Yearly Archives: 2016

Heart of The Swarm, Impressions

Recently I’ve been playing Starcraft 2 Heart of The Swarm, a military science fiction real-time strategy video game developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment. The following are my notes:

There be spoilers ahead, read at your own peril!

Like

  • The Hyperion mission! Having to manage one unit with a continuous stream of battling non playable characters takes away the added task of micro management and lets me enjoy a feeling of ‘distinctiveness’

  • How ‘cutscenes’ meld into gameplay e.g when saving Raynor, Kerrigan’s Leviathan arms smash into the prison ship which then transitions into the game level

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  • Evolution missions really helps players understand how an evolution works and how to use it

Dislike

  • After Kerrigan’s battle with Narud, I felt she recovered too quickly. It drew from the gravity of the fight. She should have been in an injured state for the Leviathan section where characters could comment on her fight. Then by the next mission having recovered, there would be a contextual piece of dialog about it

Continue reading Heart of The Swarm, Impressions

For Rent, 48 Hour Assignment

Introduction: As part of Visual Story at Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center we created a 3-4 minute video with a given main character and conflict. We created For Rent, choosing a mysterious stranger and don’t touch anything.

Time: 48 hours |  Roles: Director – Writer Producer Team Size: 5

My Contributions:

  • Wrote the original script
  • On scene helping with lighting
  • Arranging equipment and props
  • Conducting group meetings, and arranged props
  • Directed shots

Dyscourse, Impressions

Recently I’ve been playing Dyscourse, a survival adventure video game developed and published by Owlchemy. The following are my notes:

There be spoilers ahead, read at your own peril!

Like

  • Effective non playable character ‘humanization’
    • Text – One character makes a reference to the main players clothes
    • Actions – Passing around of water bottles scene

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  • Warm colorful storybook art style
  • Characters reflect ‘character’ through facial expressions, walking style, and speech which conveys the characters emotion
  • ‘Torchlight Talk’ mechanic, it makes sense that the fire goes out over time making talking limited

  • Time based events with clearly conveyed state e.g combo sequence required to defeat boar

  • Color coding for character dialog messages

  • Slight shine on wooden planks to attract players attention

  • Choice confirmation points that give a player a chance to again consider

  • Rewind feature, which allows player to go through the story again and try get the outcome they actually desire

Continue reading Dyscourse, Impressions

The Chain, Visual Story Music Video Assignment

Introduction: The Chain was our final music video coursework assignment for Visual Story at Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center.

Development

Our final video was a highly streamlined effort. We first conceptualized an idea based on Ingrid Michaelson’s song The Chain. Our artist then created storyboards, and using those boards we created a rough ‘film storyboard’ with music.

Next we faced location scouting, in this regard the issue we encountered was not having a pure white background as per our storyboard. We adapted to this by finding a suitable ‘black out room’ to provide an all black background. Meanwhile we made a shot list from the rough storyboard that we had created.

the_chain_shotlistWith a shotlist, and locations to shoot we purchased necessary props, and went about filming on thanks giving.

As usual on set we changed the storyboard in various ways such as:

  • Thematic use of red
  • Inclusion of shots such as limited space, panning techniques
  • Use of props such as the teddy bear
  • Lighting e.g. using a sparkly dress to attract attention

After fifteen hours of filming, several hours of editing, the film was complete. It was well received by our peers and professors.

Finally we submitted The Chain to the student category of the Telly Awards.

the_chain_poster
The Chain Poster by Yong Jie Wong

Missed Connection, Visual Story VR Assignment

Introduction: Missed Connection is our virtual reality team coursework assignment for Visual Story at Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center.

A special thanks to the folks over at Carnegie Library for letting us film there + being awesome!

Time: 1 Week | Team Size: 5 | Role: Producer – Director

My Contributions: I was involved in various aspects of the project, primarily:

  • Location scouting.
  • Arranging equipment, props, and conducting team meetings.
  • Building our second Lego storyboard.
  • Directing our final film.

Development

Learning from our last assignment we went into this project prepared to plan properly. We began with an idea of a love story in the library. Following this we created a Lego storyboard, and script.

We then scouted libraries around Pittsburgh, ultimately finding The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

Continue reading Missed Connection, Visual Story VR Assignment

Pocket Legends Ability System

Pocket legends is a multi-platform mobile massively multiplayer online game where players play with a variety of classes which have unique abilities. For this exercise I will be analyzing the ability system in Pocket Legends with a focus on the player vs environment (PvE) tank system for the warrior class.

Classes

In Pocket Legends each class has a role they perform, one such class is the warrior which suits the role of ‘protector’. During gameplay the warrior attracts the attention of enemies, and takes the majority of incoming damage. This role is referred to as being a ‘tank’.

To enact the role of tank, the warrior has an ability system. A tank that is unable to hold the attention of enemies will most likely result in the death of the party. This causes dissatisfaction with the game, which leads to lower player retention. It is therefore important that this system functions well.

Abilities

The fundamental building blocks of the ability system are the abilities. Warriors have unique abilities they can perform such as Vengeful Slash which has usage requirements, and effects when used. These usage requirements are mana, cooldown, and player level which are the primary variables that control this system.

When an ability is enabled it can be cast, and when cast goes into a ‘cooling’ time period. When cooling the ability cannot be used until the cooling period is over. Once the ability has cooled down, the player is able to cast it again. This process repeats as long as the player is able to cast the ability. Disabled abilities cannot be used at all due not meeting usage requirements such as lack of mana, character being dead etc.

Enabled, Cooling, Disabled

We can represent this loop with the following diagram.

Continue reading Pocket Legends Ability System

DinoRancher – Build Virtual Worlds, Round 5

Introduction: Developed on the Oculus Rift with PS Move, DinoRancher had guests play atop a Triceratops armed with an electric lasso. The goal of the guest was to shepherd a herd of Stegosaurus to safety, protecting them from danger.

Platform: Oculus & PS Move | Time: 2 weeks | Role: Programmer – Designer – Producer | Team Size: 5

Story:  You are a DinoRancher armed with your electro lasso and trusty trike. Travel across the desolate wasteland, and protect your herd from those nasty predators!

Design Challenges:

  • Herd behavior
  • Enemy types
  • Environment design
  • Integration of the PS move into Virtual Reality
  • Trike movement system

Design Goal: To create an experience that made the guest feel like a cowboy travelling through the desert protecting a herd of dinosaur from predators.

My Contributions: As producer I arranged meetings, delegated pending tasks, and contributed creatively. In addition as a programmer I was responsible for setting up the games environment which included, asset preparation, level design and developing agent behavior.

DinoRancher was featured at The Forbidden Forest in The Entertainment Technology Centers end of semester festival!

Festival Footage