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Cyberland 2021

Building Virtual Worlds| Fall 2021

Cyberland 2021 is a two-week multiplayer platformer game design project me and my teammates made for the Building Virtual World class of the CMU ETC program.

Building Virtual World is one of the core classes of the ETC curriculum which requires students to get into group of 5 and build games/ experiences in a two-week time span. The most popular games of the semester will be selected and presented at the ETC Festival for all students and guests to play and enjoy.

In this assignment we were required to create interesting gameplay in two weeks using Kinect motion tracker, and we were able to achieve the goal by presenting Cyberland 2021 which is a multiplayer asymmetric co-op platformer. It was one of the most popular games during the ETC Festival.

Deliverables
​Time Span
Team

A multiplayer platformer where one player uses Kinect to help the other player go through the obstacles.

2 Weeks

Yutao Huang

Tilly Zuo

Hua Tong

Jerry Yu

Muru Chen

My Impact

01

During the Brainstorming phase, I came up with the idea of having one player using Kinect motion tracking to create a "gesture landscape", which later evolved into the core concept of our game.

02

I categorized the directions we can go with our initial idea and presented multiple game plans to the team for discussion

03

I also helped my team decide what kind of terrain we want to build and what interaction do we want for the players.

04

Designed all the levels based on the playtests and interim feedback.

 
 

Ideation

During the Brainstorming phase, I came up with the idea of having one player using Kinect motion tracking to create a "gesture landscape", and the other player will be shrunk to the be able to explore the landscape.

My teammates really liked this direction, so I started looking for more inspiration and tried to form a solid idea.

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Inspiration

With the mindset of making a multiplayer game, I was really inspired by platform games like Super Chicken Horse and Unravel Two.

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Directions

There were however more details to consider, but we only had two weeks to make the game. Therefore I categorized the directions we can by whether the game can be co-op or competitive and whether the experience is synchronized or not.

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Final Idea

Finally we've decided to make the game a co-op game with simplified interaction on player A, which is the platform jumper, and complexed interaction for player B, which is the "helper" using Kinect motion tracking.

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Player A

Player B

 

Designing Platforms

As the designer of the team, I researched over existing platform games and brainstormed a list of interaction we can have.

No collision with other platforms
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Laser Platform

"Invalid" Platform

Only physical collision, no operation
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Physical operation (Grip, drag.et)

Together we chose three kinds of interaction that we find interesting and also that we are able to finish within two weeks.

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Spring and Button

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Spinning Wheel

Terrains/ Interactions

I also helped my team decide what kind of terrain we want to build and what interaction do we want for character A.

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First Week Progress

Here is our first week's progress. We were able to finish the basic mechanism and the platforms we want for our game, but we didn't have a character B model and the stage design was really basic.

 

First Week Feedback

What We Did Well
  • Very engaging world, guests get a strong sense that they are getting better

  • The mechanism and level design naturally motivate guests

  • Even get frustrated after dying several times at the same spot, they just don’t want to give up

Needs Improvement
  • The "Invalid" platform is little vague, takes time to realize its functionality

  • Add checkpoints before potential fail spot -> need to know how hard the design is and also playtesting a lot

  • Think about interest curve (arm movement -> leg movement -> whole body engaged -> weird body gesture)

  • Clearer design language to demonstrate where can Character A stand upon

  • Camera movement need to be fixed (try using camera shift)

  • Make the beginning easier (add tutorial module)

Adjustments

The "invalid" platform is a little confusing, takes time to realize its functionality

The ​"invalid" platform was not obvious enough and can be misunderstood as notmal platforms

Therefore I made a new shader for the invalid platform, and when character B touches it, his body parts become darkened.

Add checkpoints before potential fail spot 

Camera movement need to be fixed

Originally we only had one stage and the camera is constantly following character A.

After the interim I came up with the new plan, which is to divide the scene into multiple stages and the end of the single stage would also work as the checkpoint.

Think about interest curve

Make the beginning easier (add tutorial module)

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Checkpoints

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Level Design

 

After the first week presentation, I started to focus on the level designs and created all the levels for the team.

Tutorial Levels

I first started with creating the tutorial levels. The core concept is to introduce one interaction at each stage.

The first stage is to introduce the basic interaction of the game, explaining that character A can jump onto character B.

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The second stage is to introduce the lasers, explaining that it can be blocked by character B.

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The third stage is to introduce the invalid areas. The player will have to find out that the right way to pass the stage is through the top.

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The Fourth stage is the last tutorial level. It is to introduce the wheel and the platform system and how it can be used in solving the puzzle.

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The fifth stage is to introduce the spring and the button system, and also explain that the button can be at a different location than the spring.

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Standard Levels

For all of the standard stages, I designed a standard way for the player to finish it, and the purpose is always to to "force" the player to make "stupid" and "awkward" poses.

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Final Video

 

Mood Board

Our mood board for the art concept

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Game Background 

Art I created for the first week

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Photos from the Festival

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