All posts by Thibaut

Match! – UI integrated

UI_Integrated

I finally completed the UI for Match!. Just like the tokens, it was done using InkScape. I then separated all the necessary elements and integrated them as assets and prefabs in Unity. You can see the result above.

I am probably going to make a few tweaks on it over the remaining time of the project, but it is pretty final already.

As expected, the grid permits to have a more readable action and helps differentiate the tokens. It also reduces the noise a lot, which means I don’t have to go back and make simplier tokens.

Next Step: visual effects for special matches.

Match! – New Art Direction

Unfortunately we had to part way with Stefanie, but I still encourage you to go and see her work. What that means for Match! is that I had to find another solution to get the art done. This came in the form of a free vector graphics software called Inkscape. After following some great tutorials from the community, I got a good enough grip that I thought I’d give a try to the design of the tokens. And I am satisfied enough with the results to actually integrate them in the game.

For the most impatients, here is the final result:

all tokens

At first, I did not have a special idea in mind, so I just tried to do something using inkscape, after completing the tutorials I could find, and found the most relevant. Those two came out of the process:

face_test face_test_02_02

I did not think I could expand much on the first one, but I kind of liked the second one, and decided to go more in that way, and see how it would flow.

The next to come were these:

face_test_02_03 face_test_02_04

I reall liked the feel on those two, both a bit iconic, but also organic. I thought that was the way to go, and I continued experimenting in that fashion:

face_test_02_05 face_test_02_06

As you can see, the first green one was not exactly in line with the feel I was now looking for. The second one, however, hit the bullseye. Considering this, it was now necessary to rework the purple one, as it did not really fit anymore. That was a more complicated process:

face_test_02_07 face_test_02_08 face_test_02_08_10

I really liked the idea of a bearded character, but had to admit it would be either above my skills or not fitting. So I went for the three eye one instead. I like the idea of having all its element based on a trinity, but adding the two buns at the bottom granted it a better shape.

Red and orange where the only ones remaining. For those two, I had to actually go search online for tribal masks in order to get a bit more inspiration, but they ended up as you can see on the first image pretty quickly.

I have already integrated them into the build. Small changes are necessary, and some work on the UI will be needed to make them slightly more readable, as in current state, the game gets a bit visually noisy. But progress is good.

Match! – First sketches of art

I found an artist who accepted to collaborate on Match! to create a UI and the tokens. Her name is Stefanie Grunow and you can have a look at her portfolio here: http://www.st-g.artstation.com.

I really liked what she did for Carrot Quest, and asked her what she could do for Match!. I definitively wanted to stay family friendly, but also have a more innovative style. Hence everything food and candy was prohibited from the start. After a few exchanges of thoughts through e-mail we agreed on exploring the theme “Animals of the Jungle”.

Given the theme, I thought we could also take inspiration in African Art. According to what we could find on the internet, it is characterized by geometric shapes, intricate patterns and bright colors. I sent Stefanie a little mood board to communicate what I thought was a nice style, and she sent me these sketches in return:

token thumbs

I find them absolutely gorgeous and can’t wait to see colors applied to the final versions.

Match!

match3

Match! is the new game I am currently working on. It is a match 3 game type with a twist: matches are done by swapping one tokens from the grid with the corresponding one on the bottom line. The goal is to make the highest possible score before the amount of moves reaches 0.

Players can do two things in Match!: they can swap a token from the grid to the line, or can move the tokens on the line one step to the side. Each of those action costs one move.

As in other match 3 games, matching more than 3 tokens together will trigger some special effects. Matching 4 will clear an entire line or column, matching 5 will clear that tokens color from the grid, etc.

For each 7 tokens destroyed, the player gets granted an extra move. This is to make it easy for attentive players to discover, as the grid is 7×7. A player who clears a line or a column will then notice that no move was deducted and should be able to understand that system.

Each time players make a valid match from the line to the grid, the bonus multiplier is incremented by one, granting a higher score for each token destroyed. However, if the player decides to move the line on the left or right, his bonus multiplier is reset back to 0. The idea is to force players into not taking the easiest obvious choice on the grid, but to try to create situations where they can actually generate a lot of matches without moving the line. Match! is all about chain reactions.

Finally, in order to have a consistent set of rules, matches also work on the bottom line. So if three tokens are aligned on it, they will disappear. In order for players to be able to take advantage of this mechanic and use it strategically, I decided that the destroyed tokens would then be replaced by the first ones available on the grid, so the ones from the bottom line. Players can then anticipate what would happen if they did such a match.

The first prototype is avalable following this link. The next step is now to find an artist in  order to have the game and its feedback properly done, as well as making sure that the UI conveys the nedded information about the systems, which is definitively not the case at the moment.

Project Card Race

PCR screenshot

Project Card Race is another game prototype I developped while at Gameduell. It is still copyright Gameduell, and is an unreleased project.

This one was done using unity, and code in c#.

The goal of the project was to create an adaptation of RoboRally, but for two players, on phones. In order to achieve the same fun, I still had to heavily modify the rules. If players are still granted 5 cards, they can play from 0 to 4 cards on every turn. Players also have an extra action with a one turn cooldown, in this case a shot of glue, shot in the direction they are facing.

The goal of the game is still to pass through the three checkpoints in the right order, and be the first to reach the third checkpoint. To achieve that, each player would have a set of cards with a certain amount of moves, and up to them to achieve the best results.

I started by developping a paper prototype of this project that I tested with different people until I reached a point where the game was considered solid enough at its core. I then moved on to have a digital prototype. I decided to use Unity for its simplicity of use, and the possibility to deploy easily on all sorts of devices.

One of the concerns I had to address was that players would take too much time to make their decision. However, by setting the interface as shown on the screenshot, I could quickly run a series of tests on different players and see how long they needed to make their decision. The sweetspot when not confronted to an opponent, was between 7 and 9 seconds. The theory was that by leaving just enough time for median players to make their choices, we would avoid waiting, as players would concentrate on planning their moves first, then have barely more than 2 seconds of waiting.

A prototype of the digital version is available on my github. This prototype was created to showcase a first version of a basic AI for the game. Using an AI for first user tests would have permited us to put the players in more real conditions, without worrying about how to find an opponent for them.

Even though the AI is still a bit buggy, I think it works quite well. It was done by adapting Goal Oriented Action Planning to our needs. The AI tries to determine which is the best action to take in order to reach the first checkpoint. It weights the cards that it is given in that fashion and uses the one available with the highest score.

Parallel Run

runner_screenshot

Parallel Run is a prototype I developed while at GameDuell. The game is still copyrighted to GameDuell and unreleased. It was done in cooperation with a studio called Fishing Cactus.

The idea was one of a constant runner, with the focus put on coin collection and cooperation rather than avoiding obstacles as in classic runners. Players would be matched in pairs on tracks and would get further turns around the tracks if they managed to collect enough coins.

The orginality was to have both players cooperate. The cooperation was done through the use of the different bonuses: higher coin values, magnets, speed slowdowns, etc. Bonuses triggered by either player where applied to both. Players would then have to combine those bonuses in the most efficient way in order to maximise their score.

The game still belongs to Gameduell, but I am allowed to present it on request.

Pong Break

pong break screenshot

Pong Break is a little flash game that I did… some time ago.

At he time I was using an engine called Stencyl, that permits to make visual scipting. The game itself is a strange mix in between Pong and Breakout, hence the title.

In it players control both pads, even though their directions are always opposed. The layouts of the tiles are generated from pools that become available depending on player performance. So some kind of procedural. Each time the player breaks a brick, a gameplay modifier is added to the list on the left. Once five of them are loaded, they start to take effect every 15 seconds.

To be honest, the game is quite hard, but I am still fond of that little thing. It is available as a  public domain flash file from my github.

Download Pong Break

 

A Fistful Of Seeds

small-fistfulofseed_board_setup_small

A Fistful of Seeds is a board game created during a Berlin Mini Game Jam in collaboration Martin Raue, and with art from Demezou.

Each player is given one of the four fruits or vegetables and is trying to score high with it. Of course, each of the seeds has a different rules for the scoring: carrots need to be in line, apples needs to be separated from other apples, whereas wheat goes in flock and potatoes benefit from pairs.

Aside the fact that at the beginning, players do not know what others are going for, each player has different tiles in hand, not necessarily the ones she needs. The game is then about trying to push others to make a move that might benefit you, without giving them too much.

The complete set of rules and assets can be downloaded on Martin’s github.

The picture you see is the game youc an also create with a bit of patience, some paper and cardboard, and a good pair of scissors.