Hi there, Restaste again here to speak about the progress we're making on the game. Just finished 0.11, work for 0.12 will start next week.
Event coming up
We’re getting the build ready for the Numerik Games, a festival in Switzerland that will host an Indie Games section. For us, this means a couple of things. Firstly, the game needs to be stable enough that we can have players try it for three days straight with minimal interaction from us. That is a great test of player’s understanding of the game, as well as of the stability of it. Secondly, we are planning on building something special to play the game. We’ll have a coffee table with a monitor in it (laid flat) and four controllers going out of each side. Gamers will be able to play the game while sitting comfortably, the same way they would play a game of Scotland Yard. This also meant creating a special build, with dedicated UI and input controls.
We’re really excited about this whole event. It will be our first open playtest, so we’ll be able to gauge player interest ! And perhaps we'll be able to capture some hands-on footage for you ;-)
Waiting for the artist
I got all the structure in the game ready for a first version of the graphical assets. When that’s done, I’ll just have to replace the placeholder meshes/materials and Argès, Fujin, Hurracan and Shamash (the names of the 4 balls in the game) will come alive ! The hard part will then be the creation of the attack particle systems.
I thought a lot about the acoustic universe I’d like in the game, and up to know I’m leaning towards a cave-like atmosphere. These people (The Eyeless) must hide to survive, so why not in caves ? I crawled the youtube and found a lot of cave ambient sounds. I really liked this one: Youtube.com
That would reinforce the creepy, tense atmosphere of the game. This quiet environment will be contrasted by loud, surprising attack sounds to really startle players.
If we decide to move further in this direction, I’ll check with the creator for the rights to use his work (or with our sound designer to make one).
There are still a few questions and many ideas left to discuss internally. Here is what’s on our current “Design questions” list:
- Find the game’s soundtrack
- Brainstorm the game’s name
- Brainstorm the game’s theme
- Rethink the light’s logic
- Persistent smoke ?
- Destructible walls ?
Many questions about what should and shouldn’t be in the game, then. I’ve been puzzled by this for a few days now, so I tried to examine these mechanics a bit deeper, to see which ones would yield the most depth over breadth (in other words which mechanics, when combined together, create the deepest gameplay). I came up with a graph structure, representing each mechanic and its potential relationships with others:
I’ll explain some of them:
- The Camouflage pickup is countered by the Reveal pickup
- The Revealing Lights are countered by the Camouflage pickup
- The Supercharge pickup is useful when someone has the Camouflage pickup
- Destructible walls may provide an alternative path to being revealed by a light
Now, one thing that appears from this graph is that some mechanics are tightly coupled while others are not. Coupled mechanics yield (in my interpretation) more interesting choices, or, put another way: an interesting mechanic must add more than one relation/choice regarding other mechanics.
So I've repeatedly removed all mechanics which have a degree (number of connections) <= 1. This means all red-circled elements were removed from the game, unless I can prove that they are tightly connected to the core.
This method pleases me because it provides a pseudo-analytical way of deciding whether mechanics should stay or go, and I really like the solution provided, because it is formed of two pickups (Camouflage and Reveal) and two elements on the map (Revealing Lights and Destructible Walls) which greatly simplifies the whole, while maintaining a tight core.
I’ve added destructible walls (DW). They work like this:
- A player can attack through a DW to destroy it. After 1-2s it respawns, and cannot be destroyed or passed through for 3-4s.
- A camouflaged player can pass through DW without attacking
- A revealed player cannot destroy a DW (the little pin is what happens when a player is revealed)
As usual, I did a lot of bug fixing in this sprint:
- The camouflage effect and shield now stay even after you’ve attacked
- The camouflage effect now lasts for 10s.
- The players have now full control over their attacks. Attacking == whether you’re pressing the attack button or not. Previously, you couldn’t stop your attack after you had launched it. And sometimes picking stuff up would stop your attack.
- There was a bug with the spawning of the golden cube. If a player carrying the cube gets killed, it (the cube) respawns instantly in the center of the map. If a player carrying the cube scores (stays alive the full 30s), the cube respawns after 30s, leaving time for the players to find their marks and kill each other for a little while. This second part was bugged, but is now fixed.
An important bug that was left happened when two players tried to get the cube at the same time. If the one that gets the cube is killed, his dead pawn re-grabs the cube instantly. For the game, the cube is grabbed so it must not respawn, but actually no player alive has it. This resulted in no cube in the game. Very specific and hard to catch.
Now that it’s fixed, this situation looks like this:
Version 0.12 will focus on a graphical pass, to remove these placeholders and have the game look a bit prettier. It won’t be final of course, but at least we’ll get rid of this ugly green.