Stacking the Chips. Assignment 2

INTRO


So I have talked about my proposal on expanding Justin Tan’s work. Now its time to do the actual planning for the project.

Previous Post


WBS


In order to find out what is needed we have to do a Work Break-Down Structure model.

Firstly this is the General WBS:

Assignment2_WBS_General

Explanation of General WBS:

Important parts of this is mostly the Project Planning and Development phase.

Formation of Development Team would include, 2 Programmers, 1 Writer and 1 Game Designer.

Narrative Story-line will be written by the writer as a novel of some sort. This will then be split into 3 parts for the games.

Next is the WBS for each game. Because the workflow of each game is largely similar, the same WBS can be used for each game.

Assignment2_WBS_CB1

Explanation of Game WBS: 

Basically it is mostly what is written in the image but matters I want to highlight is Marketing. From Justin Tan’s lecture I have come to realize that marketing is an important part of making your game successful hence I dedicated an entire section to it in the Game WBS. This would mean that Budget has to be allocated for Marketing as well.

This is mostly for advertising and publishing as the development log will be update by the game designer or people on the team.


GANT CHART


Before one can calculate budget and such one would need a Gant Chart to show how long each role has to work for.

Programmers are expensive hence hiring them only during the period where there is work to be done is important.

Here I have split the Gant Chart into years.

Year 1:

Year 1 Gantt Chart - Sheet 1 - Table 1-1

In the beginning we nail down the concepts and the game mechanics of the game.

Most of the time spent during this year will be for narrative development and game programming. Some marketing will be involved but mostly to raise awareness on the upcoming alpha during the alpha testing phase.

The accumulation of the year’s efforts will be the alpha test where the game is tested in it’s “bare bones” form will little to no story content in it. It will mostly just be a test to see if the game play is fun.

Year 2:

Year 2 Gantt Chart - Sheet 1 - Table 1-1

During the second year, we fine tune concepts and mechanics. Then move to integration of the narrative script into the game. During this phase it is mostly debugging and implementing level design through the programming section.

Halfway through the year there will be a Beta test, where the game is almost complete and a select group of candidates will get to play the game before others to aid in the correction of flaws in the game.

More efforts will be spent on marketing and advertising here due to the nearing of the release date.

During the Beta and well into the release date there will be updates and improvements on the game such as adding extra content.

Year 3 & Year 4:

Year 3and4 Gantt Chart - Sheet 1 - Table 1-1

Once the first game is released, we now have a base to build off for subsequent games. Year 3 and 4 would have similar workflows and milestones hence the same chart can be used.

The beginning of the year is mostly used for developing new additions to the already solid mechanics and also there will be some updates on the previous game to build some anticipation for the next release.

Alpha testing will begin early as we are not starting from scratch anymore. Beta testing will occur at roughly the same time as year 2.

Finally the publishing efforts are lesser due to the fact that we would use our existing publisher if all goes well.


SOFTWARE


For the project I decided to go with Unity. As it is better equipped to support more people working on the same project at one time.

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Other software I considered was Game Maker Studio but this was scrapped due to the fact that Game Maker Studio is more tuned for use of a single person.

GameMaker-Studio-Logo


BUDGETING


Now that we have done the WBS and Gant Charts, we now know what we need. With this information we can start budgeting for the entire project.

Writer: $36,000

http://laurasherman.com/tips-from-a-ghost-writer/how-much-does-it-cost-to-hire-a-ghostwriter

From my research a writer costs about $12,000-$90,000 for a 100-300 page book if he is a professional. For the purposes of our game we would probably need a 900 page book for substantial content.

So in total this would be $36,000 – $270,000. I choose to go with the $36,000 figure.

Programmers: $180,000

From my Gant Charts the total number of weeks the programmers would work are roughly 120 weeks. This would equate to about 30 months.

Seeing as there are 2 programmers on the team and from Justin Tan’s lecture he mentioned that a programmer cost about $3000- $4000 a month, it would cost me roughly $180,000.

Marketing & Advertising: $207,000

http://www.payscale.com/research/SG/Job=Marketing_Manager/Salary

It says that the average marketing manager earns about $69,000 a year. Since I would only need to hire one after the first year that would equate to $207,000.

Software: $5000

From Justin Tan’s lecture the cost of a professional game engine such as Unity is $5000.

Other notes:

As this is an indie project, there would be no office space required for this hence that is thankfully off my budget list.

Total: $428,000

This would be the cost of the project not inclusive of my personal salary as the Game Designer.


CONCLUSION


This project is a 3 game series and what I have illustrated above is the process of planning and development of the project. I have learnt how these element such as the WBS and Gant Chart work together to aid your planning especially with regards to budgeting. Through this project I have come to understand the concepts in Project Planning and Development in greater detail and clarity.

Stacking the Cubes. Assignment 2

INTRO


Cubetractor screenshot 4

After penning down my thoughts on Justin Tan’s presentation, I was first daunted by the idea of starting my own Indie game company. But when I put it into perspective, I realized that Justin Tan had actually informed us about the challenges and costs of running such a company making us better able to plan and prepare for it. What better way to start planning for my own Indie game company by doing an extension of Justin Tan’s Case Study.


DETAILS


Justin Tan created the game titled Cube Tractor, a Tower Defense/Puzzle game.

What I aim to do is to create a series building upon his original concept and adding what I feel are improvements to his game.

Doing a little bit of market research these are the statics for what genre of game is the most popular.

genreStatics

From the results here one can clearly see that the Action genre is the most popular.

With regards to Justin Tan’s game I feel that the mechanics has a lot of potential. Having the game be just a Puzzle game seems wasteful.

Cubetractor Hard

Looking at the game play GIF above, I feel that if the player could control where he put those initial tiles it would generate a more action oriented type of game play.

Another point to add is multiplayer.

There is an article regarding this saying by adding competitive multiplayer elements one can potentially increase revenue of the game by 510%.

http://www.gamedonia.com/blog/pvp-increase-game-revenue

To further emphasize my point here are some statics on DOTA 2 the most popular game on the STEAM platform it’s success is mostly due to it’s competitive multiplayer.

dota2_stats

As you can see in the past 48 hours the peak number of players playing concurrently was 11 million. Translating this into revenue for example if I sold my game for $1 and it sees even a tenth of DOTA 2’s success, I would earn a gross revenue of $1.1 million! That is just from players playing concurrently not even the total amount of DOTA 2 users. Which by the way is roughly 56 million.

Lastly is a memorable narrative. From personal experience, what keeps me playing a game is also largely due to it’s narrative. A game can have fantastic game play, but without the direction of a narrative everything would seem pointless.

As of now Cubetractor’s narrative is kind of cute but actually rather interesting. It is about a robot trying to escape to freedom. Making a very engaging experience.

Sadly I am not a great creative writer so this will probably have to be outsourced.


PROPOSAL


For this project what I propose is to create a series of 3 games based off Justin Tan’s Cubetractor and add improvements to the game.

Improvements would include multiplayer, more control over the blocks, more active role in combat.

The time-frame in which i plan to do this is 4 years.

2 years for the 1st game, and 1 year each for the 2nd and 3rd game.

Continued Here

Gone Home Review.

INTRO


Every place  has a story to tell, homes especially. For the people that live there every random item on the wall, every dent in the furniture can be part of their shared history as a family. Gone Home is a game about pure discovery. Discovery into the lives of the Greenbriars. There are no enemies to fight, no puzzles to solve just a house to explore.


CONTEXT


greenbriar

You play as Kaitlin Greenbriar the elder of the 2 sisters in the Greenbriar family. Kaitlin has just come home from a year long trip around Europe and returns to an ominously empty house. It is now up to Kaitlin to explore the house and discover the events that happened in her absence.


THOUGHTS


The game is more about the other characters than the main character which is unlike most other games.

633308-gone-home-windows-screenshot-browsing-the-very-basic-inventory

Since Kaitlin is the main character I’m going to start with her. Nothing much is told about Kaitlin mostly because the house is a place she has never been to. Kaitlin’s personality is depicted through post cards she sends home from her travels but for the most part Kaitlin is the vehicle in which you experience the story of Gone Home.

Moving through the house you notice that the game tells a very believable story from a very specific time the 1990s to be exact as we can tell from the collection of video tapes and notes to given to Sam(Kaitlin’s sister) by her friends.

gone_home_x_files_tapes

The game slowly reveals the story in the form of notes, audio logs and paraphernalia around the house. A lot of the items around the house add context to the situation the family, the personalities of the characters and the troubles the characters are facing. E.g. Books found on Parenting show that the Father and Mother are having trouble with Sam, books about dealing with loneliness lend some context to Sam’s problems.

gone_home_8_605x

The game respects your intelligence and lets you figure out how each piece of information links to another.


CONCLUSIONS ON THE STORY


These are the conclusions I came to at the end of the story.

SPOILER ALERT!

The House: Inherited from the Uncle in the story. Although the Greenbriars have been living here for almost a year, they don’t seem to be very comfortable here. This is evidenced by boxes of personal effects still left unopened suggesting that they have never moved in fully.

The game also suggests that the occupants of the house do not really interact with each other.

The Parents: Jan and Terry Greenbriar, have a failing marriage mostly due to Terry’s depression.

The Father: A writer who sunk into depression and is obsessed with the JFK murder in 1963. A failing writer stuck in the past. His troubles are evidenced by the well appointed wet bar in the house and the bottle of booze in the study. Spends most of his time in the study and the library.

The Mother: Spends her time in the art studio and the kitchen. Due to her failing marriage it is also hinted that she was having an affair with a co-worker. This is shown by the note she received from a girlfriend of hers and the concert tickets.

Sam: A troubled kid growing up in a new place away from her friends and experiencing extreme loneliness. She is in love and is desperately trying to hold on to it. Sam spends all of her time in her room, the secret servants quarters and the attic.

The Uncle: The Greenbriars inherited the estate from him. It is shown that he has a drug problem from the contents of his safe and the fact that he sold his pharmacy as evidenced from his letter to his sister who unfortunately mailed it back without opening it. He died a regretful, lonely man.

The upside: The story takes a turn for the better leaving you with a sense of satisfaction at the end. Her mother did not go for the concert with the male-coworker, it is evidenced that that coworker has an out of town girlfriend and married her 2 days prior to the game’s start. The mother considered attending the wedding but decided against it in favor of going to a couples counseling retreat with the father suggesting that Kaitlin’s parents are trying to reconcile.

The father has found a new publisher and is doing relatively well, he has also got over the JFK murder and instead chose to write about the life of JFK himself.

Sam decided to elope with Lonnie(Sam’s love), although it seems bad but her letters take on a happier tone toward the end suggesting that she is happy.

The only person who had a tragic end was the Uncle. But I feel that the fact he conferred the estate to the Father shows that he is trying to reach out to the Father even in his death. The fact the the Greenbriar family moved in to the house shows that his attempt was successful.


FINAL THOUGHTS


This game is a great example of a fragmented narrative it lets you pick up information from anywhere in the game (mostly) and piece the information together by yourself sort of like a narrative jigsaw puzzle. Unlike games like HerStory or Everyone’s gone to Rapture it does not have the premise of following leads or a ball of light leading you to find out things. It lets you discover the game and advance in the story at your own pace making it feel very honest.

Phasing through the Phases. Assignment 3 Part 2

INTRO


Welcome back to the next update of Assignment 3. I have narrowed down my Projects to 2. Criteria for selecting these projects out of the 5 were the level of interest I had and how feasible it was to accomplish in a year.


Project 1: GRAPHIC NOVEL


ABOUT

This is the story about a pair of young boys in the sweltering June of 1995. Fishing in the storm drains was a past time back then, we would climb into the drains and look for fish to keep in our homes.

DETAILS

This project is an interactive comic book. Moving gifs would create a more immersive reading experience while little mini-games within the panels would help the reader feel more connected with the characters. In a sense I want to give readers some semblance of my experience when I was a child through this novel.

This project will be a Solo project as well.

INSPIRATION

These images show just how much difference a little movement in the images makes.

slide3_1 slide3_2

TECHNICAL

Done as an interactive website, I aim to use HTML/CSS and Javascript as a platform for my novel. Art and gifs will be done in Adobe Photoshop.

photoshopcc

Guiding the player through the use of moving gifs and recording the results of the mini-games I aim to generate endings that differ slightly from each other.

The style of the art would most likely be in Pixel Art as to me it represents a rather retro feel of olden day video games and such giving a sense of nostalgia.

BUDGET

Most of the Art and Programming will be done by myself so budget in this aspect would not be an issue.

Possible use of budget would be for sound design, a subtle background track and another track for more exciting parts and sound effects.

I estimate around $100-$300 will be spent on this.

WBS

GN_WBS

TIMELINE/ GANT CHART

GraphicNovel Gantt Chart - Sheet 1 - Table 1-1


Project 2: ISOMETRIC RPG


ABOUT

There are many games out there in the world of today, but what I feel that most people can agree on  is that the Game Design element is the most important. Not just the look of the game but how the game is played is most important. What is the player going to be doing for the next 1 to 5 hours.

This Project is an Isometric RPG that focuses of action and strategy.

tumblr_n8ket01v4E1slr6aoo1_400

INSPIRATION

1299773441380487202

Taking inspiration from games like, CRAWL, HYPERLIGHT DRIFTER, WAYWARD SOULS, EITR and MOON HUNTERS. I feel that this game would best suit the Pixel Art style. Reason being after completing the game, I want this game to be the kind of game you pull out once every few years just to play around with and Pixel Art tends to stand the test of time more effectively that your AAA 3D games.

adesivo_portal_logo_by_mmassafera-d3wg1qw

For mechanics, I took inspiration from games like PORTAL and VOLFIED to create what I believe to be a unique main mechanic of which the game revolves around.

ezgif.com-optimize

GAMEPLAY

legend

Most of the game revolves around placing points called “TOTEMS” on the map these points act as beacons of a sort when the player dashes into a TOTEM he is transported to a corresponding
TOTEM. When this happens the space between the TOTEMS will have an effect such as DAMAGE or STUN depending on the type of TOTEM placed.

gameplay_1
If a player places 3 TOTEMS in the correct physical proximity it will form a TRIANGLE. The effect stated above will then occur within the TRIANGLE.
TOTEMS can come in 3 types, ATTACK, DEFENSE and SUPPORT.
e.g Placing 2 ATTACK TOTEMS will have a DAMAGE effect, placing 2 DEFENSE TOTEMS will have a SLOW effect, placing 1 ATTACK and 1 DEFENSE TOTEM will have a STUN effect.

gameplay_2

POSSIBILITIES

This game mechanic has potential to create puzzle elements during the game and also make for interesting COMBAT situations.

NARRATIVE

desertchunks

A Sci-Fi narrative that takes place on a desert planet about a lost traveler trying to find his way home.

Story By Josephine:

A man wakes up in the middle of the desert and he can’t remember his name. The only things he has in his possession is a poncho, and 3 mysterious totems in his pocket. He wanders to look for food and shelter and he stumbles upon a hermit living in a yurt. He shares his story with the hermit and reveals the totems in his pocket. The hermit, recognizing these totems, teaches the man to use them.

The man stays with the hermit and they help one another gather food and chase away bandits — both using the totems. [tutorial levels]
A few days later, the yurt is approached by a group of officials who request the hermit pay for the use of their boss’s land otherwise they would have to force him to leave or worst. The hermit is unable to pay, but the man defends him. The officials appear to recognize him which would spark a fight between them. [tutorial levels]
[this fight will then to level 3 ‘tower’ defense]

MEDIUM

GameMaker-Studio-Logo

Done in GAMEMAKER STUDIO

photoshopcc
Art in ADOBE PHOTOSHOP
PLATFORMS: PC with the possibility of making it a MOBILE APPLICATION.

BUDGET

Most of the assets and programming will be done inhouse.
Possibilities for budget allocation mostly to sound design, a subtle background track and another track for more exciting parts and sound effects.

I estimate around $100-$300 will be spent on this.

WBS

WBS

TIMELINE/ GANT CHART

Gantt Chart - Sheet 1 - Table 1-1