Yejin Weng Designer. email@example.com
2012 - 2016
South China Agriculture University Bachelor of Agriculture, Major in Horticulture(Landscape Architecture Direction).
Realis - e Game Studio | Intern | Game Designer Participated in the project of PROJECT DARWIN(VR) Took part in the schematic level design, tested game process and relevant equipment.
MSL China | Intern | Communication Designer Run the social network account of the Yuexiu group and the Wanda group. Took charge of graphic design of the advertising poster, banner and so on.
Suzhou Institute of Landscape Architecture Design CO. | Intern | LA Designer Participated in the project of Citizen Park in Huaibin County. Took part in the schematic design process, provided 3D model, diagrams and presentation documents.
Architecture Design & Research Institute of SCUT | Intern | LA Designer Participated in the project of Landscape Planning in Guangzhou Financial City . Took part in the Drafted presentation and provided concept illustration.
Indie Ace GameJam 2016 | Game Designer Made the funny game FISHCRAFT in 24 hours.
Blizzard Starcraft 2 College Challenge Competition | Organizer Received top ten game competition site from NetEase.
PROJECT 0.Cat Cafe 1.Space Explorer 2.Fishcraft 3.The Road of Hero 4.Classical Games 5.Four Critical Writing Other Work Sketch Photography Graphic Design
DOCUMENT CONTENT I. Document Overview 1.1 Brief Introduction 1.2 Story Background 1.3 Art Style 1.4 High Concept Statement 1.5 Features of Cat Café II. Core Gameplay Mechanisms 2.1 Cats 2.1.1 Cats’ Status & Attributes List 2.1.2 The Interactions between Players and Cats 2.1.3 Status of Cats 2.1.4 Attributes of Cats 2.2 House 2.2.1 Cat House 2.2.2 Item 2.2.3 Pet Shop 2.2.4 Book 2.2.5 House Update 2.3 Café 2.3.1 Business Time 2.3.2 Cat Staff 2.3.3 Report 2.3.4 Revenue 2.3.5 Store Info 2.3.6 Café Update 2.3.7 Rent 2.4 Special Mechanisms 2.4.1 Seasons 2.4.2 Random Events III. Mind Map IV. Numerical Mechanism
I love animals, especially cats. So in this project, I tried to combine cats and Simulation games. Nekoatsume gives a lot of inspiration for me.
V. Currency VI. User Experience
I. Document Overview
II. Core Gameplay Mechanisms
1.1 Brief Introduction Cat Café is a simulation game with the core of raising cats. In the game, players should raise various kinds of cats to run their cat theme café. Cats in game are the same as those in reality that need to be welltended. As players feeding, bathing and playing with the cats, they will grow up thus make more profits for the café.
2.1 Cats 2.1.1 The List of Cats’ Status & Attributes
1.2 Story Background Far away from the inland, there is a beautiful island surrounded by the sea. It’s named Cat Island for here lived all kind of cats. From ancient times, the inhabitants of the island firmly believed that cats would bring good luck and even saw cats as their gods and beliefs. The protagonist who had once lived in the Cat Island for a period of time but left at a young age, moved inland to live in big cities. Finally one day, he fed up with the hustle and bustle of big cities and bent his steps homeward. After returned to the Island, he opened a café to earn a living. However, it was not expected that the residents would not visit the places with no cats, thus the café was facing a bankruptcy crisis. Hence, in order to attract more customs, the protagonist who has totally no experience of keeping cats begun his journey with cats… The reason why I chose this theme was considered that people nowadays often got so tired of life that they often neglected beauties and glories around. I hope through this game, people will notice tiny warmth again and rebuild emotional connections with animals.
1.3 Art Style The game used 2D Japanese cartoon style in general, with fresher and brighter colors in high saturation. Cats’ images are tend to design mainly in cartoon style. In the designing of the scene, I referred to the Japanese building style and covered a large area with red, orange and other warm colors. 1.4 High Concept Statement Combining the gameplay of trading and simulation, the game is designed to offer an authentic experience on simulating raising cats and give players simulation feedbacks via trading mechanism. The trading or simulation games are relatively rich while the combinations of the two are less in the market. So I hope in this game, players can experience both the fun of simulation, and the sense of accomplishments of super management. In Cat Café, players should manage café themselves to gain coin, raise their cats better by using these coin; therefore the cats will attract more customers and make more coin.
1.5 Features of the Game - Offering the authentic experiences of raising cats. Players should take care of their cats in the game, including feeding, bathing and giving treatments of unexpected diseases. - Running your own coffee shop on a beautiful island, raising cats to attract more customers and make more profits. - Witty cute style, with a wide variety of different images of the cats waiting for you to discover. - Offering four seasons corresponding to the reality with various random events, enjoy the funny experiences of simulation.
2.1.2 The Interaction between Player and Cats.
2.1.3 Status of Cats
Notes: Catsâ€™ initial numerical values of attributes are default to the floor of itâ€™s corresponding level.
2.1.5 The kinds of Cat (Refer Chart) 2.1.4 Attribute of Cats 126.96.36.199 Life Attributes
2.2.4 Book Book is divided into two parts, [cats] and [items]. Cats/ items illustration offers an overview of all cats/ items. If the player owns the cat/ item, there will appear its head which can be clicked for further information. If the player still does not own the cat/ item, it will be replaced by its black silhouette and cannot be clicked. 2.2.5 House Update Players can only raise 3 cats initially. If one wants to raise more cats, he can extend the cat house with coin in expansion interface. House can be extended for 3 times. After each expansion, players can raise 8 or 14 or 20 cats.s
2.3 Cafe 2.3.1 Business Time Time in the game is in accordance with that in reality (will read the system time). The opening time of café is 9:00AM~21:00PM. The interface of café is not available in its closing time, but players can still look after cats in the home interface. 2.3.2 Cat Staff If cats are not placed in café in opening time, no customer will come. Players should place the cats he owned in café to attract customers for profits. As the opening time is over, cats will back to home itself for a rest. 2.3.3 Report Players can receive the income of café here.
2.2 House 2.2.1 Cat House In cat house, players can have an overview of all cats he owns, including their status, attributes, and preferences and so on. When the player does not like a cat any more, he can also use [abandon] in this interface to drive it off. 2.2.2 Item Click the backpack, players can use or have an overview of his items. This interface is divided into 5 parts as [all], [food], [toys], [cleansings] and [cure items]. 2.2.3 Pet Shop Players can buy items and cats in pet shop with coin. The interface is divided into 6 parts as [all], [food], [toys], [cleansings], [cure items] and [cats]. In the interface of Cats, every day at 12 o’clock in midnight, there will randomly refresh a cat available by gold. But if it is purchased, there will be no more refreshing on the same day.
2.3.4 Revenue Players can check every day’s profits and the statistics of customers in revenue data interface, thus they will have an intuitive impression on the business achievements. 2.3.5 Store Info Players can see every highest record of the game in this interface, which includes the annual/ quarterly/ daily highest income and annual/ quarterly/ daily highest customer volume, etc.. 2.3.6 Café Update Players can initially place only 1 cat employee. If player wants to place more cats for more income, he can extend the café with coin. An extended café can accommodate 3 or 5 or 8 cats. 2.3.7 Rent No rent for the first month. But from the second month onward, at every end of the month there will be a rent collects 40% of the month’s profits.
2.4 Special Machenism
III. Mind Map
2.4.1 Mechanism of the Seasons The game has four seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter. Different seasons, different customers and random events. Seasons in the game will change at every end of Sunday. That means a month in reality equals a year in the game world.
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Four seasons in the game are match with different scenic styles. Scenes outside the windows and art elements fit in the present season can both be added. (Like: green spring leaves, flaming summer sun, colorful autumn maples and white winter snow.) 2.4.2 Random Events
IV. Numerical Mechanism 1. The calculation formula of each catâ€™s attraction: CustomerQuantity = (10 + 3 Ă— Charm ^ 0.5) Ă— Hour 2. The calculation formula of each catâ€™s revenue: Revenue = Int ^ 0.5 Ă— CustomerQuantity 3. The calculation formula of each catâ€™s tiredness when working: Tired = 100 Ă— ( 1 / (Str ^ 0.5)) Ă— Hour 4. The consuming of hunger and clean when working in cafĂŠ/ per hour: Random (8 , 15) 5. Recovery of tired when resting at home/ per hour:ďźš Random (8 , 15)
V. Currency [Gold (G)] is the only currency used in Cat CafĂŠ . Gold sources: 1. [cafĂŠ: working] 2. Part of [random events] Gold consumption: 1. [home: pet shop] 2. [home: expansion] 3. [cafĂŠ: expansion] 4. Part of [random events]
VI. User Experience DATE INDICATOR TIME INDICATOR COIN INDICATOR
LEAD TO CAFE INTERFACE
LEAD TO House INTERFACE
LEAD BACK TO HOUSE INTERFACE LEAD TO CAT INTERFACE LEAD TO ITEM INTERFACE LEAD TO SHOP INTERFACE LEAD TO BOOK INTERFACE LEAD TO UPDATE INTERFACE
LEAD BACK TO CAFE INTERFACE LEAD TO STAFF INTERFACE LEAD TO REPORT INTERFACE LEAD TO REVENUE INTERFACE LEAD TO STORE INFO INTERFACE LEAD TO UPDATE INTERFACE
Item Interface 1
Item Interface 2
Book Interface 1
Book Interface 2
Cat Staff Interface 1
Item Interface 1
Item Interface 2
Shop Interface 1
Shop Interface 2
Cat Staff Interface 2
Store Info Interface
16 PIXEL ART
In this project, I try to design a 2D platformer game level with pixel art.
ALL IDEAS COMES FROM PAPER
Side-scroller game brings me to the game world. I can never forget how Super Mario Bros, Sonic the Hedgehog bring such fun for me in my childhood.
The theme is about the galaxy, exploration and adventure. Because I'm a big fan of sci-fi subgenre, which let me have great looking forward to this charming, uncharted and dangerous world. I also want to deliver this emotion to my audiences.
I have great fun when I design it. It's just like chasing those former great game designer.
ENEMY ROUTE DIAGRAM
GRID(16pixel per unit) SECRET AREA
SECRET AREA ENTRANCE
THEME(a painting from a Chinese artise)
Snake in Nokia
Using Manga and Contonese narration to tell the story background.
It's my first time went to GameJam and I took part in a student group as game designer, lead them to finish a game in 24 hours. Our idea comes from Snake , a very classical game in the early mobile phone, and add some new mechanism and story background.
Both of red and blue side need to fight for litter fish in 60 seconds, which appear randomly in the center area. When player touch the little fish, it would follow them until player touch the border, crash another player's team, or transform them back to their castle for point.
In the most Hollywood movies, heroes always represent justice and finally defeat powerful enemies. But i always think about heroes, Did they must save the world? Did they haven't fear like ordinary people? So in this project, a one paper game, player can act as a hero, to make choice follow their heart.
There are many classical games in good old days. They have simple graphic, clear rule and really made me fun. In this project, I use python reproduce some of those game in codeskulptor with simple GUI.
“With no text, no dialogue, and no explanation, it manages to communicate circumstance and causality to the player more simply than most games.” — IGN
LIMBO is a 2D side scroller, puzzle-platform video game made by Playdead, which had huge success in 2010 with the distinctive art style, level design and the way of storytelling. Playdead did a lot of work on constructing peculiar atmosphere, which raises LIMBO to a higher level as art work. It's similar to ICO ’s game design philosophy, LIMBO has no health bay, no map screen, no dialogue and even no apparent background music. You can only control the little boy with four buttons: left, right, jump, and interact with the object to solve each puzzle and complete the game. This is pretty impressive because you will never get any word guidance or tutorial throughout the game except dying again and again. However, letting player spend all day in tasting death or confused with puzzle can affect player’s mood and break game experience. So, guidances and explanations are still necessary. Instead of giving tips on the screen corner to tell player what to do like The Brave Heart , LIMBO did a plenty of invisible work to let player get the vital clue. At first level, player will be forced to learn the basic mechanics and control, otherwise, they can’t go on. It works pretty well for veterans but awful for those people who never played game before. I have invited dozens of my friends, all of them are game dummy, to play the first level in LIMBO . The result is none of them can find that “Ctrl” is a special key corresponding to “Interact” when they are close to the handcart, although “the little boy” in game has reached out his hand. So if Playdead wants more groups of peoples to enjoy their game, perhaps some illustrations with lower opacity like Journey will be also elegant and helpful. As the saying goes, game is all about making choices. But unlike Zelda and other puzzle games, LIMBO highly limits activity spaces and interactive objects so that players have little choice in each level. They usually can’t go back or go forward because of the cliff, pool, high platform, etc. What’s more, in most condition, each player’s action will immediately get direct feedback - death(False) or live(True). So player will hard to get lost. And game designers set the re-spawn point consciously. The re-spawn point always be a little ahead of unsolved puzzles. This way player can quickly restart their second trial, which reduces negative emotion by death. On the other hand, after few trial, player will learn that the clues always exist, just move forward or go around of the re-spawn point.
Limbo is the one of my most favorite game because it's unique art style and narrative way. In this project, i analyse how limbo guide player with environment.
Film techniques also apply to LIMBO , which can deliver a helpful feeling in player’s subconsciousness. For example, the camera will be elongated when player moves to next scene with long distance, which delivers a message about “safe” and “just move on” with player’s intuitive feeling. Plus, The layout of game divided into three parts, foreground, mid-ground, and background. Player will pay their main attention to mid ground so designers set many objects and sprites in it, which have strong hints for the mechanism, puzzle and background story. But background can also take a bit of responsibility of demonstration like antigravity level. With some blur effect and lower of grey scale, it is so obscure in order to occupy player’s sight. The last thing is sound effect. As a kind of perception, sound can also deliver intuitive feelings to player. The sharp sounds mean dangerous, the smooth sound effects deliver a signal of safe. And regular sound effect can be combined with mechanism in level design as LIMBO ’s antigravity level. In a nutshell, LIMBO made the art of guiding players through environment instead of using complex word or dialogue. It might not fit into every game genre but truly helps to give players immersive game experience in LIMBO .
Where’s My Water? is a puzzle video game developed by Creature Feep, a development team from Disney Mobile. This game was released for both iOS and Android in December 2011, and the lead character, Swampy, has become the first original Disney character appearing in their mobile game. After only one day on Apple's U.S. App Store, Where's My Water? ascended to the top of the list of paid apps, surpassing Angry Birds (Szalai, 2011a). In its first month of release, Where's My Water? was downloaded more than one million times. The game remained on top of the App Store charts for three weeks, and it has also reached #1 on App Stores in 30 other countries(Szalai, 2011b). Because its initial release was an achievement, Disney Mobile developed and released Where’s My Water 2 in September 2013. I think the main users for Where’s My Water are children between 7 to 13 years old. Although swampy has a lovely graphic, it is not attractive enough compared with something like a Barbie doll, so it does not attract teenage girls. Therefore I think the ratio of male to female will be around 7 : 3. The game is successful because of the following features: (1) It uses studio’s advantage to make games stand out. Disney took full advantage of animated character design to make a household name. The background story is about Sewer alligator, which comes from the famous New York City stories. However, Swampy successfully attracted people to game with their subversive impression. Different from other dirty sewer alligators, on the contrary, he tries to get clean water to bathe in. It also delivers a positive message to children, Disney’s target audience, that water is valuable and should be conserved.
To avoid a repetitive game, game designers tried to control game time in each level at about 30 seconds then gives out clues. For example, when the player play the game for the first time, they would see Swampy looking at the shower head pathetically. Then the player would know that they should lead water to the bathroom. - Although the game quality is good, it’s still not perfect: (1) The high rate of mistake affects gameplay experience. The core mechanism for Where’s My Water is digging with one’s fingers. The player should use the touch screen on their device to dig through the dirt, and it really requires a high accuracy in some levels. However, due to the limitation of screen size, unintended operation is very common. For puzzle games, it’s an annoying experience when players know the solution but still can not pass the level because of operation error. There are two solutions to this problem. The first is adding the mechanism to zoom in and out. Players can move their fingers away from each other to zoom in, and “pinch” them together to zoom out. The second is to reduce the negative feedback, putting a retry button allows players to quickly restart their second trial. (2) The game lacks social elements. It’s not a big issue. Puzzle game does not have to possess social element. But we can use the feature to let players win achievements easier. For example, adding ranking lists for time spent to pass a level or the quality of rubber ducks can help. The player will be motivated to replay the level to obtain higher score and ranking. It’s also an efficient way to prolong the product life of a game.
(2) Market positioning is accurate and the game seizes the opportunities of the era. “Based on the 2013 data from TalkingData, on an average mobile device, 54% of all games installed are casual games.” (18 key trends from the Chinese mobile games market, 2014) Casual games have a broad base of players, and Disney catered to the demands of the mass market. (3) Game mechanics is simple and rich “Initial set of mechanics must be rich enough in possibility to be recombined in new and interesting ways, but they cannot be so complex that they create a chaos from which no singular solution can be intuited.” (Davies, 2015) Where’s my water , as a puzzle game, it’s core mechanism is digging. In each level, players should dispel the soil by their fingers in order to lead the resources to designated positions. Elements in the game, such as liquid, gas flow, and collision, are all based on the physical rules in the real world. This directive way lowers the comprehensive difficulty for players. What’s more, game designers create different levels by changing the position of dirt, adding various types of bonus duck or setting obstacles. So the player can have different refreshing experience in each level. Meanwhile, it’s convenient to restart a game while playing. It not only reduce the negative feedbacks, but also enables the players gain some idea of solution after tried several times, even if they true were confused at some points. (4) Level is concise and elegant “A puzzle should know what the point is, what it’s trying to illustrate to you. It should know what’s necessary to create that illustration and what’s not, and in most cases it’s best to remove everything that doesn’t contribute to that because you get a smaller, lighter more beautiful thing that becomes more effective.” (Davies, 2015) In Where’s My Water , the levels are divided into three types: story level, basic level, and challenge level. Story level requires players to watch about a 10-second animation, which helps players grasp the background story. Basic level requires player to solve puzzles in each level. And challenge level switch rules through the basic level.
Bibliography 18 key trends from the Chinese mobile games market (2014) 22 May. Available at: http://blog.talkingdata. net/?p=1592 (Accessed: 23 September 2016). Davies, M. (2015) A good puzzle game is hard to build. Available at: https://www.rockpapershotgun. com/2015/01/22/how-to-make-a-puzzle-game/ (Accessed: 23 September 2016). Szalai, G. (2011a) ‘Angry birds’ knocked off top of apple App store chart by Walt Disney’s swampy. Available at: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/angry-birds-knocked-top-apple-244453 (Accessed: 3 October 2016). Szalai, G. (2011b) Walt Disney’s mobile game character swampy gets web series (exclusive). Available at: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/walt-disneys-mobile-game-character-253855 (Accessed: 3 October 2016).
World Conqueror 3 is a war strategic game, developed by the Tech Easy, and was released for IOS on May 2015. As the third version of World Conqueror series, World Conqueror 3 combined the features of Glory of Generals and Europa War . At this time, the game’s background was set on the Second World War. Players need to play as the commanders of Axis or Allied to conquer their opponents. At the exploratory stage of the Tech Easy, they developed various themes of games, such as the Space Opera, the Canonization of the Gods and Greek mythology etc. However, since the Europa War , the company has determined to give priority to the R&D of competitive strategic games, servicing specific players. Through this strategy, they established a good reputation and earned a large number of loyal fans. - Pay-for-better: Players can pay to get the medal and the three strongest generals. Medals, as universal game currency, here can be used to buy and upgrade the generals (except the strongest three) and exchange out-ofbattle currency (industry, energy, science and tech). The resource is used to unlock the technologies and wonders, bringing a certain buff to the player's combat units and reducing the difficulty of the game. Although the three resources and the medals can also be obtained by Campaign Mode and Conquer Mode, science, technology and medals can only be acquired in the first time of completing the whole levels. Therefore, the resources will become more and more difficult in the process and player will be motivated to pay. - Tech Easy has very distinctive features, which are also expressed in World Conqueror 3 : (1) Clear Core Users The background of the story is set up in the Second World War, apparently catering for those who are interested in history and military. The player's age is of 22 to 35 years old. They are mature and have a stable income, and they are willing to pay for the game and have a certain experience in the game. The TBS(Turn Based Strategic ) genre of World Conqueror 3 meets the needs of the players perfectly. (2) Based on the True Historical Background All elements of the game, such as the campaigns and generals, are taken from the Real World War II. Even generals' skills or values are based on history. Compared with rebuilding another virtual world or characters, this approach not only can save development costs, but also increase the immersion in games. (3) Fantastic Growth System Some of the growth elements of RPG are added into the game. The growth system is composed of three ways: generals, technologies, and wonders. Players can unlock generals, cultivate player’s own generals, upgrade technologies and construct wonders to experience the process of gradually being stronger, which increase the sense of accomplishment of the players. (4) Different Campaign Mode As the traditional strategic games, World Conqueror 3 is divided into Campaign Mode and Conquer mode. In the Campaign Mode, the player plays one of the forces in the real campaign to accomplish the designated goals. While in Conquer Mode, players can be any country in World War II to complete the progress of conquering world. In the traditional strategy games, such as the Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Nobunaga's Ambition , players always take the Campaign Mode as the tutorial. So once they understand the mechanism of the game, they will lose the interest of Campaign Mode. The reason for it is that the Campaign Mode not only has great limitations, but also cannot bring enough feedback and a sense of accomplishment. Players will be more interested in spending time in Conquer Mode where can bring them more sense of accomplishment. Thus, they fail to feel campaign level that game designers carefully designed, which also shorten the product life. But what is different from those traditional strategy game is that in the World Conqueror 3 ，the Campaign Mode can provide players with very valuable resources: Medals. This prompts the players to complete whole levels.
- There are also some shortcomings in this game: (1) The terrible First 15 Minutes “One of our rules of game design is that the first 15 minutes have to be really compelling. A kind of all the cool stuff that’s going to happen later in the game and these rewards are really a way of making the player feel comfortable in this world. Letting them know that they’re on the way track.”(Sid Meier, 2010) Although World Conqueror 3 has three tutorial levels in Campaign Mode, the players are completely in the dark after starting the game. They hard to find the tutorial and also do not know how to play. Even entering into the Campaign Mode, unlike the normal Campaign icon, the Tutorial level icon is small without special tips (highlighting, special colors, etc.). It is easy to be ignored by the new players. The first 15 minutes are spent in confusion, which may easily cause the loss of the players nowadays. I suggest to put the tutorial levels into the main interface. In this way, players can mention it at first sight after opening the game. Based on the individual needs, they can always return to the game whenever necessary in the future. (2) Imbalances in Armies “Gameplay is all about making choices and in a poorly-balanced game, many of the choices available to the player are essentially rendered useless. And this, in a nutshell, is why game balance is so important -- it preserves your game elements from irrelevance. ”(Burgen, 2011) Similar to Fire Emblem , in the World Conqueror 3 , if the generals who fall in the battle are no longer appear, they will sit the sideline until the next level. So the game player will be more inclined to choose tank generals who have the high fighting capacity and are not easy to be destroyed, rather than choose the infantry generals who possess low power and are easily eliminated. This imbalance will undoubtedly limit the player's choice, so that players cannot get the full experience of the game. Therefore, the game designers can strengthen infantry properly, such as a certain degree of recovery before action in this level, enhancing the infantry survivability, which enables the game player to make more choices about generals. (3) Imperfect Guidelines Within the Game When the player wants to end but there are still no-action units in the warfare, the game gives no clear hints. It is extremely prominent in the Conquer Mode, when the players' territory is vast and the units have become massive, they need to spend a lot of efforts to find no-action units. Game designers should add a toggle button next to the end button, let the players know how many units are idle. Or enhance the hosting control, so that players can choose the units they want to control, meanwhile, the other units will be handed over to the computer. (4) Poor balance of the system which makes new players annoying Wonders consume a lot of resources but return an unequal value, individual general cultivation requires over high cost but the generals prove uneven in quality. New players without referring to the game guide will waste a lot of medals and resources. However, the difficulty of obtaining resources will go straight up. As a result, the poor start may directly lead players to delete files, or give up the game. So it is very necessary to balance the value and perfect the task system. Game designers allow players to pay or spend time to get revenue. Change the task system into background process, and increase the task time and the task revenue. This approach can increase the preference of the game players, prompting players to collect resources in multiple fragments of the time during the periods of the game. Bibliography Burgen, K. (2011) Understanding balance in video games. Available at: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/ feature/134768/understanding_balance_in_video_.php (Accessed: 26 September 2016). Sid Meier (2010) GDC 2010: Sid Meier keynote - ‘everything you know is wrong’. Available at: https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=bY7aRJE-oOY&list=PL4YUC39vAjXvpdsbtClZMVVBumBJMk1sv (Accessed: 25 September 2016).
Blacksmith Story , as a simulation game, is developed by a famous Chinese Indie game developer, Liang Tiexin. The story is based on a fictional background; players will play the role of a forge house owner and forge weapons for heroes who are going to launch attacks on monsters. It also tells us the truth that one should sharpen his weapons if he wants to do a good job. The game is in a retro pixel style and was unanimously praised by domestic press as it released. As an Indie game, Blacksmith Story did receive good reputations. On March 2nd, 2015, it was offered and tested on shelve in App Store and was formally released on March 8th in the same year. In July 2015, it received Excellent New Games Recommendation on App Store. In August 2015, it received a Subject Recommendation of Retro Nostalgia Games. In September 2015, its Android version was offered. In December 2015, it was recommended as an Apple’s Best Indie Game served in China. In January 2016, it was recommended as Apple’s heated games for two weeks.
Blacksmith Story targets the domestic retro market and its target audience is experienced players that with a certain sense for games. This group of players is generally male adults aged 22~35, who have more requests for gameplay than for graphics and have certain experience and payment ability. Most of them are fans of the game console of the old generation, like NES, and this retro pixel style can primely recall them of the good old days. - Why could Blacksmith Story being recommended by Apple? Since Minecraft swept through the world, game producers who previously pursued superb graphics found out that gameplay and graphics have actually no relationship. Provided the gameplay was good enough, even if a pixel style could be ardently pursued. Pixel style games then became widely accepted by the industry and were increasingly coming into the market. Apple apparently found this trend, so they began to dig deeper in the retro nostalgia game market and launched new topics of retro games. But at that time, pixel games were not the hottest category in the App Store of China Area, and were lack of competitive products on the market. Thus, as a good-quality game itself, Blacksmith Story was more likely to be recommended. Games in pixel style offered at the same period with Blacksmith Story , like Adventures and Mining and Crusader Quest , were also recommended by Apple. - As a game in retro pixel style, Blacksmith Story has many excellent features: (1) Contains lots of inside joke Much of the hero’s image, dialogues, even articles are from the classic games, animations or film and television works, such as Final Fantasy , Dragon Ball , and even South Park . The players who have watched related works will give knowing smiles when they see these carefully prepared gifts. This design perfectly touched the main target audience so that they did felt warmth and a sense of identity. (2) Rich in gameplay and content The game has a very rich mechanism that can be mainly divided as forging mechanism, exploring mechanism, trading mechanism and combating mechanism. Players can obtain resources in exploring mechanism, compose formulation and forge weapons in forging mechanism. Selling weapons to heroes in trading mechanism will gain money to unlock relevant equipment. In combating mechanism, players should face with various levels that full of monsters, and the heroes will automatically attack monsters by the weapons brought from you. In the latest version, Blacksmith Story already has 209 kinds of weapons, 233 kinds of heroes, 68 different combating skills, 115 kinds of monsters and 160 levels. The abundant system and content give the game a high level of playability.
-Though Blacksmith Story worked very hard and conscientiously, it’s deficiencies are also obvious: (1) Not the more the better for game elements Though as a simulation game, Blacksmith Story was strive to come closer to hardcore games. There are too many weapons and skills that enlarge the learning costs. With the game going on, it’s hard to get through the levels if weapons and skills are not well collocated. Too many choices do not only confuse players, but also frustrate them. I think simplify the number of skills, match each weapon with a certain skill or feature, will not just decrease players’ learning costs, but will also extend players’ earlier tastes through the whole game experience and make them feel more comfortable. (2) Not clear enough guidelines of forging mechanism Forging is one of the core content of Blacksmith Story , while it still has a lot to improve in terms of the system. In games, there are no tips for already forged equipment. Though certainly “try your luck” may randomly offer different items for formulations—it often turns out to be a wrong one or duplicate one. In my opinion, the game can refer to the methods of Minecraft or Rogue Land . That offers a weapon preview when players fulfilled the forging position with items, or a question mark if there will be a new object haven’t forged before. It can also add a floor-capital-guaranteed mechanism, like promise a new formulation after tried 5 times. (3) Cannot aware of players’ growth As a simulation game, though players are playing the role of an owner of forging house, they cannot actually feel their own growth. No comments, no feedbacks, only passing levels time after time, these all make players lacking a sense of achievement. Though there are many heroes, they are all meeting by chance and cannot establish emotional connections with players. Blacksmith Story seems more like a hodgepodge that contains many traces of the foregone successful games but no fun can be found in the core gameplay. In my submission, there can be a settled period that regularly summarizing and evaluating players’ trading conditions to award them according to their ranks so that they will clearly realize their reward of hard work. In terms of the heroes, it can settle a good impression record which will increase and may change the hero’s dialogues as the player use the hero more. In this way, players can clearly identify their growth and gain more happiness through the simulation. All listed above lead directly to the most important deficiency of the game—not funny enough. Thus, it can be recommended several times by Apple for maybe its sentiment, reputation, efforts and the shortage of similar products in the market, it was not that popular in foreign markets.( By the end of 21:30 on September 24, 2016, there was still no feedback on App Store of South America. According to the rule of Apple, if an App has more than 5 feedbacks, it will be displayed. ) - About the Background Story “In Act one, we set up the story. First showing the normal lives of the characters… then moving to some dramatic event that shifts the character out of normal paradigm of life… this dramatic event set up the storyline questions which most of the rest of the story will be spent resulting.” (Extra Credits, 2012) Blacksmith Story is based on a fictional world. A kingdom once in peace was now threatened by monsters, so that heroes poured to pick up their weapons to defense the country. However, as the continuous invasion of monsters, weapons were decreasing, so the king offered a big prize for weapon-producers. The player was settled as an ex-hero who realized the business opportunity and brought a forging house to forge weapons for heroes that are to attack monsters, also to get rewards by giving a hand to victory. Similar to most JRPG settings, weapons that can be forged are all cold weapons, like daggers, swords,
spears, hammers, etc.. To continue the games, one can add relevant heroes, skills and equipment referring to the settings of swords and sorcery. It also agrees with the game’s background and is not too unexpected. - In the art aspect: Blacksmith Story , as an Indie game, its pixel arts are fairly fine, while its style is sufficient to the backgrounds. But compared to the big works in the same field, it still has some shortages. However, the main problem of the art of game is the low recognition of elements. “It would be bad for the player to get stuck trying to figure out the puzzle-solving purpose of something with purely aesthetic value. As we went along, I got more disciplined about eliminating stuff that might distract or confuse the player.”（(Hellman, 2008)） Although it is an art examine and weight of puzzle game from David Hellman, an Art Director from Braid, it can be employed universally—you cannot puzzled players—players should intuitively understand where the interactive area is, while other place is just background. Apparently, Blacksmith Story did not fix this out. Elements in the main scene have various color gamut and depth, while the foreground and background are not clearly separated. Disunities of the art style deprived it’s artistic and lowered the recognition as it integrated. - In the level aspect: The degree of difficulty in Blacksmith Story is relatively smooth. It’s settled from easy to difficult and test players’ matching ability of heroes and weapons as the game goes on. But there are still two problems: (1) The lacking of plots In the Hollywood superhero movies, there will always be a villain as the main contradiction that leads throughout the film and promoting the growth of plot. It’s also true to games. Like Koopa King in Super Mario Bro , Malroth in Dragon Quest , Sargeras in World of Warcraft , the final boss’s extinction will help players clarify the ultimate goal so that they will continuously fight for it. But in Blacksmith Story , players do not know what they will face in the end. Lacking the plots leads fewer passions and less sense of achievement for passing through the checkpoints. I think the main storyline can be improved, like states how evils invaded the once peaceful and prosperous kingdom. It can also stimulate the challenging desire of players by adding a distinctive boss at the end of every 10 levels, a final boss with story settings after all levels. Also, the subsequent levels that designers want to extend can be released in DLC. (2) Too long and tedious as the post process of game For the fighting are automatically carried, players cannot do any operations on heroes in the course of combating. However, as the game goes on, monsters’ health point will increase proportionally. Then the game process may seem too long and boring.
- Overall: Looking to the future “Some game are all about nostalgia. They remind us of the good old days. The days before Microtransactions , Military Shooter and Massive Updates .”(Mark Brown, 2016) There is a broad market for retro nostalgia games, and there do are successful commercial games like Adventures and Mining . Domestic games ever declined for piracy, but now those groups of players already have jobs and can afford the games they like. Retro nostalgia games primely aroused their crush in good old days. So maybe, that is the sentiment.
Bibliography Extra Credits (2012) Extra credits: Amnesia and story structure. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=bIQ6yWptvfA (Accessed: 27 September 2016). Hellman, D. (2008) The art of Braid index. Available at: http://www.davidhellman.net/blog/archives/40 (Accessed: 24 September 2016). Mark Brown (2016) Shovel knight and nailing nostalgia | game maker’s Toolkit. Available at: https://www. youtube.com/watch?v=rHhX5GtWNr8 (Accessed: 24 September 2016).
Game Mind Map
I draw and illustrate quite frequently, based on what I see and love. Here are some of my visual artwork. Most of them come from my spare time.
Portfolio of game design By Yejin Weng