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A summary of the iterations leading up to our alpha release, including ideas and motivations.

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Project Impulse: Alpha Release

What's New

For the alpha release, there have been significant changes from the previous iteration. First, we decided to change the game perspective from a 2.5D view to a 2D point of view. Next, we've removed the boss from the playing field; the boss is now a representation of how many lives (think stock from Smash) that the team has. Losing all your stock means that your boss dies (and that you lose). We've also added objectives that manifest in the form of "altars". These altars give buffs such as shields, speed boosts, and a poison aura. Furthermore, we've tweaked some class abilities based on player feedback. We've added ultimate abilities for each class as well.

Motivation

Why did we make these changes? The shift from 2.5D to 2D was primarily motivated by the fact that we're not guaranteed a 3D modeler. Creating 2D art vs. creating 3D art seemed significantly more manageable, and we've already been able to create some basic player and boss sprites.

In terms of changing the boss, we noticed during many of the playtests that the players weren't really focusing on the boss. Rather, it was more fun for them to kill each other and just ignore the boss. We had to make a decision: did we want to make the boss the end objective, or did we want player-killing to be the objective itself? Pending feedback, we've chosen the latter. Thus, there's no longer "total team health", but rather a bank of lives that each player takes from when they respawn. When the lives run out, the players lose.

We still wanted our playing field to be a little dynamic, so we added objectives, thematically known as "altars". If a team owns a majority of the altars at certain intervals, that team will receive buffs that help them kill the other team. In theory, this adds an objective that players will gravitate towards / strategize around, and through the buffs, will also aid them in killing the other team.

In terms of the different classes, we tweaked them based on player feedback from the last iteration. For example, many playtesters weren't making good use of the swordsman's shield, so we swapped that out for a charge ability. We increased the draw speed on the ranger's bow, and made damage and ability tweaks to the wizard. Our ultimate abilities should hopefully make the game more exciting for the players, but may need balancing.

Direction and the Future

So we just made a ton of changes; player feedback on this iteration will be especially important. It's probably that not all the features we added will be in the final game, but it's up to the feedback we receive.

Some of our feedback suggested killing the swordsman and wizard class and just focusing on the ranger. That seems like the nuclear option, but if class balancing becomes too difficult / players gravitate towards one class, we may have to seriously consider it.

For the next iteration, we'll focus on fixing bugs, art, balancing classes, and responding to player feedback.

See you then!

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