GameGuide Part 3: Design

Design of a videogame includes a lot of different parts. You must design the story, an artstyle, a storyboard, characters, levels, items and all of the features (such as AI) in your game. This will be one of the most difficult parts of making the game. This is mostly because this is what the entire game will be based off of what we do here. If we make a lot of errors
in the design, there is a small chance that you will have to go back to where the problem is and redesign it. To begin, we will first talk about the storyline.

Story/Artstyle

We have already discussed what you should include and exclude from your storyline, but now we’re going to talk a little about
how to get a decent art style from your story. First, read through your story and try to get a good picture (I usually try to make the story into a movie in my mind). If you’re having issues trying to get an artstyle for your game, then begin to think to yourself, “is this a horror game? Is it upbeat and happy? Is it full of violence, or is it a nice, fun arcade game?” By asking yourself what the game’s storyline is like, you can start making the artstyle. For instance, I want to make a nice, simple, happy little platformer. The artstyle will be colorful, and bodyparts and other proportions will be exaggerated if you were to go for colorful, and cartoony that is.

Storyboard 

Now that you have a basic storyline and artstyle, we can begin making a storyboard. But first, we need to learn what a
storyboard actually is. Well, to simplify it down, it is much like a comic book, but usually not as pretty looking. You take hundreds of little papers and draw different scenes on them. Then you arrange them in chronological order and start posting them on a board, so everyone can get a better picture of what the game will be like. Here’s a small storyboard for a Yogi Bear short:

In this storyboard,  Each part of the scene is sequential, and includes sounds to include and some dialogue, too. You can also add arrows to show where something should go (if moving). Really, it can be as organized as you want it. The more details you can include, the less that the development staff has to assume or ask about, which can save time, and also makes sure you get results you want to see.

Designing Characters

We have our story, an art style, and a storyboard. Now it is time to move to some of the more detailed designs. Have the artists create detailed sketches of the characters. Have a side sketch, a front, and a back sketch made. It wouldn’t hurt to add some sketches of your characters doing something rather than standing straight with their arms stretched outwards. Work on improving the character’s look, then have the sketch cleaned up and colored. This will give the modelers a really good idea of what to do with the models. Remember to do this for all of the characters (no matter how small they may be), so that modelers/animators can get a good feel for the characters.

Designing Levels 

Level design is something that can be quite tricky. You must fit the artstyle, and make it functional/accessible to the character as well. Your artists may want to draw many (and I mean many) sketches, including:  maps (arial views of the level), sketches of different parts from different angles, and anything else you can make sketches of. Again, you need to color them after all of the details have been established for the modelers/animators.

Designing Items

Item design can be as simple or complicated you want. Try to make the items feel like they fit in with the artstyle and feel
of the game. Get sketches, clean them up/keep them detailed, then color them. You starting to get the drift? This is basically what you should do for every single little thing in the game.

Designing the Features

Go through all of the little details and get a list of all of the things you want to include (Health bar, item inventory, ammo,
ability to upgrade items, talking to villigers, etc.). When you have a list of everything you’d like to see in the game, start
speaking to programmers about what they think could make, then write a list of what they can make for the game. Some
features are harder to program than others, so you need to be sure you have experienced programmers that can handle
most of what you throw at them. If they cannot do most of what you want, just try to do without those features and simplify your game to the programmer’s abilities.

What Next?

Well, there shouldn’t be much more to design, unless you have vehicles or anything that I have not talked about (which you should make detailed designs for everything), then you are ready to begin modeling and creating the game. This means that, yes, we are done with the main design process. You may see yourself going back and making slight changes to your original design, which isn’t a bad thing at all.

<<Planning   |  Index  |   Modeling>>

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Muting Sound

Muting/manipulating sound can be a rather difficult task. In this tutorial, you will learn how to set up this simple script to manipulate sound. I will be using this script to get a sound to mute, without stopping and having to restart, but you will be able to do much with this little script if you know how to use it. 😉

Read the rest of this entry »

How to Set Up a Network Game

This tutorial is not by me. It is by friend and co-admin of the gameblender.org forums, OldJim. He has been working on a network game template, called WSAG. It is an up and coming Network game template, and has been mentioned on different parts of the net. BZoo is the leading template, but his is coming up.

You can download his network game template and the tutorial HERE.

Again, thanks goes to all to OldJim 😀

Basic Character Movement

In this tutorial, you will learn how to move your character around while having the camera follow behind. Do not pay attention to the graphics, as I am not showing how to make the graphics of a game, just merely showing you the basic concept. Read the rest of this entry »

Introduction to BBCode

BBCode (bulletin board code) is code that is used on boards, such as the PHPBB bulletin board systems, and has about the same functions as HTML. This tutorial is gameblender.org specific, but the tags are the same as any other site that supports BBCode.

Links
This tag will display the full url in the link. Just replace my URL with the URL you are linking to.

[url]http://www.google.com[/url]

what you get:

 http://www.google.com

Named Links
This tag will allow you to link to any URL, and name it. Replace “http://www.google.com&#8221; with the URL that you are linking to, and replace “LINK” with what you want the link to say.

[url=http://www.google.com]LINK[/url]

What you get:

LINK

Images
This tag will add images to your posts. Just replace my URL with yours.

[img]http://www.google.com/intl/en_ALL/images/logo.gif[/img]

What you get:

Linked Images

This is a combination of the Link and image tags. Take a look:

[url=http://www.google.com][img]http://www.google.com/intl/en_ALL/images/logo.gif[/img][/url]

What you get:

Changing text color

These tags will change the text color. Just replace the 000000 with the hex code  of the color you want (you can find this with MS Paint, or Photoshop by clicking on the color palette, and choosing your color. There is a HEX field somewhere, just copy & paste the number into the tag).

[color=#000000]Type your text here[/color]

What you get:

Type your text here

(Note: It looks like nothing has changed, but I assure you, the Hex code I used was for black (#000000). White is
(#FFFFFF).)

You can also try adding words like “red” or “blue” instead of the hex colors. Each computer can read these values, but the
Hex code is different for each computer.

[color=”red”]Type your text here[/color]

What you get:

Type your text here

 Bold, Italic, and Underline Tags
You can also use bold, italic, and underline tags to manipulate your text. Here are the different tags:

  •  Bold: [b]Type your text here[/b]

What you get:

Type your text here

  • Italic: [i]Type your text here[/i]

What you get:

Type your text here

  • Underlined: [u]Type your text here[/u]

What you get:

Type your text here

Displaying Codes
You can display codes in BBCode, by using the following function

Type your text here

What you get:

code:
Type your text here

(Note: The code will be inside of a box on bulletin boards. I am using HTML to display this.

Smileys!
You always have to have smileys in a forum. On the GameBlender.org forums, there's a limited supply, but here are some I have collected thus far(be sure to remove the # sign, when using these codes):

#:lol: =
#:D =
#:cool: =
#:P =
#:( =
#:) =
#:| = 
#:o =
#:/ =
#;) =
#:mad: =

Why can't I use some BBCodes on GameBlender.org?
There are a lot of fun BBCodes out there that are blocked from use with the site's forums, such as the  and [list] tags. I have no
power over this, I guess you'll just have to make due with what you do have.

Exporting Game as .EXE

In this tutorial, you will learn how to export your game as an .exe in Blender.

Step 1: Preparation
Open up your game, and go to File -> Pack Data. This will pack all of your data, so you don’t have to put all of your pictures,
sounds, and whatnot into  the same directory.

Step 2: Exporting
You will need to go to File -> Save Runtime. Save it to a file you can find easily. Now, browse to where you have Blender installed. Copy(Ctrl+C) the following:

  • avcodec-51.dll
  • avformat-51.dll
  • avutil-49.dll
  • pthreadVC2.dll
  • python24.dll
  • python25.dll
  • SDL.dll
  • tk84.dll
  • zlib.dll
  • MSVCR71.dll

Now, browse to where you saved the runtime, and paste the files(Ctrl+V).

Step3: Finalizing
All that is left is for you to do, is to test it. Then you can zip it and you will have successfully exported your game as an .exe.

Problems?
Sometimes, we can get errors when exporting the game. One of the biggest issues is with python script. If you have some scripts not working in the .exe, then you can just put those scripts in the same directory. 

Converting Stereo .wav to Mono .wav

Blender uses only mono .wav files for 3D sound(3D sound tutorial). If you try to use stereo .wav files for 3D sound, you will not experience any difference with the 3D sound settings than you would with normal sound settings. In this tutorial,
you will learn how exactly how to change a stereo .wav file to a mono .wav file with Audacity.

Step 1: Download Audacity

Go download Audacity from their website and install it. When you have everything all set, open up the program.

Step 2: Open File

Press Ctrl + O (or File -> Open) and browse for the file you’re looking for.

Step 3: Splitting the track

Click the arrow on the track, and select “Split Track”.

Now, delete the bottom track, by clicking the  button.

Step4: Setting the track as mono

Now we can set the track as mono. Press the  arrow on the track again, and select “Mono”, like so:

Step 5: Exporting the .Wav

Finally, we can export the .wav. Go to File -> Export as Wav, like so:

All that is left for you to do is to save the file wherever you want, and viola! There you have it. I hope this was useful for you.