Project Condors is a semester long team at Carnegie Mellon University Entertainment Technology Center (ETC). We are working on pioneering and prototyping a new way to enjoy the game of basketball; capturing the essence of the game and re-imagining it in an easily accessible way.
This project is in conjunction with Visual Concepts, the studio responsible for NBA 2K, the world’s best basketball simulation game franchise. Through NBA 2K, Visual Concepts has already explored a variety of different game modes including head-to-head, story-based, card collecting, and more. Thus, we pitched our new ideas to them, and have been prototyping the selected designs to provide a more out-of-the-box type of game.
Omar Cheikh-Ali: Our team’s producer. He has design and production experience to contribute to the project.
Swapnil Mengade: Our team’s programmer, interested in learning more about the game development pipeline as an engineer.
Healthy Moeung: Our team’s artist, bringing experience in 3D modeling and character design.
Julian Ochoa: One of our team’s game designers, he’s interested in working closely with our programmers and learning more about prototyping through script.
Xinyu (Mimi) Wang: Our team’s UI/UX designer, also bringing experience in 3D art and visual effects.
Xuejun (Sally) Wang: One of our team’s game designers/programmers. She brings experience in both of these areas to our project.
OPSP: Ongoing Problems, Solution Possibilities
Ongoing Problem: Passing
Solution Possibilities: Ranged pass, draw electricity line between two, interpret "Interceptino"
Ongoing Problem: Some players want "Autoglide", but John wants to float on fan over and over
Solution Possibilities: Large vertical collider on fan,
Ongoing Problem: No layup
Solution Possibilities?: 3-point arc trace to ride up wall
Ongoing Problem: No visual feedback for speed
Solution Possibilities: dive bomb lines
Ongoing Problem: like rubber band
Ongoing Problem: We couldn’t figure out how to combine our controls and mechanics meaningfully. (edited)
Solution Possibilities: Always Rising, soft rumble resistance of controller to portray “energy” RT to dive when want to go “down” and heavier rumble
In collaboration w/ Sally Wang
March 25 1:10 PM (Gearbox)
What does ”X” do?
Directionally, does this tell me where my teammate is? No, the ball is
Almost had it, then thrown away
I have both a red and a blue trail, confusing arrow color
What's the magic to getting in the basket?
Tryng to get
Only watched Rocket League, still no way to jump, wants to jump (even if its a smaller one)
Feels like fighting against ramps
Continuing on a path, but the camera (preference would be moving forward in the direction you’re looking (like Warthog in Halo)
Frustrating: Camera/Movement, or Want to “jump” kept hitting “A” wanting to jump
Wants some sort of attack, or a boost, or a way to “pace” as a player then “drive”
Wants a rechargeable “boost”
Want more friendly interactions with teammates
March 25 1:40 PM (ETC Alum)
“How can I jump”
“This is the goal?”
“How do I go forward”
“How do I steal the ball”
Camera adjustment is wonky
Unsure of how to score
Camera turning around is a challenge
They are engaging with stealing the ball
They aren’t sure who is their partner
Now it’s getting competitive (They kinda know the controls)
I wish there was more than one way to acquire the ball
“I’m in the goal, just give me the ball”
Moving left was not going forward
Boost Towards the ball was disorienting
The difficulty of the game is not skill, we’re taking away skill with the mapping
Cannot move anyway with the joystick
X Boosting with the ball
Follow rocket league, point to the ball don’t boost
Stealing should be automatic (Knocking out is good, but you should acquire it instantly)
Split screen too busy (each character should be more indistinguishable)
Visuals should be stronger to point to where you shoot (self-shoot can happen)
They thought they could instantly score themselves
“I wish I could go through the basket”
Sound always helps
When someone scores, the screen should merge to show the winner
How do you win? (Time or score first?) What is the objective?
We want feedback
Movement (is the ball always bouncing) > How to reach columns? How to get up?
Can the playfield be more dynamic?
ShotClock (field tilts and you tilt too)
Quidditch (The field can take you out. More than one objective. Defense or more ways to get the score up)
Team part sucked lol. Passing
Throw the ball and show the area it’s coming to somehow. They need feedback to show where it’s going. Anticipate the area it’s going to reach to.
Ramps > Going down the ramp is frustrating
Constant bouncing reminds you of basketball (give player control to the bounce. Don’t give a super bounce)
Room to pass is fun
Fun to watch when they figure it out
Interaction social dynamic fun
Feedback of the scoring will be rewarding
Going up the ramps
Slam dunk FIFA tricks would be fun
Getting the arc would be good
Slow motion when the ball is close to the basket c to give tension
Simplify the world and build it with feedback
Nice light nice texture
Different states of the ball
The boost could be limited because it’s satisfying
Boost is called “overclock” so you’re faster
March 18 4:12 PM
Difficulties trying to glide
The beams are in the way
Children took a while to understand how to dive
The diving is being used in a way to dive into the goal. These playtesters seem to miss their goal by diving past it.
We need to find a way to make it fair (someone is in the lead, it’s hard to catch up)
Once they get the hang of it, they seem to be enjoying himself
Rolling and falling look like they’re just rolling sometimes.
Frustrating for children when they are behind, however they feel excited when they figured out the control.
The younger child forgets to glide when he dives and when he glides he forgets to dive
Once they get the hang of it, they do have fun.
“Scoring on my color is weird”
Thumb hurts (RT for glide instead)
Hard to get up in the air (Fans)
Hard to start from sitting. Thought he could just bounce.
Remembering the layout is good
March 4 4:00 PM
Version: Gliding, Diving,
Observations: Didn’t know who is who
Am I stuck here?
How do you move up?
Oh, I think I get it.
Why can't I score?
I can’t move up.
I want to move up.
OOOOOHHHHHHHH I think I understand.
I should be able to change my camera viewpoint.
Where is the Green pipe?
Do you go to the same target?
What is the most frustrating thing?
Don’t know how to float up, I don't know if I need to speed up first
Took too long to understand controls
Floating up too slowly
Constant upward speed instead of a big dive.
Can't see scoring tube at the beginning
Found tube after too long of the game’s progress
Only slow on the ground
Don’t know which tube can be a score vs. which cannot
Too slow all around. From gameplay to mechanics to interactions.
Core mechanic of flow is fun
Flying is fun
The float is fun to score
Feels like Zelda (Paraglider, Julian assumes)
Reminds me of Metroid Prime morph ball <-Apparently, momentum builds up speed really fast
Want to use Right Stick to adjust Camera Angle
Want to get a boost on meter instead of having to bounce to the ground all the time
All obstacles, but they feel more like blocks rather than “helping” me
No risk, no reward
Maybe speed boost after landing on pillars, but not that rewarding
Took me a while to understand that the ground changes color
The relationship between the ball and… the others is unclear
No defending own color?
Speed is too slow
For relying on Physics, momentum missing is a big problem
Gliding is not changing in verticality the way gliding actually should
Needs to have a speed change between gliding and not gliding, for now, both feel like same speed
Way to stop other players from scoring?
Moving too slow or progression too slow? What kind of slow? No interaction between players.
What are you doing? Verbs?
Control your ball, jumping through trying to beat others to get the higher score.
Control ball to go through rings
Feel like “Defending” should’ve been a verb.
Want interactions between players.
Very hard to hit other balls.
What controls do you have?
Rolling, Accelerate, dive, glide,
Which one am I?
Are we supposed to go through the hoop?
Tina: How is everyone flying?
No idea how to fly up.
Brian immediately understood controls, Tina did not.
I don’t know how to score!
Tina thinks beams are for some greater purpose rather than just for guidance.
“I think they’re just obstacles.”
What is the most frustrating thing:
Getting into the hoop
Max: not seeing others beat him to the pipe
Tina: Didn’t know where the hoop was at first (maybe an arrow that could follow to goal)
Brian: Kept jumping and eventually found the hoop
Can’t find how to get high enough to the hoop
Can’t figure out how to go higher
The beginning of the game, couldn’t figure out that there was a Boost button, but once figured out how to control the ball, beams were preventing him from going higher and actually stunting his progress.
Competition between players
Deeper you dive, the higher you can get
Like simplicity, but catch-22 because of no interactions
Tina: ball thing is really cool, Ball looks cool, diving is really cool
Wanted to do but couldn't:
Tina: Everything, wanted to see a direction or way to go,
Brian: Hit players, stop players effectively from scoring, for now, its just a race
Wanted to affect other players, maybe interrupt them in their scoring process
Max: Where will I land?
Brian: Gravity feels weird, gets that its a ball, but it doesn't react like a basketball. Not that bouncy,
Tina: Want NBA sounds in the background, audio feedback
: Color of pillars so as not to confuse players, these pillars are the same color as the player balls, so lead to believe that they function as something, when, in reality, they don’t
What are you doing:
Tina: Basketball who is competing with other balls to score points first based on whatever color the floor is
Verbs and what they do:
Fly, Rush, Dive,
How do they change your
Want to change the camera angle
When I go up, I hit a pillar above my head
A way to know if something is above my head
Showed up an hour late
What’s the objective?
I guess you hold A.
Really need to be able to adjust the camera
Don't like how you can’t see up
Fell down too fast
What is frustrating:
Didnt understand rules of how to jump and glide
Didn’t feel intuitive
Bounce in the air isn’t accurate
Still, don’t know what rules are, only got height accidentally
Doesn’t understand the gravity of the world
Doesn’t understand the rules of the world
Blocks in between don’t mean anything
What do blocks even do?
Changing directions was sort of weird
No control, meaning, not able to decide where I want to go, understand glide, but unsure on what is happening, sometimes a button serves more than one purpose.
Become too overpowered when in air, too underpowered when on ground
When falling, not enough control
Like flying, once up there, fun to keep tapping and going,
Like the ball, the spinning is neat
Like the controlling once gliding, but theres parts I dont like about it
But like the gliding and flying around
Wanted to do but couldn’t:
Move the camera
Wish you didn’t have to keep holding down A
Wish you couldn’t jump in the air
Wish there was more clarity on where you can jump and how it will effect you
Still can’t describe how to move a character
Describe what you are doing:
“Playing Basketball, I am ball trying to dribble myself into a sideways hoop, performing three-pointers based on how I hit the hoop”
“Trying to spin a ball into hoops”
Just figuring out where you are,
So little interaction between each other, that it doesn’t matter where they are going
So much finesse required from moving your ball, that it isn’t necessary to know where everyone else is
Version: Not reset energy after scoring.
Observations: Players can shoot from anywhere, if you get past a defender, you are already at the hoop, the orbs are not necessary/not placed in the right position, there wasn’t a lot jumping, no stop and think
Feb. 20th Afternoon
Adjust the number that each action takes from energy.
Regenerate energy resources
Bombs that are thrown through a hole?
Not hoops, through windows, if giant buildings
Feb. 19th Evening
The camera moves with the ball
The camera looks weird when not starting in center
Mid-air steal was exciting
Depth is still too much
Frustrating because the ball is always with someone else?
Make court shorter depth
Energy Resource (should dodging a player add some energy to bar? How do we reward players for doing cool things? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AEKbBF3URE )
Feb. 19th Morning
4 players, moving, sprinting, passing, shooting, without resources mechanism
Movement feels smooth
The ball trail added a lot to the game
Helps with recognizing ball position on the court
Player trail added a lot visually to game
Makes motion feel visually important
There is no reason to not sprint.
Sometimes players shoot immediately after they get the ball
Add resources system into the game. (Consuming resources and collecting resources).
Differentiate the sprinting with normal moving more.
Adjust the camera angle and movement.
Narrative Design: Narrative structure, writing, editing, or evaluation of any of the above
Concept Creation: Draft client or internal pitches for a variety of game genres and RPFs