Heisenberg

My latest game project is titled Heisenberg.

“It’s over. I WON!”

You play as the badass leader named Heisenberg, of a chemical substance operation, the blue crystal. It’s a game of resource management, broadening your influence throughout the territories to gain power and control over them, to distribute your product to thus expanding your empire. You have to push your competitors out of the territory and out of business, “All hail the king”.

Plot twist, this game is text based and menu driven.

Thus far, the game economy works on paper, it needs to be implemented via code into Unity. Microsoft Excel was used to get the proper numbers for the economy. GUI elements are being designed and built going through the usual iterations, programming for the AI and the GUI. I’m working with my colleague Nick Phipps on this project.

I’ll keep updating the blog with the major progress milestones of this game as I go along.

Cheers,
Fakhra

PS: This game is inspired by the fantastic show Breaking Bad – AMC.

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Download Ghosts No More

This game is merely a proof of concept, at this stage.

Mac download link here.

Windows download link here.

Ghosts No More synopsis:

The kid, Roberto, aspires to be a fire fighting man when he grows up, but he is scared of dark places and ghosts, so he creates this imaginary adventure where he fights these ghosts (2 kinds of ghosts, dark and fire ghosts) with light orbs and water from his Fire Jet Truck in a haunted mansion. Must use the light orbs to help navigate the dark mansion.

For more info about this project, read this post.

G12-iM Playable Prototype

It’s suffice to say, Ta-Da! hehe

Main Menu Screen

Below is a screen capture of the first in-game level. You may notice the camera distortion effect to emphasis the security camera.

In game screen shot.

Click on this link to download your copy of the game G12-iM, for a Windows platform.  The content is in a Zip file, uncompress it, and open the executable file titled “G12-iM.exe” to open the game.

For Mac users, please use this link. Download, uncompress and play.

Online on a web player, here.

The game menu gives you the option to pick your screen resolution and the quality you want the game to run at. I would strongly recommend to play this game in full screen mode, uncheck “Windowed”, play it on “Fantastic” quality and to the proper size of your screen resolution.

Screen Options Menu

The recommended settings for the optimal intended game play experience for G12-iM – On Windows.

 

Screen Options Menu

The recommended settings for the optimal intended game play experience for G12-iM – On Mac OS.

 

Any constructive feedback would be awesome to hear. So, please feel free to try the game out. Go nuts.

If you are interested in the development diaries, as I call it, for this particular project, here is:
Characters creation & concept art post.
Level Design post: part 1, part 2.
Overall aesthetics progression.

Cheers,
F

Dev Diaries: GRIM Project – Aesthetic Progression

In this post, I’ll be focusing on the aesthetic changes that went through G12-iM game, specifically throughout the testing we did, dubbed as Rapid Iterative Playtesting (RIP). The following images are a sort of a scene comparison from testing day 1 until the latest built of the game. We conducted 3 RIPs, over the period of 3 days, respectively.

Level 1 - Scene Comparison

Level 2 - Scene Comparison

Level 3 - Scene Comparison

Level 4 - Scene Comparison

Level 5 - Scene Comparison

Level 6 - Scene Comparison

Level 7 - Scene Comparison

Level 8 - Scene Comparison

Level 9 - Scene Comparison

Level 10 - Scene Comparison

Level 11 - Scene Comparison

Level 12 - Scene Comparison

The aesthetic of the game, are of a prison-like factory. For instance, it incorporates the metal barred doors. For the switches door design concept, a door with prison doors characteristics, yet has a factory-door feeling to it too. The prison doors, are metal bars doors, holding the prisoners in from the outside world. They can only see through them. The factory doors are bulky mechanical doors, they’re built to lock noise in, and for safety measures are rigid and strong. The door design we have used for the switches door, is a rigid door with bars. Once the door is activated, the bars slide into the floor, and the metal panels of the door are retracted into their own side of the wall, right/left.

It incorporates the second-floor walkways, as well. In a prison environment, guards/prison security officials use those second-floor walk ways to keep a watch on the prisoners. They shouldn’t do “wrong” things, or they’ll be punished, by the prison rules. In the game, the second-floor walkways are to give the impression that these robots are being watched, observed, consistently. An eerie atmospheric element, to make the player wonder about the environment, and the secondary world.

Prison Inspiration

As for the factory environment inspirations, the levels incorporate the machinery, pipes, tanks, gears, crushers, conveyor belts, and storage boxes. The “motivational poster”, can be seen in a few levels, on 1 – 6 – 9 and 12. These were inspired from Portal 2 and Oddworld Abe Oddysee. In those particular games, I loved how they used posters and wall scribbles to to convoy the message. Like whispering a secret to the attentive gamers. So I wanted to include that in G12-iM, in the posters and the machinery screens.

Posters Inspiration

Posters Inspiration

Text Samples

Samples of the “motivational posters” text. Some were used in the game, some weren’t.

 

This concludes the aesthetic level progression and the research for the prison-factory environment that was used in the game.

Cheers,
F

Dev Diaries: GRIM Project – Level Design (part 2)

Following up with Part 1 of GRIM Project – Level Design Dev Diaries, my previous post. For my lastest game project, G12-iM.

G12-iM synopsis:

An assembly robot that mysteriously gains self-awareness, and is thus curious to discover and explore his surroundings, which is in the factory he, and the other robots were created in. As he progresses, the robot will discover the ‘grim’ nature of his, and his fellow robots, existence. Through this narrative, the player will be indirectly invited to engage with the philosophical questions posed by the game in regards to the nature of life, self-reflection and the big questions of ‘Why?’.

Robots create robots, as it mirrors humans making humans. A factory, a hospital. 

More info about the game were addressed in earlier posts, here.

In Part 1, it was mentioned that players needed to acquire skills to advance in the game, by learning the game mechanics in the tutorial levels. I have covered 7 levels, each addresses a unique game mechanic or combines one or more mechanics.

The game mechanics are:

– Movement [how to move the main character],
– Simple Hacking [hacking into one robot],
– Movement Counter,
– Movement + Simple Hacking [how to hack the different robots, Mech, Spy and Janitor bot],
– Advanced Hacking [hacking into multiple robots, G12-iM to robot, robot to robot],
– 
Crushers,
– Pressure Plates Switches,
– Proximity Sensor Switches.

A disclaimer: The screen shots in this and the previous post were taken in the free Unity version. So light casting is off, the shadow effects are nonexistent, the final build of the game though has much better lights/shadows, because it was built in the pro version of Unity 3D. 

Teaching Spy bot functions + Crushers, Level 9: 

Combining 3 mechanics, Spy bot, Proximity Sensor Switch and Crushers.

As my disclaimer states, the light casting in the crushers is off in this screen shot. It bothers me, but I’m overlooking it, because this post’s focus is level design.

G12-iM is positioned by the entry door, its light is suppose to be casting a long shadow of G12-iM to convey loneliness/self-reflection, which is not visible in this screen shot. The camera angle is overlooking the stage, visually aligning the hovering Spy bot, the switch and the white drapes exit door. The switch and its metal barred door are on about the same horizontal line, to make the connection to the player, lights color coordination helps too.

On this level, Spy bot, has more moves than it did on the previous level, and the 3-blocks space path is clearer, to reinforce the Spy bot’s unique movement style to the player. Crushers are reintroduced to the player, and they have more speed retracting. First 3 crushers, are set so the player has the choice of going through them or avoid their path, then they must time their movement to pass the other 4 crushers to get to the exit door. And there is only one possible way to solve this puzzle, quite simple when analyzed in pieces, but the whole scene, is bigger filled with more environmental elements, mostly repulsive, makes it appear like a “hard” one, in comparison to the previous smaller stages.

An early iteration of Level 9.

The above image was taken when I was designing/building the “Crushers + Spy bot” level. It has basic geometry, for the Spy bot, crushers, other environment elements. I decided to flip the level geometry, change the camera angle, with other modifications. Compare the the images, spot the changes, if you fancy doing that.

Teaching Advanced Hacking, Level 10: 

Combining the hacking mechanic, hacking from G12-iM to bot, hacking from bot-to-bot.

This level is, where the training wheels are wriggling to fall off, here we introduce all the bots to the player to hack and use skillfully to progress in the game.

G12-iM bot is only able to move in a small space, limiting its options of movement. Camera angle is placed to see the switch and its door clearly, connecting the dots of what the player should be able to do to exit, but how. Level geometry is designed so it leads the player to be opposite/close to the Spy bot. Janitor, and Mech bots are secluded, in space wise. Janitor bot has one move, which is just an extra safe step if they player fancied moving it, but they don’t need to to transfer the consciousness of G12-iM to hack the Mech bot and activate the Proximity Sensor Switch. But to use the Mech bot to hack back into G12-iM, the player will need to notice the level geometry, and premeditate their moves. The boxes are dense in the middle to block the Mech bot, the blue boxes are on the edges, the 2-blue boxes, left of the spy bot, and the 2-blue boxes right of the switch. These are to indicate to the player, you can hack here. So, by moving G12-iM once space forward, to the direction it is facing the screen shot, they can turn and hack the Spy bot, move to the right hack Janitor bot, then hack Mech bot, trigger the switch and back into G12-iM to exit.

An early iteration of Level 10. Basic geometry for bots and environment.

Note: the semi-transparent thin blocks/walls are meant to be glass windows, but those had to be eliminated, and small walls a.k.a blue boxes were used instead, to hack over them. Alterations to level geometry were implemented to work with the small walls (blue boxes). Mech bot position was changed, and the blocks around him, so his face gets more “camera time” while moving to the switch.

I believe this covers the tutorial levels. I just wanna point out key things, in the bot’s placement throughout the stages. I tried as much as possible to give each robot “camera face time”, a) to relate the players to characters seeing their face up close, b) to notice the lights on the robots, one of the idle state – amber colored, and hacked state – cyan colored. You may have noticed, from my Part 1, the Movement Counter GIF -seen below-, that demonstrated the particle system that comes out of G12-iM to hack the bots. Cyan color represents the self-aware condition of the bot. G12-iM bot light face illuminates him, and his environment by casting on the floor/and ahead of him. Guiding him through his journey. A metaphor to support the message of this game’s narrative.

A Movement Counter GIF

If you’re interested in knowing more information or if I wasn’t clear enough in some points, please don’t hesitate to contact me or drop a comment here. It’d be my pleasure.

Cheers,
F