Posts Tagged ‘Game’
I have learned a lot these past few months about being a game designer. My time at the National Institute of Digital Entertainment (ENDI) in Quebec City was an excellent way to put into practice all the academic knowledge I had acquired so far. I managed to help released 3 video game projects in the span of one summer and I am honestly amazed at how fun and incredible they turned out.
During my time at ENDI, I had the aid Jean-François Dessureault, senior game designer at Frima Studios. He taught and guided me through some of my initial errors and helped shape a lot of my current methods in applied game design and theory. I owe him a lot for my early success.
A few weeks ago while working, I listened to a great IGDA Wisconsin meeting showcasing talks from Raven Software and previous chapter president Manveer Heir. He presented five important lessons he had learned from his first 5 years in the gaming industry.
Having recently spent exactly 5 months developing my first games, I thought it couldn’t hurt to try and talk about my personal experiences. Here are some things I’ve learned about game design and development.
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D.N.A / A.D.N is an experimental game created in 36 hours for the Bivouac Urbain 2010 Game Jam. Inspired by the song “Dan Dan” by electronic group “Misteur Vallaire”, the player controls an avatar and must learn to evolve correctly by absorbing various combination of shapes, while always accelerating and avoiding gates that slow the player’s current speed. The game presents a very soothing atmosphere that opens the way for a relaxed play style.
This was a good opportunity and my teammates to try out a more artistic and emotive approach to creating games. Bivouac Urbain was the perfect place to experiment so we jumped on the opportunity. The game we ended up creating is unchanged from our initial concept. Many aspects of gameplay therefore came out frustrating at best. The game was built in 36 hours with a team of 5: 2 programmers, 2 artists and me as designer.
The game currently is not online. Thank you for understanding and enjoy some screenshots.
I participated a small game design contest over GameCareerGuide. The idea was to make a 500 word pitch of a video game based on classic or contemporary literature. I based my entry on Animal Farm by George Orwell and got an honorable mention. Here’s my entry:
Animal Farm, a novel written by George Orwell, stands as a powerful dystopian commentary on how human societies can be shaped depending on the men who lead them. The novel tells the tale of a society of British farm animals revolting against a negligent caretaker and then having to come to terms with their own freedom and eventually a corrupt leadership.
It can also make for a compelling single player farm-simulation game with an emphasis on resource and unit management, simples puzzles and story.
At the outset of the game, the animals revolt against their neglecting owner. During the introductory tutorial sequence, they wrest control of their farm and are now free. Afterwards, the story can branch depending on which character is selected. There are two choices available: Jessie the sheep dog or Napoleon the pig. Choosing Jessie will lead the player across the game as one of the normal animals that directly follow the leadership of the Pigs. Choosing Napoleon will allow the player to enforce strict laws upon the animals of the farm and command them with an iron hoof. Both story paths give access to all the same game mechanics, but feature different story perspectives and endings.
The game takes place over 3 years of a fictional calendar. After the last year the game ends with the appropriate ending depending on the results of the path taken. Story moments happen on different days depending on the success of the farm and are mainly conveyed through cut scenes, in-game voice-overs and text.
The player controls his animal avatar directly in a third-person perspective and navigates the farm buildings and territory by running, jumping, using tools, interacting and assigning tasks to non-player characters.
The main resources to manage are a “Food” and “Fatigue”. “Food” is the standard resource and his consumed by animals at the beginning of the day and restored by a certain amount at the end of a successful day. “Fatigue” is a personal rating to each animal type and affects how much food will consumed each day. Animals with higher fatigue consume more food.
Each day of the calendar, the player needs to complete tasks to assure the continuing success of the farm such as milking cows or harvesting fields. Almost any group/type of animals can contribute to any task, but some animal are better than others. In sufficient numbers a flock of chicken could very well repair a stone wall or with cooperation, milk cows. Want your animals to be stronger? Feed them more at the start of each day. Want them to be faster? Upgrade them by making them study books.
On some days, angry farmers or wild animals will attack the farm and the game shifts from managing tasks to strategizing combat for the day. Each animal can be sent in to fight. For example: horses and donkeys act as heavy damage-dealing units while a flock of flying geese can blind enemies temporarily with droppings.