Thursday, 25 April 2013

XB3002 GAMES FUTURES #14: Design Post 4- Finished GDD

Here is the finished Games Design Document for Army of Clones

XB3002 GAMES FUTURES #13: Design Post 3- GDD Transcript

In my last Design Post, I posted a plan of what my GDD for my game, Army of Clones, would contain. For this post, I now have a fully written transcript of all the text that will go into the document.
Just to note, while all the text from all the sections is here, I've excluded the UI and Example Level sections as they had very little text (any that does appear in the finished document will be improvised)

Game Overview
Army of Clones is a military turn-based strategy game planned for next-generation video-game systems. In a world where war is business and genetic engineering runs rampant, players must create their own custom army of clone soldiers and then take command of their troops in exhilarating tactical turn-based battles. Using a combination of cloning and genetic engineering to enhance their forces, they can choose to fight either with or against their friends to prove who has the superior army!

Game Modes: Campaign, Headquarters, Skirmish, Multiplayer (Local and Online)
Engine: Unreal Engine 4/ Unreal Engine 3
Available for all current and next generation systems via digital distribution
Target Demographic: Strategy and management simulation game fans
Estimated price: £14.99

Narrative Overview
2045 AD
In the wake of a global collapse of commerce and industry, along with massive resource shortages, the world’s economy has come to rely on perpetual war, fought by independent mercenary companies known as Private Military Corporations. Additionally, formally forbidden technologies such as cloning and genetic engineering have become widespread, allowing these PMCs to effectively create their own private armies to wage their conflicts…

You are a recently promoted Commanding Officer in command of a veteran PMC, Sparta Corp. After being humiliated during an important operation by a rival company, it is up to you to rebuild your forces’ reputation. But as you do, a conspiracy unfolds that threatens to radically shift the world’s balance of power…

Unit Classes
Army of Clones features a wide variety of Units Types, each possessing a unique set of abilities
Offensive Units
Armed with heavy firepower and modest endurance, Offensive Units make up the bulk of any army’s main strength. They are the ideal choice for any attacking force
Infantry are standard offensive units, possessing the same basic skills as other units. Their only defining feature is their high firepower
Commandos are elite Infantry Units capable of traversing all terrain types. They can also use their leadership skills to bolster their allies’ stats
Artillery are armed rocket launchers, allowing them to deal high amounts of damage to a wide area. Sadly, they can only use ranged attacks, making them inefficient at close-quarters

Defensive Units
A class of hardy troops trained to protect their peers at all costs; Defensive Units possess high endurance bolstered with moderate firepower, making them the perfect choice for fortifying and defending positions for your forces
Engineers are both hardy and creative, possessing the ability to build protective structures and machines such as defensive turrets
Snipers are precision troops capable of taking out enemies from afar, allowing them to pin down attacking forces. They also possess the ability to make themselves undetectable to the enemy.
Juggernauts are heavily armoured units armed with a mini-gun. Possessing the highest defence and rapid-fire attack, they can single-handedly defend a position from enemy forces, making them the ultimate defensive units

Support Units
While severely lacking the endurance and firepower of other classes, Support Units more than make up for their shortcomings by using their various skills to aid and reinforce other units
Medics can heal other units and provide temporary stat boosts. They are an essential addition to any effective army
Recon units are scouts, capable of traveling long distances and across all terrain types. They are ideal for exploring the area to find enemy positions and other useful Intel
Saboteurs can disarm enemy fortifications and impair enemy units. Additionally, they can become undetectable for short periods and can instantly kill enemy units at close quarters, making them perfect assassins

Unique Selling Points
Build the Perfect Army
Build and mould an entire army as you see fit. Use cloning to create exact copies of existing soldiers or use their DNA to craft different types of troops, then equip them with special Genes and gear to customise their stats and abilities. The stronger your units are, the better your army will be!

Cursed Genes
Every action you take to strengthen your army will have a cost; Clones will be weaker than their progenitors, Genes will have side-effects and some troops will suffer from crippling physical and psychological afflictions. It is up to you to prepare for these complications and deal with them as they come…

Take Command
Once you have your troops, it is time to test out their skills in gripping turn-based battles. Assess the situation and survey the battlefield in Command Mode, then take action as you assume full control of your troops in Navigation and Action Mode. Use the strengths and weaknesses of the various units to your advantage as you fight to complete the mission at hand!

World at War
War is business, and business is good! Go online to fight either with or against up to four other players at any one time in cooperative and competitive Player-Vs-Player multiplayer. There’s a world of potential rivals out there, so it’s up to you to see how you stack up with the competition!

Game Mechanics
While playing through Army of Clones, players will spend their time in one of two places; Headquarters and Combat
Headquarters acts as the player’s main base of operations. It is here where the management of various units takes place. It can be accessed either from the main menu or between mission in Campaign mode
Unit Stats
Every Unit has a set of statistics that determine their performance in various areas:-
Combat Stats- These stats affect the Unit’s combat ability
Life- Determines unit’s health
Psyche- Determines unit’s chances of successful actions and resistance to negative status effects
Firepower- Determines unit’s bass attack
Endurance- Determines unit’s base defence
Range- Determines how far the player can move and attack
R&D- Determines how effective the unit will be if assigned to the R&D Division
Cooking- Determines how effective the unit will be if assigned to the Mess Hall
Intel- Determines how effective the unit will be if assigned to the Intel Division
Medical- Determines how effective the unit will be if assigned to the Medical Bay
Status- Notes any status effects the unit has
Units can be equipped with three different types of equipment:-
Weapons- The unit main form of attack. Generally affects Firepower and Range
Armour- Protective gear. Generally increase Life and Endurance
Gear- Extra equipment that provide token stat boosts (e.g. Scope that provides higher Firepower and Range)
Assigning Units to Divisions
Headquarters is comprised of several Divisions, which individual units can be assigned to take on certain roles. Certain divisions will only become available as the player progresses through the Campaign
Waiting Room- Unassigned units appear here. They will do nothing until they are assigned to another division
Combat Division- Units assigned here can be sent into Combat
Intel Division- Assigning units here will provide more information for missions, increase items available from Acquisitons
R&D Division- Assigning units here will reduce the amount of time it takes to create items in R&D
Mess Hall- Assigning units here will increase Morale
Medical Bay- Injured units will appear here to be healed. Assigning other units here will reduce the amount it takes for them to heal
Brig- Under certain conditions, enemies and units can be imprisoned here. Assigning units here will reduce the chances of escape
When viewing an individual unit’s stats, the player has the option of cloning it. Cloning can be used to generate a new unit using the DNA of an existing unit as a template. Clones can belong to same unit type as their progenitor (e.g. clones of an offensive progenitor can be either an Infantry, Commando or Artillery unit). It is an effective way of quickly building up a number of troops for battle.
However, using Cloning does have its costs; clones generally have much weaker stats than their progenitors and have a greater chance of developing status effects such as:-
Rapid Aging- Life and Endurance reduced
Body Rot- Unit’s body is falling apart. Life and Endurance drastically reduced
Identity Crisis- Firepower and Psyche reduced
PTSD- Firepower increased, Psyche and Endurance reduced
Some of these effects can be fixed by having the unit stay in the Medical Bay for a short period, while others are permanent
Genes are special items that individual units can be infused with to provide them with massive stat boosts and in some cases special abilities (e.g. regenerating life). However, each unit can only be infused with a limited number of Genes at any one time, and the more they have equipped, the greater the chance of developing negative Status Effects. Furthermore, they cannot be removed once they have been infused.
Research and Development
Players can use the R&D Division to develop new equipment and resources for their units to use in battle. In order to do so, they need Schematics (acquired either from missions or Acquisitions) for the new item, certain Materials and enough currency to fund development. It also requires some units to be assigned to R&D.
As the player progresses through the game and expands their facility, they will acquire various Resources, which include:-
Revenue- Currency required to make purchases (e.g. Acquisitions, R&D etc.)
Schematics- Blueprints for new Equipment to be made by R&D
DNA Caches- Containers of DNA that can be used as a substitute for other units in cloning. Generally produces more stable clones, but quite rare
Materials- Resources required to create things in R&D
Intel- Important mission information. Can provide more information for missions, access to more resources and even unlock extra missions
Acquisitions is where players are able to procure certain resources and equipment, in exchange for cash obtained from missions. It is also possible to hire new recruits here
Facility Expansion
As the player progresses through the Campaign and acquires more resources, the base of operations will expand and become larger. Certain divisions will become available and the capacity for units and resources will also increase.

Combat refers to any situation where the player is commanding their units in an operation against an opponent, be they computer-controlled or another player.
Before each mission/ battle, the player must select the units they intend to use during the operation. During this time, they will be given a small amount of Intel on the enemy and an overview of the map. Players can choose between 4-18 units per mission, though the rewards are greater if they use fewer units
Player Turns
Combatants alternate between their respective turns as each individual unit takes action. For example, once the first player’s unit has performed an action, it will then be the turn of the second player, and vice versa.
In Campaign, whoever takes the first turn depends on the scenario, while in Player-Versus-Player, it is random.
Command Mode
In Command Mode, players are given a top-down view of the battlefield, allowing them to survey the terrain and assess the situation. From here, they can move the camera to study the field of battle, review their options and select the units they use. While Command Mode is in effect, no action can be made by the opponent and units will not move. Once a unit has been chosen, the player will be taken into Navigation Mode
Navigation Mode
In Navigation Mode, the player directly controls their unit from a third-person perspective, allowing them to move around the battlefield using the control stick. As they do so, a bar representing how far the unit can travel will deplete (the length of this depends on the unit’s Range stat), and once it is empty, the player will enter Action Mode. Alternately, players can end Navigation early via button press. It should also be noted that during Navigation Mode, enemy units can attack you, although they cannot move.
Action Mode
In Action Mode, the player dictates what action their unit will perform. This is achieved through corresponding button presses, which players are shown while this mode is active. Basic actions include:-
Attack- Unit will target deal damage any selected enemy within certain range
Close Quarters Attack- Unit will target and attack any selected enemy that is close by
Defend- Unit will stand their ground, defending the surrounding area
Take Cover- Unit will find the nearest source of cover (e.g. a wall) and hide behind it
Special actions, such as those specific to the unit’s class or those acquired through Gene Infusion, can also be used, but their availability varies between each individual unit. Once an action has been performed, the player’s turn will end.
During each combat scenario, the player is required to complete a set of objectives in order to succeed. The types of tasks required of them include:-
Defeat all enemy units
Defeat a specific enemy unit
Capture the enemy base
Secure an area containing valuable resources
Reach a certain position
Defend a certain area for a number of turns
Additionally, the player may be presented with some Secondary Objectives. They are not required to complete them, but doing so will offer greater rewards.
Win/Lose Conditions
In order to succeed in Combat, the player is required to complete all the main objectives before their opponent.
Should they fail to do so, or all their units are killed in battle, they will lose the skirmish. In Campaign mode, this will force them to restart the mission.
Battle Spoils
Upon achieving success in a battle, the player will also receive various Resources as a reward. What they are actually given depends on their performance, as well as how many hidden Resources they located during the battle.

Background Music
Overall, the soundtrack of Army of Clones will be an interactive score and use a full range Orchestra with elements of Techno to invoke an Epic War atmosphere
While in Headquarters, the music will be generally quite ambient, with individual tracks being used for the various different menus/ Divisions.

Meanwhile, in Combat, the background music will change depending on the player’s current situation. When the situation is calm, and no units are engaging each other, the music will be mostly ambient with a slow tempo, but as the conflict becomes more chaotic, it will become more prominent and the pace will increase.
Additionally, the overall tone of the music will vary depending on how well the player is doing. If they have the upper hand in the conflict, it will start to have a very triumphant feel, whereas if they are at a disadvantage, the music will become noticeably more desperate.

Sound Effects
For the most part, the sound effects in Army of Clones will be completely realistic. Naturally, there will also be some original effects used where necessary, such as a computer/ hi-tech theme for navigating between menu options. Notable examples of this include:-
Enemy unit killed- A short jingle with a jubilant feel
Player unit killed- A sudden beat with a tragic tone
Status Effect occurs- A short, high-pitched note that quickly becomes low-pitched
Item obtained- Quick sound-effect similar to a futuristic lock being sealed
New Equipment obtained- Various mechanical/ electronic sound effects suggesting a futuristic piece of technology powering up
Additionally, Army of Clones will make use of voice-acting for tutorials and general advice, as well as voice-clips for some units during combat (e.g. when attacking other units, they will shout ‘Engaging targets!”)

Combat operations take place in a number of locations across the globe on a daily basis. Here are but a few of the areas players could find themselves in:-
Central America
North and South Africa
Eastern Europe
Middle East
East Asia

Battlefield Conditions
While in combat, players must always be mindful of their surroundings, as there are several variables in each battlefield that could affect the performance of their units
Fog of War
While Fog of War is active, combatants can only see enemy units if they are within the range of their own troops. Any enemies outside this range will not appear on the map. Some individual units can circumvent this hazard with Gear, but only for themselves
Normal- Standard terrain. No effect on units
Structures- Buildings and other structures can be used as cover against enemy fire. Some may also block  off areas of the map
Road- Increases Range of units as long as they are standing on it
Sand- Decreases Range of units as long as they are standing on it
Mud- Decreases Range of units as long as they are standing on it
Long Grass- Units are hidden from enemy units
Rocky- Can only be crossed by Commandos and Recon
Swamp- Can only be crossed by Commandos and Recon, though it slightly reduces their range
Sunlight- Increases visibility for all units. Can affect certain types of terrain (Swamp becomes Mud etc.)
Rain- Affects certain types of terrain (Normal becomes Mud, Mud becomes Swamp etc.)
Snow- Drastically reduces Range of all units
Fog- Reduces visibility for all units. Unlike Fog of War, visibility isn’t based on the unit’s Range
Minefields- Area littered with hidden explosive devices. Stepping on one will trigger instant death of the unit
Sandstorm- Depletes Life and reduces visibility
Radiation- Depletes life and causes Status effects

Gameplay Example
Player begins by cloning a new Infantry unit from an existing Commando

They then equip the new unit with an Assault Rifle, Mid-Armour and a Scope, as well as two Genes

The player then selects an mission (Capture the Enemy Base), and selects the new unit along with another Infantry, a Juggernaut, a Medic and a Recon Unit

The mission begins; the player’s troops are positioned on the south side of the map. As Fog of War is in effect, they cannot see the enemy

The Recon scouts ahead and unveils three hidden enemy positions around the enemy base

The Recon is attacked and barely survives. It then runs back to the Medic, hidden in the long grass. Meanwhile the Juggernaut holds back the enemy’s advance

Meanwhile, the two Infantry units take an alternate path around the enemy units and flank them

While Juggernaut and Infantry are demolishing the enemy units, the now healed Recon unit runs across the swamp and captures the enemy base, completing the mission

XB3002 GAMES FUTURES #12: Indie Cover Letter and Company Analysis Document

This time, we have the cover letter/ company analysis for the chosen indie company, Double Fine Productions

Cover Letter

Double Fine Productions, Inc.
525 Brannan Street, Suite 200
San Francisco, CA 94107

Dear Double Fine Productions,

I’m writing to apply for a position as an artist at your company.
As you’ve no doubt guessed, I’m an aspiring artist who is hoping to make his way into the games industry. I’ve recently finished a 3-year Honours Degree in games design, during which I developed my skills in digital painting, modelling and design. I specialise in 2D art for characters and environments, but I’m also quite skilled as a 3D artist. You can find examples of my work in the attached portfolio. Feel free to take a look. It’s what it’s there for.
I like to think that I have a flexible approach to my work, as I’ve been known to use and experiment with a variety of different styles and methods. I’ve also worked in a couple of teams before now, and if those occasions are anything to go by, then it’s safe to say that I can collaborate well with others. I’ll be the first to admit, however, that I currently don’t have a lot of experience under my belt, but despite that, I always try to produce work of a high standard, regardless of the task and the tools at hand.
I’ve always been passionate about gaming, and I’d love the chance to work as part of the industry itself. If I could do that as a member of the talented people at Double Fine, then that would be a pretty big bonus. I’ve already had the pleasure of playing the company’s debut title, Psychonauts, and what I’ve heard about your other releases has been glowing to say the least. I’m confident that my skills and enthusiasm will be an asset to the Double Fine team and I’m excited about the opportunity to work for you.
Thank you for taking the time to consider my application and portfolio. I look forward to meeting you in person and discussing my suitability for the role in an interview.
Yours sincerely,
Sean Gannon

Company Analysis Document

XB3002 GAMES FUTURES #11: AAA Cover Letter and Company Analysis

This post and the next will be dedicated to the Cover Letters and Company Analysis documents we've had to write for this module. I won't be posting my CV on here, as it contains a lot of personal information that I'm not comfortable with sharing on a blog.

Anywho, first up, we have the Cover Letter and Company Analysis for Valve Corporation

Cover Letter
Valve Corporation,
Bellevue, WA 98009

Dear Valve Corporation,

I am writing to apply for the position of Artist that has been advertised on your company website.
I am an aspiring artist who specialises in 2D art for characters and environments. However, I am also proficient as a 3D artist, with a working knowledge of 3D packages such as Autodesk 3DS Max. I recently completed a 3-year Honours Degree in games design at Futureworks in Manchester, and it was over the course of my studies that I developed the aforementioned skills, which I have showcased in the attached portfolio.
I have been known to be both flexible and adaptable in my work, capable of using and experimenting with a variety of different styles and methods to generate and present ideas in both 2D and 3D. I have also had experience working in a team on occasion, and based on those events I would say that I can collaborate well with others. I will admit that I currently do not have much experience within the industry itself, but despite that, I always strive to produce high quality work, regardless of the task and the tools at hand.
Gaming has long been a passion of mine, and I would love the opportunity to have a career within that industry, particularly as part of a company as talented and well-loved as your own. I have already had the pleasure of experiencing a number of Valve’s award-winning titles, including Half-Life 2, Portal and Left 4 Dead. I am confident that my skills and enthusiasm will be an asset to your company and I am excited about the opportunity to work for you.
Thank you for taking the time to consider my application and portfolio. I look forward to meeting you in person and discussing my suitability for the role in an interview.

Yours sincerely,
Sean Gannon

Company Analysis Document
Valve Corporation is a AAA video-game developer and publisher based in Bellevue, Washington. Founded in 1996 by former Microsoft employees Gabe Newell and Mike Harrington, they are perhaps best known as the creators of the Half-Life games, the first of which was released as the company’s debut product in 1998. 
Since then, they have personally developed around 5 other individual game series during their 17 years in business, a list that includes the Left 4 Dead, Portal, and Counter Strike franchises. The company prides itself on its unique work environment, which dismisses traditional managerial roles in favour of a flat organisational structure that promotes self-management and cooperation amongst peers. They are also noted for the support they give to their games’ modding communities, particularly the Counter Strike, Left 4 Dead and Day of Defeat series. In fact, many of their releases began as third-party mods that Valve then purchased and developed into full games.
Valve is also famous for their online platform, Steam, which provides users with digital distribution and community features. At present, the service offers nearly 2,000 games from various independent studios, and though it’s always-online requirement effectively makes it a form of digital rights management, the company has managed to build up an enormous amount of goodwill from its 6 million users thanks to frequent sales with massive discounts

XB3002 GAMES FUTURES #10: The Importance of a CV and Cover Letter

These are notes from a lecture about how to write a CV and Cover Letter:-

The Main Differences between the Two
Cover Letter - Less than 1 page, brief information about person, experience, job profile etc. It's main purpose is to compliment the CV, introduce yourself, explain interest and how you're suited to the role

CV - More than 2 pages, more factual, full summary of education, work experience, info must be tailored towards the job (eg. for games industry jobs, choose work experience from the industry over Tesco, research experience, detailed account of qualifications and relevant experience and relevant experience to the position, should include personal information

Things to Avoid:-

  • Spelling and Grammar Errors
  • Informal Language (unless company is quite informal, in which case you may get away with it)
  • False Information
  • Blatant Lies!!
  • Strong Colours (if graphically rich)
  • Irrelevant Information (nobody cares if you like elephants...)
  • Borders

XB3002 GAMES FUTURES #9: Developing a Portfolio

These are notes from a lecture about putting together a portfolio for a job interview:-

There are two types of Portfolio: one specifically for Artists, which typically consists of 2D and/or 3D art, and one for Designers, which consist of past experience and design documents
Examples of existing Portfolios:-

  • Jacob Minkoff
  • Sam Kaplan
  • Nick Knebal
  • Jean Canellas


  • James Haywood
  • Jon McCoy
  • Richard Craig

  • Artist portfolios SHOW the work; mostly display broad range of material (characters, environments, scenes etc.)
  • Design Portfolios describe past experience, work ethic. Mostly focus on what games they have made, more personalised
  • Art Portfolios are typically blogs, generally easier to navigate 
  • Design show greater variety of skills
  • Both fairly diverse -  mix of specialised and general content
  • Artists share very little personal information and focus entirely on artwork- diversity is shown within personal discipline
  • Both feature external links and further online presence
  • Artists have more visual representation, while Design shows more thought process/ work flow critique
  • Have different versions of portfolio and keep them professional

XB3002 GAMES FUTURES #8: Research Post 3- AAA/ Indie Comapny Potential Candidates

Here is a list of developer studios I considered as my choices for the CV/ Cover letters/ Portfolios required for my XB3002 hand-in. As I'm hoping to obtain a job as a Game artist, my choices centered around companies that had a heavy focus on visuals and aesthetics

AAA Studio Candidates
Ninja Theory
Creators of Heavenly Sword, Enslaved, and recently DMC: Devil May Cry

Creators of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Mass Effect, and Dragon Age

Creators of the Guild Wars series

AAA Studio Choice
Creators of Half-Life, Portal, Left 4 Dead and Counter Strike. Also owners of Steam
Chosen for the wide range of art styles, flat organisation and value for talent

Indie Studio Candidates
Creators of Flow, Flower and the critcally acclaimed Journey

Creators of the Trine series

Supergiant Games
Creators of Bastion. Currently making new game called The Transistor

Indie Studio Choice
Double Fine Studios
Creators of Psychonauts, Brutal Legend, Stacking and other games. Founded by industry veteran Tim Schafer. Chosen for friendly demeanour, wide range of visual styles and prestigious talent

XB3002 GAMES FUTURES #7: Research Post 2- Ninja Theory and Hello Games Case Studies

Ok, I'll admit it; I've neglected my blog quite a lot this year. Needless to say, I've got some catching up to do, so let's get on with that...

2 of our lectures with Joe were dedicated to studying two distinctly different game developers to serve as examples for our chosen AAA and Indie studios. These developers were Ninja Theory and Hello Games.

Ninja Theory

  • Independant AAA games studio
  • Originally founded in 2000 as Just Add Monsters, until comapny was purchased by former Argonauts Games CEO Jez San in 2004
  • Based in Cambridge, UK
  • Have produced 4 games thus far: Kung Fu Chaos (2003), Heavenly Sword (2007), Enslaved: Odyssey to the West (2010) and DMC: Devil May Cry (2013)
  • Company tagline is 'Beautiful Gaming'
  • Heavy focus on visual design of their games, particularly for the characters and environments
  • Usually heavily influence by martial arts films and Asian mythology
  • Currently no vacancies
  • Very formal and professional in their approach
  • Creative process tends to focus on story and Level design

Hello Games

  • Indie games studio
  • Founded July 2009 by former employees of Criterion, EA and Kuju Entertainment
  • Based in Guildford, Surrey, UK
  • Currently micro-team of 4 people: Sean Murray (Managing Director), Grant Duncan (Artist), Ryan Doyle (Programmer) & David Ream (Creative Director). Currently hiring (Programmer + Producer jobs on offer)
  • Team members tend to take on multiple roles in development, rather than sticking to one task
  • Worked exclusively on the Joe Danger series - critically acclaimed
  • Worked on variety of platforms (PSN, XBLA, iOS)
  • Listed on the Guardian's Tech Media Invest List - list of most innovative and creative people of past 12 months
  • Very casual and jovial, but also enthusiastic. Not very formal, obsessed with tea and cake (Glados? Is that you...?)
  • Creative process emphasises fun and creativity
  • For more info, see their company website here: