Saturday, 8 February 2014

Tanden Typhoon Assignment: Game Testing Year 0

Game Testing Year 0
Game Testing
Bugs and Defects
When making a game we sometimes don’t fully check the code to make sure everything in the game itself is working, which can relate to problems further down the line for consumers as even though there are a few different types of bugs they all cause the same problem of disruption when found during play. This doesn’t just occur in indie games, some triple A titles that have been released for the public from companies like Activision, Nintendo, Sony, Square Enix ect still have little defects within them and are usually recording on ‘Let’s Play’ videos found on Youtube or when we ourselves have played them. However this doesn’t mean the companies aren’t exactly doing anything about it, usually they hire BETA testers for their games that must play through the game giving any type of problems within the game that then the company can quickly act upon. As I said before there are different types of bugs and defects in which we must explain and if possible screenshot.
Types of Bugs/Defects

Crash Bug
Crash bugs are probably one of the most dangerous things to have in a game as it can disrupt the hardware by locking or even resetting it. Usually most of these are don’t make it into release but they are known to be one of the hardest to fix and player themselves may not even know that this is a bug because of what it does. Personally this has happened to me when I was playing Spyro the Dragon: A Hero’s Tail, after collecting 70 Dark Crystals I still had to find Light Gems and complete mini-quests across the dragon realms, however it was only after I found all the Dark Crystals and saved my progress in Dragonfly Falls and booted up the game the next day did I find it had delete my saved file and acted as though I just brought the game.

However it has been stated that although if you can’t screenshot the bug then it probably won’t be classed as one. I played this game  back in 2005 and  even though I still have it I haven’t played on it again since this happened to me, and it’s happened a few times on the same game. Although I can’t  prove this there was a discussion   on forums about something similar that’s happened to me.
 A forum feed explaining about a save bug in Spyro the Dragon: A Hero’s Tail.

Another example of a crash bug would be the released version of Final Fantasy VI on Android and Google services, halfway through the game where a battle between Kefka and General Leo in Thamasa would crash during the cutscene which made the game unstable and eventually crash. Already Square Enix has promised consumers that they’ve taken notice of the bug and have set about fixing it so that people can return to their last point and continue playing. Since then there hasn’t been another crash problem within the Final Fantasy VI game.
The gameplay in Final Fantasy VI before the crash bug begins.

Severe Bug
These bugs aren’t as bad as Crash bugs but can still cause a lot of problems within the game. They’re known to stop the player from continuing on their quest or have changed the game for the players. This could turn up where bosses seeming exceedingly overpowered, NPCs not triggering quests or maybe in a certain part of the level the character won’t be able to go through doors or get stuck underwater where they can’t swim? It’s basically where the player is simply stuck in a rut and there’s by no means of escaping.
An example would be when Capcom transferred the game Okami from PS2 to Wii there were a lot of bug running rampant, one of them was a severe bug that could easily be triggered and has been reordered on Youtube. When you enter the first town don’t speak to an NPC known as Mrs Oranges, instead get rid of her washing line by using ‘Rejuvenation’ technique and then do the ‘Morning Sun’ technique, afterwards go talk to her and she will say the wrong dialogue at the wrong time which has been known to freeze the game or hinder you later on where you have to reset your saved file.
If you talk to Mrs Oranges first dialogue
Talking to Mrs Oranges for Severe bug dialogue

Then in most of the early Spyro games the biggest set of bugs was the swimming in the air ‘glitch’, which could be classed as a Severe/General or Minor bug- it all depended on whereabouts you were and what would happen. For example in Spyro the Dragon: Year of the Dragon you could cause a Severe bug to happen in the world: Bamboo Terrace where you dived into a certain waterfall feature and gently fell off the game would think you were still swimming and you were able to swim across the  whole of the game level. Although this was great to explore what you’re up against it meant you couldn’t engage   in what you were supposed to do in order to complete the realm and be on your way back to the main world. After this bug it rendered you helpless in this world that the only way out is to make sure you had a saving point before entering Bamboo Terrace and restart the game.
Although it’s not very clear you can see here Spyro is swimming in mid-air.
General Bugs
These bugs are not as much as a threat as the other two and even though they’re in a game, they can still allow the player to progress onwards even though some things are wrong. General bugs can come in the form of things becoming stuck in the floor or maybe mid-air? Some could be where doors don’t open/close correctly or maybe even allow the player to continue through the game without having to do previous quests.
In Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance, when Riku is soon to face Ansem, if you go to one of the floors in Castle Oblivion first rather than confront Ansem and open up a chest it makes the spirits that follow you sink to the floor and will continue to until the next loading screen as shown here.
If we look at the T-Rex spirit behind Riku, you can see he’s halfway through the floor. If you follow the link in the bibliography you could watch the rest of the video to see both spirits moving in the floor.

Another General bug is found in Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess where after galloping through Hyrule   Field and going down the stony path towards Kakriko Village, if stop near the bolders and back up your horse Epona into them then jump off backwards onto the boulders, climb up and then fall off into the kill zone when you regenerate Epona will be in mid-air. Now although this could be argued a Severe  bug it doesn’t stop you from carrying on with the game; all that you would need to do is simply call Epona again with a piece of grass or the whistle Ilia gives you and call her and off you again.
Epona is clearly floating in the air and is able to fly around all of Hyrule.
Minor Bugs
Minor bugs can be found in the BETA release of the game and are the most common to appear alongside Cosmetic and General bugs. These are easily fixable and be small things such as a character doing a different animation than should be or an NPC being somewhere they shouldn’t be. An example of this could be found in Okami, before facing the boss battle you can turn back and look to collect all the Stray Beads but when you go to Ryoshima Coast an NPC known as Urashima will appear there but more chubby and sometimes in a faint blue hue. If you decide to talk to him or go around him it is possible he can freeze the game but this doesn’t always happen yet the real NPC is elsewhere in the game so this means it’s a minor bug.
Even though no one has taken a video of this there is a huge forum post about it and how many different people have experienced the same bug but in different ways.

In Darksiders 2 when you enter a certain battle as Death you will be surrounded by enemies and although there is a certain grip you could use to destroy the creatures more easily, during this   certain play in the game it won’t let you hook onto the enemy and you have to destroy them without it although when entering a different battle you’re allowed to use the grip on the same enemies but just in a different place.  This is a minor bug issue that can easily be resolved and doesn’t really hinder the player’s progress unless they rely on that motive.

Here we can see the grip icon showing on the game, yet the player is unable to grab the enemy.

Cosmetic Bugs
Cosmetic bugs are again found usually in BETA testing and they can range from something as simple as a tear in the map of the game to maybe some suggestions of how the game could be improved. For example when playing Year 0 one of the suggestions that I thought of was if there wasn’t any enemies in the game and it still says ‘Enemies Turn’, why should it con tinously have to say that? Surely because there is no enemies you don’t have to waste time by going through a turn-based sequence if the other party isn’t there? Or if you still have to say ‘Enemy’s Turn’ at least speed it up so players don’t get bored playing the game.

This here is a quick demonstration of what’s been happening in the game with no enemies.

Then again in Year 0 another suggestion might be that the enemy has to move if they instantly ended their turns twice in a row? Otherwise this could go on and on until someone in the game actually moves, if you think about it, it can be a little unfair as it means that we as the player have to keep moving whilst the others stay stationary which doesn’t make the game any more enjoyable.

So far when trying to take over the city or forest I have to keep going until I either get killed or the enemy decides to act instead of skipping turns.
Operating Regions
There are four operating regions throughout any game that will represent bugs before being tested, as game testers our job is to not down any problems within any of the regions, yet what are the regions?
Pregame is basically where before you even start the game there could be something wrong with it that stops you from even playing it. It could well appear on the dashboard of your console where it stops you from loading the game because of an .exe error. If you’re on the computer and you’re downloading it off places like Steam there might be a problem with the app not downloading properly and even freezing up your computer, tablet or mobile phone- although caution it could be a problem with the hardware itself. Another example would be during the testing on Year 0, one of my bugs was even though I logged into the actual testing of the game, it wouldn’t let me log into the forums although some may argue this is an in-game problem as well. For cartridge games it again might be a problem with starting the game as the cartridge is corrupted, or possibly the settings have changed and do no longer meet the requirements needed.

Even after typing in my username and email address it wouldn’t let me log into the forums to discuss problems within the game that I’ve found.
Another pre-game problem that could be mentioned is on the PS3, if you scroll across to where your game disc is to be played you can see that the game Singstar has already been downloaded. However once you press to start the game it crashes the Playstation 3 system and forces it to shut down, as this game has been downloaded onto the system and refuses to work when asked to start it is a pre-game 

Singstar is one of Sony’s most popular game franchises that include the whole family and closely resembles Guitar Hero and Rock Band. The only way to receive this is if you sign up to the PSN network and it should come free depending on the version, yet people have reported problems that when opened it causes their console to crash and restart itself.
Game start is the period of time in which the player starts the game to when they start playing it and bugs could appear during the loading screens, so for example during Year 0 it asks us to go into 3D mode, however as soon as we chose this option the game would freeze and it would be a matter of restarting. Another bug could be during customisation methods when the player wants to design his avatar there could be glitches when trying on new outfits, colours or re-building the build of a character. For example in Spyro: Dawn of Dragon when you had obtained the second design of armour and tried it all on then decided you wanted to change the helmet with design 1 and the braces from either design 1 or 3, the game would freeze and the player be brought back to the menu. Other times it resulted in the console crashing completely.

Cynder and Spyro had armour customisations each that could easily be swapped around. Yet if you were to swap the armour in the style above then you would be brought straight back to the menu.

It might after watching all the cut scenes or the tutorial of how to play the game; the player must choose the option to either recap through what’s been said or press play to begin. Sometimes the play button will not appear so you have to go back through the whole process again.

In Spyro the Dragon: Year of the Dragon, many reported problems with the first loading screen of the game ‘glitching’ as half-way through the cutscene/ loading screen it would freeze up the game until you reset your Playstation 1 or 2

In game is pretty much when most things tend to go wrong and pop up, this could be from something as simple as blood spurting out a skeleton to an area where it’s non-playable or even a task not being able to complete because you have to interact with an NPC character.
In Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess after you return from saving the last spirit creature you will be taken to a cut scene where you have to save Midna from Zant, before you trigger the cut scene however you must save in a certain part of the area. After the cut scene you find you’re human again only your limbs are in the same skeletal mesh of a wolf and when you move it is as though you’re a wolf. To get rid of this means you must restart the game.
 The game wanted Link to be in wolf form but instead it tried to re-figure his human body into that of wolf’s or sometimes this was the opposite way around.

Another problem Nintendo discovered in a Zelda game was during Skyward Sword you come across a mission of getting all the dragon spirits in three areas, however there must be a set order in which you travel to the areas and sort out the problems. If you didn’t go to Faron Woods, Eldin Volcano and lastly Lanaryu Desert then you wouldn’t be able to travel to the last place you haven’t solved and be forced to re-start where you last saved. Eventually Nintendo distributed a mod for this but for most people it ended up being too late.
Taken directly from IGN, this here shows how to overcome the problem in Skyward Sword, nowadays though there is a patch to stop this from happening.
Then again in Spyro: Gateway to Glimmer, during the exploration of a world for gears or even games you would come across a large pool of water within a cave where there was treasure at the bottom. After defeating the enemies you would usually go down and collect the treasure (well I did at least), down there is a thief in which you can hit and he drops a gear or more treasure, after chasing him around for five minutes my character stopped swimming and ran around as though he was on dry land not in water, after trying to fly your way out and jumping it meant restarting to the last saved point.

Although it’s not very clear here, Spyro is underwater and there isn’t any bubbles coming from him and his dragonfly, Sparx, isn’t in a bubble either when he usually is.
Finally this where any bugs that might appear is at the end of the game where the credits come in and we have to watch who created before re-starting the game or leaving it there. Sometimes after completing the actual game it unlocks new bonus items so for example in Wind Waker HD, it meant when they completed it the first time people where allowed to wear Link’s pyjamas instead of his hero garb and do the quests all over again.
For example in Pokemon Red a post-game glitch was once you completed it and chose to stay as the same trainer you would enter the first town with a Pokemart, step in and step out then throw your ball into water, run away from the ‘bug’ Pokemon and then go into your inventory where you now have 9 Master balls instead of one. For another example in Spyro: A Hero’s Tail once you destroyed 70 dark crystals and saved your game and ended your session playing on it, once you came back to play on it the game had reset itself and deleted any saved files you might have had.

Usually in the Pokemon games you’re only allowed one Master Ball. By looking at this we can see the game has given the player 9 and in some cases 93 Master Balls which is not supposed to happen.

It also includes when the game actually shuts down and saves progress, in Pokémon X and Y it meant that when you completed a certain mission during the BETA, saved in Lumoise City and shut down the game, the game would freeze for ever so Nintendo had to give a patch to correct this game.

Although Nintendo has given a patch for this bug, many reports around the internet popped up on how to avoid this devastation bug that causes your game to freeze for ever.
To find bugs though we need to set off a trigger so that we can see how the bugs flare up in the game, however just like the different types of bugs there are different types of triggers and ways we can trigger bugs in the game.
Configuration Triggers
Configuration triggers are known to take place in the ‘Pre-Game’ region and can include device/ environment settings that are used before even running the game like game platform and softwear versions.  Screen resolution, audio systems, patches, operating systems, patches, date and time and even language settings are all configuration triggers. On the other hand this can include external devices such as game controllers, keyboards, speakers, headsets, mice and even monitors.
Start-up Triggers
Start-ups can be used in the ‘Start Game’ regions of a game and triggered by user-initiated or caused by the gaming platform. If the process of start game is interrupted it might be the operating system is not complete and may or may not run at all which is where these bugs come from.  The triggers might also include loading, creation, entry to the game, transitions or delaying.
Exception Triggers
Exception triggers are used for the ‘In Game’ region of the game meaning the player will notice these a lot more and can be in the form of unnecessary exceptions, errors that can stop the player, exceeds, NULL problems, recovery, unavailable, blocked and prohibited problems. External conditions that are not controlled by the game might be complications like network problems.
Stress Triggers
Stress triggers force the game to be put under a fair amount of work and can be found not only in the ‘In-Game’ but ‘Game Start’ regions. Now the conditions will depend on the hardware or software resources and can be in the shape of memory, screen resolution, file sizes, disk spaces, loads, speed, capacity, limits and network speed. It might be for example there are too many enemies that are spawned up in the game that will corrupt the game.
Normal Triggers
Normal triggers again take place in the ‘In-Game’ operating region and refer to using the game apart from any configuration, stress or exception conditions such as demos or tutorials- similar to what you find in a game manual. Most testing completed is using normal triggers as it’s based on how we would play the game anyways instead of keeping an eye out for defects like the others, so whatever bugs that do appear are to be expected.
Restart Triggers
Restart triggers are finally found in ‘Post-Game’ regions and happen in a result of ending the game, quitting quests/missions, turning off your device, ejecting the game disk ect Usually games will ask you to save your progress whilst other simply save as you go along then there’s those that won’t save until you’ve hit a certain point in the game. If none of this is done accordingly it will cause the player the stress of losing their progress.
Test Phases
Test phases are simply where you plan your game into different sections before it’s released and is extremely helpful in keeping progress of your game.
Code Freeze
Once the creators have made a specific part of the game or the game they freeze the code so they don’t put anything new in until everything that they’ve already done has been tested.
BETA and Alpha Testing
This is where most of the testing goes off, it’s basically where game testers begin to find any bugs within the code and report them to the creators who in turn note down what’s there and what they need to fix. Usually BETA testing is first so that most of the bugs can be found in the game, afterwards when the problems are found and fixed Alpha is next which is to repeat the testing phase and find any new bugs that have since popped up from the BETA, or where the coding team may have accidently missed a bug reported during BETA stage.
Code- Release is where you begin to fix any bugs in the any of the operating regions, so the coding team will un-freeze the code and tweak it or add in pieces that may be missing or have to be changed so the game actually works correctly or a lot more better because of people’s suggestions. Usually after this is done the code is ‘re-frozen’ so that Alpha testing can begin and the same process happens again if anymore bugs appear in Alpha.
Gold Master
Now that everything has been tested and the game seems to be working smoothly with no bugs appearing or stopping the player, the game itself is released onto the shelves so that many people across the world can enjoy it. Sometimes this can happen for a demo in which everything of the above must be repeated when the whole game is produced.

The Bug Reporting Process
When testing a game our main objective is to hunt and track down any bugs we find within the game that can cause problems further on down the line, this can range from something as simple as blood spurting out of a skeleton to full scale Crash bug that completely shuts down the game. When we find these bugs though we may not know how to report them. When testing Year 0 our main place to report bugs was to our Tutor or on the Legendary Games: Year 0 forums however there’s a certain style in which we must write them in.
First off describe the issue’s category like what kind of bug it is? Possible glitch? Game crash? And discuss on how you could possibly recreate the same problem to happen again and how you’ve managed to create it. Explain what OS your running the game on so for example it could be on a mac, linux, Microsoft, android so that the creators can simplify what game it is if released on multiple platforms, or if it’s actually your hardware that’s the problem.
Now describe what the problem is and if there’s any more information that can be given to the team- give it! Screenshot your problem if possible and send it to the creators. Another way in which you can test bugs is pretty much the same as what I’ve already discussed only it goes like this:
~ Plan
When a game is ready to release its BETA or have added something new into the code and have not yet tested it, they will tell their testers where to find the new pieces or the bug and what you need to test them with. For example in Year 0 if we look at one of my problems it could be where I have to sign up and then test the forums log in just to check it works, or they could’ve added something new in there.
~ Prepare
Pretty simple, as it’s where you begin to prepare for testing this game and this can be a range of things. If we go back to my example I would have to prepare by getting an email address ready the internet servers up so that all that’s left is to simply register then go to the forums. Another example could be with localisation of the game, if someone was to make sure the words matched the words of another language you would bring someone in who could speak both languages, or maybe give one who can’t a dictionary.
Now this is where you begin to test the game. It could be during your planning stage you know exactly where to go to find the bug and decide what type it is. If this is the case it means you have to test around the bug to see if it stops your progress in the game. In Year 0 it came to a point where no matter where I put my Scavengers the enemy would always skip their turn, yet at the same time I couldn’t shoot at them. Then I travelled around the map trying different angles of shooting and getting shot at, in the end I had to return to base and re-try.
For the forums it would mean registering and then trying to get into the forums, if it worked then there’s nothing left to do otherwise if it didn’t we would have to go to the next step.
~ Report
Again this part is pretty simple where we type in all what I’ve explained already about the bug, where it is and how can it be shown again if possible?
Once the creators filter down what are actual bugs in the game compared to what could be mere suggestions, it’s up to them to repair the bug they’ve found in the game. Sometimes it might be they have to redo it after BETA if there’s that many or they’re able to fix it whilst BETA is still going on.
~ Repeat
Now all that’s left is to repeat the whole process again until no one finds any bugs.

Bugs/Defects and Suggestions I’ve Found in Year 0

1.      1. Category: Cosmetic
How to redo: Happens every turn.
OS: Windows 8
Problem: Why aren’t there any enemy troops and yet it says ‘Enemy’s Turn’? Does this mean there are supposed to be enemies there and they’re not? Or is this what you guys have planned? Personally if it’s been planned this way I think maybe it should be altered as it wastes time when you’re trying to collect resources or when you’re moving around in your vehicles.

2.     2.  Category: General
How to redo: When you want to go into 3D mode and press the button for the mode to start.
OS: Windows 8
Problem: When I asked to go into a 3D mode during the start of Year 0 it froze up my laptop and wouldn’t let me. I repeated this a couple of times just to make sure it wasn’t just my hardware.

3.       3.Category: Minor
How to redo: Unknown
OS: Windows 8
Problem: Another problem I’ve had is when you get close to certain buildings you can’t have a turn you have to end it and then wait after the ‘Enemy’s Turn’ to go and sometimes you have to do this a couple of times. So far I’ve experienced this in the ‘Lost City’

4.       4.Category: Cosmetic
How to redo:  When searching for the probe first time, connect to the truck first instead of the probe and try to detach. It won’t happen so you have to return.
OS: Windows 8
Problem: When going into the Desert to retrieve the probe, I decided to bring back the truck first thinking I could leave it near the edge, grab the probe and come back for it later? But you can’t so I had to return back to get the probe- maybe this could be something you could alter as some people prefer to gather the resources first and then do the mission which in a way is backwards, yet it’s not going to make people go back and forth for the main objective.

5.       5. Category: Minor
How to redo: After sending the first truck to the base, return for the probe and attach yourself to it. After that enemy turn, go to move and your turn will be skipped.
OS: Windows 8
Problem: When going to retrieve the probe, I clicked to move and it wouldn’t let me? Instead it completely skipped my turn and went straight to ‘Enemy’s Turn’
6.       Category: Minor
How to redo: Follow last steps
OS: Windows 8
Problem: Trying to retrieve the probe with the truck in the desert but it won’t let me, it keeps saying I have to end my turn. So I do and I come back to the same conclusion, is it because I’m in the wrong part of the map?

7.       6. Category: Cosmetic
How to redo: When you’ve attached your Harvester, put it near your Scavengers or other way around.
OS: Windows 8
Problem: A suggestion might be to have the ‘Harvester’ icon in a different colour so you don’t accidently click on it when you wanted the Scavengers.
8.       8. Category: Cosmetic
How to redo: Once you’ve completed the first set of missions.
OS: Windows 8
Problem: I think I’ve completed the East City place, on the map its green but still flashing is this supposed to happen?
9.     9.  Category: Minor
How to redo: Unsure
OS: Windows 8
Problem: During one of the missions in Year 0 when you invade the bottom half of the town, your opponents will end the turn, then when you end your turn straight after they do again.

1.      10.  Category: Minor
How to redo: Go to the forums
OS: Windows 8
Problem: Even though it I’m logged into the game it won’t log me into the Year 0 bug forums and I’ve tried with my username, email and made sure my password is correct. All it says is I’m not found.
2.       11. Category: Minor
How to redo: After completing the first set of missions, go to one of the city missions to take capture of the place from Marauders. Once in there go between one of the buildings and bushes. Let the Marauders shoot at you.
OS: Windows 8
Problem: After being shot at by the Marauders, it said they missed my team of Scavengers however they didn’t as they all died and then got blown up. Yet you can still see them in the game and the Marauders are still running around.

12. Category: Minor
How to redo: Don't go to the battle site at Land's End without a probe and click a spot for your truck or Scavengers to move.
OS: Windows 7
Problem: It says we need to use a probe in order to find blueprints, special items and find your enemies if they're on the battle field. As I didn't have my probe on the field and only chosen a spot to move as soon as the level started, the spot of where your enemies are appear when it shouldn't.

Discalimer: I do not own any of the below nor make money from this. Anything that I’ve used from these links have been used to support my assignment purposes only! All rights belong to the respected owners.

1. (Used on 28/1/13)

5. on 30/1/13)

6. on 30/1/13)
7. on 30/1/13)
8. on 30/1/13)

Tanden Typhoon Assignment: Animation Part 1

 Animation Part 1
For our animation assignment we’ve been given the task to create, model and animate a ‘cart’ on 3DS Max which can range from something as simple as a shopping trolley, to a go-kart or even a racing machine. With taking this in mind our group has come up with the idea of using racing-karts and creating a mini-game for our original FMP: ‘The Depths Between’. The mini-game itself will be of something similar to games like Mario Kart Wii, Sonic and Sega: All Stars Racing/Transform and movies like Sugar Rush from the film- Wreck-It-Ralph.
Why Have The Team Chosen This?
If we were to incorporate this idea as an actual quest of the game, it would mean one of our team members NPC quests would have to be altered or even sacrificed to include this in. So far for the planning of what we shall make for the demo, we pretty much have everything mapped out in terms of events and quests- hence why this project wouldn’t really collaborate well with the main story. Instead we are giving the players an extra game to have fun with and explore more of the land: Purgatory from a different perspective rather than fully being an RPG/Action-Adventure genre game. In accordance to this it would give the players something else to do if we were to full finish this game and they get stuck on a certain part. For instance everyone in nearly every game will get stuck on a certain part that after a few goes becomes incredibly frustrating to work out, how we respond to this a completely different matter. Usually we all go on the internet to websites like: Gamespot, IGN and walk-through bloggers- but say you can’t find a walkthrough for the game you’re playing so what happens next?
 Some of us stubbornly like to stay on the game for hours trying to decipher what to do or where to go to do what or to defeat whom, other’s like myself tend to leave the game after a few tries and do something else for a couple hours before returning to the problem. Then there’s those that get put off the game completely and leaves it laying on the shelf for months letting it collect dust or give it a bad review and trade it in. If we have a mini-game for the consumers to enjoy and calm down from this experience, it could be a really good boredom and frustration buster which might give us better reviews and comments if we were to achieve this. Another way to look at it would be it could give us something to design for a younger audience as our main game is for teenagers and adults making it even more flexible for the family.
Our Mini-Game Concept
Already I’ve discussed where the initial thoughts have come from which is Mario Kart, Sonic and Sega and Sugar Rush, yet we still want to tie this in or have some significance to the main game. Each member of the team is to create a set kart that resembles their personal character in the story and develop traits are also similar to the creation’s part in the story. For example Leash is a wolf hybrid that wields a katana known as the Sparrow’s Wing, which helps her control her elemental powers of: Water, Wind and Ice. The other part of the plan is to design a race-course track around each person’s personal part of Purgatory, so that as the player progresses through the game (or demo in this case) each land becomes available to race in as well as the character. Already I’ve drawn designs for my land’s level layout giving a birds-eye view of the main part, footnotes to each little piece that has further sketches to show what I mean and ways of how the player’s might be able to enter this land to and fro; all that’s left if to design the actual track and what should be there.
Luckily we seemed to have managed to eliminate some constraints with what this assignment might have given us, which is how we could incorporate an animated kart where the Purgatory’s only transportation is creatures. Yet it still does give us problems.
Time is possibly one of our biggest problems as animation itself is a long and complicated process that can take months to create a decent length of film. Usually in an industry practice it can take an animator to make at least 3 seconds of animation a week, so taking this into consideration it would mean we have to be quick and extremely organised in how we arrange our time in not only build and designing our carts but animating them- especially if someone or some people want specific traits for their cart in the way it moves for acts. At the same time there’s also the level designing to be taking on board. Although it’s not part of this assignment there’s no point giving our cart nothing to drive along to interest our players, so in our spare time we must design and build our level environments for our kart to race around on.
Another major constraint in itself is legal issues as our game will resemble other games out there as explained earlier.  For us to avoid copyright we would have to alter the game quite extensively and only take pieces from games that’s given us initial ideas and concepts, at the same time we can also reference the pieces we’ve taken or had ideas from and show how we’ve added our own personal influence upon that idea so we can use it in our game. This would also go for when we come to design anything for any game, already I can understand I will need drawing references or racing karts so with each picture I obtain from the internet I can post the link within a bibliography of where I’ve found the picture or idea.
Another way of plagiarism would be to copy someone’s motion cycles for animation and claim it as their own. This isn’t fair as people really do take the time to sit and study how someone or something moves, drawing up a rough storyboard and then placing it into a video-editing software to see if that piece of work actually moves correctly. In my group I plan to try and cover what motion cycles people would need for anything to move in our game so they’re not hindered, which would speed up production time and it wouldn’t be classed as copyright as I would be breaking down the movement of the object, at the same time it also shows if I were to go into my dream job I could be counted upon to create fluid movements by studying things instead of relying on others to create an animation cycle.
Although this is not much of an issue for our group, another constraint would be ethical reasons and how we not only represent characters, but the karts as well and their part in the game. When creating a kart we are basing off our characters and mine personally isn’t a wolf so it wouldn’t offend anyone, yet if we were to have a coloured guy in a horrible ‘mean-machine’ of a kart and the only one being a malicious person then that would start an ethical upset. When creating a game you have to take into consideration what could affect people if we use stereotypes, so going back to our scenario earlier we could make a white person have a very similar kart so those who might be hurt by that would see we are not being prejudice. For sexism we could have it where a player could choose the same kart a male character would have and vice-versa for the males then another obstacle on this game would be religious views. When building the race-tracks we would have to research on a country is we were basing the track there so we don’t unintentionally upset people, for example if our course was in Vietnam we wouldn’t be allowed to show a red poppy as to them this symbolises war.
What could be the final restraint for the team would be if we wanted to sell the game. Obviously we couldn’t sell this game like we couldn’t with the main product. Reasons for this are simply we are using programs that cost thousands to run and use which are supplied by the college as well as licenses to make games- not sell them and again supplied by the college. Another thing would be if we did raise the money to buy the programs and licenses, we still wouldn’t be able to sell the games as we’ve already or will submit these in for our BTEC diploma which would create a lawsuit as we’ve traded our work for a grade that can help us later on in life. Again it depends as we could split the profits with the exam board, yet it would mean making everything in the game again on our programs as the original would be made on the college’s facilities, which would waste our time even further.
Now if we look at personal constraints instead of a team’s each person is going to differ. Usually these constraints might be more focused on the design of the person’s kart or even layout design. For me personally I don’t think I’m going to have many constraints apart from time, there is going to be a part of my level that the player have to steer through a herd of Paradoquins which is my creation for the game. Paradoquins slightly resembles closely to a Sklepie, these mythical beings are half horse and half fish with the front half being the horse and the rest of it being a long tail. Paradoquins have the front half of a horse and the rest is wrapped round into a ghostly trail that becomes more translucent as you go down which can be a problem- not only to animate but to model as well.
Target Audience
As our main game is aimed at teenagers and adults we are considering having this mini-game lowered to children at around 7+, which would show the audience that we are versatile in making games for a wide range of target ages rather than sticking closely to teenagers as we feel more confident in than zone because we are teens. With having it aimed at children it would also benefit a family who enjoys playing games and if the children did like the racing then maybe they would want to play the real game of ‘The Depths Between’, later on in life which might increase sales of the game in the long-run if we were allowed to sell this.

For the design of the game the level layouts aren’t going to be as dark themed with the possibility of adding more of a cartoon approach and bright colours to being something virtually realistic. In the racing games mentioned before people usually crash into boxes that gives the player’s an advantage to use over others for a short period of time. If our team were to create something similar where the ‘treats’ or ‘prizes’ were wacky and relate to the game in some fun way, like in Wreck-It-Ralph durong the Sugar Rush game the prizes were being hit with ice-cream or cherry bombs which relates to the land they’re in as it’s all sugary and sweet things. If we done something similar that would appeal to a younger audience instead of it being morbid with lots of fantasy violence. Another way would be to make the characters and karts ‘chibi’ or cel-shaded like that out of Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, giving them funny or cute appearances which would tie in well with the idea of wacky prizes.

Shun Goku Satsu Assignment: Production Management

 Production Management

When designing our final major project we need, as a group, to effectively plan what strategies and weaknesses we share within in the group, what the game is going to be about and how we go about building it. It also means that some people work for more than one group so methods of building the game are completely different to another team’s method. Personally I’m in three groups, freelancer for one and trying to see how far I can get with my personal game on the side. My reasons for this are showing that I can work in groups as well as I try and be independent at the same time. Here in this assignment I will discuss what could happen to most groups as a whole and then discuss what’s been done in each individual group.
Constraints within a Group
There are various constraints within a group that can either help the team grow stronger for break them and the project apart. Money is probably one of the biggest factors as in the gaming industry, it can costs millions just to make one game like Legend of Zelda, Grand Theft Auto or even Final Fantasy which are all created by big gaming success powerhouses meaning money isn’t really much of a problem and workloads and be equally distributed. Compare this though to Indie Gamers where they basically are starting from scratch, having to find the money themselves with very heavy workloads and may not be a huge success leaving them bankrupt. As students we are going the Indie way, meaning we will have to pay for licensing, programs such as the Autodesk collection (Maya, Mudbox, 3D Max), Photoshop, Renpy, UDK ect, all of which can costs thousands to pay for. Then there’s also the price of getting travel and paying for your food and maybe extra materials, for example if like myself you’re a concept artist for the group, it will mean must pay for your own tools like pencils, inks, paints ect Then there’s also having to pay for food, this may not apply to everyone though as some people may bring lunch with them or simply buy food from nearby retail places. When piecing this altogether it will cost a heck of a lot of money, luckily all members of the groups all attend the same college (Confetti Studios) which supply the programs and can allow us to download student versions of the programme for free, giving us more time to work on projects at home.
Another good thing is some of the group members may already have programs such as Photoshop or even hardware like Wacom Bamboo tablets, so they don’t have to fully relay on using college meaning work can also be done at home.
There’s also the matter of how many responsibilities each individual have, this can be a huge problem in the group as some people are going to have more time to work on things than others. For example I personally carry a lot of responsibilities outside of college such as my jobs. My main job is helping my Mum with running our family dog business of walking, retraining and boarding them. Another one is keeping the house/family business going if my Mum’s had to have surgery as there isn’t anyone in our family/ we trust that can take on her roles in the household other than me. This also includes looking after my little brothers and all our other pets which in itself are demanding tasks. For hobbies I take in unwanted and mistreated birds, train them and get them back to their full health and keep them as family pets (I have also done this with two tortoises and six terrapins), I think my last major responsibility is looking after my horse Cleo. Having a horse can be very demanding- especially in winter! Then as she was a ride and drive, I have to have lessons on how to make her a riding horse and myself a better rider to take part in jumping, endurance riding and Yabusame (horseback archery).
With all these other things that I have to see to it can be hard to get the work done before the deadline, meaning I stay up most nights, going into early hours of the morning, working for the teams which is ok until it starts affecting your health.  One of my major downfalls in sometimes taking on too much work and trying to finish it in a short spaces of time which leads to serious consequences later, for example I haven’t been able to look at the screen for long periods of time as my eyes instantly start stinging and over-watering. The ways in which I can help this situation is effectively plan my workload for a start, keep up on taking vitamins and make sure I take my Optrex when my eyes begin to sting so it doesn’t lead to them ‘leaking’.
In a lot of games of games nowadays you’ll see various advertisements being displayed, that the public don’t really give much thought about them. My opinion to this at first was they use advertisements to make games that revolve around cities or include a city, like Bioshock and Judge Dredd, more realistic to public’s eye- not to actually advertise their services to the world. Also even though it’s not legal, loads of young children play over-aged games like Call Of Duty, Borderlands and again Bioshock where sometimes in games like these you’ll see an advertisement for the military. This can actually plant a seed these young children’s minds because they haven’t been exposed to what war is all about, to them because they play first shooter games ect, they themselves think it’s a game and don’t look at the bigger picture that going to war is all about being blinded by your country’s conscience, and having to fight the battle between life and death ultimately becoming survival of the fittest regardless of your comrades or even your family members- emotionally scarring you for life. I don’t think these kinds of advertisements should be in any games because of this reason. Stopping under age children from playing these kinds of games at home is impossible and not something that can be easily done but refusing money from local business when designing a game can, even though it could mean a lot of money is lost in the industry- yet it would mean not a lot of people will be the delusional thought battlefields are playgrounds in a sense.
Advertisements are literally plastered everywhere in technology these days sending a lot of people into an ‘outrage’ because we can’t go somewhere technological without being swamped in advertisements. Take Youtube for example if you’re not a heavy gamer. Before you could just watch any video in peace without your computer freezing or crashing and full concentration would be on the clip- but no! Now we have to suffer like we do when watching the tv, viewing advertisements that are taking away at least 30 seconds of our precious time and life to try and sell people more goods, when all we want to do is watch that wonderful video clip- dream on! Also I have noticed since the advertisements plagued Youtube and other movie like Animecrazy, Animeoan, BBC I Player, a lot of the time the hardware does slowly down adding to fuel of making people go berserk. Now on online gaming they’re injecting more and more advertisements into these things sending gamers into frenzy. It’s not ethically right to be continuously pestered by companies we don’t like or don’t want to buy from  because their sales have gone down, don’t get a lot of recognition or like the ‘Go Compare!’ person wants to annoy you with their horrible music and rhymes.
It isn’t fair that our gaming experience is going to be ruined furthermore by advertisements.
The patent, filed July and granted November of last year, goes into more detail about how this would affect the user experience. The filing suggests that gamers could be warned of an impending advertisement by a warning message, or by slowing down gameplay. The filing also suggests that game content could effectively be rewound at or prior to the end of the ad, presumably in an attempt to ready up the player in case the gameplay broke off at a critical point.
Online multiplayer games are specifically mentioned, confirming that Sony is at least considering the approach to both online and offline games. During online games, the patent has clauses for the display of the same advertisement to all users simultaneously, and different adverts for one or more players.
Taken from James Holloway, ‘Sony patent could see games interrupted by compulsory ads article’
The responses to this advert were:
This is the worst idea I have heard of lately, as a gamer if this were to take off I would boycott the game!
Is there no sanctuary left where we are free from blatant advertising?
Advertise somewhere else, do not interrupt any games!!
Quoted from-Michael Simpson
Sexuality is another big conflict in games because designers don’t appropriately display the sexually diverse characters correctly through image, or their role in the actual game isn’t ethically correct to begin with or they just don’t have a proper depth meaning they don’t flesh out in the game like they should. Developers don’t necessarily think about these things and go with the stereotypical white, powerful American/Asian guy that’s a Mary Sue with possible fetish for maybe ‘cuddly cat’.
In Persona 4 the antagonist who’s gay actually has a better back story then most other homosexuals in other games. It talks about his struggles as teenager on whether he’s hetro or homo and to some it can be difficult to realise what you are personally, eventually making you sympathise with that character. This is because of public’s stereotyping with males being gay are actually weak minded or suffered from something horrific in that past to make them that way, this isn’t the case. The character in Persona is rebel, one who proves and fights or his freedom listening only to himself when in reality he’s actually scared of what other people think about his orientation- which is true in real life for both male and female. In order for him to become stronger person he overcomes this fear of showing that he’s gay to public and gives off the vibe that he doesn’t care what they think, thus making him mentally stronger and again it happens in real life.
Another from the same game actually wants a sex change from a female to a male because she believes that her world is male dominated so to speak. Sometimes in certain hobbies or things I’ve done I have felt it’s overly dominated by males because a lot of the females tend to go for other things making out your weird female and suppose it happens to males as well. Even though the girl doesn’t change gender it gives another thought to public about how we treat people like this and how it fits into ourselves and how we feel about the sexually diverse issues.

A lot of games from 7+ revolve around the protagonist taking part in violent scenarios which many parents feel this has an impact on their children and other people. Yet developers have set our punishments if the gamer were to commit too much violence, like killing people that are innocent or just killing to many living creatures. In Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time if you kill too many chickend or pick on one for example, all the chickens in Hyrule no doubt appear out of nowhere and come to kill you. Assasin’s Creed makes you start from the beginning of the mission if you kill innocent citizens or too many of them and in other games like Grand Theft Auto and Simpsons Hit & Run, the legal forces will be on your tail to hunt you down until you pay or up or the game ends. I think it’s a good idea for making sure there’s a consequence if one was too kill just for sake of bloodlust on a game. It gives the parents a peace of mind and media will stay of the gaming companies backs for longer instead of trying to sell out a story that’s full of rubbish.
When buying a new game that’s finally been released after so long and you quickly run home in order to play it, you don’t really want to find out the game you’ve just spent all your money on has disk-locked content that will only be released if you go to a certain place, spend more money or just won’t be released at all. It’s really annoying and not ethically right. As the public you pay for your franchise then all of sudden you can’t have part of it- even though you’ve paid for it? This would then lead to piracy in the gaming industry that does burn holes in their sales. In order to gain a little more money is to stop this disk locked content nonsense allowing more people to enjoy the whole game- hopefully decreasing piracy.
Copyright nowadays is a huge issue and it’s because of a few reasons. Mentioned before about disk-locked content if you download a game illegally, then all the content might be available to you whereas in the shops it not- not a legal reason.
The games are too expensive, fair enough they are in some respects as one game could cost £40 but then look at how much money had to be put into the game. Designing games costs billions to do not to mention the staff like developers, producers, animators, testers ect have to go through hell because of the workload to finish these games in time, so it’s only fair they get a decent amount for their work. Whatever excuse we use to commit copyright with games it’s never right. One exception could be copying old games that no one can gain money from or you can’t find it anywhere no matter how hard you look.
As students we need to take both ethical and legal issues into consideration. Ethical would be to not offend anyone (or as little people as possible), as well as keep our game rating down to no more than a 16. For legal issues we would have to disclaim anything that is not made by us but other parties (like music and voice actors), not to steal/copy anything from existing games and to not sell our product as we do not own a license to do this.
Contingency Plans
In any group we need to have a back-up plan in case something happens where a member of team becomes frequently absent, or can’t get into college to hand in work or simply the files on our memory stick is lost or broken. For the team members part if something were to happen to the team leader, my job in a couple of groups is to take in everything the leader has said/wants then distribute it to the rest of the team members if need be- this way if something were to happen to me, everyone would know what to do and how to carry on. The internet is also another way we can all stay in touch other than relying on meeting up at college or other places in town, on sites like Facebook, Google and IM messengers- plus in some groups there’s an online meeting held every week for the group to discuss anything and everything that concerns the game which is a brilliant idea.
Now if we were to lose work or couldn’t get in to college to hand it in, the teams usually have a storage place on the internet for other to have access to and retrieve like Google drives and Dropbox, which if anything did happen to your memory stick you can get your work from there also. It may also help if someone else has a copy of your work just in case of this situation of well but the internet would be much better.
The Groups
Drastic Studios~ The Depths Between
Drastic is the first group I joined as it contains people who I class as my friends since the first year. The good thing about this group to begin with is we all share similar interests in games and opinions on what we want in a game. Our group started before the summer holidays began last year and it’s where the game ‘The Depths Between’ began. At the start we didn’t have a leader so I decided to get the group going by taking everyone’s original game concepts down and then merging them together so that they became one whole concept. As no one decided to take notes during this I said I would begin the GDD for the group and spent my holidays doing this. To be honest I believe this is where most of the troubles started in the group as I stepped down from being  leader due to my responsibilities at home (it wouldn’t be fair on everyone else as I can’t always be sat at a computer screen). When the new leader was elected I was still planning things for the group like meetings, homework and bulking up the GDD.. So I posted the GDD  on Facebook so everyone had a copy. To be honest I thought that was all the trouble over and I promised to leave the leader more to it. During that couple of weeks though, communication seemed to have been lost as some people didn’t have a clue what the game was about, others didn’t know what work needed to be done for what and then I personally felt as though whatever I suggested on the group chat for the group was shot down in flames and that I wasn’t respected for the amount of work I had already done for the team.
Finally I confided in a couple of close people on what to do and organised another meeting during one of lesson’s breaks to get everything sorted and my thoughts across to leader. To be honest the meeting did clear a lot of things up like what we should be doing for this assignment on our group work (e.g surveys, moodboards,mind-maps), what our game/team is called and how I’ve felt about all this. After the leader personally changed my GDD without consulting the entire group I did feel a little angry as it was my work that’s been changed without my consent.  After again speaking to the leader and explaining to the members of the team we are allowed to change the GDD and add more depth to it so that we are all happy with what’s going to be done. Nowadays I still work for the group and I’m stepping away from leading the team when it gets into sticky situations as it’s not fair, but that doesn’t mean the leader hasn’t been much better since that meeting and I feel more confident to voice ideas I have and feel appreciated for what I do.
In this group I’ve completed:
~Intial notes
~Intial GDD
~Research Survey
~Moodboards for the game and all my characters
~Finished a section in the game where my character meets the main character
~Finished NPC Quest and script
~Completed concept/final image art for my character, done two mock images for her design as well as finished her backstory and bio.
~Completed an enemy concept/finished image and a short description
~Finished final images on two NPC as well as short descriptions.
All of these can be found under the section marked ‘The Depths Between’
My next steps for this team is to melding my NPC quest into the GDD, alter pieces of the new GDD that contains my character and start animating her a little bit (like cycle runs). Other things I can be doing is gathering voice actors for character’s that people don’t want to voice, design a mini-boss that appears in my NPC quest and write a description on him; I believe after all this it would be to model assets and my character.

The Untold Tale:The Tale of Davy Jones
I’ve recently joined this group as well, as I know and have worked with all the people there and find them great to be with as well as Drastic. The story so far revolves around pirates and takes on an art style similar to Saints Row, where the imagery is semi-realistic with a hint of anime, in the group, so far my job has been to create 5 designs for NPC characters that will appear in poor docks. After this my next steps would be to choose a final design and put it up on Photoshop with the leader’s consent and move onto more concept art for the team.

Malaman Studios
For Malaman Studios I work as a free-lancer and do pieces that desperately need doing for the team-leader. So far my job’s been for concept art where I’ve designed the character, Malawoman, with 3 different hair and clothes styles. Working closely with the leader it’s been decided that the woman version should have some type of hair, to distinguish the difference between the Mala sexes. The hair itself will be the colour of someone’s veins and either braided or plaited, whilst the clothes style may be something similar to Grand Theft Auto. When the concept art for Malawoman is done along with a final image, concept art for Malaman will be next as the leader has already asked me to do this.
Elemental Wolves
Finally my last and personal game that I’m trying to work on, Elemental Wolves has been a story that has stuck with me since Secondary school, and after playing around with Renpy I believe I might be able to turn my story into a game rather than an animated series whilst at college. This game already has a lot of stuff done for it, as I used it a lot during my first year at college so it’s literally ready to start building with models and scripting in Renpy. However I’ve concluded that as I’ll be busy modelling for other games and that is game is one to be done on the side, the images will be 2D and the gameplay will be more like MMORPG and RPGs such as Clannad, Kanon and Sukisho.
What I’ve done for the game:
~Full GDD
~A couple of story chapters
~Couple of manga chapters based on the story
~Bios,backstories,mind-maps, moodboards on the game/characters.
~Storyboard on beginning of story/start of first chapter
~Various concept art/mock scenes
~48 Characters been designed (5 years ago), few have been re-vamped
~Got some voice actors for the story
~A few old animations.
~ Primary Research for the game