Technical Workshop

The purpose of this class is to help you improve your architecture and design specifications, which are due this weekend. These are difficult documents, and the initial scores on them are often quite low. So make the best use of this discussion.

Architecture Specification

The primary thing that we want you to to work on in this session are your CRC tables and your dependency diagram. In fact, on Friday, we will ask you to present your dependency diagram as part of a critique sessions.

In working on these two activities, you should be able to answer all of the questions below. If you do not know the answer to a question, it means that part of your architecture is unclear, and you need to improve it.

CRC Tables

  • Can you identify the main controller class, the one that starts up the game?
  • Do any of the classes violate the model-view-controller pattern? Why or why not?
  • How does saved information get from the data files to the models?
  • How does information get from the models to the scene graph (or your custom render pipeline)?
  • How are you abstracting input so that it works on both desktop and mobile?
  • Are there too many classes? Too few? (This is a very hard question to answer)

Dependency Diagram

  • Is every element from the CRC tables represented in the dependency diagram
  • Is every collaborator in the CRC tables represented by a link (and vice versa)?
  • Is the graph planar? If not, can reorganize the diagram?
  • Does the diagram show how to break up tasks while minimizing meetings?

Design Specification

The programmers are going to be working on the architecture specification. But that does not mean that your work is completely separate from theirs. There is one major portion of the visual design specification that will influence the software architecture. That is the file formats. So we want you to spend a good amount of time in this section on that topic, working with the programmers. Then, you can split off and think more about your art style

File Formats

Programmers must be able to put in your assets into the game, and they cannot do this without knowing some specific details. Make sure you can answer the following questions:

  • How should the programmers use this file in the game?
  • What is the file type and extension?
  • What are the sizes (pixel) for the most common art assets? Is there a standard size?
  • What are the layouts of spritesheets? Is each animation its own image or are they combined?
  • Do certain color channels mean anything specific in image files?
  • Are audio tracks meant to crossfade or loop? How do you differentiate?
  • How is the volume level of individual audio tracks normalized?

Once again, if there is any doubt on these questions, confer with your programmers during section.

Art Style

Many of you have already started to think about your influences. We saw this in the design presentation for the gameplay prototype. So you you should think about how you would describe the art of your actual game. You should address the following questions:

  • What perspective will your game use?
  • How will the color palettes distinguish different features of your game?
  • What types of brush styles will your art use?
  • Will your art style be retro pixel art? Realistic? Cartoonish?
  • What types of animations will your game include?
  • Are there any programmatic art features, like shadow or fog effects?