G12-iM Playable Online Edition

I figured I ought to release G12-iM on a web player. So, click on the image to launch the web player.

Note: You might be promoted to download the Unity Web Player plugin to your browser, if it wasn’t installed on your browser. 

Click me & Play

Click me & Play

I would prefer playing this game on the standalone version of it, which you can find on my Downloads page, but the web player doesn’t take away from the experience.

If you have any constructive criticism/thoughts regarding this game, please share them. =)

Cheers,
Fakhra

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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 – Level Design (part 1)

So level design for G12-iM. I quite enjoyed creating levels for this project. It was exciting.

I’ll post the synopsis of G12-iM game, again. For the sake of making this post consistent and thorough.

“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. 

First off, the game presented a few mechanics for the player to learn. So creating smooth tutorial levels was a requirement in order to achieve the optimal learning journey for the player to progress in the game, but in a way that wasn’t condescending nor in-your-face sort of tutorials.

Players needed to learn these game mechanics:

– Movement [how to move the main character],
– Simple Hacking [hacking into one robot],
– Movement + Simple Hacking,
– Advanced Hacking [hacking into multiple robots, G12-iM to robot, robot to robot],
– 
Crushers,
– Pressure Plates Switches,
– Proximity Sensor Switches.

This is an image of my on-paper early level design concepts/my to-do list. Don’t mind the messiness of it. I think it serves the “Dev Diaries” post right to include this, an actual image of my dev notebook. One of many. Some of these are in the final levels, some were scraped off.

From my dev notebook.

A key point in the game was, the robots, Mech, Spy and Janitor bots had a number atop their head, hovering, indicating the number of moves the robot had, if the number was zero the bot would reset. A movement counter. G12-iM bot, because he is the only robot, as far as we know, that has gained self awareness, so he moves freely without a movement counter.

A Movement Counter GIF, notice the color change and the animation.

We did some early tests on the game, to test the level progress. It turned out with very interesting results. Most players didn’t get the movement counter on the bots, they thought it was timer. Therefore, a new tutorial level needed to be introduced solely to make the player connect the number with the movement the hacked robot takes. As well as, we needed to introduce the different robots, Mech, Spy and Janitor bot in separate tutorial levels, as each robot has different function, to an extent, so it would be feasible to use all or some of the robots in later levels. Read more about the characters design for this game here

In the following section of this post, I’ll go over a few of the levels to demonstrate how those game mechanics were achieved in the tutorial levels. Note that the unusual camera point of view on the levels is suppose to be conveying a security camera view.

Teaching Movement, Level 1: 

Teaching movement, by going through obstacles.

The camera angle is overlooking the space, behind the main character, so players can easily see the start, the obstacles, the path they can take, and the exit. By the way, those white drapes by the door, are a physics body, they interact with the bot’s mass when the bot goes through them. It’s just fun, if I may add.

Teaching Simple Hacking, Level 2:

The white line illustrates the optimal path for G12-iM to hack. Distance isn’t a factor to hacking, as long as robots are facing each other.

The camera angle is positioned so that G12-iM bot and the Mech bot and the Pressure Plate Switch, are aligned in the scene, in a way that makes it possible for the player to connect the dots to solve the puzzle. It is designed to drag the player’s attention to the focal points of this level, G12-iM, Switch and Mech bot. I need to mention that, the instruction tool tips, in all of the 3 first tutorial levels, it flicker ever so slightly, as from our testing observations, when the tip was a plain static text, it wasn’t noticeable enough.

In this level, the Mech bot has been introduced first to the player. It triggers Pressure Plate Switches by standing on top of them.

Below was an early [on-paper] iteration of this level. Purple square represents G12-iM, Red = Mech bot, and the dark square = Pressure Plate Switch. Placement of all aforementioned elements were changed in later iterations.

An early level design concept. You may have noticed, the note, it was how I pictured the secondary world to be for this stage.

Teaching Movement Count w/  Simple Hacking + Proximity Sensor Switch, Level 3: 

The X marks the spot of where player’s should position G12-iM to hack Mech bot.

In this level, players still need to use the same bot they used in the previous level. To enforce familiar environment elements.

The camera angle in this scene is overlooking. G12-iM starts in a cornered place, so it urges the player to move to the right, to the marked X spot. A common aesthetic language was implemented to convey what players could and could not do. Blue boxes can hack over them, red boxes cannot hack over/through them. So, the line of the blue boxes makes the player notice, by experimenting they can hack over them to control Mech bot. Notice the movement counter atop Mech bot? When in control of it, the counter is blue, and is slightly popping in place.

The exit door, and the Proximity Sensor Switch are positioned on the same line and light color, to enable the player to connect the dots.

Teaching Movement + Hacking, Level 4: 

Requires movement and a few hacking, back and forth, in order to solve this stage.

The camera angle here, I wanted it to convoy as a small spaced room, and have the floor tiles visible enough. It’s also positioned to visually align the Mech bot and the Pressure Plate Switch to the position of G12-iM. There is a different floor tile around the Mech bot, from the testing observations, players spend more than they should’ve on this level, so this different floor tile is to indicate to the player where they should optimally place the bot(s) to progress.

This post isn’t mean to be a walkthrough, give away the puzzles. It’s just to showcase the level design behind the different stages. All of the previous levels have introduced Mech bot functions, the two switches, simple hacking, movement and hacking. Now, we move on to introducing the other robots’ functions as well.

Teaching Simple Janitor bot functions, Level 5: 

Introducing Janitor bot

This level, G12-iM is stranded on a small space with nowhere to go, opposite of the new bot, the Janitor. There’s a familiar switch, a Pressure Plate Switch, and a new environmental element, the crate with the “This Side Up Arrow”. The player will figure, they need to use the robot, and Janitor bot movement is tied to its occupying space. It takes up 3 blocks, so it needs 3 blocks of empty space to move/turn. So, once the Janitor bot is hacked players might experiment with its movement, and by moving forward, as turning and moving to the left or right doesn’t allow the player to advance in more than one block, and that doesn’t do anything beneficial. By moving forward, towards the switch, it will activate the door to open. But remember the movement counter, it has 6 spaces of movement, when it lands on the switch it should have about 4 moves left, which makes the player think of why the extra moves, and how to get G12-iM to the exit.

The crate with its specific texture, is to aid the player to make the connection between the Janitor bot face plates/”bulldozer face”, the hollow space between the platforms, and the extra moves. So by moving further forward, the player will be able to push the crate into the hollow space to fill it up, making a path for the player to crossover to the Janitor’s platform. But the Janitor bot will  be blocking the way, so by backing up to the switch with the 2 extra moves, it opens the door, and the player should hack back into G12-iM to exit.

The camera angle here is, as well, overlooking the stage, aiding to visually align the environmental elements to solve the puzzle. This tutorial covers the functions of the Janitor bot, its specific movement, it activates Pressure Plate Switches, and it pushes items, in this case a crate.

Teaching Crushers, Level 7: 

Introducing the crushers, a repulsive environmental element. In EDITOR screen shot.

This screen shot of the stage was taken in Unity Editor, it slightly differs in the game. This is a bit zoomed in and I added a light to the scene to make it brighter for the purpose of this post.

Teaching crushers. In GAME screen shot.

In this level, the player is suppose to guide G12-iM through the crushers using its cyan head light to see. The crushers cast a light onto the block they occupy, which makes the crushers easy to spot with the light, in a 3D world with this camera angle. The red light cast expands or scales down as the crusher move up and down. Thus, making it feasible for the player to progress by timing their movement. The crusher’s speed has been slowed for this tutorial level, in order to teach the player in a safe environment. And the white drapes are used for the exit since there aren’t any switches needed for this level to activate the switches metal bars door.

Teaching Simple Spy bot functions, Level 8: 

Introducing the Spy bot.

Spy bots can activate Proximity Sensor Switches, and they can only move in a space of 3-blocks at a time. One Spy bot move = 3 blocks. This spy bot has 3 moves, and it needs to move to the switch in order to open and exit the door. Players should understand that, at this stage of this game. But the tricky part is to get the bot there and back to G12-iM bot.

The player starts at this position, seen in the screen shot, facing the hovering spy with only 3 moves. The spy bot has one block to its right, 2 blocks to its left and blocked from the back, and is facing 3 blocks ahead. The blue boxes are an indicator they can hack over them. The 3 blocks of the blue boxes, the Spy/G12-iM is facing are to give a hint of the Spy’s specific moves. Once the player moves the Spy bot over those 3 blue boxes, its sound effects of movement and the movement animation should solidify the specific movement of the Spy bot to the player.  The space left of the 3-blocks of the blue boxes facing the bots, is intentionally left unoccupied, to showcase the Spy bots movement functions, flying over the floor and blue boxes and so this level isn’t an “easy” one, they need to think about what they learned from earlier levels and apply it here to progress.

I think this should conclude the first part of GRIM Project – Level Design. It seems like a long post, I hope it was thorough, and interesting. I’ll post the second part later today.

Cheers,
F

Dev Diaries: GRIM Project – Characters Concept Art

My latest project was titled G12-iM, reads as GRIM. It is a casual puzzle game.

It was an awesome group effort to bring this conceptual idea [by Ben Herron] to the state it is right now. Currently, the game is of 12 levels, barely scratching the surface of the story’s narrative. In this game, I was the art lead, and the level designer for most of the –tutorial-levels, I’ll go over the level designs in my next post.

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. 

As the title of this post suggests, I’ll be discussing the characters conceptualization in GRIM. There are four characters in this game, assembly robots, mechanical robots, spy robots and janitor robots. The main character of this game is, G12-iM, the assembly bot that gains self-consciousness. The other robots, are pawns for G12-iM bot to hack and take control over, help him solve the puzzles and therefore progress in the game. All character concepts went through quite a few iterations, I will only be featuring a limited number of them, in a compilation of images.

Assembly/ G12-Im Bot:
Are basic robots, they don’t need a range of functions to do. They’re built to assemble other bots, to be stationed by the assembly lines, They’re solid, yet flimsy robots. They’re built to move on a wheel, to limit their movement in the factory.

Here is the early concept art for G12-iM:
Early G12-iM Concept Art

Below is the final concept art:
Final G12-iM Concept Art
I was inspired by these miniature figure photographes I found on DeviantArt.

3D model of G12-iM:
G12-iM 3D Model
Please note: These screen shots of the GIF were taken in Unity, the free version, so the lights intensity and casting are different here from what is in the game actually. The game was built in Unity pro version. Also, the quality of the 3D model has been compromised by the creation of this GIF.  

Mech Bots:
Mechanical bots are advanced, they are equipped to interact with their surroundings in more ways than the assembly bots and the other robots. They have extended arms, with finger-like endings. They are built to be big robots.

Early concept art of Mech bots:
Early Mech bot Concept Art
Early concept was to feature a red beam of light covered in vertical bars to convey the harsh, mean personality this bot has, if it has a “personality” as can be seen above.

Final concept art:
Final Mech bot Concept Art
The personality of this robot has been altered from a mean character to an oppressed one. That is evident from the bars on the eyes, and the lock pad on his mouth. On the 3D model of the bot, the arrangement of the eyes and the lock pad has been switched from right to lift. I saw that this arrangement works better with the placement of the light on its right shoulder. That there aren’t too many similar shapes on one side of the design, so the eyes can see the space in between the eyes, and the light spot.

3D model of Mech bot:
Mech Bot 3D Model

Please note: These screen shots of the GIF were taken in Unity, the free version, so the lights intensity and casting are different here from what is in the game actually. The game was built in Unity pro version. Also, the quality of the 3D model has been compromised by the creation of this GIF.  

Spy Bots:
Spy bots are small, menacing bots. They have a spherical shape, a face covered in a mesh of metal bars, and metallic tentacles to interact with the environment. They hover in space.

Early concept art:
Early Spy Concept Art

Final concept art:
Final Spy Concept Art
This design for the spy bot gives it a hooded look for the face. Which fits the spy bot character. On the final 3D model of the robot, it only has one gear at the back, as 2 looked to crowded for such a small robot.

3D model:
Spy Bot 3D Model
Please note: These screen shots of the GIF were taken in Unity, the free version, so the lights intensity and casting are different here from what is in the game actually. The game was built in Unity pro version. Also, the quality of the 3D model has been compromised by the creation of this GIF.  

Janitor Bots:
Janitor bots are solid, rigid and oversized in comparison to the other bots. They are powerful tractors with a broad blade at the front for clearing in the factory.

Early concept art:
Early Janitor Concept Art

Final concept art:
Final Janitor Concept Art

Early concepts of this bot were to sport an unpleasant character, grumpy, mean. Yet, the same with what happened with the mech bot early concepts, having oppressed looking robots, fits the story much better. So, the final concept of the janitor bot features a hunched back, tired looking robot, has a big un-utilized brain, that clears the floor using its “tongue”, the blades coming out of its face. There’s a noticeably 3rd face plate on the bot, as the two-plated face was too small to occupy the 3-blocks allocated for the janitor’s movement. I tried minimized the stretch effect of it, by adding the 3rd face plate.

3D Model:
Janitor Bot 3D Model

GRIM Character’s Colors

Orange is the dominant color of choice for the bots. Firstly, it was for the Mech bot only, as orange, from the colors energy theory, is of an energetic personality trait. And since the Mech bot has multiple functions in solving the puzzle, turning on wall sensor switches and floor pressure plate switches. But later on, orange was incorporated on the other robots as well. Spy bots are yellow, it’s bright therefore making it more noticeable for its small size. Janitor bots are dark blue, to make it appear smaller and it’s a complimentary color to the orange. Assembly bots are aqua so they seem unthreatening, friendly and grey to emphasize the dull routine they live in.

I believe this wraps up this post. Next update will cover the level design aspect in GRIM.

Cheers,
F