Capstone Blog #8

Week 8: Improving a bit of everything

This week the team was all continuing work on our own areas of the game. Sean’s produced some great animations for the spider-tank, and some beginning environmental art for the machine beehive refinery level we’re constructing for the vertical slice. Nick R’s been hard at work engineering a 3D-space pathfinding system for the flying enemies. Nick O’s been keeping everything organized and running smoothly for all of us, and I’ve been working on improving the gameplay mechanics, as well as putting together a first-draft blockout for the level. This week’s the first one where we took two entirely different builds to QA in one week, so it’s felt like a tremendously productive sprint.

Our original plan for the week had Nick R. and I collaborating on figuring out a system to get the camera working more smoothly when the spider tank is clambering over uneven terrain, and then me programming the jump mechanic while he got the ground and air enemy AI working well at a base level. After we’d finished that I’d put together a basic blockout for the level, and we’d test that on Monday. With a resulting boost to team morale — or at least my own, I’m feeling quite good about where the game is at as of this week — I managed to smooth out the camera and get the jump working early in the week. With these changes in place we decided to test on Saturday as well, to get feedback on the mechanics changes before focusing more on the level blockout for Monday.

With Nick R. still hard at work getting the flying enemies to work right, I took the pipes Sean had made for the level and made the blockout for the level. Nick managed to get the air pathing for the flying enemies working, but both of us were working right up until the deadline for Monday QA, so we didn’t quite manage to combine the level and the flying enemies in time. Despite scrambling a bit to get the build ready for QA on time on Monday, I’m still quite proud of how the first draft of the level came together:


(The spider-tank is about as wide as the pipes, to give a general sense of scale).

Testing a level like this, with working enemies, has really made the game start coming together gameplay-wise, for me at least. I think we’re on to something good. My only concern is that I’m wearing too many hats as the Lead Designer / Gameplay Programmer / SFX Designer. I’ll continue to do so as long as I can continue to keep up, since the project benefits from it, and I’m enjoying it thoroughly.

Going Forward:

Tomorrow we’ll be presenting our official Transition to Phase 2 presentation, going from establishing the concept to proving the concept. After that, it’ll be a busy week of doing sound effects and a rework to the weapons system. I’ve been a little worried about getting the boss battle done alongside adequate smaller enemies, but after discussing it at some length with Nick R. I’m still pretty sure we can pull it off ell enough.

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