Well EAE Day has come and went and boy am I exhausted. We worked long hours to meet our first milestone. It was difficult recreating the Unity build we created for our thesis game, Hostile Territory, into Unreal 4. This took a ton of work to make our game function the way we would like it, especially as it pertained to networking. Since Unreal 4 uses blueprints, it was a challenge to rehash the network in a blueprint form. Luckily, when we were stuck at certain points, Epic released tutorials on making a working network in their new engine.
What was great about the EAE Day, was having the opportunity to playtest our game. As I have noted in a previous blog, playtesting is very important to design. It helps to determine what works, what doesn’t, as well as help reveal ideas about the game that the game’s creators never noticed in the development of the game.
As EAE Day was in full swing, I was excited to have people test our design, and see if we were communicating our intentionality in our design, for the first time. In short, we wanted to see what people found fun. Through reviewing our playtest forms and feedback from the playtest, people enjoyed the conquering of territory. As one friend’s wife noted, it’s a shooter version of go. People enjoyed using the environment to attack each other. What we didn’t account for, at least to me as the game’s producer and lead designer, is how much fun people had using the territory to attack the other player. Since being in an opponent’s territory creates damage for the player (hence our game’s name Hostile Territory), and since you can use the gun to change squares in the other player’s territory to match your own, people abandoned direct damage and instead relied on using the indirect damage as it pertains to changing the territory. Therefore, this became everyone’s weapon of choice.
Also, people liked the platforms and the circular, spinning environment. The platforms were fun for people. Some even desired more platforms to jump on and use to attack their opponent. Furthermore, the people who playtested our game enjoyed the circular environment. A person commented that it made the game feel unique compared to other similar games. These comments surprised me since the circular environment is not a feature I particularly feel is important to the game. Nevertheless, the public has spoken and they seem to initially like this design choice.
The playtesting moreover helped bring to the surface things we need to tweak and fix. Features such as our double jump and having to jump to high platforms to replenish ammo. Also, people wanted the environment to be larger. These comments are like gold to us and we hope to address them so we can make the best game possible. And overall, people enjoyed our game. The best comment of the afternoon was a friend in my cohort said that the game was more enjoyable than he expected and that it is looking like it will become a fun game.
At this point I am getting delusional from my fatigued brain and thus will end this post with expressing my enjoyment with EAE Day, my pride with my team’s hard work to create Hostile Territory, and value the information we gained from our playtest. Good things are coming our way and I know we are going to create positive vibrations as we move forward. Please continue to follow my blog. You will be pleasantly surprised.