My Final Major Project loosely evolved form my Self Initiated Project in the second year of my course.
My original concept was a three stage Real Time Strategy/ First Person Shooter Hybrid set in space; featuring resource gathering elements and ground/space combat.
My intention was to create a trailer for a mock-kickstarter project for display at the end of year degree show.
I developed the idea from my Self Initated Project into the foudation of the Final Major Project; focusing on a Unique Selling Point based around the S.E.T.I @ home program.
You can read my initial proposal here
However after reviewing the concept and beginning my pre-production planning I quickly realised that the project was too ambitious.
Instead I have diluted the concept, focusing instead on created an immersive interactive environment with simple puzzles.
Once the environment is finished I will record gameplay in-engine and edit it together to create a promotional trailer for use at the degree show and in addition to my portfolio.
Back to basics
My Self Initiated Project was built in the Unreal Development Kit to take advantage of the high quality visuals and built-in Matinee video editor. Gameplay was a tertiary goal which I never reached, owing to my inexperience as a programmer.
For my Final Major Project I have decided to use the Unity 4.3 Engine for several reasons;
– Ease of use. Simple interface and import/export process. Rapid prototyping of assets in real time aswell as easy to implement gameplay due to the prefabs
– Abundance of documentation. Because I aim to have a playable level as the finished piece for the project, I need to be able to implement scripts and shaders to allow for high detail visuals and gameplay mechanics. There is a wealth of online tutorials and documentation available for the Unity engine. The forum commnuity is also extremely helpful and there are often open source plugins and scripts which community members give away freely.
– Emergence as a popular engine. The user base for the Unity engine has steadily rose in the past few years as more features are added and compatability with other software is improved. The low cost of the engine has also allowed many independent studios and games designers to create start-up businesses all over the world. I have no illusion that I will find myself working at Eidos or Rockstar by the end of my degree but the chances of working for a small indie venture is plausible. By beginning to use the engine now, I hope to reach a level of employability by the time I graduate
– Workflow. Importing and exporting assets into the engine is as simple as dragging and dropping, a feature which saves a lot of time in getting prototypes and levels built out. It is also extremely easy to build levels from the engine and to port them to external devices such as smart phones and tablets. Although I am not planning this project for handheld, it could definately be a possibility in the future.
The idea for my Final Major Project is quite different from the previous year. Instead of an ambitious RTS/FPS hybrid, I will be creating a First Person Survival Horror game with Puzzle elements. I have decided to keep the space setting for several reasons;
– Emergence of science fiction trend in industry. Over the past year alone, there have been several science fiction games released and planned which offer the user a variety of experiences. Following on from the Minecraft trend, there are several releases that feature customisation and terrain editing aswell as procedural worlds as their USPs.
Several examples are
There are also a variety of other sci-fi games either currently on the market or planned for release soon, showing that is is definately a large genre.
Survival is also quite a prevalent trend. Arguably starting with Minecraft, there is an abundance of survival based games on the market and planned for release. Many are fantasy based medieval type games (some are also outright Minecraft clones) and others are zombie based such as the overwhelmingly popular DayZ mod.
-Throwback. Some of the most popular games in development at the minute are crowd funded remakes or spiritual successors to games from the “Golden Age of gaming”
One of the most acclaimed series from gamers and critics alike is the System Shock series. Frequently hailed as the origin of the modern action-RPG, System Shock 1&2 are one of the iconic PC games.
The influence of System Shock is evident in most modern RPG games.
Upgradeable combat skills, non-linear level design and a wide variety of approaches to gameplay are all staples of games such as Bioshock (which is essentially a spiritual successor to the System Shock series)
EDIT (November 2013)
After deciding upon the theme and basis of my Final Major Project, I discovered that there is a survival horror game based on the Alien in development by The Creative Assembly.
Similar to another game which is currently in early development, I want to to use the 70’s retro sci-fi aesthetic which the Alien franchise is famous for.