In this blog, I describe the latest version of the game/software toy I have created for Kubrick Project: A Space Orb. I also reflect on the lessons the project has taught me.
I decided to name my game A Space Orb. Not only it resembles the name of the film, which gave me the inspiration to create it, but also the name precisely describes the game by just using three words. It is basically a space inside an orb.
The software starts with an opening scene that is built on a Unity Canvas. This initial screen has the name of the game, the play instructions and the credits, which include my name, names of the two MA lecturers who contributed to the game and the loyalty-free music credits that I found online. In this scene there is electronic music playing softly at the background, to warm-up the player and put him in mood, before the game begins. There is also a play button right on the middle of the screen. When the button is pressed the software moves on to the game scene.
When entered to the game scene, the cursor disappear, and the game's background music starts right away. There is a transparent orb, and inside it there are 3 large planets, and there are smaller sized moons orbiting around them. The three monoliths are loose inside the orb; if the player does not manipulate the orb by using the keyboard keys, the monoliths sink down by gravity and stay there, as do the blue and purple glowing cosmic dust particles (with bloom effect), which are also loose inside the orb.
The game scene is dark; lighting is positioned so that it reflects on the transparent orb and make it seam like a blurred glass shell. Along with the Directional Light, there are three Point Lights placed to show off the spherical shape of the orb.
The monoliths are controlled by the Space bar on keyboard, when pressed the 3 monoliths and cosmic dust flow upwards. The player can shake the orb by pressing the S key. The whole orb is shaken (camera shake), and the cosmic particles and monoliths scatter around (random force applied). The player rotate the orb up to 90 degrees by holding down the arrow keys (Up, Down, Left, Right). As soon as the arrow key is down, the orb goes back to its original position. It is also possible to spin the orb by holding down Z or X keys. Every action set has its own unique sound effect. When one of the planet is hit by one of the monoliths, it changes its colour and texture, and also there is a sound effect unique to each planet. All these feedback in return of player actions, create a responsive environment.
The player can explore by himself, generate colour, sound and movement manipulating the orb. If he wishes to, he can create a goal and play to achieve this goal, such as hitting every moon or making all the celestial objects same colour. If he prefers to go easy without a set goal, he can enjoy the reactions of his actions, by watching, listening and maybe beating out to the music using the orb.
Developing this game taught me a lot about Unity. Since this was my first digital game, I did not have any experience on Unity and through this project I developed a basic understanding on creating a 3D environment in Unity, playing with the settings to tweak the game objects. I also learned about searching for code and how to implement code written by others on my own project by changing certain attributes of the code. I developed some understanding on how to transfer what I want the game to do to the computer language, but of course I received a lot of help from the tutors to implement my ideas on the game. They advised me on which code to use and how to implement it well.
Working on Unity made me understand the importance of working in a organised manner and keeping all the assets tidy. I also realised that creating digital artefacts needed a different approach. To create what you imagine that would work in physical world, you have to create an illusion, which will seem and feel like the physical version.
The next step for me is to build the game for web and have a link where people can access the game, so that I can have more players experiencing it and giving me feedback. Based on these comments I can keep developing it for the end of year show.