Arachnotron Post-Mortem Part 3: Weapons and Focus

The extensive weapons system I wrote up a design for early this semester was a mistake. As lead designer, it was my job to keep the project focused on a unified vision, but I lost sight of that a bit when we had all these new people who’d just joined. I wanted to make sure everyone’s ideas were involved, but I lost track of keeping a tight focus on what made the game special around that time. As a team, we came up with ideas for different weapons and set-pieces that would be really cool, so I wrote many of them into the design documentation. We were still amazed we’d gotten so much done in the later half o the first semester, so it was very easy to over-scope now that our team was three times the size.

A good chunk of time was spent on creating a modular weapon system in the code for the spider-tank, but in the end we only went with the four different weapon types. During a visit from Karthik Bala, he gave us feedback that really helped us get back on course with the project. He told us that the wall-climbing mechanic was what really made the game unique, and that we should try to focus on that, make it the best we could make it. After that, I realized all these new weapons we wanted to add were tangential to the coolness of the wall-climbing, if not actively diluting it. I felt bad about cutting a part of the game that one teammate seemed so excited about working on, but I think in the end it was for the best. At this point if I could do it over again, I would have tried to come up with a more focused weapons system, that would’ve emphasized the wall-climbing rather than distracting from it.

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