Friday, January 31, 2014

Capstone: Green Light and Beyond

    This week consisted of our Green light presentation.  This presentation was to make sure we have all of our priorities in order, a well thought out and documented plan of how to complete this project, and a solid foundation to build a upon.

    VXT has had an overarching problem of being too much the famous Sonic the Hedgehog, the main point of the game is to go right, very very quickly.  So we really need to work on defining how different we are from  the blue blur himself.  We came to the conclusion we had to encourage and put much more  emphasis on our shield interactions.  Our shield and it's interactions with the world we put it in is what really can help define our game as its own.

    Our designers have come up with quite a few new interactions that me and Mike will be working on over the coming weeks.  Below I have listed the feature and what exactly it aims to do.

    Boost Mechanic- We have collectibles in our game that do nothing aside from add points and help you complete challenge modes. They feel very empty and artificial just being used like this, there's no real purpose besides arbitrary numbers.  So we decided to add a game play goal onto them, as you collect them, a bar fills up,  upon pressing a button you will gain a speed boost that rapidly depletes the bar, this will allow our players who are skillful at collecting these orbs to be rewarded by allowing them to use this speed boost to either recover from a mistake and achieve a better time.

    Break Mechanic- Our players have no real hazards to avoid, the real challenge comes from ones own reaction time to the quickly passing environment.  Our idea is to add objects that block the players path, these objects it collided with will shatter into pieces making a really cool looking particle effect to make the player feel good about smashing through things with great speed.  Game play wise if the player is either not going fast enough, or does not have his shield facing towards this object, upon breaking it they will have a loss of speed.  On the contrary if they are about a speed threshold and have the right shield facing towards it they will satisfyingly smash through it and continue on as planned.

    SlipStreams-  VXT is a very fast and intense game, there is very little time when playing through a level for the player to relax and catch their breath.  Our idea is to add a way from the players to keep up the speed, still have really cool traversal of the level but get a breather.  We decided to create a node based system in which energy will flow from one to the next,  If the player collides with this energy using the correct shield color they will be sucked into the flow and follow along it at high speeds.  This allows the player to continue working towards the goal of reaching the end but allowing them a second to rest before having to make split second decisions again.

   From a technical standpoint I am most excited about this feature has our way of implementing this dynamic flowing energy source will come from the use of our own custom made particle system, which will not only allow for this to look, move, and feel amazing, but open up other avenues where it could be used to really enhance the overall game.

    For now these are the 3 main mechanics being added to the game to go through testing, there are a few others still in the concept stage but after seeing how these 3 play our with our tester we will make a decision if we should attempt others or refine these.

 Overall it was a good week, we've been Green lit and production can officially begin!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Capstone: Another Week Another Post

This week current progress in continuing ahead as planned. For my part working on the level editor has continued on the side.  The piece you want to build with can be selected from a pop up menu by pressing the Y button.  The piece can then be moved around and placed snapping to a correct location.  You can then pick the object back up, spawn another, or delete it.  After having the player have full 360 degree control I also decided to limit the builders movement and rotation, we are a 2.5D, so there is no need to allow the player to move in the z direction, it just causes confusion.  Camera controls will still need to be work on within the editor but for now it's fine.  I'm much more focused on making sure builders can't play multiple objects on top of one another, and visual feedback for where the piece will be placed.

Outside of the level editor getting or games controls to work on anything but Pc and Xbox have become an inherent problems especially since our professor has a mac leaving him unable to see, play, and get a better feel for our game.  So it made the perfect excuse for me to go ahead and implement a input wrapper for unity. As of a few days ago I have a class that will allow input to be completely separate from out game , this means that as long as we set it up our game can and will run on any platform Mac, Linux, OUYA, Android, you name it and we can make VXT work with it, all without changing any code.

In other news it looks like the designers are starting to come up with other features and task for me to work on.  I was told I would receive a priority and specification list within a day or two, I can't wait to see what they have come up with to make our game even better. Either way it's time to get back to work.


Friday, January 17, 2014

Senior Production - Full Steam Ahead!

This marked the first full week of our team working together on VXT.  After cleaning up all the loose ends from last semester and getting out teammates up to speed we were ready to dive in headfirst.  We joined together as a group, sat down within our respective division and worked out what we need to accomplish.  With our core gameplay in our minds very solid, we picture this semester more focused on reach features and polish, our game is fast and simple we'd like to keep it that way.  On the designer front, the have decided to create 4 zones of level each containing 4 levels and introducing a new mechanic in each.  As far as I remember (but this is all subject to change)  The first zone is a factory type setting in which the player will get accustomed to the controls and shields.  The second zone is a city where players will have to navigate through our railgun structures which brings the player to top speeds.  Next the player will go down into the cavern where they will be met with moving platforms and speed pads.  They will then move to mines where they encounter the phase walls surrounded by the unstable energy.  We see this is a nice progression of basic mechanics, scenery, and VERY subtle story for players to interpret in their own ways.  With the main amount of work on this front for the artists to make the environments and the designers to create the levels  with the tools already available to them from last semester.  Mike and I will be able to focus on our reach features. Mike will be progressing on our web presences and account system, while I look into our in game level creator for players.  Knowing how large of a task this is I have already hit the ground running on this task.  After a nice long thursday of programming I have a basic creator controller which allows the player to navigate around the space.  The ability for the creator character to spawn objects, move objects, place objects, delete objects, and re-pick objects that they have places down.  With this base functionality in place hopefully within the next week or so we will have something we can bring to testing.  I've already taken the liberty of speaking with the artists letting them know that all future models will need to be very modular to allow the pieces to line up nicely and allow easy creation for our players.   Overall I'm very happy with the current team progression and overall state of cooperation.  I'm excited in seeing what we will end up making over the next 15 weeks.

Till next time


Friday, January 10, 2014

Senior Production-A new team joins

This is the first week after winter break and we are about to start the final 15 weeks of our senior project.  We made the cut last semester and welcomed 5 new members into our team.  1 programmer 1 artiest and 3 designers.   With this new combined force, and fresh minds on the project I think we can make VXT into an amazing game.  This week started with cleaning up the repository and getting the new team members up to speed with our documentation but that's about it.  Stay tuned to see our progression over the following weeks as I will be required to post once a week by Friday at midnight.  Wish us luck!