Sunday, December 2, 2018

Udder Nonsense Postmortum

Hey guys, Adam here giving the postmortem for Udder Nonsense.
What Worked
- The group all understood their roles, and despite losing a team member in the very first week, we managed to recover.
- We had a designated person for each area of art, so all of the animations felt similar and didn't feel too jarringly different from one another for example.
- Met up at least once a week, which made sure every member of the group was able to stay on track, and made sure consistent progress was made.
- The core mechanics were pinned down early on, allowing us to provide a decent amount of polish to our game.
- Similarly, the visual style was settled within the first 3 weeks, allowing the visuals to be finished very quickly, and allowed the gameplay to take more of a focus.
- No real leader to the group meant that everyone's contributions were equally important, and everyone was listened to.
- GIT was fantastic, and everyone picked it up quickly, allowing us to share builds with ease.
- The blog was updated frequently, allowing us to very easily check back on previous work, and forcing us to have something to show often.
What Didn’t Work
- Our sound student did no work after our first meeting, and told us he would be unable to help us just before the final in class session.
- We had a few issues with team members, leading to small disputes towards the middle of the term.
- Once the semester ended, meetups were far less frequent, often only being a Discord call once per couple of weeks, or just messages over Facebook.
- Several injuries and illnesses lead to work being postponed, or being pushed aside completely towards the second half of the semester.
- We had some issues with builds being named poorly, often named by the person who first built them, making them hard to find, and making testing often a waste of time when the wrong build had been used.
- We only had one person who had any skill in coding, and as such, struggled to make any changes to mechanics when they weren't around.
What We Would Do Differently Next Time
- Make sure to quash any problems within group members very early on.
- Having everyone in the group learn some coding, so that simple issues could be fixed by the person who found them.
- Force ourselves to meet up more after the end of the semester, or at least keep in touch more than we did.
Despite all the issues, the game faced, we're now at the point where the portion of this journey with Murdoch University has come to a close. I would just like to thank my team members for helping to make Udder Nonsense as fantastic as it turned out. Whether this is the end of this journey, or if it keeps going on, it's been fantastic, and we have all learned so much.
Thanks again guys!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Interview: Nerys - 3D and Animation Lead and Co-Producer

Hey guys, Adam here again. I took the time to interview Nerys, our 3D and Animation Lead and Co-Producer as we come up to the end of our game development. We spoke about the difficulties in making a game, as well as how rewarding it is when it all comes together.

A: Nerys, as animation lead you must have had a lot on your plate, how hard has it been for you?

N: It's been pretty hard, but I think I enjoy it and it's been a fun challenge as well, especially working with Unity; it's stuff I haven't really done before, as well as seeing it all come together. I've always made animations that are short on Maya where you just play it through and render it out. Whereas, actually seeing it in game is pretty cool and I think it's all worth it in the end.

A: What has been the hardest thing to animate so far?

N: Definitely the player [laughs]. I don't think the animation itself has been hard, I think its been trying to figure out what animations you need to do, how to add them together fluently and all the bits and pieces that you kinda need to do that you don't see in the first picture.

A: You're also 3D lead, how's that been?

N: It's been good. I feel as though the team has done a lot of work and it's... yeah. I don't know what else to say to that.

A: What's the thing you're happiest with that you personally worked on?

N: Personally the layout, but I know I didn't put in all the effort for that. Obviously Adam you've done a lot of that and Christie yeah. I feel like looking at the game, it looks like a proper game. All the spaces look full and if they don't we're working on something more and I'm really proud of that.

A: The project is drawing to a close, how do you feel about it all?

N: I'm happy with it. I think as a team we worked really well. Gradually throughout the semester we found who was strong at what and everyone has pulled their weight and I feel like it looks like a proper game; it looks like something people want to play. I tell my friends about it and they're all really excited. It's exciting.

A: Any other closing thoughts?

N: Not particularly, I think just that I'm proud of how far we've come and; looking at it in the beginning not thinking "this" was what it was going to look like.

A: Would you do it all again?

N: Yes [laughs], yeah.

Thank you Nerys for agreeing to this interview. As we come up to the last couple of weeks of work, I'll get in touch with the other couple of members of our team for interviews, as well as keeping you guys posted on what is going on with the game.

Thanks for reading guys!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Week 12/13: Prototype Visual Improvements

Hi guys, Adam here again with another update on Udder Nonsense, the new title for our current game project.

The logo was created by Christie, and I just wanted to thank her for doing such a fantastic job.

Our prototype is almost finished visually, and I'm able to share with you a few progress pictures from the past couple of weeks.

This is the original layout of the level, before all of the textures had been finished. It ended up being too barren and a little too empty so we went with something a little more exciting.

The second layout of the level was an attempt to find a shape that worked, as we'd had a few complaints that the level was too square, so it was stretched out and the missing textures were added. Now the main issue was filling in some of that empty space.

The third layout of the level was very close to what we wanted. The level now looks more busy and interesting, and the trees, created by Nerys, were perfect to fill in the blank background of the level. However, there were still issues. During the night-time part of the game, the blue barn turned almost purple, and the detail was almost completely lost on it; also, the left and right background were still looking a little bare. Several object sizes were also a little off scale with one another, and so a final few tweaks were made.

Our "final" screenshot. Whilst still subject to change, we're feeling happy about the current visuals of our game, and in motion it looks even better (I'll try to include some GIF's or video in next week's update.) The spaceship was a last minute addition to explain how the animals appear, and looks fantastic thanks to Hendrick for the model, and Christie for the effects on it. I also have to thank Jeric for a large amount of the texture work that went into all of this.

This is a prototype of our menu screen set up by myself. It cycles through day and night the same as the actual game, and is quite lovely to look at if I do say so myself, especially with all the animals wandering round with their in-progress animations and poses courtesy of Nerys.

The couple of objects above are the current work of Hendrick, and are in the process of being finished and added to the game, and personally I can't wait for them to be done.

Thanks for reading guys. I hope you enjoyed another small look into our game. Hopefully next week we'll be able to show you some video of the game in action.

Thanks guys!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Week 11: Texturing and Prototype Progress

Hey guys, Adam here.
Its been a while since the last development blog post and a lot has gone on with our game. Including having a title screen (albeit temporary).

The 3D models are all but done, and are in the process of having their textures finalised by Jeric and Hendrick. The barn has been fixed up by Christie and is looking fantastic.


Meanwhile, the animals and player character have been rigged and are beginning to be animated by Nerys. Whilst these poses may not make it into the finished game, they show the cute visual style we are trying to go for too well for me not to include here.

The prototype has been developing solidly as well. The missile system has been implemented, allowing our three implemented animals to provide you with a different weapon.

The cow shoots milk at a long range which can be blocked by terrain and dodged. The chicken fires an egg in an arc, which then explodes, damaging a large radius. The sheep drops a small trap damaging players walking over it.

We also had a play-test for our game last week, the results of which you can check out in our last post before this one.

Thanks guys!

Results of the Playtest

On the 5th of October, we held our first play-test for Outstanding in the Field. It was very successful and before i discuss the results I'd like to thank both the members of Double Ducks Studios, for facilitating the play-test and all of their hard work, as well as our play-testers (Harry, John, Mitch, Felipe, Lindsay, Vittoria, Daniel and Brad) for taking the time to test and review our game.

For this post, I will be including the questions provided for the testers, as well as a generalisation of their feedback.

Which title do you like most for the game?
"Udder Nonsense" won with 5/8 votes. 3/5 votes were suggesting a new title, but offered no suggestions.

What are your thoughts on the visuals?
Visuals are considered "appealing" and "stylised". Several testers noted that they matched the simple gameplay of the game.

What is your favourite part of the game?
Almost all of the responses mentioned that fighting with other players, as well as being competitive, was the major draw of the game.

Is the gameplay enjoyable? Why/why not?
A general yes. Several testers noted that the game could sometimes be frustrating however, due to both a bug related to picking up animals near other objects simply not working, as well as the rocks not actually working as cover.

Would the game be more enjoyable with more players?
Most testers expressed interest in playing the game with more players, however, none expressed it in a way that would overshadow the fun of the 1v1 mode. There was one tester worried that the screen would be cluttered with more players however.

What would be one change you would suggest?
There were 3 common suggestions of additional features.
Firstly, the addition of more power-ups, or even rarer "variant" power-ups, which could offer more powerful versions of the standard animals.
Secondly is the suggestion of a sprint feature, to allow players to catch up with others, mostly suggested to allow players without an animal to catch those with one.
Thirdly, the addition of a point system for attacking other players, to allow for different play styles.

Would you suggest this game to others? Who?
While several of the testers specifically mentioned suggesting the game to younger children, most expressed that they would suggest the game to anyone, as an all ages party game.

Does the camera angle work? How/would you change it?
All testers had a positive opinion of the camera angle.  Although testers specifically mentioned moving it closer a touch.

Are there any control issues?
There was one major control issue with the game. Testers universally thought that pick-up and put-down should be mapped to the same button, whilst shoot should be separated to the current put-down button, or even moved entirely to a trigger button on controller and space bar on keyboard.

Round time?
Positive overall on the current round time, and the number of rounds was suggested as 3 multiple times. The idea of possible shorter rounds was suggested multiple times.

Any other comments/feedback.
Firstly, filling the map up a bit more with more obstacles and scenery. Another suggested lowering the rate of fire on the Milk weapon, and increasing the usability of the Wool weapon.

Rating out of 4.
An average of 3.375/4, or 84.375%

We will endeavour to integrate as much of this feedback into our final product as possible, and I would like to once again thank both the rest of the team working on the game, as well as the play-testers for their help with this play-test.

Thanks guys!

Friday, September 28, 2018

Interview: Christie - Development Lead and Co-Producer

Hey guys, Adam here again. It's been a few weeks, and we've been hard at work. While I'm working on a full on blog post showcasing what we've been doing, I took the time to sit down with Christie, our Development Lead and Co-Producer and talked about her time with unity, the process of coding and how she feels the project is going.

A - You're the main coder for this project. Can you give us some examples of things that might entail?

C - I am basically responsible for everything that has to do with the project going into unity. So I've done a lot of the layout so far. I've done, well, coding. Daniel has complained to me a couple of times saying "you're not coding, you're unity developing" and that's really really true, because I have to learn language that's specific to unity, and unity only; so I've... made a lot of the mechanics, I guess. everything from walking to picking things up to the score system to being able to shoot other people with your chickens; that's a lot of sitting down and typing.

A - Fair enough. Well coding is a notoriously finicky undertaking. what have your main difficulties been so far?

C - Well, I think it's, my difficulties mainly stem from not being a programmer [laughs], if you understand what I mean. Cause we're all in the arts course and... though I've had unity experience before the project, I didn't really have the expertise, I guess, to do anything really [laughs]. I'm actually taking a new unit devised this year by Brad to fix this problem of students not knowing how to do unity and I'm learning a lot of things as I'm going and sometimes it's just a tad too late. So sometimes I will have already coded it a certain way, for example the score system, the old score system was done, 100% using nested IF statements. Now if you're a programmer you just head "tonne of nested IF statements" and you're like "NO!". So the week after I finished the score system we learned how to do arrays in this other class and then I was like "oh gee, I should have done arrays" cause, basically nested IF statements are "if its this - this, if its this - this" and if you continue to do that it's very hard to keep track of where things are. So i had to rewrite it basically with this new array system that I just learned and that's the same with all the mechanics that I have done for the prototype. so I just had to remake them and, I think I'm gonna have to remake the collision system yet again.

A - Sounds very complicated.

C - Yes. I mean prototyping is one deal right, I mean you can just bash things out really really quickly and it works, it "works" and that's all that you need but when you kind of have to factor in that people are actually gonna play this and if bugs come up in between play-tests, especially because we're going to show at a convention, its not something you can afford. really. You cant let your game break down half way through, so you need to think all the code mechanics through so none of it clashes or anything.

A - On a more positive note, i was wondering what you would consider to be your greatest achievement so far in terms of coding or unity development?

C - That's hard to say. I'm learning so many things from the ground up.

A - Is there any one thing you're particularly proud of?

C - Ooh... I guess, I was really, I was kinda proud of the score system. So the score system basically that player has their own inventory in their barn, it needs to have a list and track what all the animals are in order from what was put in first to second to third, if there's empty spaces after it, the animals in total. Also I've got a combo system working; if the first animal was a cow and then the second animal was also a cow it can read what the previous animal was. So if you have two cows in a row you get a double bonus, and stuff like that. If you get a continuous thing, you get a herd bonus. I also got it to look for if the person has at least 2 chickens, 2 sheep and 2 cows, give it a Noah's Ark bonus and stuff like that.

A - So sort of like the after game bonuses in Mario Party?

C - Yeah exactly yes. So i got that working and I was pretty proud of that one I think.

A - Well, you've been hard at work for over two months now, there's still so much to do though, whats the next thing you're working on?

C - I've been trying to work on the missile system for a very long time now, but I still need to do a lot of tweaking on the mechanics we already have. Just because, as I said before, I might have to restructure the things I've just restructured. I'm thinking of moving away from collision based detection to ray-casting; and that's basically, instead of having a box which says "this box has entered this other box" its basically shooting a laser and being like "if i hit this particular object then do this". So I'm thinking of moving to that and then probably implementing the missile system or the animal power system where animals shoot things, to do certain actions and I think probably after that would be particle systems.

A - Fantastic, do you have any other closing thoughts or anything else you want to mention?

C - I would not get a job as a unity developer [laughing]. It's been a tough journey, again having to learn everything from the ground up, and it just kind of, I just feel like this isn't my job [laughing]. But, you know, I think it was a good experience and I learned a lot from it, and I can do a bunch of things in code now that I would never have been able to do otherwise, and I think its made me grow as a person. Coding is something that I never thought that I'd be able to do and I guess when push comes to shove it kinda shows me that I can do these things even though I think that I can't. In the end its a good experience. Though, if you guys ever start a games project make sure somebody in the group has learned some coding stuff before.

A - Have an actual programmer basically?

C - Yeah. I think that next year it'll be much better, just because we have the unit now, and most of the people going into games project will have already taken that unit; but yeah, its been hard. It's good though, its good.

A - So, given the chance, you wouldn't do this again?

C - Argh, Its hard. I would do it again, probably-

A - But it's not top of your agenda?

C - Yeah, you know what, its not something that I would actively seek out. If the next project, I needed to work as a programmer I might just, you know c'est la vie and do it, but its not something that I'd actively try and get for myself.

Thanks Christie for your time. Over the next few weeks, I'm going to interview the rest of the group working on the game and glean some insight on their parts in the creation of it.

Thanks for reading guys.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Week 5/6: 3D Models

Hi guys, Adam here again with another update after a weeks absence.

We've all been hard at work 3D modelling, and I wanted to wait until we had more material to show you, and were all happy with the work we had done so far.

Christie has been working on the cow and chicken models, as well as making more progress on the game prototype, which we should be able to show you more of in the next couple of posts.


Hendrick has completed models for a couple of fence variations, as well as a hay bale.

Model Fence.png

Hay Bale.png

Jeric has completed models for a couple of different variations of crates and rocks.



Nerys has finished the models for the player character and the sheep.


I have completed models for both a barn and a silo.


The models have all been unwrapped, and are ready to be textured, which is the goal for next week. Hopefully in the next post I'll be able to share with you some basic textures and possibly a prototype update.

Thanks for reading!