Development Blog: Week 12

Week 12 is our last week of finishing major work on design and art before soft opening where the team put together the finishing touches on design documentation and artwork. Additionally, the team is putting together a 3-min trailer video that succinctly explains what our game is about.

The team does not have the bandwidth and time to completely finish all the concept art for all the characters in the game, so we will leave that part of the game design document a bit open so the next team could have some space to determine which direction they would love to go.

On the art side, the team has finished modeling and coloring Peck’s model, as well as coming up with a model sheet for Peck that includes a variety of Poses. The purpose of this is so that when the faculty asks the question: “How does peck fight?”, they could take a look at this model sheet and then have a crystal clear image in their head. In addition to Peck’s model sheet, the team is also thinking about coming up with model sheets for some of the key NPC characters that will populate the woodland city. One more benefit of having a model sheet is that the 3D artists next semester will  be able to understand how to create these characters in a 3D model.

Moving to the design team, the first draft of the game design document is finished. At this point, the team came to the realization that to convince the faculty that this is a fun and cute game to “play”, the team almost certainly needs to showcase a level relatively late in the game where all tricks and skills of the player are put into test. The design team will work on such a level next week that combines all the aforementioned needs.

Thinking about next week, we will have softs where the team will sit down with faculty, and discuss how to best finish our project with the time remaining.

Development Blog: Week 11

This week the team is focusing on the upcoming “soft” presentation. Whether the team would show progress with a traditional pitch presentation or in a surprisingly unique way; or whether we would simply go through our thought process are decisions that needed to be made.

On the design side of things, the team is almost done with a first draft of the GDD (game design document). Taking in feedback from our faculty advisors, the design team needs to include a clear and concise table of contents for the ease of perusing regardless of the audience/reader. The purpose of doing this is to give a clear overview of the project as well as an implication of what is included in the pre-production package. In addition to the inclusion of a table of contents, the GDD also needs to include a broader aspect of the project, including but not limited to: demographic analysis, art style, estimation of production timeline etc.

On the art side, the team has finished the modeling of the game’s protagonist, more concepts art for props that exist in the game world are coming in, as well as environment concept art that encapsulates the core feeling of the game. 

Looking into next week, the team will make sure that every aspect of the project is ready for scrutiny of “soft” presentation.

Development Blog: Week 10

Week 10 was focused on thinking about what to include in terms of art and design assets and documentations for the pre-production package and adding upon, accordingly,  what the team has already accomplished. Feedback from playtest sessions have been very helpful in enlightening aspects of the project where the team might have overlooked.

With not much time remaining until softs, the design team decided to clean up all aspects of the design and formalize them into the first draft of the GDD (game design document). The meeting with former level designer at Blizzard Joshua Kurtz helped the design team see clearly issues that still needed to be addressed in a typical level. For example: 

  1. Our demo of the Core level/gameplay loop needs to showcase the main character bringing happiness to the community.
  2. Levels should achieve balance between sandboxy exploration and representing nature settings in a cartoony style. 
  3. Levels, as of right now, lack a holistic/unforced conversation with the areal codes system the team proposed. If the system is to stay, levels should be built having the codes system in mind. 
  4. Levels currently miss checkpoints. They should be strategically placed along the golden path to encourage progression, but not frustrate.
  5. Especially for the early tutorial levels: teaching players how to play the game is the key. Levels should be split into section/little chunks with each section’s tutorial goals in-sight. Tutorials should cover all the basic mechanics of the game.
  6. What does the natural transition between biomes look like?

Looking at the art side, the team is taking in the feedback from playtest sessions and iterating on the final look of character, props and environment. We want to make sure all finalized art is clear and easily scalable for the next team. For example, our main character’s color palette should Stay away from purples. We need to invert vibrancy on the face and body. We need to answer the question: “ How many of the props concepts will be used by players vs how many are meant to ground the world up?” “How are the textures going to look like? What level of detail?”

Development Blog: Week 9

Week 9 saw a pivotal direction change in the narrative primarily along with iterations on the art, level design and game design end. Almost nearing the end of the semester, we realized that our story still had some loopholes that we needed to find answers for to better support the infrastructure of our game.

After consulting Kate in the previous week and watching the “The little engine that could”, we tried to align our story in the following form

  1. Inciting incident
  2. Rising action
  3. Reversal
  4. Climax
  5. Resolution

“Once upon a time, in a woodland world, there was a silly and peculiar bird named Peck. He always dreamt of delivering mail, but was always told that he probably was not capable to do so. Peck was caring, friendly, curious and expressive. He wanted to help, but was always turned away. However, determined to fulfil his dream, he applies for a job at the post office. This post office boasted of grandiose birds who were top-notch in delivering mail in this woodland world. Seeing his applications, the birds were skeptical since he seemed a little underqualified given the peers and his experience.  However, as luck would have it, an old humble tortoise overhears the birds murmuring amongst themselves, belittling Peck’s application.  Overruling everybody else’s decision, the mighty old tortoise decides to give Peck the job upon realizing Peck’s determination and perseverance in fulfilling his dream. He believed in Peck when nobody else did. Somewhere, he saw himself in Peck and believed that there would come a day when Peck would achieve great heights and surpass his own dreams. Overjoyed on receiving the offer, Peck wobbles and wads into the post office with blissful energy and enthusiasm. On his first day, Peck decides to deliver mail just like everybody else. Tumbling, tossing and getting himself into trouble, he manages to somehow deliver the mail, however, something inside him makes him realize his uniqueness. He realizes he is different but not incapable. He was unique and he was going to have his own unique ways of accomplishing the same job. Leveraging his adorable charm and deftness with tools, he starts delivering mail by using the tools gifted to him by the community after endearing himself to them and learning along the way how to utilize his inventory to efficiently deliver mail in the future. “

As the narrative was being fleshed out, the artists were also working on creating color explorations and adding more details to Peck. They were suggested to use triad colors for the next iteration.

The designers were working on a rough demo that reflected the mechanics alongside fleshing out the biomes in the world further.

We got the feedback to show the pillars of what the core experience is; the moment to moment gameplay, what do we want our audience to know is the fun aspect of this game (ex. Platform, interactions, exploration)

Overall, Week 9 saw a lot of progress on all ends and our goals for next few weeks were to flesh out the remaining details from what we have on the art and design end, start working on the financial deliverables and tie all aspects together for a wholesome experience.