Week 5 is about digesting faculty feedback from the previous week and delivering the first round of concept arts and prototypes. Addressing a lot of the shared confusions among the faculties, the team, in one way or another, has to make a prototype of the game. The catch is that the prototype should not be a polished gameplay demo (which simply takes too much time to build), but is able to convey the feeling and the tonality of the game right away so that everyone, with or without a background in game development, could understand.
Beginning with the art, we began to flesh out the role of the “delivery bird” character in terms of both look and characteristics. On the art side, our artists created multiple sketches of what a “flightless delivery bird” may look like, and what it may carry around utility wise to facilitate the job. Later we came together to discuss aspects we liked and liked less from each design. This helped the whole team arrive at a unified vision of the delivery bird character. Besides character art, the team presented several tentative sketches on what the environment could look like, each offering a different take on the forest village. The internal and external (with faculty advisor) art reviews proved to be quite helpful in narrowing down directions. The team will for sure have more sessions like this in the future. The next step for the art team will be to iterate on character designs and drawing more environment art.
Moving onto game mechanics and gameplay, we created 4 platformer level prototypes to explore the possibilities of fun platforming challenges set in a forest. Research on previous platformer games in a forest setting shows that a lot of them are not leveraging the forest setting enough that the gameplay feels new and fresh. Therefore the team decided to experiment with greyboxing in MAYA to hash out level design possibilities. One of the first level prototypes was a waterfall scene with protruding rocks and tree branches as platforms. Our faculty advisors did not advise against the idea per se, but suggested that we should focus more on creating a traversal situation in the forest, a typical level scenario that more convincingly conveys the theme of the game. Besides, the design team have made many specific design decisions that funnel into the level design process, such as what gliding looks and functions like, what combat encounters could play out, and how is the game world structured just to mention a few.
We wanted to have rather complete concepts and prototype on both level design and character & environment art to show by the end of next week to prepare for halves (midterms) presentation. Having work-in-progress that could convey and tone of the game to faculties is where our priorities lie.