This was a in house game jam in the studio, due to the success and benefits from entering the Cambridge Game Jam I kept pressuring the tutors to either find and enter us into a new one through the course or host an in house one potentially over the holidays, which would be optional but beneficial to students if they attended.
This game jam split us into 2 teams of 5 mixed with 3rd, 2nd and 1st years so experience would be shared across the team to try help the 1st years improve. The theme was “Life” we could interpret this how we liked but the game would be assessed on features:
With this like the previous game jam we got into our group and put down everything we could think of life related, this included:
- life cycles
- life system (3 lives etc.)
We decided on Plants, and the idea behind the game was that you are a plant in a farmers field/maze and you have to collect water and sunlight to stay alive. By going around the maze to collect randomly spawning water you would gain speed, without water you would eventually slow down and die. Also in the maze was enemies of plants which patrolled areas of the maze in the form of an ant and a spider if they caught you it was game over, but you had a limited ability to fire a razor leaf at them which stunned them for 5 seconds so you could get away. Also the maze changed as you played so suddenly you could be caught in a dead end without prior notice of change.
My role in this game was design of the main character the plant, razor leaf model and blueprints (projectile), navigation mesh of the maze for the AI, AI tracking of the player in blueprints and the logo design. I also worked alongside Mark in trying to figure out animation for my character and his enemy characters.
Here are some in game footage images from Plant Trap:
Then here is my work (without blueprints):
The main focus was on the design and texturing of the character as this was only a 24 hour game jam, then animation also took some time. Once they was out of the way getting the AI to work was my priority with building the nav mesh so that one enemy had one half of the maze and the other patrolled the rest, the varied difficulty of the maze depended on which section you was in due to the upped speed of the ant so you needed alot of water and quick reactions to collect water in that area. As a final extra touch due to time left over I added a projectile system to our main character which allowed the player on pressing space bar to use a razor leaf ability to disable the enemy for a temporary time on a delay node of 5 seconds.
Here are the blueprints I did:
This is for the razor leaf projectile which disables the enemy characters for a set delay, and then the movement of the AI characters around the area tracking the player character to try end the game.
Unfortunately we completely overlooked the HUD/UI features for the game and this cost us in the marking, we did have a sort of display of points by using blueprints print strings but this isn’t a proper working HUD/UI. The menu system was implemented using my logo design as the background and a simple “Start Game” so the game did have a navigation system.
I used a contrast of green for plants to simulate life in the plant then black for trap and the spider to symbolise death. The simplicity of the logo in colour scheme gives it a nice professional flat look to it, I didn’t try to over do anything it was simple silhouettes of the characters then a type that I felt suited the game bold but also edgy. I used the L to balance the plant on due to it looking like a solid unit you would place a plant on, then the spider suspended down from the loop in the A seemed to suit nicely for layout. If you choose to read further into it the semiotics behind the plant in higher position is to show authority over the spider as you are the main character, but also the spider despite being lower and therefore inferior being black in a poised position to pounce its not to be under estimated as it can bring death upon you.
Overall I am pleased with the final product from the Plant Trap game, some features that we designed such as models for power-ups and bad pick-ups such as seed fertilizer for growth, and then toxic pollution to damage the plant didn’t get implemented but they are there if the game was to be progressed upon. My disappointment would be that we forgot to implement a HUD system which evidently cost us in the end.
My own personal contributions to the project I felt that I was a key member of the team that had involvement in all aspects of the project, including leadership which was sort of collaborative dependent on the situation but an overall id say I called a few decisions in the project and tasked people with work once they had completed a previous task.
Here is a video of captured game play footage from me playing the game on Mark Shaw’s YouTube channel: