Elixir

Elixir is a card matching game where you try to combine materials together to create the Philosopher’s Stone. Aim for the best combination!

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Project:

Elixir is a card game that lets you explore alchemical combinations to create the perfect Philosopher’s Stone. You must search out or trade for the best materials for your own personal recipe. The better materials you can get, the better your Philosopher’s Stone will be.

Each player tries to create the best combination in one of two ways: by chancing that they will find the card they are looking for or by trying to convince another player to give them the right card. Players must use their memories to see what the other players are doing. Are they looking for red cards? Are they not picking up green? This helps a player leverage trades from others as well as seeing where they are in comparison to others.

This game is designed to be played in a group setting with a small group of players. When designing a game for a group of people certain design choices must be made. It needs to be a balance between fun, quick understanding and general play-ability. Elixir combines all these things in one convenient package. The game is easy to learn, fun to play and makes people want to play again and again.

Development:

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Any project has to start with an idea and for our group the idea did not come to us initially. We actually started off trying to generate multiple concepts and go with the one that had the most support. Luckily it only took us two tries and that our group backed the idea rather quickly. Once we had the idea, rules, concepts, themes, you name it, they started to generate a whole lot easier.

We tried to keep the game simple and playable very quickly so we knew we wanted simple mechanics but enough that the game was entertaining and on some level competitive. We all agreed quickly that we’d have cards on the table but we didn’t know how to incorporate other mechanics to make the game what it is. We talked about multiple recipes, a point value per card, trying to make different combinations, but all these ideas didn’t really flow too well for one reason or another. Perhaps it was because this was a group effort and we all shared input, or maybe we just all had a similar understanding of what we enjoy out of games, but in any case, it took us a while to hammer out the exact rules (which we then modified further later!).

After that we split the roles into documentation (rules, in game documents, this write-up, etc.) and art (materials, card layouts, etc.). This worked out pretty good, though there were some hiccups. Some materials weren’t designed initially so we had to go back and do those again, but in general, everyone enjoyed their jobs. The art team got to design cool materials that were both imaginary and real and got to flex their design muscles into making them look as cool as they could. I mean, in all honesty, how do you draw a gas or something that doesn’t actually exist? These were some of the problems facing the art team and they came threw it amazingly.

As we were producing everything we tried a few play tests. This is another area we hit a snag. The game was there but it was roughshod. There were clear rule choices that didn’t work to the flow or advantage of the game that in theory we didn’t see a problem in, or glossed over because it seemed too small to concern overly with. For instance, we initially had it that no one started with any material cards in hand. This made the game super slow and more of a grind at the beginning. We had to change this quickly as well as a few other things that popped up while playing. Lesson learned: nothing is too small when it comes to game design.

Everything was done. The rules were ironed out, the game flowed, the art was done, now all we had to do was print. What a bloody nightmare! Printing has never seemed to be the biggest issue to have ever been faced, but in this case, good lord. There was aligning issues, the paper choice was not the best, we didn’t colour things in the right format (always go CMYK! Always!), just nothing seemed to go right at this point. At the very end! Second lesson learned: Printing is its own job. Plan fully for it and never assume everything will work.

Final Notes:

In the future, beyond simple modifications such as printing on proper paper in the right format or the like, it would be nice to expand on the game. Add new materials, add more recipes, make some cards hurt your recipe and other benefit you more. Maybe modify a mechanic or two to further speed up the flow or make people more motivated to undercut each other.

The themes in this game are very interesting and it would be nice to try to create new games in the same vein. Maybe an RPG where you play an alchemist and have to go harvest the materials, or a text-based adventure where you have to modify other people’s recipes and sabotage each other. It’s an interesting theme that can be worked into a lot of different games.

Final Assets:

Rules: https://www.dropbox.com/s/hcnj6i7f8qk4tez/Elixir%20Rules.pdf (1.97 MB)

Art: https://www.dropbox.com/s/9be3allhxu0v04n/Elixir%20Art.zip (8.2 MB)

Term Information:

Alexandra Lau, Brenner Pacelli, Fergui Pascual, Lucas Branco, Corey Dean

Retirement

There are four companies that run the world. Can you show everyone you’re the best by promoting and retiring all your employees or will your company falter due to restructuring?

Description:

The point of the game is to get your three (3) employees to retirement first. While they are employed to you they can be promoted or demoted. You want your employees to retire at the highest position possible. Just be careful your employees don’t fall off and get fired!

This board game incorporates both strategy and piece management. You need to control three pieces at once while trying to hurt your opponents chances of winning. The board continuously moves and pushes everyone’s pieces down, so be sure not to let them get too low or else they will fall off and get fired.

Development:

This game was a modification of the children’s game Up The River.

What we as a group did first was play Up The River, completely unmodified. We quickly created the board, found some pieces and die, and went to play.

Next was to brainstorm new ideas. We just wrote down anything that we thought could work; new rules, modified rules, themes, or any random thing we wanted to say. This generated a lot of new ideas and we decided to go with one or two of them.

From here we started changing rules one at a time. This worked exceedingly well surprisingly as we never really reached a roadblock. Each thing we added changed the dynamic of the game without breaking it, which blew our minds to be honest. We kept iterating until we had a prototype to work with.

Then it was just a matter of making a polished product. Art was created, rules were written up, pieces were made and that was that.

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Links:

Final Assets: https://www.dropbox.com/s/wvjrn7icby76cj6/Final%20Assets.zip (14.89 MB)

Credit:

Saffron Bolduc-Chiong, Lucas Branco, Connor Campbell, Alex Gerassimov, and Corey Dean

Soul Run

This is a run for your life, escape your fate game. You made a deal with Death but you don’t want to live up to your end. Jump, collect souls, and escape from Death’s grip!

Description:

The game consists of you making a deal with Death for money and immortality. Your character then decides to steal the contract for without it Death has no valid claim on your soul. Your job is to escape from Hell with the contract and not let Death catch you. The mechanics are quite simple but the challenge is very real. You can move and jump with which you collect souls to unlock your pathway forward, however Death is following you at every moment creating a tense environment in which to maneuver.

This game is for anyone who loves a challenge but who can’t spend a lot of time on a game. The only game I can think of that is similar in some fashion (though I’m sure there are many more I’m not aware of), would be certain levels of N+. The simplicity of the game is quite apparent but the challenge is not. You must execute precise timing to complete all the levels and win your soul.

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Development:

This game was created using a brain-storming method that was created for our class. We had to choose any number of cards and link them, using each one in the game and going from there.

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What I wanted to do first was create the concept for the game and then flesh out the mechanics before I really delved into it. So I sketched out some ideas, wrote some notes, and then made a basic run of the game with only the very basic mechanics.

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I’ve had a little experience in Game Maker before so I knew a bit about the scripting language (not that I didn’t look online for help, but that I could modify the code to suit my needs) but I also knew a little bit about the drag & drop system. This is probably the hardest thing for me when using Game Maker. I never know whether to use the coding or drag & drop and sometimes I can’t figure out how to make some thing work either way. The logic in Game Maker sometimes makes absolutely no sense to me but I struggled on.

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From there I created all the art assets and just plugged them into the game. I knew tile sets were the easiest way to go so I created one of those and used it with a solid object placeholder, but that’s just basic. Once I added all the art you can see that things start to come together. One thing I was happy to figure out though was using Alarms. This allowed me to make basic sequences of events to portray the story in a symbolic fashion without having to create a video and import it (or however you incorporate video into Game Maker).

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Another thing I had both trouble with and found myself to be able to overcome and relish in it was creating a believable object with minimal pixels. For the gateway for instance, when I first created it it was very bland. I knew I wanted something eldritch or mystical for it but I didn’t know how to convey it. I tried to create a menacing looking door but that wasn’t working. So I tried a new approach, I looked up symbols and used a 5×3 grid to create them. This turned out better than I anticipated! It’s amazing how well things can be conveyed with such a small amount of pixels. Albeit some things need more pixels but you can still be convincing even without a lot of wiggle-room! I also found that when doing pixel art, shading is vital. You need to give something depth quickly and easily so even a one pixel inner border of a lighter hue or darker shade can make all the difference to a person’s eye.

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Future Directions:

In the future I would love to add more levels and possible new mechanics such as sliding or being able to distract Death for a little bit. Making this game made me realize that there aren’t that many chase games in this line, so perhaps, with some more tweaking and experience, I could create a game like this that could be played on someone’s portable device (whether it be phone, handheld game platform or whatever the future holds).

Links:

Game: https://www.dropbox.com/s/5oj13illoqyyg98/Soul%20Run.exe (4.19 MB) {Update: I’ve been informed this doesn’t work on Macs. So, yeah.}

Final Assets: https://www.dropbox.com/s/vplrb86jcck9vv0/Soul%20Run_Final%20Assets.zip (8.84 MB)

Note: All sounds were found on YouTube and used without permissions. The sounds belong solely to those who created them and have license to them. (i.e. Square-Enix, CyberConnect2, and/or anyone who owns the sounds).

Credit:

Everything done by me except the making of sounds. Those belong to their respective creators and owners. I did however cut some sounds down to shorter versions.