Week 4 – Testing Pachinko and Voxatron

Posted on March 28th, 2012
by Jonathan Cecil

Interns Jonathan and Joshua return once more with some random game testing.

Last week, we forgot to mention that we were able to play-test Mark Essen’s prototype Pachinko game. In the current state of the game, it’s very generic aesthetically, but the systems involved that make the game what it is work perfectly fine. Much like how one would chance his luck on the slots of Vegas, Essen’s Pachinko game functions almost entirely alike. The player initially starts with 25 credits, and every play always deducts 5 credits from the player. There are three slot reels that rapidly spin downwards, which seemingly get progressively faster up to a certain point if the player takes too long to cast a reel. Clicking on the screen causes a reel to stop, beginning from left, to middle, to right. Pictures on each of the reels denote the possible credit score if the player manages to get two or three in a row. If the player achieves two or three in a row, a payout is given, causing a stream of coins to pour from the mouth of the machine. Stubs, which actively move around until all three rolls have been cast, will cause falling coins to bounce off in a different direction, and may possibly cause them to hit the floating 2x multiplier box near the bottom of the screen. Coins that fall into the box are worth 2 credits, while those that don’t are worth 1 credit. The game ends when the player is unable to pay the 5 credits needed to play again. However, pressing the ‘M’ key will award the player with 25 coins if needed, serving as a reset after losing.

And just recently, we tried out this other game under the title ‘Voxatron’, a 3D shooting game using models constructed out of small 1×1 dimension cubes, similar to that of Minecraft or your typical Lego products. Actually, you could imagine a shooting game made out of Legos. With robots and weird creatures. For being constructed out of cubic primitives, it is aesthetically appealing and easy on the eyes. It has a tilted HUD to give perspective of the digital spaces, allowing you to see that it’s clearly 3D even though the models would seem to derive from a 2D aspect. Space is to jump, directional arrow keys to move, and X or C is to shoot. Holding the shoot button also locks your direction, so you are able to strafe, backpedal and proceed as you shoot on the move. Fortunately, unlike in some games, backpedaling does not penalize you in any way since all movements are treated as moving forward in the desired direction.

Perhaps the most difficult aspect of the game to control for us was the key mapping of the in-game character. Because movement is based on the directional arrow keys, which for most boards are towards the right, and shoot is mapped to the X and C keys, it can handicap players who are used to using the WASD keys for movement, due to the location of the keys. This causes a hindrance of in-game performance with the unfamiliarity of the mapping.

That’s all there is for now. We’ll be returning to work on the final project based on Pachinko once again.