Game Proto-Publishable 4, Week 6: And… PUBLISHED!! WOOT WOOT!!

Phew! Week 6 of the proto-publishable was a rough one! The professors continued to add more “final” projects onto an already full load so sleep I did not. All us engineers had a memory manager due, of which the professor only gave us one half of a lecture on to make it from, Friday at midnight. After two very long days making that, it was actually kind of fun though I spent all my free time on it (and I nailed it! Totally got an A in engineering!), Gagan and I headed over to the game lab for what turned out to be a very long night. Team Monkey Love Hippo also didn’t pass certification, and so Binoy also joined us.

Despite a very long day, it was actually really fun. We all worked on both games: Binoy helped us and we helped him. I helped Gagan with UI aspects of movement, Binoy helped Gagan with sound, I helped Binoy with UI, Gagan helped with photoshop projects, and I did all the builds. Ha, at one point I told Binoy (who needed a break from making his game) to go help Gagan with sound while I did his UI because he couldn’t get it working. Brad occassionally called in to check in on us, and then I gave him a call when we finished our build and uploaded it to the windows 8 store. I then helped Binoy get theirs published. At 4am we called it quits! And by quits I mean we went to Binoy’s and played games til 6am when which is when we all finally conked out.

I was sick with worry all weekend that we’d missed something and would have to head into the lab again, again on our holiday break! Brad called me at 11am at work on Monday and told me the news. “So, yeah, they finally got back…” Oh great, back to the lab, I thought. “So Yeah, uh, we’re published.” Screams of joy ensued.
The levels still need some major tweaking and we’re working on fixing the controls. There have been some major issues with them so I’m very proud of the quick solution we came up with that very long Saturday/Sunday in order to get the game published to Windows 8, but they’re still not quite there for the game play. Really the game’s momentum based movement was optimized for an accelerometer or mouse, and we had to make it work with touch (because of Microsoft’s certification for publication requirements), which ended up being a bit of a hack job. Also the levels, after we finally had some time for playtesting, need some tweaking.

Despite the control and level tweaks that need to be made, Armadillo Smash N’ Roll! is still a super fun game to play! It’s just a little hard to beat! I dare you to pass level three!! šŸ˜€ Remember all thisĀ when you download the game; don’t be too harsh in your critiques. Give us 5 stars so we’ll come out with improved future releases. (We are working on it!) You can get Armie the adorableĀ armadillo’s game here.

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Game Proto-Publishable 4, Week 5 — Submitting for Certification

We did a LOT of work on this game and it was fun to see it all come together with all the work and additions that we did after the post-mortem. Gagan, Robert, Brad, and I put in a TON of hours to get it done over the weekend.

StartBG_sample

The buttons have been updated from this screenshot. They’re very snazzy now. They’re rounded and gray, and on hover they are a very cool orange.

I added in the “real” UI complete with feedback buttons (complete with a form that sends us an email!), replay, next map, and a “How to Play” screen. Robert did all the art, though occasionally Gagan helped me pull out assets from Robert’s art.

HowToPlay

We built all the levels, got the colors down for the overhead map, I got someone to play test the first level so we could decide on the amount of time, got rid of actor mesh, IO (by removing it since our game isn’t currently dependent on it), and many, many more errors.

Gagan, Brad and I stayed in the game lab til 4AM Saturday night to get it done and submitted. Around 1:30am they started saying let’s just come back, but I knew I wasn’t coming back (especially cause we would have just spent more and more time on it), so we stayed. It was fun and painful all at the same time!

At one point I just needed the master and Gagan and Brad needed a break. So while I was busy working, they made paper planes and had a competition. šŸ™‚

But we got it all built and submitted. Yeah!

FirstImage_1024

On Monday I had several people asking me how to build and submit to Windows8 so I sent my notes to self on the process the whole cohort. I told them to tell me if there was anything wrong, since they were just my notes to me, and I know people used them because two of the producers added notes to mine. I’m glad I could turn it around and help out my cohorts.

Hailin also asked me in the lab to help her out with building. Her team depends on IO (they read in the narrative to output to screen), so we did some research together on that. From what we found it is going to be a lot of work on her part to get it to standard with Windows 8. Windows 8 is a bit of a pain to work with. It is very particular and the notes on how to post to the store and the requirements, especially with libraries, and with Unity, etc. are all over the place, and sometimes extremely hard to find, if you can find them at all.

And so, I have attached my notes on how to build from Unity to Visual Studio 2013, to the Win8 store. I don’t know everything you have to do for certification, but I do know how to get it built at least.

If you use the notes and find anything wrong, some important details that have been left out, or a better way, please let me know in the comments below!

Deploying a Game from Unity to Windows 8 Store Notes

Submitted!

Brad called me late Tuesday (yesterday as I write this) to ask me my opinion on what to put for description and notes to testers for the certification submission. We got Casey involved in editing and it turned out very nice, and Brad submitted!

Thank goodness Brad figured all that stuff out! And Casey has been busy on making a website and media pages for our game. So grateful for my producers!

Oh no!

Brad called me early Wednesday morning (or today as I write this) to let me know we’d failed certification but it didn’t look like a lot of errors. The big one was it wasn’t working with touch as we anticipated. This was a hard thing to test because my team only got the tablet for a few minutes at a time and most of the time I “had” it I was sharing it with other teams who were trying to figure out the deployment to tablet. Once that got figured out I didn’t see the tablet again! I did have my laptop which rotates into a tablet, but it isn’t a true tablet because it’s still behaves like the real PC it is, so the touch on my computer doesn’t work like it does on a tablet, which is why it didn’t work for the Win8 Store testers like we’d hoped.

However, Microsoft donated three tablets to our lab. They only came in yesterday, but it is going to be a big help to at least my team. Hopefully they have accelerometers!

There is more to this story that has yet to have happened. We’re going to do whatever we need to do to get this published, but first Gagan and I have to finish our monster final C++ assignment that’s due Friday. We have to write a memory manager! Despite it being Wednesday, I don’t know how much I’ll be able to get done. It took Joe, our professor, eight hours to program his. We don’t have to have ours working (accept for alloc and free), but the more we have done the better our grade, and he’ll also be looking over our other code which I know I want to beef up a bit. Lots to do! I’ll probably spend the rest of today and all of Thursday and Friday up to the due time (midnight Friday) working on it. I know Gagan will be doing the same.

Stay tuned…

Game Proto-Publishable 4, Week 4 — Build and Present

Side-loading on the tablet

The biggest issue this week was figuring out the build for the tablet, and then the store…

In this I have to give another shout out to my fellow class mates. Nathan originally had figured out how to do a win8 build, but he hadn’t actually side-loaded it, like we’d all assumed at the beginning because that’s what his producer told us. But it got me started with the tools I needed: Unity, Visual Studio 2013, and the inital build setting option. Sidd B. and Vinod really helped me get the build from Unity to Visual Studio 2013 without any errors. Sean, Abhishek, and I tried for quite some time to get the Visual Studio Remote Machine debug to work,and I believe a couple others tried as well, but it just didn’t want to budge. However Tony was able to figure out how to just side load it onto the tablet and then showed Sean who then showed me. PHEW!! It took us til Wednesday 11pm to get it all figured out.

Just in time

My team stayed even later that Wednesday as Gagan continued to work out bugs in the movement and I finally got us a semi-working menu screen just in time to take a video and get it off to Casey for the presentation.

Oh, and I can’t remember if I mentioned it last week, but Robert figured out why the 3D text was blurry, (the default image size is SUPER small so it’s always blurry unless you make the default image size bigger), and fixed it. Took him five seconds. He’s a genius.

Both 2

The presentation

Casey did another great job on the presentation and the game was well received. Most of the feedback we received was already incorporated, or was going to be incorporated into the game, so we didn’t worry too much about that.

All the teams received feedback that they wanted to incorporate into their games so Brad, our amazing producer, got us all an extension through Tuesday! Go Brad!

Post-Mortem

It felt a little strange to do a post-mortem when we knew we weren’t actually done with the game. Especially since right after we were done writing up our postmortem time-line with the good and the bad, we flipped the whiteboard around and started writing out a final to do list!

 

Post_Mortem

Post_postmortem_ToDo

I love this team.

The bad

I’m going to change things up this time because honestly, there isn’t that much bad to talk about. Lots of bugs, some issues with different version controls, would have been good to have just a little bit more artist to engineer conversations especially since our artist was involved in some of the programming just so that we didn’t have to spend time fixing code later, it would have been nice to have more involvement from Casey, and then BUGS.

Casey gave Gagan and myself a small critique each: Gagan says, “It’s easy!” too often, and as for me Casey said that he didn’t mind my involvement with editing and writing and presenting, but warned me that some producers might. Something I’d already noted in my last group, but it was a good reminder.

This really opened up the conversation for me to be able to talk to Casey about his lack of involvement this go around. From what he told me it really sounded like he was experimenting with his identity on the team as on previous teams he’d experienced that his team members didn’t want his involvement. However three of us at least chose to be on this team because of him and because he wasn’t here we felt let down. He was sick for part of it, but he also didn’t communicate that to us.Casey also mentioned that a big reason he, and Brad just a tad too, weren’t quite as involved was because they felt I was handling it just fine. Which I was keeping engineer/artist stuff organized and solving problems, but then I didn’t have anyone solving my problems! Either. But that was a big compliment to me, and I’ll take it. I wish he would have asked us what we needed/wanted from him instead of assuming, but then one of us probably should have asked him to be more involved. Of course that didn’t occur to any of us until we had our post-mortem discussion. Whenever he was here he was awesome, which is why we needed him there more often. However, I think he really listened to what I had to say, and what Brad and Gagan said as well, and I think he’ll be more involved moving forward.

The good

So much to say! Strong concept, excellent collaboration. Brad really stepped up and became the lead producer. He did an excellent job and was nearly always here with us as late as we were! Excellent engineer collaboration. Casey pointed out that he was concerned that Gagan and I were going to have issues, but then was pleasantly surprised that we got along so well.

Learning git and then switching to SVN when it was better for the team. Being flexible. Artist/engineer collaboration. Our artist doing the overhead map, enemyy movement, and animation. Getting the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd playables! Great pitch and final presentation. Working game. Sound (Brad). Mock-up levels from Brad. Figuring out build. Getting everything merged.

Being awesome.

What I learned

ASK FOR WHAT YOU NEED! Collaboration among teams is essential! There’s no way we would have figured out the build for the windows 8 tablet and store if we hadn’t collaborated outside the team.

I discovered for myself that I could figure that stuff out, even if it was just googling, asking others, and lots of trial and error.

My team is awesome. We’re going to continue building and creating this game and I think it’s going to go directions we still haven’t considered. It’s going to do awesome!

Apparently, I love the word AWESOME!

After a certain bad experience, and still feeling upset, I wasn’t so sure about producers and I was okay with Casey not being as involved. But then, one day, Roger stole our producers away. Kyle stood up about 5 minutes later in a panic, “Where are my producers? I need my producers!” I wondered what he was thinking, as I was still feeling slightly embittered. But then, 20 minutes later, I needed my producers! Where were they! And then I proceeded to be angry with Roger. šŸ˜‰

When Casey and I were having our post-mortem discussion and I shared with him that story, it finally came to me what it was and I told him:

“It’s not so much about the role [producer, engineer, artist, whatever]. It’s about the people. And I, and our team, needed you here.

I really hope that everyone in our class gives everyone else some slack. We were all experimenting with our roles and learning. That’s what this whole experience is about. And for those producers that felt their team didn’t want them as producers, then don’t act the producer! Act the person that is creating a game with them! That’s what they want anyway: someone who’ll help them make an amazing game! It’s not about the role, it’s about the people.

Game Proto-Publishable 4, Week 3 — Adding Features

Gagan was having lots of issues with getting git working on his home computer so I made the decision to switch us back to SVN which we were using week one when Robert made his first prototype. SVN doesn’t play nearly as nice with Unity, but it made it easier for Gagan, so it was worth it.

I made the in-game player dashboard including the timer, points tracker, and the lives tracker. It went through a couple iterations and I couldn’t quite figure out how to make the 3D Texture not blurry. I also added in Robert’s sphere’s for smashing against.

I also contacted Tobiah and thanked him for his amazing feedback, and while I was at it slipped in some of the names we were thinking about. He responded very quickly and gave us some awesome ideas for the game name. With his feedback we decided on “Armadillo Smash N’ Roll!” I like it!

Besides that I spent most of my time helping Gagan and Robert with bugs, and with just generally keeping things organized. Robert made an amazing 3D Armie the Armadillo (our original name) and animation, but it didn’t play nice with Gagan’s movement. Gagan spent nearly all his time trying to get that to work while I helped Robert and Brad with getting levels built and fixing other bugs. RobertĀ  was also able to get in other enemies and their animations in the game.

I was always in charge of everything UI, so I finally got some time Thursday to draw some things out with Robert about how we wanted the UI to work. It wa a good collaboration because we both saw diffeent needs. I thought all I needed was his art to finish the UI. Turns out, as soon as I looked at his art, I realized that I was wrong and that I had a lot of work cut out for me with the UI.

However, since Gagan was busy doing movement bug fixes, and just as i was handed the UI wireframe, I got handed to figure out how to do the build and to side-load it onto a tablet. I spent the rest of my time Thursday gathering information on how to build to Windows8 store. Long story short, it is a pain!! There is no one place you can go to that lays it out. I was all over the internet and it took me, and the rest of the teams, into the next week to figure it all out.