Development Blog: Week 6

Week 6 is all about polishing all discipline and preparing for our halves presentation next week. The team narrowed down the most important aspects of our pre-production process so far into the Art, Story, Mechanism and Level Design.In our halves slide, we detailed the journey of our process through each of the disciplines, from brainstorming of the most basic core concepts to our current state. We finished off the slide with a brief section proposing future plans for the project.

Starting with the Art team, they will continue to iterate on all characters and environments in the game while working closely with the design team to ensure thematic consistency. For instance, the art team has begun to bring to life all the side characters we plan to include in the game. On the environment side, the art team has found the sweet spot/a certain style for the woodland creature village. This style was positively received by the faculty advisor. The team will then continue in that direction.

The art team is currently following an iteration process where the team sits down with the faculty advisors at the end of every other day to go over new character and environment concept arts for feedback.

Moving on to the Design team. The design team is split into the following 3 sub sections: Narrative, Mechanics and Level. In narrative design, the team has decided not to have an overarching storyline, which focuses on how a specific journey unfolds, for the protagonist. Rather, the game tells the story through lore and little snippets of character interactions here and there to build this rich world of woodland creatures. This approach to storytelling presents a much less daunting task, both in terms of the quantity of written text required as well as the creative freedom it offers.

In mechanics design, the team decided to keep only the most essential verbs for the sake of simplicity. The more verbose and crowded a system is, the more obtuse and cumbersome it becomes. The team, in other words, is following Nintendo’s approach of mechanics design: “simple, but versatile verbs”. Lastly, in level design, the team has built out an entire prototype level depicting the woodland creature village. The goal of the level is to test out how big we want each level to be, and how gameplay could unfold in that environment. The team wants to ground the forest setting by having actual platforms built out of trees, instead of simply putting out a platform that merely floats in the air. Additionally, the start and the finish of the level, namely where the player enters the level and where they should deliver the packages, are instantly obvious when they jump into the level. However it is up to the player to find their delivery path in this area. This design more effectively holds play interest.

See you in halves!