Dissertation Project: Postmortem

With this being the last post I’m making to do with my Dissertation I want to go over the good bad and ugly of my project/projects overall. Like a self-evaluation of the project.

What went well: Things I felt gave me a plus or I was happy about.

  1. The Design’s idea and the structure work I put behind it worked well.
  2. Research Materials, the ones I found for both Design and Code were very helpful and kept me on track.
  3. The blog was kept updated often, there were gaps in the schedule but overall it looks nice.
  4. Designs for the Character and UI fit perfectly with the retro theme I was going for.
  5. Animations worked well, it was my first time using or working with animation in Unity and I think it worked well, provided the game a little added love and polish.

What went poorly: Things that needs improvement or didn’t work.

1. Previous submissions failed to make the marking grade, this means I had wasted a         lot of previous ideas and time which made the final project very limited to what I               could have done in the time I had left.
2. I was running out of ideas and needed a new one fast.
3. Because of my new idea, I knew it was going to be a struggle from the get-go due to       my lack of knowledge on using Unity and coding in C#, I had set myself a high learning     curve, loads to do and not enough time.
4. Needed more polish towards the end of the project, the UI and art were going well         but at the end, if more time was given it would have looked a lot smoother.
5. Needed more code, the game didn’t have a Damage/HP/Score system because I could     not get it working. Overall the project feels like a failure due to big parts of the                     experience for the demo not being in there or not working correctly.

How the end of the Dissertation Project made me feel:

Honestly, I’m a mixed bag on this one because there were moments where it went well and moments where it did not. Overall, I am still disappointed in the final outcome. It became rushed, sloppy and unfinished, not something I’m really proud of.

However, I am proud of one thing and that’s finally having an idea that passes and that I didn’t give it up. I knew my learning difficulties for the project were going to get me down and honestly I felt liking giving up the entire course more than one time due to stress and having to resubmit new ideas. But I’m here, I’m done with it and I guess it’s not all bad.

Skills I have Learned/improved on:
C# – Even though I was taking Chris’s programming Lectures this year on top of my 3rd-year studies, when I first started I knew NOTHING about code. I don’t know everything now but I have learned a ton of things and can write some basic code together, I still make mistakes here and there but it’s a new skill that with time I can improve on even more.
Unity – We used it before but I never used it for Animation, how to make screens move etc. I previously only used Unity for very bad platformer games, I had fun learning how to make a Rhythm game and making the code for the beats work to a way I could edit it through Unity using an array list.
Design – More towards Pixel art but yes, I had to strength my skill for this as well to make sure the attention to detail with UI choices were good.

Final Words:

Overall, I know the Demo and a project as a whole was a failure. I can’t be proud of it and for what it shows I’ve done for the 2-3 months I had it for, but it has made me better with Code and Unity so not all was for nothing.

Thank you for following the development, the ups and downs of my Dissertation.

 

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Dissertation Project: Polish 101

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As the end of this Project comes to a close and the code I’ve tried to botch works less and less I have realized a lot of what this Demonstration of a project has kinda failed to do. I will, in fact, go over this in an “End of Case notes” post so stay tuned for that.

However, I’m still not giving up and trying to give my game as much polish and tweaks as I can before tomorrow 12 pm hand in time. This includes the instructions menu, tweaks to the main menu and how that flows and some more animations. New video to follow very soon.

Unfortunately, the score/damage tracker doesn’t work and I can’t seem to get it to work so it most likely wouldn’t be included in the game and it’s made the demonstration more of a tiny demo even more so than it was set out to be.

Dissertation Project: Showing a little Animation

Another small update as I try to fix some coding issues, also sorry for the lack of music in this video. For whatever reason, my OBS doesn’t want to pick up the sounds the game makes on my home computer.

That aside I’m making tweaks to my Instructions menu, trying to add some length to the gameplay, adding a score/damage tracker and want to add frame animation (Frames are done, just gotta do it) to the enemy with a simple background.

Admittedly I did restart my project and have to backtrack a little with my own code, but it’s getting there. Just a shame I didn’t know how to do all of this right at the start but it’s a learning experience and I will most likely carry on making this after the hand in date anyways.

Dissertation Project: UI Remake Design

For my Project I have been making a bit of polish alongside the important things like code, to make things feel more presentable and tie into my Dissertation Proposal about capturing the feeling of a Game made in the 90’s.

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For reference, look at the picture above. I have been trying to recreate the UI style of older Final Fantasy games with the border designs and pointer that is used in a number of RPG games.

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So I have made the buttons on the Demo have the FF style border and made the pointer with an animation when someone hovers over the button with the mouse. I also remade the Key buttons so they match the notes. Quite happy with this small touch of polish, I can’t afford a lot but it’s the little touches that help the demo as an experience shine.

Dissertation Project: 2nd Video with Sounds

I have another Visual update on the Dissertation, this time I have included Audio in the video.

This is a small part of the first part of the song/battle, I have visually added the first enemy but at the moment he just sit’s there for the moment and might eventually have a small animation (the Frames were done a long time ago so I might put them to use) at the very least I will have a HP/Notes to hit so it shows the player how many beats they need to press in order for him to be beaten.

Next couple of tasks are trying to break up the Audio into parts for fights and combat, most likely using Audicity. I will also start making some UI elements so it doesn’t just throw you into the game straight away, a few buttons and such with instructions are also needed.

Dissertation Project: The Learning difficulties of my Project

Going through my project I have encountered several problems not only to do with small bugs or understanding Design choices. But it’s my lack of knowing what the “Optimal Code” would be to make a Rhythmic-RPG game.

For example, the current system I have created involves Array lists in the code. These can be edited on the side in Unity, both the Size of the Array list and how often the spawn chucks out a note. Which works, mostly at the very least. Array lsit pic

The problem is that it takes a lot of time for very little time in Game play, I can obviously cut down the music time (Which I plan to do as the current time frame for the song is more than 5 minutes and will need to be shorter with a fadeout at the end so it can be playable).

I feel like if I knew the optimal code it all could be easier, but then again I’m still new to code in general so I suppose I have to give myself some credit. Although it’s been clear for a while that the Project will most likely NOT be anywhere finished to the point I first wanted.

BUT HOWEVER, this isn’t a “I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M DOING SO I QUIT” posts.
Things aren’t going well, but I’m currently not giving up in the project, things might have to be cut and I don’t think there will be a ton of polish done but I will continue to get as much as I can. Even if it’s more of a Demo of the idea I had.

Dissertation Project: Video Demo

Back with another Dissertation update, not a lot to show at the moment in terms of new code or design choices. I have come to realize the last few weeks that I most likely won’t get everything finish and finalized like I had set out and planned, which seems obvious with the mountain of a task I have set myself in the first place.

However, I am determined to at least finish the music and make what I have feel tight, work properly and get rid of the bugs I have come across.

Above is an Example of how the game plays out at the moment, it looks a bit run of the mill basic rhythm game at the moment until I add and edit the Music notes to fit with the battle theme properly, might be able to throw in some stuff to make it look more presentable but making the core mechanics will come first always so Polish may or may not be added into the game if I can.

Although I have struggled with the project and I’m not greatly happy or impressed with what I have done so far, it has helped me understand C# and coding, in general a little more at least. I will update when I get some idea or example of the music playing. Until then, Enjoy!

Dissertation Project: We have Music!

Hey all, just a quick update. I have been looking to use Royalty Free Music for my RPG game for a little while but never really got a reply from anyone saying I could use it for free.

Until recently that is! I found this awesome piece of Battle Theme Music and asked the Youtuber if I could use it and he replied roughly the same day. It might have taken a while (Due to learning code and problems of trying not to copyright anyone) but I will have music in my game to play around with.

Malcolm's permission

Above is a Screenshot of our short Conversation and his Video with the music as well, feel free to check it out. Next up will be trying to work out a Beat Map for the music, adding it to the game and making it fit really well. I might have to edit the length of the track at some point but that shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Until then, Enjoy!

Dissertation Project: Stretching out tasks and recognizing more bugs

This week in coding and other bugs, I have been playing around with how to make a long note. Much like any rhythm game ever, there will be moments in Music where a note/beat is held down in order to score it and my game will be no different. For now I haven’t made a new asset and just stretched out a blue note for the sake of testing (Most likely will give it a proper asset at some point later on) but it even has a small score value and this increased with how long the player holds down the note for.

In terms of bugs/problems that need to be tackled, there is the problem that if the player currently holds down all the buttons and doesn’t let go of them at all the notes will still disappear. So I need to change that up and make some sort of punishment for spamming/holding down notes. Until then enjoy!

Dissertation Project: Turning the game on it’s side, literally!

This week I’ve managed to turn the game on it’s side, my not sound like a “OH MY GOD” improvement but things are getting there slowly which is better than nothing.

On top of this, I have been studying beats per minute on a couple of Final Fantasy tracks for practice. So when the Note spawn is implemented into the game I can start to map out a track easier, then hopefully break it up cleanly for turn order to be in place too.

For now, I have been tweaking speed of notes to see how players could be overwhelmed by loads of notes and seeing how well the box colliders work. I came across a play testing problem where if the player spams the button (Which at the moment, they can at no cost or punishment) if the player was quick enough and the notes were close enough (which will also be fixed when a proper spawn is in place) so that is noted in my little book for a hotfix later down the line. Until then, Enjoy!