SONS OF RA DEVLOG 9

IT’S COARSE AND ROUGH AND GETS EVERYWHERE

Following the polish seen last week in the sound, particles, and UI, we returned to developing new major features, namely a new playable map. Since the beginning, we always wanted to give each map unique environments and we finally started. We knew we wanted a desert environment to sell the ancient Egyptian theme but couldn’t think of a good context for playing this type of strategy game in the sand. One person suggested simply putting the map on a sandstone slab; however, our advisor pointed out that one of the first recorded board games is from ancient Egypt: Senat. The team loved the idea and Mark quickly went into creating designs and mockup for a senat-inspired version of our board. After that, the board was finalized with the new path design and more detailed textures. The environment followed quickly, using the stone slab suggested as a base and creating sandy hills and rocks as background pieces.

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The map design itself deviates from the other maps in some key ways. It is another two lane map, limiting the tactical options of each player but making defense much simpler. The switchbacks give the defensive advantage to one player in one lane and the other player in the second lane, forcing players to balance both lanes carefully. Finally, the map is significantly smaller than previous maps. So far, maps have been 36 x 24 grid squares in size. This map is only 30 x 18 squares. This decreased size will allow games to be faster and make good tower placement crucial for a strong defense. It will also allow the camera to be closer to the map, showing the units and towers in more detail.

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WE GOT A TRAILER

We now have an official gameplay trailer on our YouTube channel (https://youtu.be/sMRLvYJgSj4)! We’ve been working on it for a couple of weeks, initially for internal use but later polished for a marketing release. We plan to release more marketing and work-in-progress videos on our channel over the course of development. So make sure you subscribe!

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IN CLOSING

There are plenty of features currently in development that we’d love to talk about now, but they need some additional work before being shown off. Our current goal is tackling the larger features needing to be tackled between now and release. Hopefully in the next few weeks we should be talking about new gameplay modes and/or features while continuing to polish and improve the quality of what’s currently here. See you all next week.

Many Hats, Mark Hurley, PPJ 07

Task Completed:

Screen Shake and gen unity work (3 hours)

Tutorial work (7 hours)

Balancing (3 hours)

Playtests (2 hours)

Total hours: 15

 

What Went Well?

Got a good amount done this week. The screen shake is in and it can be called from anywhere; so more juice, Huzzah! Beyond that I helped the rest of the team with tutorial design: taking a pass at the text prompts and the general flow of the tutorial. Everything appears to be coming together to finalize the tutorial within a reasonable amount of time. I also started some work on balancing. Less actual decision making and editing, more checking if the GDD values are actually up-to-date, researching spreadsheet game design practices, and preparing a framework for next week. Lastly, we had our playtest session and it was relatively successful.

 

What Could Have Gone Better

I made a poor decision while working on the tutorial. I made the assumption that we would want pop-up windows with drawings of the battlefield to illustrate specific points. However, after a tutorial design meeting, we’re pivoting to more being done on the actual game screen than in new images. Oh well, not too much time was lost. I also wish I could have done more with balancing, but the framework and playtesting data are ready for next week.

 

Upcoming:

Balance

More juice

Tutorial

Meagan PPJ 06 – Term 2

Completed Tasks

  • Meeting – work directly with people make small art edits (5.5 hours)
  • Loadout Images (1 hour)
  • Loadout Descriptions (30 minutes)
  • Pause Menu and UI edits: (2 hours)

Total Hours: 9 hrs 30 minutes

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I made some edits to the Pause Menu to account for tooltips. Then I tweaked some UI elements and started making small edits. I grabbed some images for the towers to insert into the Loadout screen. Finally I wrote the Loadout descriptions with Javier.

What Went Well

Some of my tasks this week were “fill in the gap” type of jobs which is good because we need to start closing those gaps and wrapping things up. We had some productive work sessions which helped. The tutorial and tool tips are coming along.

What Didnt

I had some family planned stuff this weekend that took away most of my work time on. I didn’t account for that enough but the Pause Menu is in the repository but it hasn’t been implemented. The descriptions were not implemented either but it should be a quick task to complete before we playtest later this week. I feel like there are a lot of pieces out there and we need to connect them, like the tutorial, the main menu screen, and the tool tips.

Upcoming

  • Keep editing the UI in response to feedback and other alterations
    • Edit Main Menu Buttons
    • Pause Screen implementation
    • Tutorial and Tool-tips UI edits
  • Polish!
    • Loadout Menu – spinning tower images
    • Sound
    • Help with particles or any additional animations

Making Menus Move, Mark Hurley, PPJ 06

Task Completed:

Animation (8 hours)

Unity Integration (4 hours)

Total hours: 12

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What Went Well?

I spent this week trying to finish up the animations for the 3D menu. The animations look pretty good and I was capable of finishing a large number of them. Integrating them was also not too difficult; although I needed to look into how our original main menu functioned and duplicate its functionality in the new scene. It required a bit of coding; but everything is done and ready to be added to the build. It seems the game made some good progress this week, although I’m afraid we may have not completed everything in time for the beta build.

 

What Could Have Gone Better

Again, bad time commitments on my part for the week. Not entirely my fault; my family came to Philadelphia to visit me and that occupied a good amount of my time. However, the biggest indicator of my poor timing is seen in the beta build. Despite completing the functionality of the menu, it wasn’t finished until the build was already completed and submitted. It was not a feature with significant functionality, so its absence is not too significant a loss for the week, but it’s still unfortunate. I’m also afraid too many members of the team are waiting until the end of the week to work on features of the game. Especially for this week, that meant a lot of issues the night before class.

 

Upcoming:

GDD work

More juice

Tutorial

 

Back to Anims, Mark Hurley, PPJ 05

Task Completed:

Animation (6 hours)

Rig changes (3 hours)

Playtest Stuff (2 hours)

Total hours: 11

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What Went Well?

After handing the tutorial work to Michael to program, I returned to doing animations for one of the blessing effects and the main menu. While none have been implemented into the game, they are all looking pretty solid and will be implemented soon. The playtesting session went well, but there is still a significant level of polish needed for conveying information to the player. Overall, a good week for the team.

 

What Could Have Gone Better

Personally, I should have completed a lot more this weekend, but outside factors took up a good chunk of my week and I couldn’t finish and implement all the animations like I planned. Although, that isn’t a major concern. Many artists are still struggling to find tasks to do, so spending another week on animations is not terrible. We need to find more tasks for artists over the next half of the term to really push our game to be the best it can be. Additionally, I need to truly engage with some design decisions like should the player actually choose what towers they bring into the game (dominant strategies are already forming), is there an alternate way of spawning units instead of 3 button presses each time, and rebalancing the game to be less turtle-friendly.

 

Upcoming:

GDD work

Finish and implement new anims

More juice

Tutorial

 

Step on the Brakes, Mark Hurley, PPJ 04

Task Completed:

Meeting & unity fixes (2 hours)

Tutorial Test (2 hours)

Tutorial Planning and documentation (6 hours)

Total hours: 10

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What Went Well?

This week was a bit slower than previous weeks. After finishing the unit animation, there was no pressing artistic task requiring immediate attention. I focused on creating the tutorial to explain gameplay and add some much-needed context to gameplay. After a bad initial test, I made detailed notes and documentation on the how tutorial should be designed and developed. The team continues to move forward as always.

 

What Could Have Gone Better

I initially underestimated the task of creating the tutorial. While the functionality is relatively straightforward, I realized the complexity of working with the current codebase was too complicated for me to handle. I documented the design, so coders could more easily cooperate with development. The rest of the team is struggling with finding larger tasks to complete, especially from the artists. Within the next few weeks, we should be able to complete the tasks set out at the beginning of the term. But, to make the most of our time, we should find more tasks for the team to complete.

 

Upcoming:

GDD Work

Environment Assets

Juice

Tutorial

 

Meagan PPJ 04 – Term 2

Completed Tasks

  • Design Discussion (30 min)
  • Cool Down Bar mock-ups (1 hrs 30 min)
  • Pause Menu/Tool Tip mock-ups (3 hrs)

Total Hours = 5 hrs

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I wanted to finalize the tool tips position so I started exploring ways to implement it into the pause menu and game screen. The cool down bars also need to be implemented, so I started thinking about new ways of displaying the bars and the tool tips on the screen effectively. The last two images are examples of what the icons could look like for the cool down bars.

What Went Well

I made some progress with the tool tips design and position and I could say the same about the cool down bars. I have discussed the design and placement of tool tips and the cool down bars with teammates. I think we could finalize the design this week and finally start implementing these features.

What Didn’t

We have been kind of stuck on the idea of tool tips and the cool down bars for a while. There is a bit of a conflict concerning screen space and the players attention. We want to display both on the in game menu in a way that the player does not need to look that far from their UI to read the tool tips or to see what blessings or effects the other player has used. That has been a bit of a design issue we have been working out.

Upcoming

Finalize tool tips and the cool down bars. I want to start implementing them so we can test the layout in future playtests. That might help us solve some design issues. Finalizing UI so we can test it is the priority so I can jump in there when needed. (Maaayybe new map designs).