Tag: aut

Game Research: Battleship ahoy

star-wars-gaactic-battleBattleship, or as  I have since learned the proper name, “Salvo” is the pen-and-pencil game also known as Battleships which the classic board game Battleship is based on.

The Rules. Quite honestly I have probably only played this game a handful of times, and it would have been on one of those ‘old school’ (because I really am that old) plastic board games with my cousin, because of the 50 odd games we had at home Battleship didn’t happen to be one of them. The one my cousin had wasn’t Starwars themed, but now I have seen this I really want one!

After doing a google I stumbled across a blog which listed how to play Salvo and where to download the paperboard from. So big thanks to Boardgames.about.com, in particular, Erik Arneson who posted the rules.

So to the best of my understanding, you need two players, a piece of paper with the board printed onto it (you can do that here) or some graph paper, or just be really good with a ruler and follow the image below.

The goal is super easy: sink your opponent’s ships before they sink all of yours. Easy right? Well, apparently not. Because you need to call out coordinates and hope that your ‘bomb’ will blast their ship, and depending on how big you draw you graph will depend on how long it will take.

Battleship game boardSetting up the board, if you are not downloading the gameboard and printing it out you’ll need to both draw yourself two 10×10 grids on your paper and then label with letters across the top (A to J) and numbers down the side (1 to 10). One of these grids are yours and the other one represents your opponent.

Place you ships, you have four of them. A five-space battleship, a four-space cruiser, a three-space submarine and a two space destroyer. What you can’t do is place your battleships diagonally, they must all be horizontal or vertical.

How to play. You take turns calling out a coordinate on the grid, ie, A5, or C6 until you start to hit your opponents ships. If you hit your opponents ship they will say “Hit”  and “miss” if it’s a miss, then you can mark off whether that square was a hit or a miss and eventually work out where all the ships are. Once a ship has had all its squares hit, it’s out of the game and you have to say “You sank my ship” or something along those lines.

The winner is the first person to person to sink all their opponents ships.

Our assignment

battleship2We have been asked to change the rules of Battleship, play it out and see how it affects the gameplay. We decided to modify the game based on the short amount of time we had to play. So if you got a hit on a battleship, the next turn would give you a spreading bullet that would hit the coordinates in a diagonal line to the left and right.

the effects of this speed up the gameplay but also made it slightly more confusing as we had more crosses to plot at every turn.

I think we will stick to the traditional game rules for now, but this has been quite a good exercise in helping me think more like a game designer for the preparation of making my very first platform game with Contstruct2.

 

Undertale, a review.

Undertaleidiot

How to sum up Undertale, well I personally found it frustrating and annoying but at the same time oddly mesmerising. Undertale is a 2d Platformer that took me back to the games of my youth and had me reminiscing on our old Amiga 500. To be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t really classify myself a ‘gamer’ and if my ten-year-old son wasn’t standing behind me excitedly hoping from one foot to another (He’s played this one before) offering me helpful advice on how to progress in the game I would have given up before I ran out of HP (Health Points).

First impressions. It didn’t take long for me to understand the tone of this game and the path it would follow as evidenced by the above picture. But I stuck with it so I could at least say I gave it a good shot. I felt like this game was designed by a teenage boy who would delight in the fact that I was finding this game so annoying.

What I really liked. I have to give credit where it’s due, so on the pro list would be the interface. Right at the beginning you’re given the control options and reminded again during gameplay. I actually wrote the instructions down because I have a terrible memory but it’s a nice feature. The level structure is good, where you are led through the first obstacles before you are set out on your own.

What annoyed me. It might just be the fact that I wasn’t in the mood to play games but being stopped every few minutes to fight something, or having to randomly walk into an invisible wall over and over really detracted from the gameplay.

Game Play. I liked the game controls although I kept trying to use the mouse. I suppose I am very conditioned to be using my mouse to play games. There were  few problems when ‘fighting’ characters were I wasn’t sure how to back out and ‘take mercy’ on the opponent. My inability to figure this out early on the game was probably what led to my downfall. I enjoyed the cute pixelated characters and environment which I found very kitsch. The music also put me in a mind of old school games like The Secret of Monkey Island and the Lemmings.

The nitty gritty. So, this game annoyed me. What mechanics are responsible? I’d have to say the repetitive seemingly pointless tasks, like falling into hole after hole, then being forced to have a pointless conversation with another character that is supposed to be helping you. I’m not going to lie, I was hopeless at this game. To start off I thought I was doing OK, but about five minutes after my son went to play with the neighbour I managed to loose all my HP and the game was over. However, the good news is I only  have to go back and redo from the last save point.

“The best part of this game is watching someone else play it, because you get so annoyed and thats funny!” Ethan – 10 years old.

I can understand the appeal of this game, so for the low cost of $11.99nzd on Steam you have yourself quite the legitimate bargain if you enjoy this type of platform game. Am I going to play this game again? If I am to be totally honest, probably not, but my son probably will so consider that a win Undertale! I’m giving Undertale a solid 6 out of 10, because even though it’s not my cup of tea it entertained my kids while I played it.

Purchase your own copy of Undertale either on their website or on Steam!