FMP (Reflective Journal) By Lewis Terry

Week1:

In this week i managed to complete a first draft of my proposal and i also finished my enemy sprite animations. Also, i finished one of my backgrounds for my FMP.

Here are my enemy sprites as you can see i have done a basic idle, run and shoot animation which is fine for now since i can always add animations if needed since all i want this type of enemy to do is chase and shoot the player.

How does this compare to my proposal plan?

I partially followed my proposal plan since i did manage to create 1 background which i will use in my FMP. However, i also created enemy sprites and the animations i will use for my enemies which i may improve on a later date but i felt it was more important to have an enemy base sprite so i am able to properly test enemy mechanics later on.

Positives

  • I felt like it was a productive week and i was happy with the quality of my designs since i can start to implement them into my game.
  • Another positive is i have came up with my FMP name and idea and i have already started on some early designs such as powerups which will help me focus on my base game alot more.

Areas For Improvement

  • I could of done more or a varied amount of different enemy sprites.
  • Also, i could of designed more FMP backgrounds or designed a scrolling background for my game.

Week2:

What i have achieved this week

In this week I managed to finish my proposal fully to a high standard and have recently completed my proposal presentation too which is a good start for me since now I can focus on the design elements of my game a lot more. Also, I have managed to add movement to an enemy and on enemy death he drops a pickup for the player to collect. I did this by researching tutorials to how to script this in my game however I implemented this to my own character sprite. Next, I managed to add the enemy to track the player and follow the player both left and right. Also, we had a programmer from codemasters come in and discuss ways into the games industry from her experiences and the job roles within the game industry. Finally, we had a manager from a virtual reality company who previously worked on triple A games such as sniper elite and discussed some of the tactics in making good levels for games and discussed how he got into the industry. I also modified the rate at which the enemy shoots at and the amount of knockback which is applied when the player is hit to make the game as balanced as possible

How does this compare to my proposal plan?

I have followed my proposal plan mostly this week originally i had planned to work on my tiles but i felt i had to focus more on my presentation and getting my proposal to a high standard since without this i dont have a clear goal or vision for my game. Therefore, i will push back work on my tiles until a later week.

Here is the first section of my proposal as you can see this section is mostly reviewing what i have done throughout the year and discusses some of my ideas/influences for my FMP idea.
Here is the next part of my proposal and this goes into depth about my concept for my game and explains some of the features/mechanics that my game will include or im hoping to include.
This is my final section of my proposal and discusses about the methods i will use within my FMP and how i will evaluate my work throughout development.

Positives

  • I found the codemasters and virtual reality talk very useful as it gave me an insight in ways to break into the games industry and some of the job roles within a game that I didn’t even know about.
  • Another positive would be I added quite a few elements to my game which I was happy about as I didn’t really experience any bugs and they all played smoothly.

Areas for Improvement

  • I didn’t really find any negatives during this week which I was overall very happy about.

Week 3:

What I have achieved this week

In this week I have managed to add checkpoints, save system and a menu system all to my game which are fully functioning. This is very important since if you hit a checkpoint and die on a later level it gives the player the option to continue their game progress rather than restarting the game.I also have started some research on enemies and some environments.

How does this compare to my proposal plan?

This is pretty much the same as i proposed to create during this week. However, originally i was going to focus on the tiles of my game during this week but i decided not to and i planned to focus on implementing these key mechanics instead and i managed to add everything i proposed plus a basic menu system for my game.

Positives

  • I managed to add this functionality to my game fairly easily with little to no issues.
  • Also, I have tested this functionality many times and have only had a few simple bugs.

Areas for Improvement

  • This week there wasn’t many negatives especially with adding all these functionalities except for a few small bugs which is expected.

Week4:

What have i achieved this week?

In this week i have redesigned my main character sprites and i have added a weapons system to my game where the player can have multiple weapons but is still in very early stages and needing more work added to it. Next, i have added a rotating turret to my game which follows the location of the player and i can change the speed of the turret or i can change it to a simply static turret.

How does this compare to my proposal plan?

Compared to my plan i have done something completely different for this week since i think it was more important to add mechanics than focusing on the graphics of my menu and by adding the turret to my game i now have the main enemy types/obstacles the player will come across so i feel this was alot better for me to do.

Positives

  • That i have managed to add a basic weapons system to my game.
  • That i have added a turret system to my game which i can fully customize in terms of speed and direction it will hit the player
  • Also, redesigning my character sprites is important since i have managed to make them look more professional and higher quality for some of my animations

Areas for improvement

  • To improve on my weapons system and add pickup weapons/upgraded versions of weapons and make sure it is fully functional
  • To start to bug-fix some of the mechanics of my game since my knock back system is not working properly and to overall check what i have done so far works properly.

Week 5:

What i have achieved this week

I have started to further improve on my idea generation for my game and have discussed about how i am going to balance enemies and turrets. Also, about secret areas and what they will contain and how i will access them. Next, i have also added a multi-jump system to my game the player starts off with a double jump but throughout the game i could add more jumps if you access secret areas. Finally, i have a functioning lives system where the game restarts when you hit 0 lives. However, later on i need to fix how the coin system works with the live system and add a feature where you hit 100 coins it gives you another life or your coins reset on death.

As you can see this is my current idea generation which i will add to further throughout the project. I am currently using this as a basis to go off and further improve. I will try to add to this more and more weekly or whenever i have an idea for my game to put it on here and i will then be able to expand on it at a later time.
As you can see i have further improved my idea generation and i have discussed about the audio of my game and what type of audio i want to include for different events.

How does this compare to my proposal plan?

I have managed to partially follow this weeks proposal plan since i have as you can see focused alot on my idea generation for my game. However, i have added a lives system which i planned in the previous week to complete which is a fairly basic one but is functioning. Also, i didnt focus on gathering audio but in my idea generation i have discussed about what types of audio i am going to gather for my game and which areas of my game will include audio.

Positives

  • I found doing an idea generation mind map extremely useful since i have a good way to record all my ideas and simply can just add to them throughout my project and always refer back to it if i forget.
  • Next, getting the multi-jump and lives system working was extremely good for me since now i have almost finished adding all my core mechanics to my game which allows me to start bugfixing and making sure everything works then i am able to focus on my game graphics and level designs solely

Areas for improvement

  • To generally just bugfix my game and make sure my mechanics are working properly and make sure none of them will break

Week6:

What i have achieved this week

In this week i focused on some of my graphics for my game i designed my first boss and potentially a new enemy style for my game which i will use in my final design (Below are screenshots of my designs). Also, i managed to bugfix my game and even though i havent put any of my own graphics yet into my game the functionality is working properly and over the next 2 weeks i will focus on designing these graphics.

These are my designs which are close to being fully finished with the first few designs with the "Death" part of the robot i may change it to say different lines of text depending on what the player does say if the player hits the robot it may say "OW" or "Stop it!" to give it something unique. I overall, like these designs alot as i think it gives an imposing look and with the last design i could size it down and apply it to small sprite enemies and use it as a robot type army

How does this compare to my proposal?

It follows my proposal very well since as mentioned i bug-fixed the key mechanics of my game meaning now i am able to focus on starting to design the graphics of my game and will have my sole attention now since if i add anymore mechanics it will only be simple ones. However, as explained in the proposal i will regularly bug-fix and play-test my game to make sure it is at a good standard.

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Positivies

I think these designs are pretty high quality except for the colouring which i will improve and i am overall happy for one of these to be a boss in my game

I really like the last design too as i can apply it to different enemy sprites potentially.

Also im happy i have bugfixed everything since now i can focus on my own graphics

Things to improve

I think the only thing to improve is the colouring of my designs and the text of "Death" to make it more of a pixel art based style

Week7:

What i have achieved this week

This week i havent chosen to work on my boss designs instead i have focused more on my research for my game and have been looking to other games and other things for inspiration for my game ideas. I have overall found alot of good ideas for my game especially the game graphics and i want to make sure my designs are refined properly before i start adding them to my final game.

This is an example of one of the pages i have done for this one i have specifically researched enemy bosses and i will use these features to help me design my boss and i have done these type of pages for my backgrounds,tiles and other elements of my game too.

This is an example of one of the pages i have done for this one i have specifically researched enemy bosses and i will use these features to help me design my boss and i have done these type of pages for my backgrounds,tiles and other elements of my game too.

Positives

Even though i didnt manage to work on my boss sprites like i planned to i feel researching some enemy designs and doing some other generic research has helped me alot for inspiration which i will use as guidance to create my final boss.

Another positive would be this research will help me to get my designs to the best possible standard and will allow me another week to properly work and refine my designs so i can add them to my game.

Areas for improvement

One area for improvement would be that i could of added more designs to my page and to improve i will add 4/5 every week to make sure i am getting constant inspiration for my game ideas.

Another area for improvement would be that i could of at least tried to make some rough boss sprite animations. However, i wanted to make sure this week before i start these designs that i got as much inspiration as possible so for next week i will be able to work on them with a good amount of inspiration. Hopefully resulting in a higher end-product.

Week 8

What i have achieved this week

During this week i have fully finished my boss idea and i have applied the mask type look to some sprites and have done a varied few designs since i want the enemies to change as the levels in my game progress.

This is an example of me trying to vary my designs and as you can see compared to week 1 ive tried to steer away from the iconic robot look and have tried to make it look more menacing and unique to other robot designs.

For my boss i have tried to design 2 different forms say if he drops below a certain hp he drops to the 1st image with his mask off and deals more damage to the player

How does this compare to my proposal?

I previously planned in my week 7 for this to hopefully take a week however this has taken 2 weeks for me to be able to fully design and refine my boss designs since i didnt expect it to overflow into a following week. Also, i have redesigned my enemies which wasnt stated in my proposal since i wanted to fit the theme of the boss and i felt redesigning the enemies was the best way of doing it.

Positives

I really like the uniqueness of the designs and i like them as a basic first draft for these

I like the idea of two phases of the boss and i think its a very unique and stylistic design for them

Also, i prefer the enemy sprites i have created here compared to in the first week since it suits the style of the boss i am creating and i think thats a very important part in games to make sure the style is consistent throughout the entirety of the game

Areas for improvement

I could have shown more examples of enemy sprites and i could of designed an attack draft animation for my boss.

Week9

What i have achieved this week

I have been peer assesed on my game and i have done a self evaluation of how i feel about my game currently. Also, i have redesigned my main character sprites and have completed my enemy sprites fully. Finally, i have fully animated all my sprites and they all have working functionalities.

Positives

The peer assesments really helped me to see what i needed to improve in my game as some people experienced a few bugs. However, most of this was positive feedback which is good since i havent added any of my graphics yet so it can only get better.

Next, i have made my sprites fully functioning which is a big thing since i can use this instead of the default sprites i was using and its a good start to start implementing my own graphics. Below is an example of some of my new character animations

Areas for improvement

One area for improvement would be to bug fix my game and recreate some levels possibly since i want them to be longer and the player to have some more freedom

Another area for improvement is to start adding graphics to my game even if it means a few tiles for my game

Week 10

What i have achieved this week

This week i have fully finished all my sprite animations and have applied them to my game and i have started designing my tiles for my game and have also applied them to my game. I have also added a bullet limitation mechanic and currently working on an ammo pickup since i have added two weapons to my game so far so i am limiting the bullets for one of my weapons. Below are some of my designs of my tiles and sprites.

As you can see i have created the main animations i will be using for my game so far and i may add some more in the future

Strengths

My first strength would be that i have designed some pretty good tiles in a good pixel style and i am happy with my tiles so far especially the overgrown tiles with the trees on to make it look like a dead area.

Another strength would be i have managed to apply my sprites to my game and they are suitable compared to my first sets of sprites which had poor quality and i am satisfied with my sprites and not needing to change them anymore.

Areas for improvement

I will look to add some more detail to the dirt part of my tiles to give it something extra and make it look even better. Also, to create a few more variants of tiles for my game.

Things to do next week

I will aim to create more tile variants and to improve on the detail of my tiles and applying a background to my game. Also, i will start to focus on properly designing my levels with these tiles.

Week 11

What i have achieved this week

This week i have worked on my proposals for each week and have been comparing them to what i originally set at the start of the project to see my overall progress. Also, i have completed designing my first proper level which i am going to use in my game with all of my own graphics applied. Finally, i added a bullet limit mechanic this is so for my secondary weapon which is a shotgun there is a sense of balance in the game rather than it being a spammable weapon and differentiates from the regular blaster type pistol. To go along with this i have also added an ammo pickup which refills the bullets in the shotgun and i have added these ammo drops to mostly indicate enemies are coming or a more difficult section is going to occur.

This is my plan for the first level of my game and i have tried to create alternative routes the player can choose and ive tried to make the top part more difficult but will be more rewarding for the player and the first checkpoint will teleport the player to a secret room with coins and ammo. My level isnt necessarily very long but im trying to make a quick pace game for the player as i want my game to be interesting and have some skill curve to the game in playing it rather than longer levels which i find more boring to play.
As you can see i now have added a bullet limit in my game and when the ammo goes to 0 the player cannot shoot from that weapon until he picks up an ammo box

Positives

Im happy that i have finally designed the outline of my first level and will try to finish all of my levels by the end of next week as a minimum so then i can focus on play testing the levels and making sure they are the best possible.

Another positive would be adding the bullet limit mechanic which is an important part of my game since it gives more variety to my game rather than just having a pistol and in later levels it will force the player to conserve the ammo for harder enemies and will mean they have to learn some sort of a skill to play the game in the later levels since without the ammo it will be very difficult.

Areas for improvement

For this week i dont really see any areas for improvement other than having to change some of my sprites in my level design and upgrading my HUD soon other than that i am happy with what i have achieved this week

Things to do next week

To finish setting out all of my levels and making sure to create the rest of the sprites i will need for the levels

To upgrade some of my artwork such as my main menu and my HUD mainly

Week 12

What i have achieved this week

This week i have fully finished my first level for my game and is fully playable at a high quality standard. Next, i have been focusing on making sure my research is also at a high standard and is the best i can do and i have finished laying out my research in a professional and easy to read format rather than a huge chunk of text. Finally, i have taken the feedback ive had from my game and worked on the improvements the main ones being to add some sounds to my game and to organise my blueprints for my character. Below is an example of one of my research pages that i redesigned as you can see it is alot clearer to read and laid out properly compared to a huge chunk of text i did previously.

As you can see this is one of my examples of me organising my research and this is discussing some songs that inspired varied things within my game.
This is my first level i may add more dirt tiles to go underneath to give a more authentic look but i am quite happy with it since i have added a miniboss on the bottom level and have tried to vary the top and bottom route for the player so it isnt the same experience every time.
As you can see by the photo above i have made comments for every section in my character blueprint which makes it alot easier for me to find if i need to bugfix or make any adjustments to my character.

Positives

One positive is setting out my research in this type of format which makes it alot easier for me to refer back to if i need to at any point in the project and is more appealing for me than having to waste time having to look through a large chunk of text.

Another positive is i have finally finished my first level to a high standard and is playable so when i do more levels it should be alot easier since i understand how to set my level up. As you can see by photo above i have vastly improved it compare to the previous week.

Areas for improvement

One area for improvement would to make sure to create some more assets especially for my turrets, ladders and moiving platform.

Another area for improvement would be to add my own background to my levels which i will do when my levels have fully been done

Things to do next week

To make sure i have finished level two to a high standard and quality

To make sure to implement audio within my game levels

Week 13

What i have achieved this week

This week i have mostly focused on refining my research and making it the highest quality again. Compared to the previous week i have reworded my mood boards and as you can see in the image below it has more content and better content in my opinion since i go into depth about the techniques the games use whether that is in the coding of the game or the actual design of something. Overall, i have mostly been checking each page of research i have done and adding more depth to them to achieve the highest possible grade. All i have to do now is to evaluate my final product which i will do when the end of year show is over so i can read all of the feedback and properly evaluate my final product against a wide variety of peoples views of my game.

As you can see compared to the previous week i have changed this moodboard alot and as you can see there is alot more content and i have added a gradient behind the text to make it stand out and look more professional compared to the rest of the page.

Positives

One positive would be from the image above since now i have a professional look and i have alot more detailed content compared to before where the detail was very slim.

Another positive would be that i have fully finished all of my research to the highest effort i can so now i am able to solely on finalizing my game for the rest of this week and next week.

Areas for improvement

This week i dont think there are any main areas for improvement since i have managed to finish all my research to my best ability. However, i could of finished my research in the previous week if i worked for longer but i wanted to make sure i took this week to make sure its the best quality.

Things to do next week

Since i only have until wednesday for my hand for my FMP in i will spend monday and tuesday play testing my game and making sure no bugs occur and make it to the best possible standard. Overall, i will just be refining all my work and checking for any mistakes or anywhere i can make quick improvements to.

Overall Reflection of my FMP

Overall, I think my FMP has been a success to an extent.

One of the reasons why my FMP wasn’t a success was especially in the early weeks since I’ve had little to no experience with software such as unreal it took a few weeks for me to be able to adapt and to be able to use it effectively. However, once I did get used to using the software I found the project a lot easier and I was able to work more efficiently and get more work done during the mid to later weeks of my FMP especially in the area of coding for my game. Therefore, for future projects I won’t need to spend as much time getting used to the software since I already have the year of experience so this will allow me to focus on different aspects of my game for example the coding.

Another reason why I didn’t think my FMP was a success is especially with my early artwork since some of it didn’t get used in my final game which I found somewhat frustrating since it would have allowed me to focus on different aspects of my game instead, such as being able to spend more time looking at tutorials in unreal engine to help me to adapt to it quicker. Although, for my later designs I did implement some of my earlier design ideas into it for example I implemented the same style of eyes and mouth into my later designs. Also, for my secret areas in my game I used some of these earlier designs as unique characters since I based most of them off real life people/films as an Easter egg for my game.

One of the reasons why my FMP was a success is I felt I met my proposal very well since I stated to give the player freedom and alternate routes in my game which I took into the level design of my game. Next, I really like having the alternate routes in my game since the player doesn’t have to follow just one set route and it will give my game some replay ability since the player will hopefully want to see where the other route takes them since I have made the top route of my game more enemy based and the bottom route more platform based with less enemies.

Another reason why my FMP was a success is I felt I added a lot of elements to my game gameplay wise since I added a wide variety of things such as moving and rotating enemies, turrets, health pickups and having bullet limitation and ammo. Therefore, I felt very good about my coding ability as I got through my project especially in the mid to later weeks where I felt it was easier for me to do compared to the earlier weeks which then allowed me to focus on different aspects of my FMP such as my artwork for my game.

Another reason why my FMP was a success is due to my research for my game since I looked to many forms of media for inspiration for my game which was extremely useful in the planning phase of my game and I got my main inspiration from a few song lyrics and I built my whole game around these few lyrics which were “Machine is the new divine” which actually inspired me for my game name being the new divine. Moreover, this led to me researching into the sci-fi/apocalypse genre and I researched a lot of forms of media such as games, music and comics which all gave me inspiration for different aspects of my game such as games for the coding/mechanics of my game. So, overall I think I used research extremely effectively throughout my project since it helped me develop my ideas more and more and I wouldn’t have got most of the ideas for my game without this key research.

Overall, I think my most important success is the research for my game since it built the base idea for my game and was very effective all throughout the project since it gave me inspiration for all aspects of my game the most important being the level design since in my proposal I wanted to give the player freedom so it was important I researched the level design carefully and researching super Metroid helped me a lot and I wouldn’t of been able to design my level as well without this inspiration. Next, my second most important success is that I managed to follow my proposal since in my opinion there is no point proposing something and not following the actual proposal so I am very happy that I have met my proposal effectively. Also, in an industry a proposal is the main basis of a game and sort of works as a set goal for the employees to reach so if I start to follow proposals now it will help me massively in the future. My least important success I would say is the elements in my game even though this is a good thing I don’t think it is nearly as important as my other two successes since those two successes alone build a foundation for a game and without them the elements alone for my game are fairly worthless in my opinion. However, it is still very good I added a lot of elements since it gives a more unique feeling to my game and allows me to be able to variate my levels more since I have more things to add into my game.

The areas I need to improve on the most for future projects would be to prioritise things better since especially early on throughout my project I felt I spent too much time on my artwork and most of it didn’t end up in the final project. To improve on this, I need to either work on my artwork and get it to a higher standard initially or to spread out the artwork all throughout the project doing a few designs daily and finalising them near the end of each week. By doing this it would give me more time to focus on the overall mechanics of the game and since I will be researching different forms of media to look at the mechanics of games it would give me inspiration for my artwork at the same time rather than me solely focusing on something for 1-3 weeks. My final improvement would be to make sure I am always looking for ways to improve my project and constantly researching things such as tutorials for coding to see if I can always add anything more to a project or to research previous projects and look at aspects I can take and see what mistakes other people have made.

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