Speed Scoop by Amperage Studio
Speed Scoop is a third person driving shooter game, where the player must drive around the neighborhood serving the correct flavor of ice cream to the correct customer via a cannon located on top of the ice cream truck. The player's goal to to deliver as much ice cream as possible before their shift ends for the day.
Title: Speed Scoop
Engine: Unity 5.4
Production Date: September 2016 - December 2016
Design - Tim Healey
Programming - Steve Ulfelder
Art - Rachel McKeen and Jay DeVeer
Producer - Tim Healey
Quality Assurance Lead - Tim Healey
Project Description: This project was created as our senior capstone class. The goal of the class was to create a game over the course of 12 weeks. Our team's goal was to create a light hearted and fun game for all ages.
My contributions to the project
This game started with the idea to make a game about defending children from teachers that are trying to bring them to school for the start of the school year. The main gameplay would be that the player would need to use the ice cream cannon on the top of the ice cream truck. The teachers would come out from the school, and try and attack the ice cream truck or try and take the children back to the school.
Below is one of the first prototypes that we made to show the basic idea of how we wanted the teachers to target the player. Also in the image below is one of the first versions of having the teachers melt into the ground when they were hit, along with some basic concepts for the user interface.
After presenting this prototype to the class, the team found that the mechanics of driving and shooting were really interesting but the context for these mechanics was not working or making that much sense. So the team and I went through several iterations of the context for the mechanics and ended up changing the context for the game to having the player serving the neighborhood instead of attacking them. This also makes the game much more approachable for younger players.
The goal of the level is to create the feeling of a neighborhood, while still containing the player in a manageable sized area. I want the player to feel like there is area to explore the level, but I also do not want the level to feel like it is too big, and get lost. The level is laid out so that the player is drawn up and to the right of the level, towards the gated community where the player can score double the amount of points. The gated community is located in the top right of the level. This area is an area that the player can unlock by increasing their reputation to a set point. Inside of this area the player can score double the normal amount of points but also loose double the amount of reputation for missing. Overall the goal of this level is to allow the player to learn the mechanics and have enough time to start to master the mechanics.
For the system design of the is game, my goal was to create systems worked with each other without creating systems that are difficult for the player to learn.
The system design for Speed Scoop went through several iterations. Both the shooting systems and the upgrade systems were areas that I needed to keep iterating on throughout the project. For the shooting system I had iterate keep iterating on the rate of fire for the cannon and how the projectile flies from the spawn point on the cannon to the target on the ground. For iteration of the rate of fire I needed to increase the rate because tester found it very difficult to hit the target that they were aiming for. Also I needed to constantly keep tweaking how the projectiles flew from the cannon to the target one the ground where the player is aiming. I iterated on this system by looking at how the projectile was programmed to move along a parabola from the spawn location at the cannon, to the target area that the player points toward on the ground. I iterated on this system by looking at how players were aiming and seeing where players were finding frustration while testing. By doing this I found that players were becoming frustrated by having the reticle be stopped by the customer models. So to fix this I helped redesign the system so that players were able aim under the base of the customers, as well as increasing the speed of the projectiles so that players could adjust their aim faster to try again.
During this project, leadership was one area that the team and I struggled with, Before the project started we found out that our producer for the team had chosen to change majors and we would be with a producer for the duration of the project. This lead to me having to step up into this role as well as the designer role. This was a challenge for me because I have had very little experience leading a project like this for such a long period of time. This created a small issue for the team because it took use a few weeks to figure out how each of us work and our styles of time/task management. This lead to us having a slow start to the beginning of the project and us spending a large amount of time on creating a system of task allocation that worked for all of us. By the halfway point in the project we managed to find that creating lists for the time in-between our meetings, forced us to breakdown our large tasks into the smallest pieces it could be. This helped us start making rapid progress near the end of the project. Overall this was a great learning experience for me because it really allowed me to experiment and learn how to manage a team over the course of a longer time period.
Project Finial Thoughts
Overall this project was one of my favorite group experience at Champlain College. This project really allowed my to use all of the skills that I have learn, and also to learn more about team management and planning for longer projects. I think that this project was both a success and a failure. This project was a success because we as a team were able to create a solution that used our skills to their best ability. But also to me this project was a failure because we were not able to create a game that was finished to the level that I would have wanted at the end of the 12 weeks. Overall I think that this project really helped show me the value in interation and creating solutions that work best for the team at hand.