This week we have been working on our latest prototype to test both at the ETC as well as at GDC. In this build, we have been testing the beginnings of team play – taking feedback from how playtesters wanted to interact with each other in-game, and observing whether or not gameplay was in line with what we desired.
In this build, we can see the two teams competing for the ball (which is the purple particle effect), and dunking it into the opposing team’s hoop. The method to do this, is through launching off of the ramps, and hovering/diving to score or steal possession of the ball.
The biggest positive feedback that we got was that the movement felt good and seemed like a good basis for a game. People enjoyed launching off of the ramps as well as colliding to steal the ball. On the flip side, one of the biggest technical issues we need to address is getting the camera to feel right to the players. In addition to this, now that we’ve added team play functionality, we’ve opened up a whole slew of new design questions with regards to how to best present information to players such as the locations of the ball, teammates/opponents, score, time, position in space, etc.
In the coming week we plan to iterate on the level, as well as place more emphasis on player interactions. After all, how players interact will determine the level of competition they feel in real life with each other.
In addition to this presentation, we are currently planning for the upcoming spring break and GDC week – prioritizing feature backlogs. First on the list is to begin designing multiplayer experiences, exploring the interactions between teammates and opposing players. The current build we have is focused on a free-for-all mode with very little player interaction; this includes stealing, passing to teammates, other team play/strategy, which we want to boost all of in our next build.
Over the break we plan to build another prototype that begins to explore this. Work will be at a more relaxed pace, but we plan to test this build on Monday at the ETC, and Tuesday at GDC.
This week we have committed to fully pursuing our pivot in the game we’re making. Over the weekend and Monday (2/25), our designers, Julian and Sally, worked on developing a new direction for us to take our basketball-like game in. Taking inspiration from the movement mechanics that emphasized verticality in games through momentum, like Super Monkey Ball, Arkham Knight, Tiny Wings, and Tribes: Ascend, we decided to prototype a game in which players perform a diving and gliding action.
Our game idea on Monday looked like this:
Third Person Perspective
Terrain is hilly with hoops on either side
Players can “ski” down a hill to gain momentum and speed
They use this to launch themselves off of a hill and divebomb into the other team’s hoop
This idea shifted a little bit as the week progressed: the ground and launching yourself off of hills still remained, but we decided to shift more emphasis on vertical movement and the verbs “gliding” and “diving.” Thus, the current prototype we have is a four player free for all, in which players navigate an arena, racing each other to be the first to score on the specified color hoop. Video footage of this prototype can be seen below:
This prototype provides us a good platform for us to keep iterating and polishing throughout the semester, and over the course of week 8 and 9, we are planning to rework the code to allow for easy expansion and modulation of gameplay variables. (jump height, time limits, player counts, etc.)
From an art perspective, we have been developing the character look. In the above video, we can see that characters are simple ball figures that animate based on different actions they take. The projected idea for the theming of our game is a cyberpunk look (slightly heavy metal similar to Unreal Tournament/Warhammer). A first look at the character iteration can be seen below:
Moving on from this week, we will be preparing for our 1/2’s presentations – thinking a lot about how we will be exhibiting our design process thus far, as well as our plans for future development of this prototype.