Three weeks ago, we decided our next goal. We wanted to release a playable demo version of the game by mid January. We hope to gather some feedback for further improvements. We think that external views on the project will give us new perspectives. Finally the big day has arrived and with a lot of sweat on our brow we release the gameplay demo of The Slurping Dead, which you can download here. You can play it either with mouse and keyboard or with the XBox controller.
Regarding building the demo, everything went fine until we updated our version of Unity a few days ago. In hindsight, not the smartest move with some kind of release on the horizon. We had bad luck and now sometimes the GUI is doing weired stuff as you can see in the screenshot:
But for the last days, working on our Backyard level, I was able to remove most of the (known) bugs and tweak the gameplay, so that the demo will hopefully be enjoyable. I increased the speed of the player and the zombies. A little modification to the AI now distributes the zombies more evenly throughout the level. The weather also notices the player's pain now and starts to cry when he gets hurt.
The explosion bolt no longer explodes on impact but triggers a timer instead. Now the player has to think a bit more about how and when to use these bolts. Also the damage of the explosion changed. Until recently, the player took no harm from an explosion. That is fixed now and for better feedback (and for the cool looks), I added two more animations for that kind of damage:
On the graphical side, I tried to make the level a bit more alive and not so clean like before. So I handplaced (yes, there is love in this game) a few items like bottles, leaves and old newspapers. I think this adds a lot to the atmosphere and we will improve on that for sure. Here you can see a before and after, what do you think?
After finishing the installer for the demo, Moritz now continues to work on the Supermarket level which is looking very nice so far. Only the shelves need a bit of restocking. We learned the hard way how stupid the decision for a supermarket setting was. Naturally, it is the one place on earth having the highest density of different products. All waiting to be modelled... well, let's call it a good exercise. ;)
We first tried to model every product on its own, but after a short while we chose the more sane approach of billboarding. Firstly, the workload would have been horribly high and secondly, we just don't need so much detail having the camera that far away. Nevertheless, we made some singular models for special products so that the content of the shelves doesn't look too flat. We also hope to create a bit of depth using normal maps.
Regarding texturing, we first used some photos of real life products but to avoid any copyright infringement, we decided to design our own brands. Another bold move... we thought it wouldn't take more than a few hours. Needless to say: it did! :) Furtunately, there are a few databases with images for free use. We also found nice fonts for our purpose. Most of the textures have been finished by now:
Last but not least, we made contact with a very experienced composer, with whom we're now discussing adding music to the game. We hadn't given much thought to it, but that's the beauty of working with other people who are very talented: you just get brilliant input on how to improve your game you wouldn't have thought of yourself.
We hope that you will enjoy the demo and tell us what you think. We want to improve on the current version as much as we can. Like always, we're looking forward to seeing your comments below!