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  • Writer's pictureAlexander M. West

Mid Mortem Fun!

Updated: Mar 21, 2019

Going into mid mortems, I feel pretty confident with the game that my team and I have been working on. Post presentations and pre cuts, I just want to go over the games and my thoughts with the basis of viability and feasibility.

To give a quick summary of the games first:

Goblinworks: Set in a fantasy world where you’re the CEO of a newly found company. The company in question is producing magic runes of many combinations and selling them to make money. However, adventurers don’t like that you’re a company of goblins and are devoted to stopping your company and realistically taking it from you. Your goal is to mine runes, infuse them with different elements, sell them for money, recruit, and defend yourself and your company. The game has a feel of the combination of Factorio’s supply chain management and the unit management of Starcraft II.

Reboot: Set in the world inside your TV. You play the TV trying to get back to the real world while where it’s restarting. You skate around a bowl shaped map increasing your speed by skating over different speed surfaces and completing different objectives. Once you gain enough speed you can launch yourself out of the bowl you’re currently in. Your goal is to get through many of these bowls until you eventually reach the bottom and beam yourself back to the real world where you (the TV) are turning back on. The game has a similar feel to the Sonic games but gives you more control over managing your speed and direction.

Duckmaster: You wanna go on an adventure. However, you don’t have anyone to go adventuring with. Oh, wait, yes you do! You can go on an adventure with your duck friend! In Duckmaster you play a duckmaster and his trusty duck on an adventure. The goal of the game is to complete puzzles to move on to new environments. Base mechanics in this game are picking up the duck, throwing the duck, and calling the duck. The idea is that you and the duck have different strengths and weaknesses that can be used to create different and unique puzzles. With a focus on simplicity for the mobile market.

Hakon’s Reign: You’ve been imprisoned in a prison ruled over by a person named Hakon. Hakon however does not directly oversee his prison and with his attention diverted the prison runs rampant with corruption and gangs. You as a player must navigate the economy and relations between factions in order to get to eventually escape from the prison. With a fantasy setting the goal of this game is to trade your way up and taking inspiration from the red paperclip challenge. The challenge was to get as far as possible with a starting point of a red paperclip, which ends with him trading up to eventually a house. Something akin to an economy rpg version of the escapists.

Village Cast in Stone: You play a stone swapper. A race of people who one day appeared in a stone labyrinth. As a stone swapper you are able to swap places with any stone you choose, effectively teleporting. However, the more you swap the more you yourself turn to stone and run the risk of forever being stone. Upon discovery of a long lost shrine you discover that there is a way out of the labyrinth by finding idols while avoiding the gorgons that inhabit the labyrinth. The game plays similar to Portal in the puzzles but is more about managing where you die and making sure you don’t die too much.

Now onto my thoughts.

Goblinworks: This is my game and I’ll try to stay as objective as possible. Looking at this game it is kind of scary from an initial glance. There are a lot of systems that need to be in place for a vertical slice of this game to work. However, these systems tend to be very small and are largely possible in the scope of the 10 weeks remaining in the semester. The fantasy of the game is an absolute love for me. From a programmer perspective with having three programmers (two teams) it will be possible to make a vertical slice of this game. The task system is implemented, the basics of the towers and infusers are implemented, alongside this there is a basic map implemented. Moving forward this game would need the infusing system, enemy wave system, and spellcasting system for a minimal viable. This is completely feasible. This game should go through as long as people aren’t scared of the initial scope.

Reboot: I like this game. This feels like a decent scoped and fun to play game. This is probably one of the most likely games to go through because it is everything Champlain loves: short play sessions, fast paced, potential couch coop. This game can benefit from additions of multiple of each discipline. There is a lot of potential in all aspects of this game and I don’t really know what else to say about it. This will probably go through.

Duckmaster: I don’t know how to feel or really talk about this game. From presentation this game is super low scope and super safe. I can’t see any more programmers working on this project and see it working with one programmer, an artist or two, and a designer or two. 100% this game could be minimum viable in 10 weeks with only three people, one from each discipline, minus the producer. It would be very difficult with two games to find enough substance to warrant an increase in team size, especially from a programming standpoint. The current programmer on that team is strong and they seem to have all the mechanics they want implemented for minimum viable. If they want to take this game further than minimum viable then they might need an additional programmer but the goal of the class is minimum viable. That being said if this game goes through with two games it would be very difficult to fit every person in the class between this and the other game.

Hakon’s Reign: I’m just going to say that this game is not feasible by the skill in the room. The scale of this game for minimal feasible from a programming standpoint is slightly smaller than Goblinworks. However, this game also carries a heavy art burden because the goal is to have a completely fleshed character art and there is only one character artist in the studio. Alongside this there are no narrative designers to make a complete and coherent story along with interesting and engaging characters and interactions. All in all I don’t think this game is feasible given the class. Neat idea, wrong studio.

Village Cast in Stone: This game is in a weird spot. This game in 3 weeks had gone through two drastically different iterations. Even after the second iteration the game still doesn’t really have a clear vision or fantasy and because of that lacks the pull. On top of this the implementation of the game is basically Portal but without the physics which just seems boring and unfun. From a technical standpoint it is hard to evaluate this game because there isn’t a very clear vision, but based on what is seen and planned it would be very low. The game is mostly gameplay mechanics and very little systems and the mechanics planned aren’t that complicated.

Now, based on the fact that I don’t know what will go through, here are my preferences:

Obviously I would love to continue working on my own game Goblinworks. I can see so much potential for portfolio worthy content for each discipline and would enjoy working on systems/maybe tools for it. My second choice would probably be Reboot. Reboot has the potential to be a fun and interesting game. However, I struggle with Reboot in that I can’t see it offering anything for what I want to do in the future (systems/tools programming). Because of this I also struggle with seeing myself getting something portfolio worthy out of it. After Reboot I would like to work on Hakon’s Reign. Despite not really liking the direction of this game I can see myself having a spot where I can create something portfolio worthy. This is something that is heavily systems based and would love some tools created for it. Penultimate would be Duckmaster. Duckmaster, as previously mentioned, can be program complete with relative ease and I struggle to see where an additional programmer would fit in no matter who it is. Village Cast in Stone would be my last choice mainly because there is no vision for that game. If that game were to go through it would probably need to be redone in order to gain a solid vision.

I could probably go on about what I think of these games but that’s a brief overview of where I stand going into cuts.

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