Advanced Game Design

Introduction Schedule Assignments Resources

Blog

Vertical Slice #1: Comedy Game

Project Goal:

Create vertical slice of a game that strongly fosters Comedy through benign violations:

Do not make a game that is merely funny. There are funny moments in games like Octodad but it is still primarily experienced as an action adventure game. Make a game that is first and foremost experienced as COMEDY. Comedy has many genres (alternative, dark, character, physical, etc.) each with their own set of conventions. Creatively realize those conventions in games. Craft your game so the benign violation continues in waves and layers, not just a one-off joke. It should have 10-30 seconds of gameplay that's very polished in terms of art, design, and audio. If you do a good job you will be advancing the medium of games into a new territory and could get recognition at game festivals.

A vertical slice is a proof of concept that is more complete than a prototype. It must look, feel, sound, and play like how the intended game would look, feel, sound, and play if it were to go into full development. It is one complete slice of "cake" before the whole cake is baked:

Vertical Slice in Game Development

If you are confused or lack inspiration, refer back to the explanation and examples given in the class lecture (PPTX, PDF)

Due Dates and Milestones:

  1. Due before class on 9/15: Prototype
    • Teams jam a rough Prototype of the project. Brainstorm hard and get something working fast.
    • Teams playtest their Prototype using the Playtest Experience Report
    • Teams post results of the Playtest Experience Report to the blog.
    • Teams prepare a report of the results of the Playtest to the class.
  2. Due before class on 9/22: Revised or New Prototype
    • Teams post a video capture of a complete playthrough of their Revised or New Prototypes to Youtube and post the link to the blog. (Use your own computers to capture the video, or use lab computers which have Microsoft Express Encoder 4 Screen Capture installed.)
    • Teams upload the executable to Dropbox (or any similar service) and post the download link to the blog.
  3. Due before class on 9/29: Alpha Build
    • Teams playtest their Alpha Builds using the Playtest Experience Report
    • Teams post results of the Playtest Experience Report to the blog.
    • Teams prepare a report of the results of the Playtest to the class.
    • Teams post a video capture of a complete playthrough of their Alpha Builds to Youtube and post the link to the blog. (Use your own computers to capture the video, or use lab computers which have Microsoft Express Encoder 4 Screen Capture installed.)
    • Teams upload the executable to Dropbox (or any similar service) and post the download link to the blog.
  4. Due before class on 10/6: Revised Alpha Builds
    • Teams playtest their Revised Alpha Builds using the Playtest Experience Report
    • Teams post results of the Playtest Experience Report to the blog.
    • Teams prepare a report of the results of the Playtest to the class.
    • Teams post a video capture of a complete playthrough of their Revised Alpha Builds to Youtube and post the link to the blog. (Use your own computers to capture the video, or use lab computers which have Microsoft Express Encoder 4 Screen Capture installed.)
    • Teams upload the executable to Dropbox (or any similar service) and post the download link to the blog.
  5. Due before class on 10/13: Beta Build
    • Teams playtest their Beta Build using the Playtest Experience Report
    • Teams post results of the Playtest Experience Report to the blog.
    • Teams prepare a report of the results of the Playtest to the class.
    • Teams post a video capture of a complete playthrough of their Beta Build to Youtube and post the link to the blog. (Use your own computers to capture the video, or use lab computers which have Microsoft Express Encoder 4 Screen Capture installed.)
    • Teams upload the executable to Dropbox (or any similar service) and post the download link to the blog.
  6. Due before 11:00am on 10/14: Postmortem of Vertical Slice #1 Comey Game
    • Each student posts a postmortem of Vertical Slice #1. Write a blog post of 400-500 words describing what you personally did well on and what you could have done better for Vertical Slice #1: Comedy. How could you have made the game achieve the goal in a more comprehensive way?

Vertical Slice #2: Affection Game

Project Goal:

Create a vertical slice of an innovative game that strongly fosters affection. Do not make a game that is metaphorical. Do not make a game about affection. Do not make a game that models your theory or ideas on how affection works. Craft an experience that manifests the personal in-the-moment feelings of affection, attraction, infatuation, or fondness. Deliver a subjective experience so the player feels affection for an object, person, creature, or themselves. Your games should last between 30-60 seconds. The affection should build and change over time. Consider pacing and asymmetry.

Teams must choose if they are going to use a reference (such as a video, poem, song, etc.) or a personal experience from someone on the team as the inspiration for your affection game.

For an example of a reference watch this video of a dog who sees his owner for the first time after six months. Notice in the beginning of the video how the man matches the intensity and frequency of affective action that the dog expresses. After the initial burst of affection the dog jumps down but soon after tries to jump back into her owner's arms again. This leads the owner to lead the dog to the chair where they can comfortably snuggle. Unpack and analyze how the affection in your references function. Notice in this video how the mother loops between kissing and moving away in little short rounds of play. Just because your games must evoke affection does not mean they must be happy and sweet, for example consider how nurses care for the dying. What games have accomplished something similar? How did they manifest those tender, loving moments between beings? For example, Big Huggin. What else?

Within a second it should be obvious to new players that your game is about feeling affection. After the first few seconds be sure to craft your affection games so the experience continues to be evoked in waves and layers. Give players a very specific and polished feeling of affection that you intended in its art, design, pacing, narrative. If you do a good job you will be advancing the medium of games into a new territory and could get recognition at game festivals. Make something that no one else could make.

Remember that a vertical slice is a proof of concept that is more complete than a prototype. It must look, feel, sound, and play like how the intended game would look, feel, sound, and play if it were to go into full development. It is one complete slice of "cake" before the whole cake is baked:

Vertical Slice in Game Development

Due Dates and Milestones:

  1. Due before class on 10/20: Prototype
    • Teams jam a rough Prototype of the project. Brainstorm hard and get something working fast.
    • Teams playtest their Prototype using the Playtest Experience Report
    • Teams post results of the Playtest Experience Report to the blog.
    • Teams prepare a report of the results of the Playtest to the class.
  2. Due before class on 10/27: Revised or New Prototype
    • Teams post a video capture of a complete playthrough of their Revised or New Prototypes to Youtube and post the link to the blog. (Use your own computers to capture the video, or use lab computers which have Microsoft Express Encoder 4 Screen Capture installed.)
    • Teams upload the executable to Dropbox (or any similar service) and post the download link to the blog.
  3. Due before class on 11/3: Alpha Build
    • Teams playtest their Alpha Builds using the Playtest Experience Report
    • Teams post results of the Playtest Experience Report to the blog.
    • Teams prepare a report of the results of the Playtest to the class.
    • Teams post a video capture of a complete playthrough of their Alpha Builds to Youtube and post the link to the blog. (Use your own computers to capture the video, or use lab computers which have Microsoft Express Encoder 4 Screen Capture installed.)
    • Teams upload the executable to Dropbox (or any similar service) and post the download link to the blog.
  4. Due before class on 11/10: Revised Alpha Builds
    • Teams playtest their Revised Alpha Builds using the Playtest Experience Report
    • Teams post results of the Playtest Experience Report to the blog.
    • Teams prepare a report of the results of the Playtest to the class.
    • Teams post a video capture of a complete playthrough of their Revised Alpha Builds to Youtube and post the link to the blog. (Use your own computers to capture the video, or use lab computers which have Microsoft Express Encoder 4 Screen Capture installed.)
    • Teams upload the executable to Dropbox (or any similar service) and post the download link to the blog.
  5. Due before class on 11/17: Beta Build
    • Teams playtest their Beta Build using the Playtest Experience Report
    • Teams post results of the Playtest Experience Report to the blog.
    • Teams prepare a report of the results of the Playtest to the class.
    • Teams post a video capture of a complete playthrough of their Beta Build to Youtube and post the link to the blog. (Use your own computers to capture the video, or use lab computers which have Microsoft Express Encoder 4 Screen Capture installed.)
    • Teams upload the executable to Dropbox (or any similar service) and post the download link to the blog.
  6. Due before 11:00am on 11/18: Postmortem of Vertical Slice #2 Affection Game
    • Each student posts a Postmortem of Vertical Slice #2. Write a blog post of 400-500 words describing what you personally did well on and what you could have done better for Vertical Slice #2: Relationships. How could you have made the game achieve the goal in a more comprehensive way?