Capstone Part 2 - Decisions and Research

After reconvening, sharing and discussing all of our ideas, we were tasked to narrow it down to 3, to pursue and prototype over the next few weeks. Long story short, none of mine were chosen. I wasn’t really upset about it, cause ultimately it just came down to what both my teammates and the other team in our class found more exciting. These are the 3 we did choose:

  1. A combination between a farm simulator and a strategy game, revolving around breeding an army of chickens, and taking them into battle against large-scale monsters. Those monsters would then drop items you could use to breed magical chickens with special properties (fire chicken, zombie chicken, etc.) It sounds a bit ridiculous, but uniquely fun. This was my personal preference out of our choices, because it’s simple to program at a base level, but then gets into a bunch of interesting math. And an army of chickens just makes me smile.

  2. The second game is a blend between the 10 year old (though recently remastered) De Blob and 20 year old Jet Set Radio. You play in a colorless world, and spread paint by riding on your rollerblades. What I like about this idea, is that it’s grounded, unlike a lot of capstone games, which rely on a level of dumb-fun instead of actual great gameplay. But speaking of gameplay, this game also scares me a lot. Mainly the fact that making fluid 3D movement is really hard, especially with an unorthodox way of moving.

  3. The last game was actually a combination of two different ideas, because we liked both, but neither was too expansive. The first part of the game is a side-scrolling co-op beat-’em-up, in the vein of classic arcade games, like Final Fight and plethora of licensed games of the sort. The players would play as Japanese style Sentai or Power Rangers, as we know them in the West. The second part of the game is Shinkansen Joust, where giant mechs ride towards each other on bullet trains and smash each other with lances. I don’t know where this idea came from, and I’m pretty content keeping it that way.

For my actual work this week, I focused on three things:

  1. Getting everything (specifically, our repository) set-up and working, and making sure everyone on the team knew how to properly use it. I actually ran into a bit of trouble with this, because Unreal Engine’s documentation on repo integration is spread out. I originally tried to use an ignore file that was missing some folders I should be ignoring.

  2. Start working on the first prototype, now referred to as Project Nugget. It was really just about seeing how many nuggets (aka, chickens) I could get to spawn in a scene, both from a performance standpoint, and from a visual perspective.

  3. Starting to do some research for the skating game, and how to implement some of the more complicated systems. One of my programming teachers was present and had mentioned that Unreal allows me to detect collisions of GPU particles, so we could use that to “realistically” determine what parts of the world should be covered in paint, as it comes out of our character.

All in all, it was a pretty slow week, without much trouble, besides the repository issues. I’m happy with how the team is starting to mesh, although a bit concerned that our games are a bit too large in scope, especially if we spend too long trying out different prototypes.