Condors: Week Fifteen

Week fifteen update:

This week has been an exercise in listing out the small tweaks we want to make to BZZAP! before submission for finals and the ETC Open House on Friday.

From a gameplay standpoint, we have added a few features to encourage passing and team play more:

  • Players now lose possession of the charge when they touch the ground – meaning that they will need to pass if they want to avoid getting stunned and losing the charge.
  • The stun upon Zapping a player is slightly longer, which serves to break up the constant confusing dog fights we’ve been seeing players engage in.
  • Zapping (the lock on boost) now has a range attached to it. This forces players to use skill when attacking and defending – moving close to the target to get within Zap range.
  • Passing the charge is now much slower speed, allowing for ample opportunity for interceptions.
  • The overall gameplay has been slowed down to allow for easier parsing of the moment-to-moment gameplay.

The final mechanics are gone over in our tutorial video, which we released this week to supplement our experience. The overall reaction to the video in our Open House presentations were positive – but generally it was felt that it was too long (especially if there were players present who were already familiar). That being said, it did help reduce the learning curve for novice players, even if they weren’t able to absorb all of the information with one viewing.

Tutorial Video Courtesy of Omar Cheikh-Ali

In addition to this, in week fifteen we have made some polish improvements to the art and UI in our game allowing for greater playability. VFX for the charge has been amped up in brightness to make it more visible.

Charge VFX Courtesy of Healthy Moeung & Xuejun Wang

We’ve also added an end screen with statistics as a quality of life change. We found that beyond just winning and losing, players wanted to know how they were doing in our game (similar to how basketball tracks player statistics). Overall, we found that this made our game more fun for players to engage in – even if they weren’t consistently winning.

Stats Screen Courtesy of Xinyu Wang & Swapnil Mengade

To round out the week, we participated in the ETC’s first Spring Open House! It was exciting for all of us to be able to show off our hard work, and gratifying to see players engage in our game:

Thanks to all for following us this semester as we developed BZZAP! The last hurdle for us will be our finals presentation, and then we plan to be posting BZZAP! on and Kongregate by May 9th, link will be shared on this website!

Condors: Week Fourteen

Week fourteen updates:

This week we have been mainly focusing on tweaking things since our playtesting day in week 13. We haven’t planned to do a playtesting session at the end of this week in order to hunker down and finalize the game. We’ve also decided on a name for the game: “BZZAP!” inspired by the two stage sound effect that happens when players lock on to and attack other players.

Soft opening went well for us. The major questions we got from faculty were with regards to aspects of the game we were already thinking about – the question of defense still remains, as well as tweaks to the visual balance of the game.

This week from a design standpoint, we have worked on the finer details of how players move through the environment. Our week 13 iteration with halfcourt walls worked fairly well at funneling players towards the center of the court and giving them more opportunity for strategic play around the arena. However, we feel like it’s too easy to get stuck in corners, and have decided to open them up along the edge of the arena.

In addition to physically opening up the space, we’ve decided to change out the textures of the walls to make them transparent. This was a consistent problem players were running into, where they’d be facing a wall and unsure of their position since the walls were untextured (didn’t show movement), or had necessary information for the players on the other side.

Updated Wall Textures Courtesy of Healthy Moeung

In addition to this, we’ve decided to experiment with adding boost strips on the ground along those opened up sections, to allow for greater ground mobility.

With regards to defense, we’ve been experimenting with different ideas to restrict movement and make gameplay more strategic. These include:

  • Removing lock on boost towards the hoops.
  • Allowing players to change target that they’re locked on to.
  • Slowing down the player who has possession of the charge.
  • Prohibiting scoring from under the hoop.
  • A shot clock to encourage passing the charge more.
  • Slowing the speed of the charge when passing to allow for interception.

We will be testing these internally at the end of the week to see what works best for us.

From a UI/UX standpoint, we’ve also done some work on the main menu to match the rest of the game more thematically and allow for functionality that we want to implement regarding tutorials/controls, and the ability to exit out of the game.

So in addition to contextualizing the arena via a zoom into the computer upon hitting “Start,” players will have the option to learn more about the game before they dive in.

Finally, this week, we have decided to begin working on a tutorial video. One consistent problem we’ve been facing is that it usually takes a while for players to learn the controls and mechanics of our game. Typically it takes one playthrough for people to fully understand how to play – and we believe that adding a short introductory video (similar to the controls videos in Smash Bros.) would help us cut down on that time and get to the meat of the gameplay quicker.

Moving into next week, we plan to put finishing touches on our build for the ETC’s Open House, as well as wrap up our documentation for final presentations.