These are three first-person adventure games I produced in 2010 and 2-11 using the Mission Maker game engine engine. The games IS1 and IS2 combined educational tasks related to electricity with an adventure quest. Inception Paradox was part of a student promotional activity. It involves collecting clues, battling aliens and solving a puzzle. Misson Maker is a game engine produced by Immersive Education (creativeedutech.com/products/missionmaker). It is very buggy (no patches, updates or upgrades have ever been issued), has lots of limitations and is somewhat expensive, but it is the only software I know that allows you to make 3D computer games without having any programming knowledge. It is a flawed, but unique software programme. The exported games, however, can be played on a free software programme called MissionPlayer.
1. Inception Paradox Game
This is a Mission Maker game that I produced as part of a larger activity. The students in our school’s IT team and English Awards Scheme (a kind of English club) created an insanely difficult thirty-five level game called Inception Paradox to test students’ knowledge of computer applications. To help them out, I created this game (which was Level 28).
1.1 Download Instructions
This is a zip file containing four files:
a) MissionPlayer: player.exe
This is the free software used for running the game (You need to install this first. Just click on the MissionPlayer icon)
You can also download the player from: mission player (zipped file)
b) PlayMission file: inception.PlayMission
This is the game. Open Missionplayer and then select ‘load game’. Choose the PlayMission file. Wait for a few minutes while the game loads, and then press play.
You need to find the final clue hidden within the safe before time runs out (or before you are killed). During the game itself, you will need to find three clues. These will help you make the right decisions at the end of the game.
This is a JPEG file telling you how to move within the game and how to do things like jump or crouch. If you haven’t played a MissionMaker game before, you should review these guidelines
d) Readme.txt: The above instructions as a text document
Windows 7 Users: If you find the images in the game appear randomly, you may need to adjust the setting. Try right-clicking on the MissionPlayer software icon. Select ‘Properties’ then choose the ‘Compatability’ and choosing Windows XP Service Pack 2.
1.2 Game Production: Music
The game contains the following music from the film Inception and its trailer.
- Mind Heist by Zak Hemsey
- 528491 by Hans Zimmer
- Dream is Collapsing by Hans Zimmer
- Je Ne Regrette Rien sung by Edith Piaf
Usually when I make these games, I produce my own music. However, to suit the Inception theme of the whole 35-level game, I used background music from the film and trailer. I replaced the music for the video with Summit by Gary Ames. This song is part of my free background music collection.
1.3 Game Production: Images (Spoilers)
If you are wondering about who all those people in the portrait gallery are, you can refer to the following list (they are all magicians, thinkers or gods). Starting with the portrait on the left as you enter the room and going in a clockwise direction, the portraits are of:
- Morgana Le Fey: Arthurian witch (still from the BBC series Merlin, feature Katie McGrath)
- Nepythys: Egyptian goddess of the night and protector of the dead
- Søren Kierkegaard: Danish philosopher
- Hypnos: Greek god of sleep
- Prospero: Magician in Shakespeare’s The Tempest
- Carl Jung: Swiss psychiatrist
- Harry Houdini: Magician and escape artist
- Nyx: Greek goddess of night
- Ching Ling Foo: Chinese magician
- Dumbledore: Harry Potter’s mentor (as played by Michael Gambon)
- Albert Einstein: Scientist
- Morpheus: Greek god of dreams
- Epona: Celtic goddess of dreams and protector of horses
- Sigmund Freud: Austrian psychiatrist
1.4 A Look Inside the Game Engine: Using Spatial Volume Triggers (Spoilers)
If you have tried using Mission Maker, you may wonder about how some of the rules were created. For example, in the final room, the player must click on the three correct portraits. If any other portrait is selected, the safe will not open. When using MissionMaker, you can usually only set rules stating what will happen if ONE condition is met (e.g., FEMALE will say GO AWAY if FEMALE is CLICKED). However, if you use spatial triggers you can set rules stating what will happen if several conditions are met (in this game, the safe will only open if the player selects the three correct portraits AND does not select any other portrait). The following steps show how this rule is created (if you don’t know what a spatial trigger is, you can refer to this vieo tutorial:
- Set up an empty room that is not connected to any other room (it will not show up in the exported game)
- Put three pick-up objects (I used batteries as they are quite small, but any pick-up object will do) on the floor in the middle of the empty room. For each object, go to the properties tab and gave each object a weight of 10 and I set the state of the object to ‘inactive’.
- For one of the objects, create an action rule stating that the object will become active if one of the correct portraits (e.g., Portrait A) is clicked. Repeat this process for the other two object/portrait pairs.
- Put a cylindrical spatial trigger volume on the floor in the empty room, covering the three pick-up objects.
- Click on the safe (or the object/character you want to work with) and create an action rule (select Actions – Open – Spatial Trigger – Select the Spatial Trigger Volume – Accumulated Wight ) stating that the safe will open if the total weight of objects insde the cylindrical volume trigger is 30. Thus, the safe will open only when all three objects in the cylinder have become active.
- Click on the volume and set an action rule stating that the cylinder will become inactive if Portrait X (one of the incorrect portraits) is selected. Create the same rule for all the other incorrect portraits. After this is done, if an incorrect portrait is clicked, even though the combined weight in the cylinder may equal 30, the cylinder will disappear and the condition for opening the safe cannot be met.
A similar kind of arrangement was used for blowing up the library door. The door will only blow up if 1) the player shoots the dynamite. 2) the dynamite is placed in a spatial trigger volume in front of the door and 3) the dynamite has not been taken out of the spatial trigger volume.
The following video shows the game being played from start to finish:
2. IS1 and IS2 Games
These are first-person 3D computer games produced using the MissionMaker game engine. They were designed to help Form Two (Grade Eight) students at SKH Lam Woo Memorial Secondary School revise concepts related to electricity. In each game, students have to complete a couple of science-related tasks (e.g., sorting conductors and insulators). After that, they can start hunting aliens. The first game ends when the player rescues a prisoner. The second game ends when the player returns photographs of the aliens’ invasion plans to the control room.
2.1 Downloads (Right click and Save As)
- MissionPlayer (zipped file): This is the free software used for running the games
- PlayMission files: These are the games (click on the link to download it)
a) IS1 (zipped file)
b) IS2 (zipped file)
- Download the MissionPlayer software
- Install the MissionPlayer software in your computer.
- Download any PlayMission games you would like to play (right click and ‘save as’).
- Unzip the downloaded PlayMission game. (The unzipped files have the extension .PlayMission)
- To play games, it is recommended that you open each PlayMission game directly from Windows Explorer or the Desktop. The MissionPlayer software will start automatically.
For the Game IS1, I produced pictures of circuit boards (such as the one in the second screen shot) using a program called Virtual Labs: Electricity.
2.2 Walkthrough of IS1
The following video shows IS1 being played from start to finish:
2.3 Game Production
One challenge when using MissionMaker to make games, however, is that creating the rules that govern game-play is time-consuming. Still, the rules are quite easy to set up (e.g., If Player is inside Hall3, Alien4 will Seek and Destroy Player] and no programming skills are required. The MissionMaker game engine was designed for junior secondary students, so it is relatively easy to use.
To make the games more exciting I added music. There are primarily loop-based compositions (built up from sound clips) with a few parts added using a keyboard.The first version of the games had videos, but these seemed to make the games unstable and they were always crashing.
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