essay-video-game-design by ashrafp

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									                                        Clay Chastain - 1 -




 MCC 154 – Video Game Art & Design

            Final Project



The War on Drugs: A Doom Modification



            Clay Chastain

         Murdoch University

            22 May 2009
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In this paper, I will detail the process of imagining, designing, constructing, and testing a

video game modification on the Doom engine. The process, started in February 2009 was

completed officially on 21 May 2009, and the mod may now be downloaded freely at

http://www.vectortea.com/oweb/extras/twod.rar



VISION

       The initial vision of the game has always been clear: produce a Doom

modification that will have the player combating cartoon graphic versions of illicit drugs

in a fictional attempt to wage war on drugs directly. The goal was to get at the

demographic of Doom players in a comedic way to spread an arguably positive message.

The intention was more on the side of comedy, however, using Doom as a comparison to

drugs. This is in the sense that Doom’s monsters were demons, just as drugs are often

seen to be demons in popular media. For once, the player would be able to put his foot

down, and have a chuckle while doing it. The initial concept art proved to be a successs

in my eyes and I continued the style to three full monster replacements: the imp (blunt),

the soldier (syringe), and the shotgun soldier (bong). More about the technical side of the

vision can be found on the attached design document as the end of this paper.



CONSTRUCTION

       While I really enjoyed my idea of making Doom monsters into lethal drugs, the

construction phase was plagued with problems that pushed back the production side of

the mod for a long time. I had assumed that the Doom engine was relatively simple to

work with, but what I neglected to think about was the age of the engine; because of the
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older engine, finding working links and help on the internet was a struggle, not to

mention operating old DOS/Windows 3.1 programs on Windows Vista was impossible,

leading me to install Windows XP and use workarounds just to get programs loaded.

When I finally did, the support was low and getting sprites and data in and out of the

WAD storage files was overly complicated. For no reason whatsoever, the WAD files

would randomly select sprites to not load, while others worked fine. The solution was to

put indicator files into the PWAD to force the Doom engine to load these resources.

Unfortunately, the relative complexity of using such antiquated methods led to the mod

being compromised in terms of complexity. Where I had originally planned to do a fully

custom level with fully custom sounds and graphics, I had to use an existing Doom level.

I compromised by revising my story to fit the Doom location; thankfully the monster

sounds also are pretty generic bad guy noises and fit well enough.



REFLECTIVE SELF-CRITIQUE

       Overall, I do feel that the mod lived up to what I wanted it to be. The

compromises made it a lesser creation, but the original design doc’s goal was still upheld

and the game’s story works well if the existing Doom content. In fact, it might be better

than the original Doom story, which just threw a marine against demons on Mars. I like

the mod, but as its author, there is always more to do. I am glad I spent the extra time on

the menu assets which develop the game into something more unique than just regular

Doom. Hopefully, my goal is that the detail and complexity of the sprites used is actually

seen. Many sprites have different phases and expressions, but when the player is blasting

away with shotguns, it can be easy to get lost.
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USER TESTING

       In this aspect, I tested two users of an assumedly average FPS demographic

(Male, 18-24) to review the original game and my game. There were seven more open

ended questions that the player was to respond to via filling them in on Word after

playing. The results were fairly positive with users liking the new sprites and how they

worked within the game. Some of the problems were that details on sprites were not clear

enough to be seen, especially when blurred with modern OpenGL rendering. This made

the monsters hard to discern to the players. As well, it seemed like there should be

additions made to the introduction screen to give players a feel for the actual characters

and the story, instead of just the Doom logo and id Software credits.



REVISIONS & FINAL SELF-CRITIQUE

The solution to the problems encountered by the user testing was to add black strokes to

the sprites, as well as making certain parts larger or in different positions. The eyes, for

example, were changed to red so that the player could see them better. This is the same

technique that id Software used in their original sprites for eyes as well. As I noted

previously, the extra time I had after these problems lent me the ability to add the intro

backgrounds to explain the characters and the game. This was likely a large factor in the

player “getting” the concept better. The end vision definitely comes through and I feel

satisfied that the mod was created well, tested well, and finalized well. While certainly

more could have been done had time/technical abilities permitted, the goal of the game is

clear and evident in the user feedback. To confirm this, a third interview was conducted

with the updated game, and the previous problem was not mentioned.
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Appendix: Raw User Testing Results

SUBJECT 1 (21 May 2009, consent given 21 May 2009)
# How do you feel the game differs from the original game?
The monsters are now drugs and you fight them through the Doom levels.

# How well is the message conveyed by fighting drugs in the Doom engine?
It's conveyed fine and is seems accurate when fighting the different monsters.

# What factors, if any, make the game compelling?
The monsters are comical and fighting them is interesting.

# How can the game art be improved?
The monsters are a little hard to make out and there's no story that explains why you are
fighting drugs. Maybe make the monsters more easy to see their details from.

# Do the sounds fit well with the monsters?
Sounds are fine, they just sound like monsters.

# Is the level suitable for the storyline?
Not really sure what the storyline is except that you're fighting monsters that are drugs.
It's not mentioned in the game.

# What, if any, emotion does the game evoke (i.e. humor, sadness, anger, etc.)
It's pretty funny to shoot the cartoon drugs.

SUBJECT 2 (21 May 2009, consent given 21 May 2009)
# How do you feel the game differs from the original game?
The game is now about fighting drugs by shooting them, instead of shooting the demons
in the first game.

# How well is the message conveyed by fighting drugs in the Doom engine?
It makes sense that you are fighting the drugs and that they are bad because they attack
you. So it's conveyed well.

# What factors, if any, make the game compelling?
The monsters are funny looking and fun to fight and the idea of fighting drugs is positive.

# How can the game art be improved?
Kind of hard to tell what the monsters are until you look at them up close.

# Do the sounds fit well with the monsters?
They sound like evil monsters.

# Is the level suitable for the storyline?
Read the storyline from the paper and it fits the idea.
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# What, if any, emotion does the game evoke (i.e. humor, sadness, anger, etc.)
It's fun to play and you get tense when a lot of enemies are coming at you at once.


SUBJECT 3 (22 May 2009, consent given 21 May 2009)
# How do you feel the game differs from the original game?
The storyline, as well as the primary enemies, is entirely altered from the original
version. Instead of battling minions of hell as in the original doom, the player is now
engaged in an epic, hellish war on drugs. It's very timely.

# How well is the message conveyed by fighting drugs in the Doom engine?
It's rather well engineered. By actually shooting and engaging in conflict with the drug
type enemies, one feels like they are taking part in a war on drugs. It's very clear.

# What factors, if any, make the game compelling?
It is satisfying to know that you can enjoy the type of shooting gameplay that doom
offers, while serving a public duty in the war on drugs.

# How can the game art be improved?
As far as the graphics go, the images within this adaptation fit rather nicely with the
atmosphere of the original Doom. There could be improvements, but they wouldn't
reflect the nature of original game, and would look out of place.

# Do the sounds fit well with the monsters?
The original monster sounds remain with the new monsters, and do a great job of
animating the characters. They are fine.

# Is the level suitable for the storyline?
Absolutely. The industry-gone-wrong storyline works perfectly with the type of
environment that the Doom levels create.

# What, if any, emotion does the game evoke (i.e. humor, sadness, anger, etc.)
I felt nostalgic, and also felt that the nature of the game and the animation of the drug
monsters were rather humorous. It was a fun game.
                                                                 Clay Chastain - 7 -




                             Game Design Document:
                       The War on Drugs, a Doom Modification

                                                          Version 1.0, 20 May 2009
                                                                  By Clay Chastain
                                             For MCC154 – Video Game Art & Design
Table of Contents

i. Table of Contents
1. Game Overview
        I. Core Statement
        II. Goal
        III. Feature Set
        IV. Genre
        V. Target Demographic
        VI. Game Flow Summary
        VII. Look & Feel
        VIII. Project Scope
                 1. Levels/Locations
                 2. NPC’s
                 3. Weapons
2. Gameplay & Mechanics
        I. Game Progression & Mission Structure
        II. Mechanics
        III. Screen Flow
3. Story, Setting, and Character
        I. Back story
        II. Setting and Character
4. Game Art
        I. Character Concept Art & Style Guide
5. Secondary Software
        I. Editors
        II. Installers
6. Test Plan
7. Appendices
        I. Sprite List
        II. Other Art Assets
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1. Game Oveview
      I. Core Statement
              This is a Doom modification that changes the theme of the game to
              fighting against cartoon-style versions of illicit drugs, spreading a positive
              message to people across the world in a comedic way.

       II. Goal
               Players will experience the adrenaline of fighting in the war against drugs,
               feeling accomplished and helpful to society in a comedic way.

       III. Feature Set
            1. Monsters will be replaced with various illicit drugs in hovering cartoon
               style.
            2. Monsters include: Joint (solider), Syringe (shotgun soldier), Bong (Imp).
            3. A full level of drug fighting adventures.

       IV. Genre
              Action First Person Shooter with Humorous elements

       V. Target Demographic
              Male First Person Shooter gamers 18-24

       VI. Game Flow Summary
             Players move through menus to get to episodes where they battle through
             enemies to reach the end of the level, activated by a switch, where they
             move to the next level after that.

       VII. Look & Feel
              The game will use the existing Doom atmosphere to juxtapose cartoon-
              styled drug monsters that attack the player.

       VIII. Project Scope
                      1. Number of levels/locations: 1 map (although all Doom/Doom 2
                         levels are compatible)
                      2. Number of NPCs: 3
                      3. Number of weapons: Eight, all standard Doom weapons

2. Gameplay & Mechanics
      I. Game Progression & Mission Structure
             The player moves their character through a map fighting off drug enemies
             to eventually reach a switch which activates the subsequent level. Enemies
             are not required to be killed, but they likely will be to ensure the player
             does not lose their health. Health, armor, and weapon power-ups can be
             obtained to help the character reach the end of the level.

       II. Mechanics
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               The mechanics of this modification follow the same mechanics of the
               original Doom game and have, in large part, been described above.

       III. Screen Flow
               The only changes to this aspect are the two new menu backgrounds. The
               first of which is a title screen that introduces the characters. The second is
               the credits screen which has been replaced with a story summary and
               developer information. These help to enlighten the player about the nature
               of the modification.

3. Story, Setting, and Character
        1. Back Story
                The future is a dark place. Major government has fallen after the global
                depression in 2012 and drug trade has arisen as the only law. After years
                of constant abuse, the world is a myriad of industrial drug refineries full of
                highly mutated super drugs bent on taking over the planet and eliminating
                humanity once and for all. It is up to you, a straight-edge university
                student, to destroy the illicit drugs and restore order to the world.

       II. Setting and Character
                The setting is a “dark future” which is full of industrial drug facilities
                (which in this case, are the original Doom settings). The character is a
                “straight-edge university student” who wages war on the drugs.

4. Game Art
      I. Character Concept Art & Style Guide
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               Above represents the concept art that will be used to design the sprites in
               the final game. They are simplistic cartoons that clearly represent drug
               products.

5. Secondary Software
       I. Editors
               Three wad editors were used for various editing and testing purposes:
               1. Oblige – This program creates random WADs to test sprites with.
                  (http://oblige.sourceforge.net/)
               2. WinTex – A Doom texture extraction and insertion tool.
                  (http://www.gamers.org/addons/utils/deutex/)
               3. Doom Builder – A map editor, which, used in conjunction with Oblige
                  can be crucial for setting up sprites and observing them.
                  (http://www.doombuilder.com/)

               Adobe Photoshop CS2 was also used to produce the sprites for the
               modification.

       II. Installers
                To load the mod with the appropriate PWAD, Doomsday Engine, an
                OpenGL loader for Doom, was used to avoid complications with running
                Doom through DOS.

6. Test Plan
        Three users will be surveyed with the following seven questions after playing
        both the original and new versions of the game:
               1. How do you feel the game differs from the original game?
               2. How well is the message conveyed by fighting drugs in the Doom
                    engine?
               3. What factors, if any, make the game compelling?
               4. How can the game art be improved?
               5. Do the sounds fit well with the monsters?
               6. Is the level suitable for the storyline?
               7. What, if any, emotion does the game evoke (i.e. humor, sadness,
                    anger, etc.)

7. Appendices
       I. Sprite List
                1. Imp (Blunt)
                        Two forward sprites, one backward sprite, two injured sprites, and
                        five death sprites.
                2. Soldier (Syringe)
                        Two forward sprites, one backward sprite, two injured sprites, and
                        five death sprites.
                3. Shotgun Soldier (Bong)
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               Two forward sprites, one backward sprite, two injured sprites, and
               five death sprites.
II. Other Art Assets
        1. Title replacement screen with characters
        2. Credit replacement screen with story
        3. Menu cursor animation

								
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