Design: Summer 2017
Role: Lead Programmer, Game Design
Team: Nicholas Ramsay, Paulo Carlos, Yang Zhang
Tools: Unity 3D, Photoshop CC

Summary

Gallium Chalice is an action detective video game, set medieval times within the Kingdom of Gallium. This one month project was researched and developed by my group, Spaghetti Squad, in summer 2017. The goal was to build an interesting game from the ground up and learn to apply testing methodologies and how to develop games with a proper narrative arc.

Gallium Challice contains a full foldback (branching) narrative structure, simple combat system, and investigation system that the drives gameplay.

Concept

Gallium Challice contains a full foldback (branching) narrative structure, simple combat system, and investigation system that the drives gameplay.

Gameplay of Gallium Challice

Gameplay

The player is a knight named Conrad visiting King Feldor's castle to investigate about the missing treasury. Conrad arrives to the castle to find that there seems to be treasury afoot and must ask questions about the castle dwellers to find who stole chalice.

Level design visuals

The game follows similar 2d RPG style action games with elements of finding items, investigating through dialogue, fighting aggressors, and having the ability to accuse characters to the crime.

Prototyping

Since the goal of this project was investigate how to properly implement a narrative arc into a game while keeping the gameplay fun, we had to go through various iterations of design. In order to accommodate time, we first used storyboards and physical prototypes to test others to see what is working and what needs improvement.

Initial Storyboard

We first used a rough storyboard with how we envisioned our game functioned and tested users with our physical prototypes to get feedback. From these tests, we began to refine our storyboard and began building the first digital game.

World Overview - Framework of our Prototypes

We also went through a few more tests as we improved the digital game until we were satisfied with the final delivery. This also helped us address glaring issues and any bugs of the core gameplay.

Testing with an early version of our game

Development

Gallium Challice was built and scripted inside the Unity Engine with visual assets built from Photoshop. While this project was not my first game developed in Unity, it was the first project where it had a proper narrative setting. When we started this project, I began to drift towards becoming the design lead of how the general gameplay should work. This led me to begin designing what kinds of player to game-world interactions we should do and what types of mechanics the game should use. This also led to me becoming the lead programmer in the digital phase as I was also had the most experience with Unity. I also became the person who directed my group members regarding what smaller scripts needed to be done as well as debugging any issues of the game.

Reflection

Creating Gallium Challice was a very insightful and sometimes a frustrating learning experience. The scope of this project relied a lot on working as a cohesive team, and really improved my skills in dealing with group issues and leading the team towards our end goal. It also broadened my insight on how to approach game design as well as further improving my technical skills such as scripting.

This project still has much left to improve as there still some pesky bugs needed to be squashed. There are also areas that need improvement such as a smoother combat system, a larger world and expanded narrative, and even creating its own original music. I have learned a lot from this project, but have also left me wanting something even better.