A few words about the ATP testing workshop on 12.2.2022. If you’re not interested in the technical details, you can skip to the fun part (game videos) at the end of the post.
There were three participants, and our primary focus was on controls. The rule was to rely solely on gamepads. Using a keyboard was only allowed for typing names (I broke the rule a couple of times, but only by accident).
We immediately realized that the mouse cursor can be controlled by all gamepads simultaneously. So this is how we wasted the first minutes:
Messing around almost hid the fact that one of the controllers moved the cursor by itself. We spent a good while trying to calibrate the controller in Windows, but without success. Finally I fixed the problem by adding a deadzone processor to the stick control.
Probably a more preferred way would be to use the input system’s settings asset and enable “Filter noise on .current”. I’ll try that later.
Once we got going, the findings were positive:
- Apart from the calibration issue, both virtual mouse and game controls worked like a charm. Unity has since released InputSystem 1.3.0 and I’m afraid that it will break my clever hacks and tweaks, though.
- Tempo of the game has improved. Battle is not a complete hassle anymore, but there is time to prepare, select weapons and communicate.
- Improvements to crosshair and ship coloring have helped. No-one complained about losing their ship.
- Playing as a team against the AI gets funnier every time. I think I have to add some kind of official co-op mode to 0.5.1.
Of course, there is still room for improvements:
- Controller dead zones should be adjustable from the game settings. There are remarkable differences between gamepads.
- At some point, the game should probably support different control schemes for each player. Now every player must use the same bindings.
- Blue lock-indicator is hard to distinguish from the crosshair. It has to be brighter.
- Serious design flaw was found from the built-in “Cruyff”-ship. Hitting the certain reactor causes a chain reaction that first destroys the neighboring energy ball launcher, then cockpit and finally the whole ship. This caused confusion, as the chain reaction is hard to notice.
I picked two videos from the recorded material. The first one is a co-op battle against the hardest AI opponent. Ships and opponent level can be freely selected in order to have even matches, and these were the best we could find.
Another one is a complete tournament that better demonstrates the game flow. I only sped up the ship selection phases by cutting out the talking and beer-sipping pauses.