Thursday, October 15, 2015

We are now "Livin' It Up" - Final Blog Post

Final Blog Post for "Livin' It Up"
By Jon Lee

After weeks of modifying and deliberation, we were able to see our game come to fruition. From "The 1%" to “Livin’ It Up”, Bishoy's original proposal has undergone a multitude of changes. It may be a completely different game but all the changes were to make the game more enjoyable, balanced, and especially fun.

Our main issue for the final week, besides design, was balancing the powers of the Executives. Through our playtesting early this week, we found that some of the Executives were too powerful to deal with. Sun was Mark Zuckerberg and his power was that he could look at anyone’s card. So whenever it was Sun’s turn, he would pick Bishoy and looked at his hand every time. This gave too much power to Sun so we decided to limit Zuckerberg’s power to be used when every 2 Luxury Items are formed or if the player has yet to make a Luxury Item. This idea was used for Kim Kardashian’s power as well where she can get 2 coins whenever two Luxury Items are formed.

Another issue we found was from playtesting in class. Bishoy noticed that Chaos cards were not being used as much as we hoped. One problem was that the cards cost too much to buy if players wanted another card. We downgraded the price from two gold coins to one gold coin. Also, only two Chaos cards, on average, were used during playtesting (deactivate powers and 50% off negotiated deal). We made two of these cards and introduced new cards as well. We added Chaos cards that allow players to get more money, as suggested by classmates. One card we found redundant was taking one coin from the bank. We increased that value to two coins and added another card for three coins.

The last mechanic that needed improvement was our points system. Our first playtest in class had the Luxury Items be on the order of ten. As Professor Parks suggested, a scale of 1-6 would be easier for players to manage. Thus we changed our scale to 2-5. Also we assigned arbitrary values in the first playtest so we actually thought out how to structure the points value. If the Luxury Item required a rare Parts 2 Go card or if it required four items to create, it would be worth five points. We followed this trend for the rest of the items.

As per designing the cards themselves, a handful of suggestions were made from our playtesting. My original idea for the Parts 2 Go cards included the list of Luxury Items that can be formed with that particular card. As this was revisited by our classmates, Sun included that on the card. Another suggestion was to have a picture of the Luxury Item on the Parts cards and the Parts on the Luxury Items cards. We tested both designs and opted for just the name of the Luxury Item on the Parts card and just the name of the parts on the Luxury Items cards. Sun was able to take these ideas and make them a reality. The cards that he designed are clean and look professional.

Overall, we received great feedback from our classmates and took them into serious consideration. We made changes where necessary and could not be happier with the results. We cannot wait for the class to play with our final product.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Final Prototype Week - Making Last Changes

Final Prototype Week - Making Last Changes

Last week, we had the chance to play our game for the first time. We spent a lot of time during previous weeks working the mechanics of the game and ensuring that every part was fair and balanced. Everyone of our team had the responsibility of bringing in certain types of cards that would allow us to play the game.

As we played the game, certain problems came up and we took note of each one as we continued. Initially, we had some issues with balancing the draw of the parts 2 go cards at the beginning of the game. We wanted to avoid having too much "luck" in the game and instead, wanted each player to make strategic plays that didn't take too much time. To resolve this issue, we adjusted our original idea with the help of Professor Parks and made it so that each player starts out with four cards. Each player would choose 1 card and then pass the remaining cards to the player next to him/her. This would balance the draw of the cards and at the same time, would give each player an idea as to what luxury item their opponents are attempting to create.

Before playing the game, we decided to make extra Parts 2 Go cards so that in the end, not all the cards would be used. However, when we played the game, we realized that we made too many of a certain card and too few of others. This resulted in us having to "discard" multiple cards consecutively and that took a lot of fun out of the game. At the same time, we realized that a player could abuse the power to discard a parts card during the game. To fix this issue, we put a restriction on the discard play by only allowing a player to discard one card at a time for a fee of one gold coin. At the same time, we decided to make only the exact number of parts cards needed for all the luxury items. To compensate for the shortage of parts cards, we introduced new luxury items to allow the game to last longer and be more interesting. In this case, if a player decides to discard a parts card, he or she must place that card at the bottom of the Parts 2 Go deck.

Since last week, we have been able to meet outside the classroom to workout some last changes. We have assigned point values to each luxury item based on how many parts are required to form that specific item and the rarity of those parts. Additionally, we created some new chaos cards and balanced their powers. We also balanced the powers of the executives so that no one is too powerful or too weak. At the same time, we introduced a new feature where the executives can be activated or deactivated by other players. Finally, we decided to change the name of the game. Originally, I designed this game to satirize the super rich (mainly Floyd Mayweather). However, as our game progressed, we introduced new characters like Donald Trump and the Kardashians, so our game was no longer mainly focused on Mayweather. As a result, we decided to rename our game Livin it Up. This name characterizes our game well and fits perfectly with our overall theme.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Blog 3 - Detailed Settings and Layout Design

Blog 3 - Detailed Settings and Layout Design

In order to come up with a playable version of the game, we started the detailed design this week. The most important task was completing the "luxury items" list and "pats" list. As discussed last week, to make the game more playable, most of the "parts" must be used on more than one luxury items. Otherwise, the game would be all about luck. So we made a list of 11 luxury items and tried to write a list of parts based on that. Why 11? This game is designed to be a 3-5 player  game. The game ends when all the luxury items are created. A prime number of items can insure that players won't have the same amounts of items at the end.

To make more parts compatible with more luxury items, some parts are more like basic materials such as gold and water. The game is supposed to be a parody game that makes fun of the super rich and we thought these cards were a little too serious. So we added some random things in the list. They can still be used on multiple items though.  For example, "Nicolas Cage" is one of the "parts". You can use him to make a golden Oscar statuette with Nick Cage's face. Or, you can put him in your very own NBA team along with other players. He can also serve as a member in your exotic animal zoo.

After completing the "luxury items" list and "parts" list, the next challenge for us was deciding the abilities for each character. In our game, they are called "executives". This was not an easy job because there were so many factors to consider. Firstly, the abilities cannot be too powerful or too weak for the sake of balance. Secondly, the abilities must fit the characters in some ways so we have a little story in our game. Thirdly, we still had "initiate chaos" cards design so the abilities cannot overlap the effects of those cards. By the end of our discussion, we had a list of five executives, just enough for our players.

During the class discussion, the professor pointed out that the mechanics of the game still depended on luck. If we want to make the game more strategic, the players must know more about their opponents so they can make better judgement. We thought the character selection rules in the game Citadel was very interesting as each player knows some information about the characters in the following round. So we did a similar design with the parts card. Now players can know a little about what parts other players have so they can come up with better strategy to win the game.