Tanks! Scratch Portfolio
It has been quite a journey. From the introduction to Scratch, to experimenting with the most basic building blocks and functions, to ultimately deciding what my project should be, the process was one of constant progression, even if one or two days were slower than others.
Scratch Game Reviews
Arrow Archer Review
The first game I am reviewing is called Arrow Archer and, like the name suggests, it involves the player taking control of a stick figure archer who must guide an arrow from one end of a level to another. Think Pac-Man mazes, or Legend of Zelda dungeons, or that helicopter game where you can only move up or down, but each level is only made up of one screen. Not that that is a bad thing. If the levels were longer, they would become rather frustrating to complete but as it is now, the perfect balance is achieved though you have to be a fan of this type of game to really sit down and explore the entire work. With a full working menu, background music, and a level select screen where additional levels are unlocked, the game as a whole is polished and well presented. I got the idea for my tank game being projectile based from playing this game.
Pong Pro Review
The second game I am reviewing is called Pong Pro and it's basically a very difficult version of Pong. Even trying the trick of hitting the ball with the very edge of the paddle to cause it to go towards the opponents very top or very bottom corner wasn't enough to get a score. This game was influential in my decision to create a tank game because it allowed me to understand that a too hard or too easy opponent was either frustrating or boring... and also I did not really feel like tackling artificial intelligence in my first Scratch project so I opted to create a two player game, one where the battlefield was more or less balanced. While Pong Pro is difficult, it too, like Arrow Archer, is a very polished, well presented game.
My Scratch Game
"Tanks! is a two player tank battling game. Find a worthy opponent to do battle with and start blasting away!" is how I like to think a marketing department would try and sell this game. Those two sentences summarize the game pretty well. After a screen with instructions appears on the screen for a few seconds, it then fades away and the level and two tanks appear. One player controls the blue tank and another player controls the red tank. Both players can navigate and fire in a full 360 degree radius. Bullets will not go through the various yellow blocks scattered about the level nor will they continue on through the edges. This allows both players to use the blocks as defensive positions. When one of the tanks is hit by an enemy bullet a message on screen stating "[color of tank] wins!" will appear. After a couple of seconds the screen will reset and the game resumes with both tanks back in their original starting locations. Figuring out how to get the bullets to follow in the direction the tank was pointing was done with the help of a tutorial explaining how to make a target game. Additional help from Dr.Jerz and my own trial and error pretty much cover the credits.
Usability Test Report
At first, playtesters were confused as to how to move their tanks. This was before the instructions were added to the start of the game. Once added at the start, playtesters quickly learned to move the tank but were still slow in figuring out how to shoot. The instructions do not explicitly say what each key does, so this is understandable. Another issue that arose from adding the instructions was that there are actually two sets of arrow keys on keyboards; one set by itself and another sharing the same keys as the numbers two, four, six, and eight. While one playtester was trying to move with the second set on the numberpad, the other playtester pointed out that they should use the other set by itself. This most likely had to do with more experience with games beforehand using the same controls. Once control issues had been sorted, the gameplay proved to be fairly balanced, the upper hand going to the one who could maneuver into better strategic locations. Watching a few rounds showed a variety of strategies being formed; rushing at the start, slowly moving around obstacles, or simply waiting for the other player to walk into a line of fire. A good indication that this game is on the right track is that the longer the playtesters played the game, the more fun they had due to their laughter and smiles.