Game Design Journal: Façade: Update 2

I’ve started a new design based on the feedback and ideas from the first playtest.

Making the tiles smaller was the biggest change. Smaller tiles means it will be a lot harder to place other things on top so it made the most sense to get rid of the window and door cards and instead arrange those on the tiles in different permutations.

Other ideas that came out of the playest session were:

  1. Scaffolding Cards: If you can’t or don’t want to take an action on your turn you must place a scaffolding card on an available spot on your tableau. You can build above a piece of scaffolding and you can replace a scaffolding piece with a different valid piece. Any unfinished scaffolding at the end of the game count against you.
  2. Corner Pieces: You can use these to expand outwards and upwards at the same time.

You might also notice that there’s another unique piece that isn’t a building at all: a hot air balloon piece. These special pieces can be used to help fill out your tableu and grants extra points:

At the same time as the hot air balloon idea I also realized that players should receive bonus points if they fully complete their tableau (a 5×5 grid). That means I will need a minimum of 25 pieces per player and at least 100 pieces for 4 players! There can be some duplicate pieces but that is still going to be a lot of parts! Time to get back to work…

Game Design Journal: Façade: First Playtest

Had the first playtest this week and it had a lot of fun elements. The game in its current state is all about control. Windows and doors are used to denote ownership and control is determined by the patterns of framing on the façade:

Points are scored when the a roof is placed to “finish” a building. Additional points are earned by having balconies or gardens. Windows and doors don’t count towards points but are used for ownership.

Playtest Results:

In the playtest image above we can see that orange player controlled 3 tiles in the house on the right and 3 tiles for the house on the left. But they also were given +2 for having a balcony on a tile they controlled (8 points total). Blue player controlled 3 points for the house on the right and 5 points for the house on the left (8 points total). Final result = tie game!

Pros:

  • It works!
  • Cards line up with eachother as intended
  • Reasonably balanced. We ended up with a tie score despite going with two very different strategies.

Cons:

  • How do you resolve a tie game? No consideration given.
  • Cards feel too big… taking up too much table space. The emerging beauty of a tile placing game comes from having more tiles get placed over the course of play.
  • Area control mechanics feel antithesis to the relaxing vibe of a home building game.
  • Not a lot of fun choices.

Things to try next:

  1. Try using this prototype but with individual tableaus rather than competing over the same limited space.
  2. Create a new prototype with smaller cards or tiles and designed with a more individual experience from the beginning.

Game Design Journal: AD2TF: Destructive Geometry

One of the core mechanics of this new VR game I’m working on is being able to smash stuff so naturally it was a high priority to get that working.

I started by modeling a simple Japanese lantern

Next I unwrapped the UVs to get a simple stone/marble texture

I then used an ADD On in Blender called Cell Fracture to split the model into parts.

Here’s the final results in Unity:

Game Design Journal: New VR Project: AD2TF

Some assets I’ve been working on for a new VR project. I’m using Unity and Blender. More details coming soon!

This image is showing how I determined the proper height and scale of the objects relative to the VR headset. To do this I created unit cubes in Blender and then stacked them to determine how high a person is in Unity. Basically a person is about 5 cubes high. And then I created a dummy tha is roughly the shape and size of a person.

Game Design Journal: Façade: Entry Point

I’ve been pondering an idea for a card game for a long time now. Any time I go for a run passed beautiful houses it gets me thinking about how that could be turned into a fun game experience.

I started by sketching ideas of how that might look…

I sat on that for a while, ruminating and waiting until summer break. Today I came up with a basic set of cards including roof pieces, walls and decorations. I designed the cards in Adobe Illustrator and arranged them to see how they might fit together.

How does the game actually work?

Its built on controlling properties. Players take turns placing building cards that consist of wall and roof parts. Each player also has door and window cards in their color to denote the floors in a building that they own. The ownership extends to all areas that are connected. And those connections are determined by the patterns of wood that are on the façade.

Wall Patterns

The next update will hopefully be a printed version!

Sound Visualization Works!

Thanks to that audio tutorial I found plus the rope script I already had on hand for the tetherball I was able to slap together a quick and dirty sound visualization that uses a 3D line segment.

Next up is to balance the levels a bit and then add it to the theremin’s screen. I also still need to properly texture the theramin model as its using a bunch of different materials right now (horribly inefficient for rendering).

Data Mapping

One math thing that I’m finding I’m doing a lot of with the theramin is mapping positional data to a set range of integers. The midi library uses a range from 0 to 127 for pitch. So I need to map the distance value between the controller and the pitch rod to that number.

One technique is to convert the value of range 1 into a percent and then multiplying the maximum of range 2 by that percent to get your new value (and then rounding to an integer). Because I already know that its only going to work inside the trigger box, I compare the current distance from the rod with the maximum distance to get a percentage.

But if one range uses negative numbers and the other uses positive numbers then that becomes a bit harder to do. So another technique you can use is a mapping algorithm.

I found a pretty great forum thread where people are sharing different algorithms they use for remapping:

https://forum.unity.com/threads/re-map-a-number-from-one-range-to-another.119437/