Chaos Theory: Butterfly Effect

website

That is the title for the latest game I worked on for a 72hrs game jam event, titled Game Zanga. I collaborated with Nayef to make this one, and this is a little dev diary post about the game.

The theme of the jam was announced last Thursday, 12:00am, which was “CHAOS”. I thought of some “typical” chaos themed games, but I wanted to go with something abstract and unusual with a one/two action based game. Easy to handle and can produce something with decent gameplay for the time given. So, one of the ideas was to make a game about Chaos Theory, and part of that is the Butterfly Effect. In my head, I pictured a possible game out of that. So, I read up more on the subject and slept on it. I met up with my teammate on the next day, and we started our brainstorming session, we had some pretty cool game concepts and we eventually decided for the time constraints to go with the butterfly effect game.

The game was done in Construct2, I’ve taken a liking to this engine. It’s a breeze to develop game prototypes on it. I had a playable prototype of the game on Friday evening and then I started polishing up the game and on Saturday art was integrated into the game, and I submitted the game [give it a go here] on Saturday, the 16th before 12:00am. because I thought.. it was a 48hrs game jam. I was mistaken. But it was all good, the game was like a beta release, lol. I got some good feedback. With the extra time, we had, I took in the feedback of the players, which was basically it was fun and simple. So, I thought of ways to add to the gameplay, and the thought of “What comes before a butterfly?” came to mind, and this video, I watched a while back, of a cocoon transformation was embedded in my head. It’s amazing and kind of disturbing. So based on that, a new level was designed into the game, that comes before the original butterfly level. I had a few hours only before the deadline on Sunday to get the new level in, and to test if it was actually fun.

The game plays, with helping the cocoon transform by pressing the arrow keys appearing on the screen, timed actions. And then it proceeds to the butterfly level, where the player need to help the butterfly flap its wings, by pressing Space key, and this level is timed for 5 seconds. So pressing the key as fast as you can within the time set, and there’s a gauge that measures how many clicks are made, and depending on that, players get different endings “effects” to the butterfly flapping its wings. There are four different consequences. I won’t spoil them.

Oh and the Arabic integration is, something else. I didn’t know how to properly add “formal” Arabic, it was hard enough to get the Arabic description of the game out. So instead of butchering the language, I went with my Emirati Arabic instead, so you’re in for a treat. lol

Play the game here. Leave us your feedback =D

 

The art was done by Nayef. It was all done on paper, scanned and digitally cleaned up for the game.

The spoken SFX were voiced by yours truly. Lol I thought it’ll add more character to the game, plus it was quicker to record it myself than find the right recording online.

The other SFX were found on SoundBible.com, and the cocoon art was found on Clker.com.

 

I love challenges, and this was a really fun one. It was a weekend of game devving, and very little of anything else. Thanks a lot to everyone to who has given me their feedback, with the early release of the game. It has helped make the game better, I think.

 

Cheers,
Fakhra

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BWAAAAAAAAAAAAA

I DIE! I cannot with that. I just can’t.

I’m posting this specifically here because I’ll include it in the game, Candy Bunnies *conceptual title* somehow. It’ll find a way.

Thanks to Bo Mars, Mohammad for sharing. Lol
Nomnoms on berries. And cutest bunny and human(s) who helped making that happen, I love you and appreciate your existence.

 

Cheers,
F

Ubisoft, Jam and Beyond

Yellooow!

I’m creeping up from my hide out with goodies. hehe

So, I worked at Ubisoft during most of my hide out. Yeah, fvckin Ubisoft! And it was fvckin fantastic. I learned a lot, met awesome people, did fun stuff. It was one of the most exciting highlights of 2013, along with my graduation from the Gaming Academy. It is a sweet win for all the hard work I’ve put in, passion gets you far! I can’t speak much of the game I worked on there, once it’s officially published, I’ll be doing a bit of bragging and talk about the level designs I did perhaps. I hope it’s a hit.

Here’s a photoshoot we did back in Movember, SEE AWESOME GIF,  can you spot me? I’m the one with the Rabbid lol

The Cake wasn't a lie that day

The Cake wasn’t a lie that day

Another new exciting experience was, participating in the Global Game Jam 2014. The theme was “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”. I didn’t expect such an abstract theme, but it’s a very interesting one. I love it. I came up with a few ideas, I won’t go into them. Maybe another post for that. But, I teamed up with my buddy from the Gaming Academy Arnaud, and Mithos whom I met at the event, and together we created Shaped Perception. Play it on browser here. I won’t say much about the game, I’d love for you guys to try it out and discover the world. =D If you do reach the end, please do tell me.

Some screen shots of the game, in-editor and in-game. And below a small description of the game.

Level layout in editor

Level layout in editor

 

World in Cube view

World in Cube view

 

World in Sphere view

World in Sphere view

 

A blocker, need to shape shift in order to progress

A blocker, must shape shift in order to progress

 

In Sphere form, notice the yellow textured sphere

In Sphere form, notice the yellow textured sphere

 

In Cube form, notice the yellow textured cubes

In Cube form, notice the yellow textured cubes

A little bit about the game, Shaped Perception, based on primitive shapes of a sphere and a cube. You experience the world in either on of those shapes, if the world object original shape was a sphere , it’ll function like a sphere as in it moves smoother unlike a cube would, but it will appear to be in the same form that you are in. So, the game in this world is trying to figure out what best form to be in to interact with the world objects to best solve the level and progress. This demo is just one level, to demonstrate the idea. I think it’s got potential to be a cool puzzler, and it does lack in some way. But, I am happy with what my teammates and I have accomplished in the 48 set hours. I will definitely participate next year. These jams are fun, makes my brain pop with thoughts like heated corn kernels. Making games is heavenly.

Which brings us to the beyond part of this post, my current game project in development. I decided to develop Candy Bunnies, a prototype I did back in the academy last year. It was part of rapid prototyping course, you can read more about in this post. I wanted to start with this project, because it’s scope is considerably small and I haven’t done any mobile platform specific game yet. I’m learning a lot, and I’m so glad to have a great team working on this project. José  Teixeira, the lead programmer and Shihab Aldeen lead artist/animator.

The project is in its early production stage, revamping the gameplay mostly, adding new elements, testing what works and what’s fun. Steady and slow progress. We’ll work hard to make this game kickass. =D

I’ll be doing more of the Dev Diary posts for Candy Bunnies when I’ve got something substantial and interesting to share.

*creeps back into the devving hole with a grin*

 

Cheers,
F

Dev Diaries: Candy Bunnies Project – Level Design

In this project, the game is designed to work on touch-input devices and web browsers (point-and-click) games. And initially it was targeted to primarily appeal to young girls between the ages of 5 to 10 years old, that was one part of the challenge/requirements of creating this prototype. But I think it should appeal for casual gamers as well for its puzzles.

Candy Bunnies is about bunnies that are trying to escape from the Evol Circus to get to the Happy Farm where the bunnies can live happily, as if they stay longer in the circus they turn evil. The bunnies go through a journey from the circus, to the city, to the forest and eventually they reach the Happy Farm.

This game is meant to emphasis how most circuses treat animals badly, it was a message I want to come across to young kids and the gamers in general.

It is a 2D puzzle game. The bunnies move on their own, players get to drag platform(s) to build a path for the bunnies to walk on to get to the goal of that level. In total there are 15 levels and 4 environments.

There are 2 main mechanics, 1)  when bunnies hit a wall they face, they walk the other way (flip direction), 2) when a bunny is on a dragable platform, timing your drag so the bunny falls to the lower platform is key. Also, there a sweet candies to be collected for extra points and make bunnies happy, and as a repulsive force there is the bad candy that is poisonous and it takes points away from the player’s score. Getting to a level’s goal adds points to the score and progresses to the next one. Getting into a cage will capture the bunny and he/she goes back to the circus.

CB_Grid

This is a basic grid structure built on Unity to help in building/designing the levels.

The image below is of a basic level design.

Bunnies spawning point in white,

The dragable platform is in blue.

Sweet Candy is in yellow,

Fixed platforms in grey,

Goal is in green,

Cages is in red,

Obstacle is in purple, for the initial design of the game. A jumping mechanic was used in the game, but after testing it didn’t feel right to have it and it was later replaced by adding a trampoline platform that makes the bunnies jump.

This is a basic level design.

This is a basic level design.

Paper prototyping [1] Levels (1 - 10)

Paper prototyping [1] Levels (1 – 10)

Paper prototyping [2] Levels (11 - 15)

Paper prototyping [2] Levels (11 – 15)

In the final version of the game, some of the levels are slightly tweaked from the paper prototype. I am currently polishing up the game, so I will be publishing the browser based version soon.

UPDATE:
This project has been put on hold, as I’m currently busy working on Nox Brain. I’ll get back to Candy Bunnies in the summer, polish it and publish it.

 

Cheers,
Fakhra

Cloud Prototype

Cloud, is an experimental game. It’s an emotion invoking game experience. You get to see a life of a cloud, in this reckless industrial world. Air pollution sourly mixes with the beautiful clouds. Players get swoosh the cloud in the sky using wind gusts to move it. They go through a heavy storm, trying to reach the lush green floating island, for a better place to live. They can revive the life of the dead, numb floating islands on their journey, as the cloud/player is making a change in the world or they can choose not to, and just head straight to their destination. The journey the players make can either be seen as triggering a memory, or a premonition, depending on their actions.

A sketch of the game's early design.

A sketch of the game’s early design.

The controls of this game are limited to mouse controls. Controlling the cloud movement is by clicking right/left mouse buttons to either move the cloud left or right by blowing wind that way.

The following images are screen shots of the game.

Start Menu Screen

Start Menu Screen

 

cloud_jarZooming

Start point is in this room [shown above]. Conveying the terrible condition of the “happy things” in life, the side of effects of industrialism. In particular rainbows and clouds, locked in a jar. And a dirty unhappy rainbow is out in the sky.

Control instructions are painted on the wall, “Scroll Mouse Wheel”.

cloud_zoomingAnime

By scrolling the mouse into the scene, the player gets up close and personal with the locked cloud.

cloud_openskyStart

[Top-Bottom]
– Camera pans to show the filthy industrial smoke in the air for a few seconds.
– Game instructions float in the scene.
– Open sky is ready to be explored by the player to escape the dirty air around the cloud.

 

cloud_InStorm&Out

[Top-Bottom]
– Cloud is sucked into the storm. They struggle to get out of the storm.
– An out of control broken plane is sucked into the storm as well.
– Cloud makes it through the heavy storm, into the serenity of the open sky, a bit closer to the islands. Soft music fades in.

 

cloud_islands

[Top-Bottom]
– When the cloud is close to a lifeless island, it revives life back into it.
– Reaching the green lush island. The mellow music changes to a perky music.
– A vortex appears and pulls the cloud into it.

After getting pulled in the vortex, depending on the cloud’s (player’s) journey, the end will differ according to their actions.

The happy ending scene.

The happy ending scene, if they go out of their way to revive the islands. The back into the room, time has passed, and the cloud is noticeably brighter and bigger in the jar, as it’s been filled with hope for a better future. The journey they were in was premonition.

cloud_dying

The sad ending scene, if the player travels the open sky selfishly without reviving the islands/without exploring. They’re back into the same room with the cloud withering and dying. As if the journey it was just in, was just a memory. And the players just triggered the memory by coming close it.

While playing in the open sky, I’ve added a subtle animation to the camera to reinforce the feeling of floating/feeling like a cloud. Soft movements.

That’s it for this post. =)

Cheers,
Fakhra