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Monday, July 7, 2014

Game to Develop for the rest of Summer 2014 - Brainstorming

Hello, everyone!

I hope you are having a fine summer this year, because I am missing all the fun and excitement, simply because I have ran into employment problems. But rather than completely bragging about it again like what happened in one of my statuses, I think it's best now that I do something else to add some personal experience to it. This will be an advantage for me, especially when I want to start getting some computer gaming experience.

The advantages of doing a small computer game to work on for a full month is that I can start applying practices in computer game development, I can grow an audience assuming that I am critical and serious on the development of this, and when it is put on my CV, it can be used for internship employment interviews where I have a higher chance of earning the intern job.

I am due to start my first ever internship on May 4, 2015; as I progress the 1B term in software engineering, I will be working around the clock with AccessAbility Services and the Co-op Department to apply across multiple internships from four different cities, with prime interest in Waterloo alone. The alternative cities I have are Kitchener, Ottawa (my cousins live in Gatineau across the river facing Parliament Hill), and Montreal (which is where I live). The more spare time programs and records I put into my CV, the better the results will be and the more strength and empowerment I will have as an individual with ASD. The term will continue on until August 28, 2015, when I will move out of my rented apartment, or my family's settings, back to one of Waterloo's residences. (I wouldn't be totally static by having to ask for Village 1 every time I move in. There will be changes entirely dependent on the university alone, even though I will have to keep up with filling out Housing Accommodation Requests to AccessAbility. Still, I cannot stand being in a double room, because the person with me may not come from a similar time zone than I am, and hence I will be stressed out if he calls up his family while I'm asleep.)

In addition, there is a blog I've read that I need to start paying attention to and working on over the summer, including the first week of Waterloo when I participate in the Orientation Week.

Anyway, what I want to take the time for is have you people take a look at some writing I've done on a WordPad file; it's a list of game concepts that I have brainstormed a bit, but are to be refined more depending on what you guys like. I definitely need some input from you people to see which one you like best, athough I do have a preference in mind.

This WordPad file holds several different ideas for some kind of computer game that I want to work on as a past time experience and also to start building some experience in computer game design and development.
It's a rough start on what kind of game I should work on that I will upload as a free game and let other users play. Please let me know if you want to see more detail, but otherwise, read carefully and let me know which ideas you like best. You may have to do some researching yourself to see what I'm talking about.

This will be a record kept in my CV which will be used when I volunteer for University of Waterloo's Games Institute, as well as for interns I will complete while I'm doing my Honours Bachelor's Degree in Software Engineering. It doesn't mean that I will necessarily work as a game programmer from the start; it'll take years and lots of effort for me to generalize my understanding of programming, as well as the newer gaming technologies harnessed by developers and hardware engineers.
Nevertheless, I want to do something like this because I feel that by adding records into my CV, even though I haven't attended a video game school at all, I can demonstrate real potential in the real world. (I actually came across a TED video where a very young speaker discussed about creativity vs. education, because it seems that education can pose restrictions on ideas that would grow phenomenal enough to reach public's expectations.)

Anyway, there is an indie game sharing site called that is welcome to users to submit and share their free royalty games online. They have over 8,000 likes on Facebook and over 7,000 Twitter followers. I have communicated with one of the members of the team there, and it seems that they definitely accept games coded in JAVA, where I can upload it and share it as a compressed ZIP folder, complete with the programming, music, sound effects, and artwork.
Because the site involves stuff that is royalty-free, I can download and use Creative Commons music and sound effects for my game. I still want to see if I can do my own artwork and put it together in my program.
Now, I cannot generate royalties in my game upon sharing because that violates the site's Terms of Use, and it violates the Creative Commons license. It may be preferable, in this case, for my game to be licensed on the basis of copyleft. But because of how I think people should not redistribute my game, I think my game and program would be more of a copyright. The credit terms will be written out appropriately, and possibly with some aid before upload.

Below is a section of the game ideas I came up with that I want to take the time to discuss with you which one would be perfect for my summer computer game. Personally, I want to see which one you like the best, because the more the idea stands out, along with my strong careful detail on this, and the more time I invest in developing this as a game, the higher the rating could be. Now, most ideas are not creative; they are entirely inspired by certain arcades. In addition, given that the time frame for this project is very small, the ideas are short as well. Also, there are certain technologies and ideas I am running short on, and so I will have to learn on them.

I can't do 3D modelling yet, and I still need to work on my programming part for several years before I can put it in my future games. I have to go through special education for me to be more creative, better manage my development, and go through extensive times where I will have to go completely overboard to reach certain things, since right now, money and lack of social interaction with my friends is making me have stress, anxiety, and communication issues.
It will be a very long time before I can finally learn real creative skills and see players' expectations. I have to make money first in order for me to improve my self-esteem and confidence when dealing with needs, such as overcoming morning grogginess, medical attention including checkups, and both psychology and therapy for symptom treatment.

Let's say that my max rating on a GameJolt game I would put on shall have a minimal rating of 2.0 out of 5.0, and a max of 3.0 out of 5.0. There are certain indie games that would be underrated, but depending on what I can implement, it may or may not earn a better rating of 3.0. This is more for game experience and some real potential I can have.

If I find out that people see I have done really well with my game and they suggest that I make some money off of this, I will have to start a crowdfunding campaign to get the money I need to pay for the fees of music composition and sound design. I can't completely expect this during development, because considering that we are too short on money to even run on advertising campaigns, or even to pay for the total costs of uWaterloo, there is a shortage of followers on my Facebook page and my Twitter account.

I haven't been updating my accounts lately, and it would be impossible to get newer followers come in if I were to make a new series of YouTube videos from my webcam. In fact, I would risk spending too much in how much memory and time those videos can take up in comparison to how many subscribers and social networking followers I can get in return; I honestly don't have the equipment nor software to make professional videos. Besides, I'm not supposed to be some video editor.

Game Ideas:
1. (Based on Taito's ARKANOID series and Atari's Breakout)
I would design a block-and-paddle game where you need to move the paddle left and right accordingly to direct the ball to hit the blocks. You would have powerups, certain difficulty settings, a custom level designer, and certain modes of play.

- Classic
- Endurance
- Time Attack
- Brick Breaker
- Local Multiplayer
- Profile
- Options

2. A cannon game where the cannon is drawn at the bottom of the screen to where a scrolling image or something of interest is drawn; perhaps a gradient to simulate a horizon. The user can move the cannon sideways, and is able to rotate using either the mouse or the arrow buttons. The game would be to shoot down a whole bunch of enemies that come and go, something like a mix of Raiden, Galaga, and maybe Atari's Missile Command.

3.  A hard game based off of Flappy Bird, a very small and hard computer game to where it was taken off of stores because it infringed Nintendo's original artwork for one of their SNES games. I can't tell exactly where they came from, but I can tell that the bird had sprites based off of a Cheep Cheep, while the obstacles that people struggle to get around were Warp Pipes.
Mine would be some kind of hoverjet riding through different kinds of tunnels that get narrower and narrower until a potential minimal size, as well as placing these openings in different vertical positions. In addition, at the user's convenience, either a custom speed would be used, or that the user selects a starting speed and overtime, the speed increases.
This is after a series of Facebook comments I've exchanged with one of my acquaintances who was at my college. He states that with such a hard and simple game, making sure that there is a current score and best score, it would drive a lot of people's attention into it.

(EDIT [July 8, 2014]: It appears I was wrong on why the game was taken down. Someone on Facebook from the Indie Game Chat told me that the game was actually taken down because Flappy Bird received so much negative attention to it.

In addition, this idea will definitely not be used in my project, because I got word from the group saying that clones of Flappy Bird deserve negative reception as well.)

4. A rather boring text-based adventure that I would write the story first before I program it. There would be options to change the font used in this program, with a few predefined fonts, as well as how fast the text is printed character by character.
The stories I would write and then program on would involve those on fantasy, girl's stories, fiction, action, adventure, comedy, fables, classics, legend, realistic fiction, science fiction, suspense / thriller, children's literature, or comic novel.

5. A Bomberman-type game where a character can elimate enemies and obstacles with bombs. It would take place in several different thematic worlds across a storyline that the player can progress through as he plays. There would also be the option to play two players, assuming that the keyboard can respond to the various commands as needed.

6. A retro side-scrolling shooter. Inspired by Sanxion from a Finnish programmer that was released for the Commodore 64. Bit mapping and sprites would be used to develop the game, and of course, a storyline would be created so that way the game is more fun than just standing alone. Parallax scrolling would be used as well.

7. A game based off of Namco's ToyPop, only that I generate a theme myself, and I decide on how a player or two can interact with the characters to defeat certain enemies.
The story would be where two intellectually smart children, one night during the summer, where they are taken inside some magic portal into a world of overwhelming mathematics and physics. They find out that their beloved
The enemies would be things that are personified and have senses; rulers, pencils, erasers, pens, packs of paper, binders, duotangs, pocket folders, things you can think of. Desks are the sources of those materials these children must destory.
To advance a level, the children need to find the key to unlock the classroom door, because the

8. A Snake game.
There are at least two variants where I can develop one of them, but not both, because the second one takes more time than the first.

First Choice:
A simple polygon or token-like snake game where you have an area the snake is in, and you have to eat as much bait as you can. Each bait lengthens your snake by one unit, and you are given several points. If the snake hits a side wall, or overlaps itself, it's game over.
There are only four directions you can do, and you can't do diagonals: up, left, right, and down.
There will be seven difficulty settings, where each one has different speeds, and thus it is up to the player to decide which speed the snake should move across the given space in order to get the bait. There will also be a side option to whether or not the speed should increase overtime, and hence the difficulty is the starting speed. Otherwise, the speed is static, and the only challenge that loads overtime is the snake's length.
The difficulties are: Boring, Very Easy, Easy, Normal, Hard, Very Hard, Intense
There will be an option whether you want to have a time bonus for each bait, or not. What happens then is, you will be given a certain time limit to catch that bait and get the time bonus you want. Three bonus options are available: same limit but score multiplication based on difficulty, different time limits with same worth of points, and different time limits with difficulty-based score multiplication.
To add to the fun into this game, the player can enter their highscores. There are different highscore boards for different types of gameplay as depicted by the options; each board will hold 100 records, with the top 10 emphasized.

Second Choice:
A more realistic top-down game where you can move the snake around in all 360° of rotation, where it is simply a series of dots, or even a paint stroke, to where when you turn, all parts of the snake turn in response as well.
The difficulties and how the scoring works is the same as the first choice. The game would have several different backgrounds and modes to how you want to play the game, so that way you are not paying attention to just a one-color or multiple-color tone background with a different-coloured snake all the time.
- Classic
- Challenge Mode
- Endurance
- Time Attack
- Multiplayer (Classic, Challenge Mode, Snake Battle)
The backgrounds of the game would be built up of various themes, although it may be hard to draw. Sometimes it would be better to do pixel artwork than having to work on a fully-detailed artwork, because then there would not be that much work involved in creating spectacular sprites and backgrounds.
Highscores are also used the same way as first choice.

9. A top-down rail shooting game, with some basic graphical design and detailing. It's something like Raiden developed by Seibu Kaihatsu. Pixel art will be used to design the backgrounds and such; the advantage of this is, it will make the player think this is retro style, and in addition, because of its low resolution for the sprites and backgrounds, except for the user interface, not much space nor time is needed to load the resources and put them together.

10. A racing game involving simple polygons and easy-to-implement steering, although different types of polygons will have different statuses. It will be a top-down racing game with a lap time, best time, and race time.
The simple polygons include equilateral triangles, isosceles triangles, squares, pentagons, hexagons, some combined shapes with one another, and will have different liveries.
Modes of Gameplay:
- Arcade
- Championship
- Single Race
- Time Attack
- Score Attack
- Free Roam
- Multiplayer
- Extras
Difficulty settings, many courses, secrets, as well as shapes to unlock for racing.

In all the ideas described above, at least two modes are preserved: Profile, and Options.
The Profile Mode has the following options:
- Achievements
- Rewards
- Load Profile
- Save Profile
- Delete Profile

The Options Mode has the following options:
- Profile Options
- Performance Settings
- Game Settings
- Music Settings
- Sound Settings
- Graphics Settings
- Controller Settings

Music and sound is a must for the game to be developed. Music and sound that are licensed through the Creative Commons license or any other copyleft license shall be researched and used for the game.

Additional Touches to the game, assuming that the game is big enough that the player is interested in checking them out:
- Quotes from famous people around the world, including authors, advocates, philantropists, historians, and some other key people that can encourage the player to persevere on this game. By using these quotes and combining the meaning with my own from the game, it should make the player feel so influenced and such that they decide to tackle this positively, with a positive light and a positive feeling.
- Load custom music from your computer
- Change the font and styling of the User Interface
- Creating secrets in the game that the player can come across with at any time.
- Additional units to control the player has to unlock first.
- Achievements, sort of like Trophies in PS3 and PS4 games, and Achievements in Xbox 360 and Xbox One games.
- Fullscreen Display
- Different qualities of visuals for more efficient execution, since higher quality visuals involve more RAM memory, and thus the processors may not be able to change some specifics of them fast enough for fast-moving play.
- Loading Utility and other loading screens
- Credits Screen

I am open to comments and any suggestions you have for me. Please exchange contact with me about this and we'll see what I can do to better improve the quality of my game before and during development.
Once again, because we are using work that use the copyleft license and not created by me or anyone I'm hiring (I am too short of money to hire someone to do some work on this), I cannot run this game for profit. There would be another crowdfunding campaign I could work on, but the problem is, it'll take too much time to get the money needed, as well as ruining the schedule I have to finish preparing for University of Waterloo.

Please let me know what you think!

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