, a happy accident. I also did not add the destructible bolder or the one that chases you in section three because I was unsure of how to make the character damage the bolder, make them explode and in the case of the one that chases you make the platforms it touches fall these are all things that would require coding to perform and would take some looking into.

Sketch of section three.

Scan0097

Block out of section three.

Level 1 section 3

I only changed the spacing and direction of platform movement in this section as well as removed one of the speed up items as it was more of a hindrance then a help in my test runs. The speed up also increases the distance you can jump this will be made clear in the tutorial with floating text and is the reason why the first platform is so far away.

Level block out as a whole.

Level 1 full layout

I decided to add a wall at the beginning so you cant run off the stage straight away. overall I think the block out has gone well and everything is in place to have assets built and placed on top of them. Play testing the stage has pointed out a few flaws with the way the jump is set up as you can only jump if the center of your character is touching an object because of how the raycast works meaning if you fall on the spikes nine out of then times you can’t jump meaning you cant die because you cant collide with them a second time and you cant escape meaning your trapped. The script from the first tutorial seemed to have a jump set up that would fix this but the scripting for that was done in C sharp instead of Java so I’m unsure how compatible they both would be working together withing one model as the wall collision script it would need to get the information from would be withing the Java script. I also modified the reset script from the first tutorial so it moves the player to the correct spot to fix the endless drop when you fall down a hole. This will stay in place untill I can use a proper check point system.

reset script

Scott Rigby in his book Glued to Games states that video games help satisfy three core needs in our lives:

1. Competence – The sense of mastery that you have learned new skills and are progressing. This is best suited for achiever player types. Games that would provide this are ones that make you instantly feel progression so games with lots of levels like platformers or some RPGs.

2. Autonomy – The feeling that you have control over yourself and the ability to influence the world around you. This is best suited for explorer player types. Games that would provide this are open world or adventure games.

3. Relatedness – The feeling that we matter to others while playing and making a contribution to the community. This is best suited for the socializer player types. Games that would provide this are any form of multilayer game weather it be online or couch co-op.

Autonomy is particularly interesting as it relies completely on the illusion of choice as a game cannot allow you to do everything you would ever want to do or effect the world in any way you like it just tricked the player into thinking they can. This is usually performed with very in depth dialog trees were cretin choices will lead to different responses which are appropriate to the one that was selected even if the following piece of dialog is always the same in every branch it makes the player think they have shaped the conversation.

I got this summery by watching this video:

I plan to have a more in depth look at this in the future.

Richard Bartle devised a test, the Bartle Test of Gamer Psychology, which is a series of questions and an accompanying scoring formula that classifies players of online games like MMORPGS. This test has 30 random questions which have a final score of 200% over four categories with no category being able to exceed 100%. The category you have the most percentage in is your main play type, the player types are:

Killer – A player who enjoys fighting other people rather then computer programmed enemies.

Explorer – A player who enjoys searching every area thoroughly at there own pace searching for secrets, and gets annoyed when there are time limits moving them along.

Achiever – A player who enjoys gaining every reward possible even if it grants little to no game play advantages.

Socializer – A player who enjoys making friends and talking to other players rather than play the game.

I had a go at taking the survey here. Here is my result:

Player type

I feel that this is accurate even though I don’t play online games which the questions are geared to as I mainly play single player RPG games and try to achieve 100% in game and in the trophies meta game.