Lord Generic Productions

A Crash Course in Game Design and Production
Week 2 - From Vague Idea to General Description

Welcome back! This is the second installment in "A Crash Course in Game Design and Production. The purpose of this lesson is to introduce you to our course project, and to go through the process of "filling in the details" between our initial GAME IDEA to our project blueprint, the GENERAL DESCRIPTION. We cover a lot of material this week, so I'm splitting this lesson into 4 pieces. This is part 3 of 4:

Part 3 - Our Course Project - General Description B
Title screen, Demo, Game Selection Screen, Game Start, Game play

Title Screen and Attention Getter
When the player starts the program from Dos, the screen is cleared to BLACK. Then the Game Title appears in color cycling 3D letters on a big sign with "chaser lights" animating around it. Under the sign the words "Presented by:", "Lord Generic Productions","And","Euphoria Game Design Team" "Starring:" "Inky", "Blinky", "Pinky", "Clyde" ,"and Packy" appear in sequence. While each character's name is presented, (s)he appears on alternating sides of the screen and move toward the sign and stop. Packy appears under the sign, between it and his name. All characters are animating, and continue to animate throughout the entire sequence.

During this initial sequence, Program "About" information, including Game Title, Designer, Artist,...,begin scrolling across the bottom of the screen in a one-line high animated "strip sign" and continue scrolling until Play Game is selected.

After all the characters are introduced, the Game Selection Box appears in the lower 1/3 of the screen, and the player can select "New Game" "Options" or "About this Game." Also if at anytime during the intro animation the player presses a key, the screen is redrawn with all characters in their final position, and the Game selection screen appears.

Self-Running Demo
If the player doesn't hit a key within 30 seconds after the Game Selection Box appears, the game goes into demo mode. The Game Screen draws and one of three "pre-recorded" games is replayed until packy is killed by a ghost or until the player hits a key. If the player hit a key, the screen switches back to the title page\game selection screen and he can continue. Otherwise the "About" screen animations play, then the "Attention Getter" Title sequence starts over.

"About This Game" Screen
If this is called from the Title Screen, the screen is cleared to medium blue and the sequence starts. If this is called during a game or after the Self-Running Demo, the "Game Window" is cleared to medium blue and this sequence plays there.

The "About this game" credits split into three pages of text, the first page has design, art, LGP, and EGDT credits on it. The second page has Contributing Authors and Course Information. Page three has "For more information" info on Euphoria, the Course, and LGP. At the bottom of each page is a "Press a Key to Continue" message, and the player hits a key to step through them. If the player does nothing the screen advances after thirty seconds or so. After the last screen, the program goes back to wherever called it.

While the player is reading the text, Packy is chased around the screen VERY fast by the four Ghosts.

Game Options screen
The Player can choose the following configuration options:
Number of players - This can be one or two.
Sound - This can be ON or OFF.
Controls - The can be Keyboard or Joystick (maybe mouse)
Skill Level - This can be Easy, Medium, Hard, or Nuts
Starting Maze # - This can be 1-4
Exit - Takes you back to where you came from

Beginning a new game
When New Game is Selected, the screen is cleared, the Game Screen is Drawn. The Game Screen has 2 parts they are:

  1. Game Window - This is where the Game is played, and where the About This Game sequence plays. At Game Start, it is cleared, and the Maze and dots are drawn. Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde are placed in the penalty box, and Snacky is placed in his starting positions in the Maze. The Energizers are placed in the corners of the Maze, and begin animating.

  2. Feedback Window - This is next to the Game window and is where the player's Score and Number of Lives left is displayed. At Game Start, the appropriate player's score is set to 000000 and his lives is set to three. Packy's "Sugar Rush" level is set to 100%

After the Game Screen in drawn, "Level 1" appears in a chaser-lighted sign momentarily in the middle of the Game Window, then disappears. The Level Number is also drawn inside the Penalty Box, (behind the Ghosts) so the player can always see what level he's on. As the Level sign is onscreen, the "get ready" music plays. When the music is over, the Sign disappears too. And the game begins.

Game play
When the game begins, the Ghosts leave the Penalty Box one at a time, Blinky first, followed by Pinky, Inky, and Clyde. They wander the maze in dogged persuit of Snacky. Player controls Snacky with the Arrow keys. [SPACE] stops Snacky wherever he is. He continues to "Chomp in place" until he is moved again. Pressing [ENTER] Gives Snacky a "Sugar Rush," which allows him to move at twice(?) normal speed for a limited duration, up to 10 seconds per level, unless recharged by a Candy Bar. Pressing the [ENTER] key again returns Packy to normal speed. The Sugar Rush can be used again until Packy's Sugar Rush Level is 0%

The Player's Primary Game Goal is to eat all the dots in the maze. When he has eaten all the dots, the level is over.

The Player's Secondary Game Goal is to eat as many Ghosts as he can by strategic use of the Energizers. When Packy eats an Energizer, the Ghosts become "edible" for a short period of time and will give the player a bonus that increases with the number of Ghosts eaten in rapid succession, as:

First Ghost - 200 points
Second Ghost - 400 points
Third Ghost - 800 points
Fourth Ghost - 1600 points

When a Ghost is eaten, he disappears, and his "eyes" appear. They wander back to the penalty box very fast and once inside, the Ghost "reincarnates" inside the Penalty Box. The Ghost stays inside, pacing back and forth until his "Penalty Time" is completed, then he emerges from the box and continues his persuit. If there are Ghosts inside the Penalty Box when Packy eats an Energizer, they also are affected, but no Ghosts reincarnated while that Energizer is active is affected. It is possible for the player to time his moves so that Packy can eat an Energizer, eat one or more Ghosts, then eat another Energizer and get to the Penalty Box in time to catch the newly reincarnated Ghosts as they try to leave.

After a period of time, the effect of the energizer wears off and the Ghosts become lethal again. This change is evidenced by the Ghosts "Flashing" five times between their normal and Energized images. During this transition period, the Ghosts are still edible, but chasing down a flashing Ghost is a High Risk activity. If the player's timing is off, and he catches up to the ghost too late, he's killed. The duration of an Energizer's effect decreases by the level the Player is on:

Level 1 - 10 seconds
Level 2 - 8 seconds
Level 3 - 6 seconds
Level 4 - 4 seconds
Level 5 - 2 seconds

The last two seconds of each duration are transition periods where the Ghosts are "Flashing." From level 5 on the Ghosts begin flashing right away.

If Packy eats another Energizer while the last one is active, the Ghosts that were affected by the first one will continue to be affected for the entire duration of the second Energizer.

The Player's Tertiary Game Goal is to eat Bonus Objects which appear in the Maze from time to time, giving the player bonus points. Each Level has a different Bonus Object associated with it, with the Bonus Point Value increasing with each level. The Bonus Objects are animated.

Level Object Point Value Animation
Level 1 Pumpkin 50 Blinks its eyes
Level 2 100

In the next part of this lesson, we'll finish up the General Description with PowerUps, PowerDowns, Game Levels, Milestone Events, End of Game, and Game Exit descriptions.

End of Lesson 2 - From Vague Idea to General Description - Part 3 of 4

If you have any questions for group discussion, or if you have any other questions, comments or suggestions email them to pastor@BeRighteous.com
  Mail monetary donations large or small to:
  Lord Generic Productions 1218 Karen Ave Santa Ana, Ca 92704

  A Crash Course in Game Design and Production - Euphoria Edition
  (C) Copyright 1996,2001 Michael Packard - All Rights Reserved