Character Design

This is my original sketch when coming up with an idea on how Hakon should look.Viking sketch.png

From This I then decided to try and make a pixel version of him. This ended up looking like this.

Viking head

This had a bit to much detail for the style I wanted to create, however saying this it can be used to create cut scenes. After fiddling around for quite some time I finally came up with this draft of Hakon.

Viking Idle 1

This design style best suits the games visual design.

Gaming Document

Story

You play as Hakon an exiled chieftain who was banished by his clan to wonder the world alone, never to set foot within the lands of his old clan again.

A recent arrival of an ancient prophet brought nothing but misfortune to his clan. The prophet used this to his advantage and poisoned and clouded the minds of the clan through dark magic. Convincing everyone that Hakon was to blame for their misfortune. Using fear in the form of wraith from the gods, the ancient prophet convinced the clan that exiling Hakon was the only way to please the gods.

Filled full of anger and hate Hakon began his journey to reclaim what was once his.

This however will not be possible by himself. With the help of the gods themselves he will gain back what was once his as well as learn the ancient prophets true identity……

Overview

Raid is an up and coming new indie title, made in the unreal engine, bringing the retro sidesroller back to life. Raid is set in the Viking era, where the player quickly has to come to grips with the dangerous world were Hakon has to survive in. The player travels across a rich mutli-verse jam packed full of unique and diverse worlds. The player will overcome a lot of intense obstacles, such as enemies and puzzles. The world is crammed full of devious enemies that the player must defeat in order to continue on his adventure. The game will first be available for the pc but later on down the line I will be looking to port it to all major consoles and maybe even mobile devices.

Visual Design

Raid brings the pixel 16-bit visual design style back to life, in this action packed indie title. All aspects such as backgrounds and characters have all been individual drawn in Photoshop or by Hand and then scanned in.

Game World

Because of the story the game world it opens up an endless amount of possibilities that the player can experience. The fantasy setting allows the creativity of the world to be almost endless. The player will come across all kinds of areas to explore. From deep dark eerie caves to high up in the cosmos of outer space. You never really know what you may next encounter while exploring.

Gameplay

Raid is an action packed, hack and slash fantasy game, which throws the player into a manic, dynamic world. Combat is a fast paced and easy to master for new players. Controls are very simple as seen in the chart below.

PC Version

Move Right ‘D’ Key
Move Left ‘A’ Key
Jump ‘Spacebar’ Key
Interact/Talk ‘E’ Key
Crouch ‘S’ Key
Light Attack Left click on the mouse
Heavy Attack Right click on the mouse

 

It is a pixel 2D sidescroller in the style of Mario or Megaman. The retro platformer we all know and love is back with a new paintjob and game engine to back it up.

Customisation

Customisation is a massive factor within Raid. Upgrading your character with armour, weapons and buffs, will change how the game is played. As the player gets new equipment certain aspects of the game will change. Here are just a few examples.

  • Weapons do more damage
  • Weapons attack speed increases
  • Boots increase players running speed
  • Boots increase players jump height
  • Armour increase players health

 

New armour and weapons will not only look more aesthetically pleasing it also provides small stat boasts to help the player continue on their journey. Buying and upgrading the players equipment will also make the character more renowned across the world.

Physics

Raid is created in the unreal engine, which gives it all the physics of a 2D sidescroller, such as gravity collision and knockback effects.

Game Engine

Unreal engine has made a number of recent updates to help support 2D games. The graphics and rendering power of Unreal is incredible and I will be using this to my full advantage.

Characters

HakonViking Idle 1

Hakon is the character that the player will join on the adventure of reclaiming his lost clan. He is a honourable, strong and clever man who wants nothing more than to get his family back and prove to them that he is not the man he’s been made out to be.  His will and determination is unmatched and he will fight until he achieves his goals.

Ancient Prophet

There is not much known about this prophet who is completely anonymous due to his long cloak and hood, masking his identity to everyone. His life is completely absorbed by the gods and pleasing them. All we know is since his arrival nothing but misfortune has hit the clan.

Enemies

Skeleton

Throughout the world Hakon will encounter a number of enemies in all shapes and forms. This ranges from humans to massive snake monsters. The player will have to come up with new ways to defeat these creatures, making each monster a new challenge.

 

 

User Interface

HeartHeartHeart

The user interface is very simple in design only showing the player’s health and the amount of gold they have earnt. This will display with a graphic to represent the amount of health the player has left. A similar story with the gold but this will have a graphic with a number next to it, to show much the player has got.

 

There will be a number of interactions that the player will have to read in speak bubbles. This advances as the story progresses, slowly letting the rich story unfold level by level. To get the next section of writing the player will simply left click to continue the convocation.

Audio and Music

Music and sound is a key aspect to this game, being an armature composer myself. Music and sounds reinforce the experience the player is getting, whether it is by a chime sound for collecting gold or a music track that really compliments the environment. Audio really brings another level to games that are essential for creating the right atmosphere. Having already composed over 25 tracks for the game each level will have its own music track that will give it its own personal touch.

 

 

 

 

 

Customisation

I feel that it is very important to make sure that your character is customisable to add your own personal touch. Through the amount of game reviews I have read about this subject I just had to incorporate it into my game. Its seems like it can almost make or brake games so here are some sketches to demonstrate how upgrading helmets could look like. hELMETS.png

Gaming Industry Research

The gaming industry is a rapidly developing media industry and it is only getting bigger. In preparation of creating my own game I conducted a lot of research in order to get to grips with the industry. I was looking for trends, job roles and looked for were the potential future of gaming lies. This research is to help me produce the best product that I possible can as well as just having a great insight into the industry itself.

To show the sheer magnitude that the gaming industry holds here are some statistics from Business Tech. Games vs. movies: who wins?. 2016. Games vs. movies: who wins?. [ONLINE] Available at: http://businesstech.co.za/news/general/19901/games-vs-movies-who-wins/. [Accessed 15 January 2016]. According to the NPD Group in America the gaming industry generated $17.02 billion in 2011 compared to movie sales making only $9.42 billion in the same year according to The-Numbers.com. This shows the pure volume of what the gaming industry can achieve.

AAA Companies Vs Indie developers

Getting into the gaming market itself use to be a very difficult task for most people. The industry uses to be dominated by large gaming companies, not allowing a great deal of diversity within the industry. It made the market consumed by shooting and very repetitive games made by AAA game development teams. These companies where almost scared to try something different or new, instead they decided to go for the safe option. Some titles had budgets in the billions, because of this companies wanted to make that it was going to sell. This pushed out indie games, for the simple fact that they didn’t have the restrictions these large companies had and this made indie games extremely popular. The developers of indie titles had the freedom to create whatever they desired. It almost in a way went back to how games where originally made. Indie developers create games because of their passion for gaming rather than mostly for pure profits. This is great news for gamers everywhere, breathing life back into the gaming industry.

Indie Games

Indie games have become a lot easier to create and to market these days, this is due to a number of factors. Software’s and equipment for developing games has become a lot cheaper and in some cases free. The Unreal Engine is a great and powerful tool for creating games, that is completely free to use. This is the engine I decided to use to create my game, for a number of reasons. It is a great piece of software that suits me perfectly due to the price and efficiency.

The marketing of indie games has become much faster and simpler due to the way the gaming industry has developed over the years.

Digital downloads are a major factor in how it was even possible to distribute indie titles. Without digital downloads indie developers don’t have the means or funds to burn their games onto disks and ship them across the world for sale. Developers used to have to have a publisher to ensure that their games would sell and simply was not possible until digital downloads. Steam created by Valve, is a massive digital store for games. This changed the game for how people distributed games. This helped indie developers get their games out there. There are over 4 thousand indie games on steam. Nearly half of them arriving in 2014 and 2015. This shows the sudden boom in the production of indie titles.

Digital downloads are one of the top 5 trends in gaming in 2015 according to internap.com.

Top 5 online gaming industry trends for 2015 | Internap. 2016. Top 5 online gaming industry trends for 2015 | Internap. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.internap.com/2014/12/01/top-five-online-gaming-industry-trends-2015/. [Accessed 17 January 2016]. This shows that digital downloads would be the best way for me to market my game. Its popularity cannot be ignored and this definitely the course to take when publishing an indie title.

The internet itself also has a key role in this. Just from the way the internet is set up, it is the largest database in the world, because of this anyone with the knowhow can promote themselves. Perhaps the main reason indie titles are so popular is because of the way that everyone is connected through the internet and it has become the main way we communicate today. This had lead consumers to feel that the internet should be main way companies and brands should communicate to them. We have a tendency as humans to criticize and generally not be fans of big companies, because of this it is no surprise that indie developers have become more popular. They seem more human and are on the same level as consumers, giving them more appeal than larger companies.

Another major factor that helped indie games climb in popular is crowd funding. Instead of having to pitch their games to publishers, indie developers can put it up on site like Kick Starter and reach out the consumers themselves. I think this a great change in pace for the gaming industry. This means that they can directly ask the community their thoughts on concepts. Giving games a more community driven production feel to it.

Mobile Games

Mobile games popularity has boomed over the last few years. The revenue of mobile games has surpassed console gaming. Here is a chart from gamesindustry.biz

graph

Report: Mobile to become gaming’s biggest market by 2015 | GamesIndustry.biz. 2016. Report: Mobile to become gaming’s biggest market by 2015 | GamesIndustry.biz.[ONLINE] Available at: http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2014-10-22-report-mobile-to-become-gamings-biggest-market-by-2015. [Accessed 19 January 2016].

This shows the rapid growth in the mobile game industry. Mobile games have become very popular for causal gamers with games like candy crush. The potential in mobile games is undeniable when it comes to making money. Because of all of this I think it is key for me to keep in mind that making a mobile port for my game would be a very smart move. Realising this early on is very good because that allows me to keep in the back of my head that a mobile port should be thought about on each production step to ensure it is possible to make. However, saying all this the mobile game market is already showing signs of early saturation, which means I should work on the mobile port before it becomes to over saturated. This is because hundreds and hundreds of mobile games are put onto the market each day, on platforms like the app store for Apple.

Job Roles

When looking into the gaming industry it is important to consider what job roles are available once you finally get out there. This can be broken down into 5 groups.

Creative Team

  • Animator
  • Artist
  • Audio engineer
  • Games designer
  • Lead artist
  • Level designer
  • Technical artist

Project Development

  • Lead programmer
  • Programmer

Management

  • Assistant producer
  • Creative director
  • External producer
  • Project manager or producer

Quality control

  • Game testers

Business Development

  • Producer of brand and manager

This is just a rough idea of what roles there are in the industry. This is usually how large companies are divided to create a AAA game, but because of the rise of indie development small teams can take on a number of these roles or even do every role themselves.

Future of gaming

This sure is an existing time for gaming and who knows where it will take us in the next decade or so. My predictions are that there are a number of trends that will become massive over the next few years. Mobile games will become a force to reckon with and is already showing signs of this. AAA companies are already producing mobile games, with the free to play business model. The free to play business model is when games are free to download, but there are a number of in game purchases that the consumer can make. This varies from boast, better gear and increasing the amount of time you can play the game. Free to play games are extremely popular within mobile gaming and I won’t be surprised if that it will be main way companies sell mobile games in the future.

VR is for the first time really making its way into the limelight recently. Thanks to advances in technology this has become possible for the first time and for reasonable price as well. The potential of Virtual reality is massive and un-matched. As well as being the future for gaming it also has a number of amazing uses. It can be a great assistance in education, for training people to be able to do certain activities. For example, it can be great to help pilots experience a realist simulation of flying a plane. The entertainment potential is also massive. Creating a personal fantasy space were the user can experience whatever they want. There is no doubt in my mind this not only the future of gaming but the future of media itself.

Summery

The gaming industry is rapidly expanding medium that only the future can tell where it is going to go. It is a very exciting time to be part of the gaming industry and I can’t wait to see what the future has instore for us. I’m sure that mobile game, digital downloads and virtual reality is going to shape the industry in the near future.

 

 

Research References:

virtual reality (VR) | computer science | Britannica.com. 2016. virtual reality (VR) | computer science | Britannica.com. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.britannica.com/technology/virtual-reality. [Accessed 16 January 2016].

Samsung Gear VR Review – YouTube. 2016. Samsung Gear VR Review – YouTube. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVX7iruysrM. [Accessed 16 January 2016].

Walking New York (VR Video) – YouTube. 2016. Walking New York (VR Video) – YouTube. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0-89v4Fk-M. [Accessed 16 January 2016].

Pixels and Polygons: An Indie Game Developer Story – YouTube. 2016. Pixels and Polygons: An Indie Game Developer Story – YouTube. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFELtcCnD94. [Accessed 15 January 2016].

Independent: An Indie Movie About An Indie Game – YouTube. 2016. Independent: An Indie Movie About An Indie Game – YouTube. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0wQ675iKLE. [Accessed 15 January 2016].