Looking back at all of my work I feel that the past four months have been a successful time, where I have challenged my skills and developed them. Not only have my skills such as modelling and texturing developed, but I have picked up coding in java script relatively easily. Some parts were quite challenging, but I have been able to code the majority of the game by myself, because of that I am very proud of myself for that.
Originally when I set of on this project, I produced a specification of what this game must be. To evaluate this project directly, I feel I should test whether this product fits against my own specification, this will test whether or not I have achieved what I set out to do in the first place.
This game must have:
-This game will not have any sort of heads up display which shows on screen; instead all of this information will be shown inside the vehicle which the user is travelling in.
This game does not have any sort of heads up display. This was a design choice I made early in the games development because I wanted the user to be challenge when they need to see the information such as your points or score. It acts just like a dashboard in a car, which gives a realistic twist, like you would have when driving a car. Importantly though I have achieved this.
-It will use a camera element to take photos
The game does use a camera element, which acts like a first person shooting gun, but without actually firing anything.
-The subject of the photos are animals.
I have made a number of animals as subjects to take photos, and this is emphasised in the fact that you have build up a score by taking photos of these animals. The tick and cross system also establishes what to be taking a photo of.
-The design of these animals will be my own.
I designed, researched, and created all of the animals in this game and that is shown in the development of this.
-The setting for this piece is a jungle/river
I have created, and researched the Amazon rainforest and based the environment around it. The concept of layers in a rainforest was added to the design of the track and route that the car takes, this was done to subtly emphasise the layers of a rainforest. There are also two sections based in a river, there is a mix between the car being on track and in the river.
-There will be a vehicle designed to go on both land and in the river.
The car does not travel on land, but does on water and in the air on tracks. It is appropriately designed for this.
-You will use the gyroscope of the oculus rift as the camera.
This game takes full control of the oculus rift, and uses it as the aim for the camera.
-There will be a limit in the amount of photos you can take.
You are limited to 35 shots. That’s enough for the game to be challenging for more hardcore games, while being easy for first time, or younger players.
-The animals will animate
All animals have been hand animate, and tweened.
-There will be a scoring system.
There is a scoring system that is balanced and easy for the player to understand.
-Photos will be posted on to facebook or twitter while the user plays the ride
This element was not put into the game in the end as I ran out of time, however the photo you take is displayed on a screen inside the game.
-There will be elements in the game which emulate a rollercoaster experience
There are on rail elements but when designing the layout I chose to move away from a faster experience due to the fact that that would take away from the gameplay significantly, and it should be a relaxed sort of game rather than an intensive experience.
-There will be a balance between the gameplay and the rollercoaster side of it.
The on rail elements were balanced out so that the user did not get too disorientated throughout the experience.
-The game will have a beginning, middle and end.
In terms of any sort of narrative, this was written out of the game due to time constraints, however there is an opening menu of the game which takes you to the game or quits the application. The game will always take you back to the menu once it has finished it routine around the environment.
-It will last from around 2 minutes to 3 minutes.
The game actually last about 5 minutes. Mainly to get around the environment. You don’t exactly notice this though.
From this evaluation the majority of my specification was achieved, the only parts I missed out were minor, except for the timing being 2-3 minutes. This is quite a large issue which I forgot about throughout the development. There really is nothing I can do about this now, arguably I feel the timing to the finished product inst too much of an issue due to the fact that the game resets after it plays through the environment. So if the user does get bored, they can just put the game down and it will eventually revert back to the menu screen.
There are one or two improvements that could be made, but they’re improvements I have failed to make before the end of this project. I couldn’t make these improvements by the hand in because of the time restraints, and anything else that I would add to the project might cause it to be in an unfinished state by the time for my critique. Right at this point in time I feel that the game is in a finished and polished state.
The improvements that could be made would be:
Working on the texturing. Right now the textures on each of the animals really need a lot of improvements. Some of the animals need to be furry and they are not. Throughout the process I found methods for improving these textures but chose not to change any of the animals because they were in a state that, at the time I felt was fine. Again it is too late to change anything, but also if I were to spend more time on this, I would refine all of the models, but also reanimate them too.
Making the animations more refined and smooth would also be another improvement I made. I know that throughout animating each of the animals I did not touch the graph editor, and this was a big mistake. I know this was done due to my time restraints to get this project done, but it’s something I wish I could go back a redo, just to smooth out all the movement and refine them so they were absolutely perfect.
Adding more levels, but this would require going through the whole process again, and I think only one level to show is much more suitable and realistic in the time given.
The output for screenshots, I looked into this function within the coding section of this game, and it was possible, but was littered with problems throughout, and I needed to get the other function in the game to work. The problems I had was that it lagged the game whenever it took the photo, and it saved on top of each of the previous photos (in other words I could only save 1 photo per game) and getting those photos to automatically save out on to facebook, which would have taken the project even further in terms of technical skills was beyond me in the time given. I decided to avoid this function, but if I was able to go back and work on this, I would.
These were the main improvements that I could make to the game.
Sustainability of this product
This product can just about sustain itself due to the fact that it will be released on to the oculus site, and the idea of Oculus Snap should attract a lot of people due to the thought and idea of the concept in the first place (due to it being used in pokemon snap). When something is released on to the Oculus Share site, they seem to continuously get downloads, even the rollercoaster I made last year is still getting downloads.
What have I learnt?
Throughout this process despite not picking up any completely new skills, I did learn a lot.
I have learnt more about texturing and the use of normal and specular maps. I have learnt the appropriate time for using each of them along along with how I can create low poly models and bring out their detail with normal maps. I feel this is a very useful skill to know and to use within my games.
I have worked on my modelling techniques, I have learnt extra function in Maya such as bevelling you corners and chamfering edges to give your assets certain styles, and make them render in certain ways. Since I learned these skills throughout, I wish I could go back, start again with the newly learn skills and create the whole project again. (That would lead to a cycle of learning even more skills and then using them and so on!)
That’s the majority of everything that I have learnt. Although it doesn’t seem all that much, it really is a huge amount specially i the coding side.
If I could do this game again what would I do?
If I could do this whole game again, I would pick a different location and apply all of the skills I had previously learnt. The coding would be incredibly easy to replicate because I could just drag it out of that game and just dump it into another environment. It would then just be a matter of creating assets that fitted into each environment. In other words now that the game engine coding is covered, I can just keep creating environments again and again.
I think I would pick a cave like theme, or a desert, where the actual experience is a little more rough, and maybe the animals are a lot more animated than this previous environment. To some extent I would recreate one of the pokemon snap levels so see who close to the original I can get.
If I could do this project again what would I do?
If I could go back and start the whole project again from scratch, I would again create some sort of game, but possibly move away from the oculus, or create a game which uses the oculus but in some sort of way where you are taking a certain type of game and create it so it revolves around the Oculus Rift. I feel there is a huge potential with this product and with the idea of virtual reality, and I want to continue using it.
Next I want to either create another oculus rift experience, or create a game and get it up on a site/ system such as steam or apple, or getting something on the Wii U. Only time will tell where I am going next.
I feel this project was defiantly my favourite, but also my most developed piece. I am happy with how this has turned out.