This last week has been a blur. I’ve had more work than time and it all needed to get done before April 16th at 2pm. I worked my tail off to create the masterpiece below.
That is a compilation of all the levels we have. It makes a consistent stream from start to finish and with hopefully increasing difficulty. We compiled it and ran tests. Tons of tests so that we knew it wouldn’t crash. We worked hard and finally published.
Publishing on such a big forum like steam causes me anxiety only because I’ve never received feedback from that large of an audience. I’ve heard and seen how the video game community is and I expected the worse. Of course we got negative reviews, but for the most part they are positive. We’ve had almost 70k plays in the last 4 days and we are getting more press than ever. (you can see that on my portfolio www.jameshulse.com)
With the big relief of launch behind us, we are planning a bug patch for the end of the semester and working on our thesis defense. Oh joy!
Yes it’s true. we are 5 days away from launch and I took the time to write a bit about what I’m experiencing. The last couple of weeks have been crazy. We created a total of 14 levels to be shipped with the game. We have a small 20 min experience for our players. Right now it is my task to make sure all the levels get their art and are ready to be strung together in our final game. I’m furiously doing it so that we can have the full experience as soon as possible so that we have a couple days for testing the final build. Oh the crazy that is now. I’m only leaving you with that so I can get back to work.
So we came back from GDC with a slump in our step. The week between GDC and Spring break was the hardest for the production of our game. With the down time in production, we actually came out being GREENLIT ON STEAM! We are super excited and are now pushing hard towards our publish date on April 16th. With the date bearing down on us, the team is hard at work getting the last of our features in. We are cramming for levels. The panic is setting in and we are running to the end.
I’ve been working on a concept and a layout for a end of game level. something challenging and fun. It’s proved to be a big challenge. I’m sorry these are getting shorter and shorter, but my time is getting more and more limited.
It’s been a long week of talking to people and showing off our game.
At GDC, Rachel and Tina presented the game for the Intel student showcase. It went really well. I played the game while they presented. Though we didn’t win it was a great experience and the audience loved our game.
we are now on Steam Greenlight. We have received some great responses and feedback on Steam. The team is super pumped to move forward to the end. We are in a place that we need to take our mechanics and make a cohesive solid experience.
The big thing is to talk to the team tomorrow in class and get rolling towards our thesis defense!
Our team has been working hard this last week. We worked over the long weekend and we plan to work over this weekend, but on the plus side. We have 3 levels! Don’t know how I got it done, but I did. They are being worked on by others on the team to get them cleaned, art-ed and ready to move forward. We have so many little things that we need to get done before GDC, but we have our task list and we are steadily knocking them out one by one. When this week is over I’ll post some screen shots from our game and we will have our new trailer ready! I will also post pictures from the 3 Levels 🙂
I don’t know what more to post, mostly because I have so much to do I can only give this quick run down of progress.
Hopefully after GDC it will be a little less busy (yeah right).
I really don’t have time to write this but I’m doing it anyway because it’s part of the class and for all I know I have followers. 🙂 This week we had some internal playtesting with all the teams in the Cohort. It was really good to see how the other games have come along and how great they are. We also had a sit down with the team about some of our designs and such. We locked down what we are going to be doing with our sprint and charge shot, and now we are moving forward with levels. As for the sprint and the charge shot, we combined them into a dash that destroys inhibitors if you dash into them. We incorporated the bandwidth meter by having the dash cost a chunk of the meter and we are going to divide the meter into sections so the player has a visual queue if they have enough bandwidth to dash. We still have everyone on the team making levels, but we are working on a coherent 3 level experience for GDC. To nail that down, Matt, Tony and myself have put our heads together to come up with a plan. We have each been given different parts of the level to put together. I have been assigned to get the general floor layout of the 3 levels done and my deadline is this coming Tuesday which is why I have a lack of time. As of Saturday morning, I feel pretty good about my Level 1 Layout and I have the beginnings of the Level 2 layout. It’s going to be a lot of work in the next two days to get these two levels done, but I’m excited to do it.
This last week has been crazy. The TLDR; is that I put together two levels, implemented a bunch of the art onto our inhibitor, and tried to get some MoCap into our game. My team has been working hard. The Faculty has chosen our game to represent the school at the Intel Showcase at GDC this year and we’ve kicked things into overdrive. We have most members of the teams working on levels or concepts of levels. Our artists have been getting new textures and assets to us quickly. We’ve had some design hiccups with the charge shot feature that part of the team isn’t too sure on and the other half really wants it in. My only concern about it that I’ve raised to the team is that it is going to require that everyone works more than we are. The team said that they are willing to put in the time so we are going for it. My goal moving forward is to get enough levels created by myself and other team members that we can start piecing together a solid build so that we can start really delivering on our narrative. We have most of the pieces we just need to start putting it all together.
On a side note I’ve been applying to lots of jobs and hope to get some responses from them. *crossing fingers*
So we jumped overboard. We put in all the new mechanic completely which broke all our levels. This weekend I put together a tutorial level so we officially have one level! I worked from simple sketch that Rachel gave to me of teaching the player and rifted off of it to come up with a simple level. Right now it’s a very linear level but it is the tutoral so I’m not too worried about it.
What I am worrying about a bit is that we don’t have our levels anymore, but it will be good in the end as we push forward building levels with our new mechanics. I am of the opinion that none of our previous levels are going to work with the new bandwidth meter and the inhibitor mechanics. They may be able to be modified, but in their current state they didn’t really fit in my opinion. We’re still pushing to get the theme more involved in the game. The team is working really hard and although we weren’t a finalist for IGF we are still working hard to get an awesome game before the end of the year.
Also our game has been getting some great press from notable sites like indiegames.com and WIRED. This has brought lots of excitement and drive to the team which has been good with the moral hit of not being a IGF finalist.
Retro Yeti is back from break with a vengeance! Our design lead went to EA in Florida and is now working remotely so he stepped down as lead. Our Art lead also stepped down seeing as she was working as both staff for our program and art lead for our game. So things have been changed up a bit, but we didn’t miss a beat. We already had an iteration in mind and a plan of attack to get us there. We are only a week into the semester and we are ready to work the new ping and inhibitors into our design. I’ve stepped up more working with Level design which scares me a little seeing as I feel it is one of my weaknesses. I’ve been watching lots of games and getting references from everything I can to help. We have a plan to get more of our theme into the game and to really deliver the theme to the player.
Our new ping works like a flashlight now. It has a meter that will recharge when the player is running on a fast section. If you hit slow tiles the meter will go down and the radius will diminish. When the meter hits 0 it is a fail state. With the new mechanic we have added a new level item of inhibitors. Like the boss shots that create slow areas, the inhibitor will fall from the sky and reveal an area around it. When the player enters into the inhibited section if their ping is on it will convert the area to slow, so the player has to toggle on and off the ping to avoid the hit to their bar.
We find out Tuesday if we are an IGF Finalist. I’m trying not to be nervous because the odds are against us, but one can always hope.
This week has been difficult on the team. We finally got our new ping ability all the way done and we started testing it with our new level. We quickly were wary that it wasn’t going to work. At the same time we had a Microsoft Game Dev Evangelist visit our program and give us advice the same day we finished it. It was similar to when the designer from Ubisoft came and visited us right after our first iteration. He gave us some good feedback about going back to our previous iteration of the ‘ping’ He also gave us some advice that we’ve been pondering about making the game procedural generated. At this time we’re not following the advice, but it’s something we’re stewing on.
This week we have been focusing really hard on level design. I put myself on the level design team with Kyle and Tony mostly because I want to expose myself to as much level design as I can and give a shot at it. So far we’ve created three new levels that follow our new design guidelines. I was put over the first level again to give a basic experience to the player. It’s been really fun and a good learning experience to work with the team. They are insightful and give helpful criticism. They also have had patience with my slow learning.
In a couple days, we will be having EAE day and showing off all of our projects. We are making great progress to have 4 levels and some fun effects to show off!