Final Major Project Reflection…

GAHHHHHH

Okay so, guess I should start on how the progress has been this semester. 

This semester has been a massive undertaking. Despite cutting down a huge amount from our original GDD last semester, there was still quite a lot of stuff that we needed to get done to complete Twilleir the Alpha. I feel we’ve all coped incredibly well over the past few months with focusing hard on the workload as well as finding time to ourselves which I think has boosted the productivity of our work further. Thinking back to the end of the first year, I would work for hours on end to get tasks done with barely any socialising time and now finally, at the end of year three, I seem to have found my zen. I can now work and play and this seems to have affected my work greatly in terms of what I produce and how much time I spend on it; I mean its the quality, not the quantity.

I feel the whole team has stepped up massively in order to take on this daunting and ambitious task over the semester. With a slow start, as with any project, I thought that we might not be able to do this. It’s too much. Why did we even think about doing this? CRETINS. And then by some miracle, we were hitting Sprint deadlines every week and doing more tasks on top of this. I think this is sort of due to me keeping track of the Trello for Millie and James and reminding them of tasks that they were needing to do as well as the persistence, reliability and determination of the awesome team we have. I feel as we’ve worked together over the semester, our progress in not only the game has been incredible, but as a team too; we’re now more close-knit than ever and know how well we work together; this bodes well for future projects together. 

At first, I thought my progression over the semester hadn’t been massive. I was doing everything I’d done for the past three years, what was I doing differently? Then I realised, being used to having a personal Trello for myself we made a collective one so that we can all keep on top of this and by some sort of weird accident I ended up being ‘Task Master’. This project was one of the first times that I’ve had taken the lead in some cases and I’m proud that I now have the confidence in which to do so. I enjoyed being in the know, meeting deadlines and organising the Sprints and I feel this is something that maybe I could look into after University; something similar to a task master in the industry perhaps but maybe Project lead is a bit strong yet maybe one day I’ll end up there, who knows.

Another challenge for me has been picking up the pace with my workload and practising my digital skills in such a short amount of time. Looking back at the art pieces that I created nearer the beginning of the project like the Shop buttons and then comparing this to some of my later work like the crafting room background, I can actually see some improvement. I’m quite impressed at how far I’ve progressed over the past four months with my digital skills. It’s been quite a challenge to learn and adapt my skills in such a short amount of time but I feel this has been possible due to working alongside Millie who has helped me with some tips and tricks, in person and through her streams on Twitch, as well as learning specific skills from YouTube tutorials. Accepting a challenge like this and actually doing it has given me a massive confidence boost in myself that I can do it, I am a games designer and I’m not useless having struggled previously with this over the course of the three years. After University, I’m going to continue to try and challenge myself regularly so that I can improve my current skills as well as work on other ones such as learning to 3D model and getting back into coding.

As mentioned before, we cut down the original game at the beginning of the semester as there was so much to do and we were really silly to think the three of us could pull something like that monster off in just a few months. There was no way we could have hoped to have done this without Dr Stallwood’s help. He raised questions about our design decisions and why we chose to go with 3D when we have more 2D artists who work illustratively etc. He helped us to realise where our strongest points were which were in Art and Mechanics and worked with us to devise a new structure to Twilleir in order to make it better. We felt that this would be easy enough and would leave us time at the end of the project in order to create animated cut scenes and add in any extras from the original GDD like seasons and trends. After working on this project, I feel we’ve all learned that illustrative art takes a bloody long time but it’s definitely doable and worth it. This way we’ve managed to create a cute, Fantasy world which we can take in many directions including adding a narrative, adding Quests – the list is endless!
As well as the 3D aspect, Dr James also helped us with the systems that we had in place originally. Due to changing the 3D aspect of the game, this meant that we had to change the Dungeon area as originally we were going for a Diablo Dungeon Crawler. This was for the better though as now we have another System in place which is simpler and (once people understand it) a relatively easy mini-game to play. We also got rid of the Barter system in the Market where you would have to haggle for your wares which was a shame as I felt this could work well in the Fantasy setting and we could have some fun with it. I believe we would like to continue this project as a team after university so when this time comes, I’d like to incorporate some of the aspects that we had to cut like the Barter system as I feel this would add something extra to the game and give the Player something else fun to do.

The play testing that we had has definitely helped us leaps and bounds in order to fix a lot of bugs and issues we were having with the game. It’s also great to get an outsiders view and opinion on the project, as we’ve been staring at it for so many months and are likely to miss things or think something works well when actually people don’t understand it!

This project wouldn’t have been possible without the determination and focus of the team.
Millie has worked so hard, to not only work on hundreds of assets in such a short space of time and create beautiful results, but whilst doing this she’s also taught me more digital art skills and helped James with the code when he was stuck. She’s been the one who’s kept us stylistically on the straight and narrow to make sure Twilleir looks how it does today and has been a great Art Director; it’s been her enthusiasm for the project which has kept us all from giving up.
James has done wonders this project with coding this game from the ground up. From the start, he’s worked brilliantly to code any stylistic decisions that we’ve made and has taken it in his stride to learn and implement as much as possible. He’s been the rock that has kept us grounded by trying his hardest to make our designs possible; he’s brought the game to life which has grown into something beautiful.
I genuinely could not have asked for better team mates. Their positive attitudes and enthusiasm for what we do has rubbed off on me during the three years together which has improved my work leaps and bounds as I’m learning how to work smart, hard but also enjoy myself. Through this beautiful teamwork, hell, call it family, we’ve managed to create something with the potential to develop and work on after university and I’m really excited to work with them both in the future.

As mentioned previously, I’d like to work on Twilleir (after a short break) once we’ve graduated, something which all three of us have discussed at length, and there are so many plans and ambitions that we all have for it. Having had this semester to essentially build a tutorial and overall structure for the game, this has meant we’re in a great place to build on Twilleir from here. There are quite a few ideas that I’ve had and the team have had collectively and below are the ambitions we’d love to take forward from this project:

  • To introduce the idea of trends and events to the town so that sometimes a certain potion is more popular due to a certain band or event in town and so the Player has to work out the forecast for the week and what they need to be stocked up with.
  • Have a proper levelling and upgrade system where you can expand your shop and garden as you grow as a shopkeeper and earn that sweet, sweet dollar as well as level yourself up with certain skills to make you better at Dreamspinning. This way the Player has a choice as to how they play and can have the player experience they want.
  • To be able to have the Barter system back in and change up the game for the players depending on how they haggle.
  • To have a cute and compelling story to show how you got to the land of Ephara and what lies in store for a young Dreamspinner!
  • Have seasons and day/night time. With added seasons, we could have seasonal events, they could also affect your crops so you’ll have to plan effectively and use your Greenhouse wherever possible to stop the plants from dying etc. Having the day and night cycle also would give some life to the game as currently it’s just day time but if you add in changes like sunsets etc, it will give the player a realistic idea about time in the game.

Looking back on the project now, if I could change anything, I probably would have liked to have changed the Harvesting mini-game into something more intense and challenging than the current version.  Currently I just feel there’s something missing from the game play but I can’t yet work out what it is.
Another thing I’d like to change is to make the game more narrative and quest driven as this could add a beautiful new aspect to the game which gives it just that little more fun and immersion. Adding this extra aspect would be tough to do but considering if we’re working on this after the deadline – there are no time constraints so we can take as much time as we like to craft a gorgeous, heartfelt and awesome story.

Hopefully, we’ll continue Twilleir’s legacy after university and implement some of the above changes. It’ll definitely be more than a three man job but I’m sure we’ll get to our end goals one day.
This semester has been a rollercoaster of a ride but it’s one I’d happily get in line for again. The team have been brilliant beyond words and the game idea that was once scribbled down on a piece of paper has come to life and I couldn’t be more proud of us all; I’m excited for the future months.

This is Jess signing off for the last time.

Adios!

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Reflection of Week Eighteen… The Final Week *screams internally*

Week beginning 29th May ending 1st June 

This week has been a matter of mostly adding the finishing touches for James and Millie who have been working hard to build and create the last few assets needed for Twilleir. For me, it’s been a matter of tidying up blog posts, sorting out documentation bits and pieces for hand-in as well as working on the development video for the team.

I really pushed myself this week with doing the development video as I’ve only ever touched After Effects once briefly last semester and with only two days before the hand-in (Bank Holiday Monday so couldn’t access the Macs in the studio for AE) I managed to pick up some of the basic skills from Millie and through trial and error too in order to create the film in 8 hours! This time included selecting the footage to use and downloading extra content from our Dropbox to add to the film as well as working everything out and creating the film.
Having pushed myself, I feel good about opening myself up to this new challenge in such a tight deadline as I’ve proved to myself that I can work under pressure and possess the ability to learn new skills rather quickly so this works well in my favour! It’s inspired me to really push myself in the future to challenge myself, even if it’s just weekly, to try something new or work on old skills to improve my work, skills or myself.
Below you can see my attempt at the development video, enjoy!

Also this week, I tried to catch up from the disaster that was last weekend and listen fully to the playthrough of Twilleir that Evie kindly took the time to do. Not only was she hilarious to listen to and watch, she provided some great feedback that will definitely help us to shape Twilleir – more so in the future than now as with only a day left till the deadline, there’s not enough time to implement everything that she mentioned.
Below are the notes that I took of her playthrough the game plus comments from myself which can be seen in red:

  • Confused by Gender One and Gender Two buttons. It was surprising that she went for this immediately rather than look at the L’Hallen and Meidryn buttons. This could be due to her not knowing what those words were? Might be an idea to have the genders blanked out until the race selection is complete.
  • Struggled with the names of the races. Should we have it so that when you click on the race buttons, the race speaks their name i.e. select L’Hallen and an Elf says “L’Hallen!” so Player’s understand how to say the name? Bit farfetched but could this help?
  • Liked the vibrant hairstyle colours but would like to see more choice in hairstyles. Wanted hair like Eliza! Due to time restrictions and it only being an Alpha, we decided to limit the number of styles you could have which is frustrating after hearing this as I would have loved to have worked on more; this is something to think about in the future.
  • Struggled with the text, SO MUCH WRITING, can’t remember what Eliza said to do etc. Understandable, even I struggle to read the text and I don’t like how much writing there is too. Need to make shorter or at least let the Player work through the tutorial step by step with Eliza so as not to overpower the player with so much information
  • Harvesting mini-game goes too fast! Didn’t realise how fast it goes still after building. It seems to be too much for younger players so we should change this to make it slightly easier so it’s not unfair; something to consider.
  • Tutorial in the Garden repeats itself after you harvest your first plant? Not sure why that is, this will be something in the code which hopefully James can iron out easily. 
  • Chamomile wouldn’t plant? I couldn’t see the screen too clearly so wasn’t sure if she’d just selected it but the collision boxes hadn’t worked when clicked? Passed on to James to try and fix.
  • Eliza says “Meet me at the Adventurer’s Guild!” but there’s no Guild button? Ideally, the Dungeons button should probably say Adventurer’s Guild instead as you have to choose a Helping Hand before going through into the Dungeons. This could be something I could change before Exhibition just to make it easier for the Player to comprehend what’s going on. 
  • Likes the music. Good to know as no one’s commented on the music before. No ‘news’ is good ‘news’ hopefully then! 
  • Don’t understand the Dungeons and how they work. I think we should have a step by step tutorial here with certain buttons highlighted etc in order to show the Player what they should be doing. You just get chucked in it and it would be a good idea to lead by example as such.
  • When first entering the Crafting mini-game, she wanted to see the Dream book to see what she could actually make. Hadn’t thought of this before and will certainly consider putting this in as it could help the Player’s understanding of the game and it’s outcomes a bit more. 
  • Clicked on Sleep potion and didn’t do anything? She got a bit confused here, it wasn’t made clear that if she didn’t have all the ingredients harvested then she couldn’t go to the crafting mini-game. Maybe we should have potions blanked out if not all the specific ingredients are in the Player’s possession? This could help them to understand as well as have Eliza pop up when you click on it all like “oh, looks like you haven’t got one of the plants! Go back to the Garden and get to it!” sort of thing. 
  • Oh, it says “Congratulations, you finished your first dream” but I didn’t do it? Not only does this pop up here but also the Dungeon text that appears once you’ve come out of the Dungeons? Will pass this along to James to fix before the exhibition.

After these notes during the game, she answered the questions on our survey:

What did you like?
The graphics – like mermaids and magical things like pixies. Liked the ‘cabin’ aesthetic.

What didn’t you like?
Hard to understand but gets the main functionality of the game (Yay, that’s something!)
Would like the character choices to be better in customisation – include makeup
A lot of writing so you forget what to do – keep writing but have a current tasks thing so people can see what they need to do next. (A really good idea, nice one, Evie!)

What did you enjoy the most?
The Gardening part

What did you enjoy the least?
The potion part, didn’t understand what to do

In three words, describe Twilleir.
Stylish
Mysterious
Interesting

How would you rate it on a scale of 1 – 5, 1 being awful and 5 being amazing?
3 or 4 out of 5

On a scale of 1 – 5, 1 being definitely not and 5 being yes definitely, would you want to play the full game?
3 or 4 out of 5

When I thought it was all over, it surprised me that despite the difficulty Evie seemed to have in playing the game, she wanted to carry on?? So I guess we did something right?
She also added some extra feedback to the above pieces which was super useful.
This included:

  • Maybe have a ‘3,2,1’ aspect to the Harvesting mini-game so the Player has a chance to compose themselves and know what’s happening. Also an idea to have piano noises instead of a ‘ding’. Completely agree a really good idea. We were hoping to implement some piano instead of the dings, however, we wanted to spend more time on the other assets in the game before revisiting this aspect. Maybe we’ll get this done before the exhibition so it’s less annoying!
  • There’s no back button in the Dream book, instead, it’s some writing that says next page even though that doesn’t work. WHERE’S MY BUTTON JAMES. WHERE IS IT. I MADE THAT FOR YOU *CRIES* lol joke, I’ll try and get James to fix this asap.
  • Really had no clue as to how to play the crafting mini-game. Bless her, she really tried to guess and understand what exactly was going on but didn’t get it – she still didn’t do too badly though!
  • Don’t know if it actually gives you gold after you fulfil a commission. This could be solved with some particle effects or something similar with some coin jingling sounds to show the Player that they’ve earned that sweet, sweet coin.
  • SHE FIGURED OUT THE SPAMMING METHOD IN THE HARVESTING MINI-GAME. We should probably change that …
  • Wanted a higher reward for doing so well in her score than just four ingredients. This is a fair enough request. We only made it four just for tutorial purposes but I don’t see any reason as to why this couldn’t be changed at a later date or in the full game. It gives the player more incentive to do well too so this could work well for the Player depending on how they wanted to play?
  • Don’t know what seeds are for what plant. We could either have a rollover option where the name appears when you hover over the seed or possibly in the Dream book there could be an option to see what the seed looks like too? 
  • Didn’t get the growth time at first – thought this was how long she had to wait before she planted the seeds. An honest mistake, I’m not sure if we should change this as we’ve not had this issue before but maybe some re-wording on the hover over text could be in order to make it just that bit clearer. 

Some comments and thoughts from me as Evie was playing:

  • She seemed to enjoy the game a lot more when she actually understood what was going on
  • SHE WANTS MORE THAN 4 INGREDIENTS PER HARVEST, OKAY?
  • Liked the look of Nigel, thought he looked cool unlike Adam who seems to have a vendetta against this guy…
  • Thought one of the enemies looked like a turd, that made me laugh and snort out my drink…
  • She likes Soap Grandma (Marketman) but doesn’t understand why she’s a human.
  • She ran out of money but still figured out she could build more money up by making potions except she didn’t accept any more so she ended up a bit stuck. Maybe we should make it so that you can make potions without commission cards to avoid this loophole in the game?
  • She wanted to play again later?? YAY WE OBVIOUSLY DID SOMETHING OKAY.

Overall, having someone from the younger end of our target audience test our game was really eye opening as we got to see if it was too difficult for Evie, if there were any bits and pieces we missed out or could change and her suggestions were great too! A fresh pair of eyes to the project definitely helps and is something I feel we need to focus on in future projects so as to not get caught up in what we’re doing and see how others interpret the game. 

The rest of this week has been taken up by writing the last ever reflective blog post of the entire project *cries* which you can find here.

 

Final FMP Reflection

Let’s start off with the progress of the Semester.

I’d say that we’ve had pretty good progress throughout this half of the year, it slowed up a little over Easter (Maybe more for me than others) but I think that this time was definitely necessary as we hit the first half of the Semester. Over the course of these three years, I personally think I have only now struck the balance between work and relaxation, this has positively affected both the quantity and quality of my work and I hope that this is reflected in the quality of our FMP output, Twillier.

Now for what I’ve learned. Well, I mean I’ve basically picked up coding and have made that my chosen career path, so I’d like to think that I’ve learned quite a lot this project. Most importantly, how necessary clean and efficient code design is.  I launched into coding the framework of the game very quickly and looking back I now think that this was both beneficial and detrimental in certain ways, it dropped me in the deep end with coding and forced me to learn at a very much accelerated rate, I’m glad I had this challenge as I don’t think I would understand as much as I do now about gameplay programming without it. However, after looking over some of my code architecture from the start of the project, I can fairly easily see what I would rewrite or design to be more efficient and “clean”. I am happy to say it’s never been a boring endeavour and has definitely fostered a new appreciation and devotion to coding as my career of choice.

Dr. Stallwood was invaluable in helping me over the first few hurdles and setting me on the course to write the best code I could. He taught me to first plan it on paper and then write and execute it in manageable blocks rather than huge multi-purpose scripts that leave you a little bit confused about what’s going on, and cause you no end to issues when looking for bugs.

His help was much needed when we were confronted with our monster of a GDD that we created from the first Semester. We were very naive to believe that as a three-man team we could tackle this beast and create a really outstanding product, looking back now I find it incredulous that we even thought that possible. From the get go we had to perform a massive number of cuts to reduce the scope of the project, and this continued even throughout the project when we realised that it just simply wasn’t feasible to aim as high as we had.

Initially, the potential of producing a 3D game went straight out the window, this therefore shifted the primary art style and workload from myself onto Millie and Jess as 2D artists, something that back then we thought would make work easier for ourselves. Instead as we near the end of the project do we realise how much time it has taken to create an illustrated world that really immerses the Player, don’t forget that the majority of the game only has basic animation, there was a lot more planned trust me!

Second to go was the various little Systems that promised to provide further immersion and gameplay, these of course included the Barter, Dungeon Battle and Economy systems. The Barter System intended for Players to engage in a small mini-game to be able to sell their wares for more, or get a better deal from the Market. Dungeon Battles initially worked in a very different fashion from the iteration you see today, we planned for them (when the game was still 3D) to be a cave-like environment you battled through much like a Dungeon Crawler, an iteration further down the line played a lot like Pokemon.  The Economy was the most disappointing feature we had to cut for the Demo of the game, essentially we wanted the Commission Cards you received to be influenced by in-game events such as seasons and visitors to the Town, the system would adjust prices of wares and materials to adjust to these events and allow savvy players to capitalise on certain events by preparing dreams in advance. Unfortunately, as fun and engaging as these systems might’ve been, we simply just didn’t have the time to get all of these into the game and therefore made choices to get the best iteration of the game out as we could.

 

I wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on the general Teamwork and management of the project up until these final few days. Jess has been doing a phenomenal job of motivating us and keeping us on track, I managed the team we were on last year and definitely think she’s stepped up and improved in leaps and bounds since then. She’s always on top of her work and I still don’t understand how she manages to produce so much work of that high standard and so consistently. Millie has also been doing an amazing job working on all of the assets alongside Jess and has provided the enthusiasm to immerse us in the Twilleir world. Out of the three games we had to choose from to make, this was definitely her baby and she’s done a great job working with us to bring it to realisation.

As I said earlier, since the game changed from 3D to 2D it has essentially been those two working tirelessly to get all the assets together that we’ve needed, it’s been really tight for time but through great management and even better comradery that we’ve managed to come out with a beautifully illustrated project with (I hope) a great framework for further development. We’ve all had a massive workload even with the much-reduced scope of the Project but it’s been a fun ride and a perfect swan song before we graduate.

 

I suppose I should talk about the Ambition here, in my design videos I’ve made for each section I talk a little bit about what I would do differently to make the game more efficient or to keep the code architecture clean, but I can go into more depth here. If you refer to the game Playthrough I recorded you can clearly see, par a couple of finishing touches that were made after the video was recorded, this is what we have achieved. We have, by some miracle managed to produce a Tycoon game that people enjoy playing (as evidenced by our Playtesting, Aaron played for 40 minutes!?), that looks great, and is bug-free!

Compared with what we wanted to do way back at the start, obviously it only scratches the surface, but definitely gives a good indication of what the game could develop into, given that we take it into further development.

On that topic, I’ll chat a little bit about what is left to do over the next couple of days before we hand in, and then wrap it up with what I’d like to do with the game in the future. In the four or so days until it’s all done with, I’m primarily looking at making sure we have both an asset complete and bug free game that’s ready not just for hand in but also for the exhibitions, I did also just remember that I made a valuable change based on some feedback, the Objectives Board! This displays the current tasks the player has to complete in each room, this was done because we did receive feedback that people didn’t remember what they’d been told to do by Eliza after the tutorial text ended, and has proved very effective.

But anyway, back on topic, having everything finished earlier means that we’ll have a little bit of time to relax rather than trying to scramble to fix things prior to Winchester or London shows, I would also be nice to organise some printed T-Shirts or merchandise so people can easily recognise us to ask questions at the event.

In terms of further development, I’d quite like to continue with the project after a short break. I believe that in the 6 months that you have in the second semester to develop the game is only ever enough to get a demo or a very small game done. I think we’re at a stage now where we have a really strong framework to build additional gameplay upon, this could also be patched in via addons or DLC if we wanted to release the game in its current state but I’m pretty sure we’d like to develop the game in-house further to get a better product before we get it out to the public. Specifically, I’d like to rewrite a small portion of the game, mostly the sections I coded right at the start as these are most likely prone to poor design or mistakes that could cause performance issues. Other than that it’d be introducing more gameplay and in-depth systems like those I talked about earlier that were removed from the scope such as the Economy and Barter Systems. I’d love to get seasons and a proper day/night cycle in also as these could completely alter the aesthetic of the game and make it feel even more immersive.

Thinking back, if I was to change anything about the game it would most likely be changing the way I designed the code such that it was more tutorial friendly, for example, setting events up in a way to make them accessible by the tutorial as prompts (Click this Bucket before proceeding) as the way we’ve done the tutorials is by quite a lot of text which obviously works, but isn’t necessarily the best way of doing it. If I think about what I would’ve changed in a broader sense, I think that I would’ve been happier with the game had it been designed with a story in mind to help drive the gameplay. Otherwise I would’ve liked to do some more playtesting earlier on, but we did quite a lot anyway, just because we did go through a few iterations of each mini-game before we arrived at something fun and enjoyable which used a lot of development time. I am, however, extremely proud of what we’ve done and I’m excited to continue work on the game in the future, It’s been a crazy few years.

May Reflection; Final Hurdles

So this is the month of ridiculous workload and stressful changes right? WRONG YOU’RE SO WRONG. I mean kinda, much like last year, the project has been well managed and as a result the game is pretty much finished a few days from Hand-In! We’ve got a couple of bits and pieces to review such as extra play-test footage (Thank you Evie Procter) but otherwise we’re almost good to go.

Regardless, here is the monthly review for our last month and much like my last post, I’ll note features of interest and any final reflections/comments I have to make.

WEEK ONE:

We started off the Month with polishing off the Market and getting the UI in for that, It’s going to be mostly a UI binge until I start to get the Backgrounds from the girls. Otherwise my time is mostly going to revolve around bugfixing and getting builds out for people to test. We also started looking at getting some footage out for Mind the Film to put across our personalities as the primary focus for our segment, we cite The Office as a big source of inspiration and love the sketch format. Towards the end of the first week I’d gone in and got most if not all of the Tutorials done for the game, these will still require refinements to the text and specific interactions to make sure we get the point across in a consise and assistive manner. We really don’t want to be hand holding the player at the exhibitions and hope they can figure the game out from the tutorials alone.

Millie had managed to finish off the Dungeon background which is great because we’re going to try and import it as an .MP4. I have some concerns as these have been cited as causing performance issues for Unity, but as we’re only using a couple I have hope that this won’t been a problem. Once I had the environment in and we could see the animation, I was really pleased with the result and Millie was happy to continue animating as she was to get the Dungeon Monsters animated along with the Tarot Card Backs and Fronts for the Adventurer’s Guild! I’m thinking the Dungeon will be the room we finish last just due to extra assets and animations that are needed, but am confident we’ll get it done in time!

Just prior to the second week we had passed a build onto Adam who provided some invaluable feedback about the Tutorials, as a result I passed these onto Millie who went through and edited the tutorial to make it better, essentially. It was great to have a fresh set of eyes on the actual Unity build because we’ve all been pigeonholed into our respective areas as of late. This has meant that I end up overlooking certain things because I have complete knowledge of the game and the project, forgetting that some features need to be fixed or changed. This, as well as the additional UI I received on the Friday has meant that we’re in a really good position to external playtest. I was also really happy to receive the Market background from Jess, each background gets us closer to a finished game and is essential for improving immersion!

Screenshot 2017-05-30 10.29.19.png

WEEK TWO:

I spent the weekend implementing the Tutorial feedback and then returned back into the studio eager to get started on the week’s tasks. I know that Jess is planning on getting all of the Character Customisation assets done this week and therefore I will need to move forward the design of the script and architecture for this System. All I’m sure of right now is that it’s going to require a lot of arrays which I’m going to have to populate by hand, however, once this is done it shouldn’t be that difficult to code, just tedious.

I managed to get the first build out for Jess to test internally, she managed to get through it all just fine which was great to see! However it did highlight some changes I need to make to ensure that people can’t “Fail” any of the stages of the tutorial, some examples would be; not letting any plants die, or failing the Dungeons, which would lead to the Player not being able to finish the Tutorial.

The rest of the week was built around Jess ferrying assets to me using a memory stick because Eduroam and my Laptop are the worst of friends and I don’t really know why. But again this gets us mountains closer to our finished product and with each asset the game looks more complete. I received another background and several small assets that were missing across different parts of the game, if you want to check these, refer to Jess’ Week Fifteen Reflection.

 

WEEK THREE:

Playtest day is Friday, at the end of this week, so really we’re in full work mode trying to get the game to as solid a state as possible before we let the public rip apart our pride and joy.

At the start of the week I started to crack into getting Jess’ Meidryn Character into the Customisation System. The design of this System was complicated initially as I had to set up a lot of iterators and arrays that would remember; what hair style you’d selected to be able to change the colour correctly, what eye shape you’d selected to be able to change the eye colour correctly etc etc. I’m pretty sure I handled the design of this in the best way possible but will consult with Dr. Stallwood for my reflection and future coding practices.

Screenshot 2017-05-30 10.30.27.png

There may be some problems with performance but these can be addressed through either Assetbundles or altering the resolution of the assets to make sure the game file doesn’t become too large and troublesome. Also, we have the luxury of taking the most perfomance spec’d iMacs to exhibition which means we can be a little bit memory intensive.

PLAY TEST:

Regarding the play-test that we undertook, refer to Jess’ Reflection of Week Sixteen post to see the feedback we collected. In terms of me addressing it, almost everything on that list was altered as I received the feedback, which was great actually and I really enjoyed the process. It felt really strange to see the game go ‘live’ even for a small play test day and I really got that proud feeling to see people playing and enjoying the game for extended periods of time, I totally get why we always see beaming/horrifically nervous Indie Devs at gaming expos now after that experience.

All of the feedback we received was invaluable in shaping the final builds of Twillier, it has made us even more conscious of how our game plays and making sure the UX is top notch for new players.  A lot of the feedback was just making simple tasks like viewing the Dream book not require traveling through lots of rooms to do, as the back and forth distracted the players, this was easily fixed by having these kinds of information available in multiple rooms.  There were a couple of problems with consistency with the Potion names not matching up with the names we had given them, to make this easier we just changed the names of the potions in the dream books to how they were referred by the commission cards, clearing up any confusion.

I believe that with the changes we’re in a very good position for the Exhibitions and I hope we can get some final playtests done within the last few weeks to make sure the game is understandable and enjoyable for our entire target audience.

WEEK FOUR:

So over the weekend, Myself and Millie moved house into Winchester, which meant that we didn’t manage to get a huge amount of work done, not great for the last week before hand in, but alas it means we’ll have to work harder over the next few days!

On Tuesday, we had interviews with Mind the Film to wrap up that whole section, I didn’t mind it too much as I’m usually alright with being put on the spot to answer questions. They asked me about the game (obviously) and my plans for after University which was quite nice to talk about. For the rest of the day I got on with Bug fixes and Jess produced the animated Loading Screen which I really like, it definitely helps bridge the gap between the Adventurers Guild and the Dungeons quite nicely!

Later in the Week, Jess had started to look at either Patreon or Itch.Io to host the game on, and as possible revenue streams if we want to continue the project after University, however, we’ve first decided to speak to Adam to see if this action will garner us extra marks, if not then we’ll save ourselves the work. With only a week left until hand-in, I’m going over the game with a fine toothed comb to find any buttons that don’t quite look right, and trying to locate any final bugs that I can remove. I’ve also passed out a build for Adam’s daughter, Evie to play to get her perspective as a younger child, I believe this will help us to make sure we’ve aimed the games’ target audience correctly. If she is able to pick up the game with little trouble then we’ve hit the nail on the head, if some easily fixable issues arise then we’ll try to sort them out before we launch at the exhibition.

All I’ve got left to do now is go over and create explanation videos for each scene of the Unity Project!

 

Reflection of Week Seventeen

Week Beginning 22nd May – 28th May

Monday

There was a lot of fixing and planning going on today in terms of the Trello board. As we are in the final two weeks, I thought it best to plan both weeks thoroughly to make sure that we have all of the tasks covered before the deadline. We have a fair few tasks left to get done if we want to get all of the extra bits and pieces done. As we were apart from each other today, I have made the two final sprints ready for tomorrow when we meet again for us to go over and discuss.

I’m taking it upon myself to work on the development video for the semester as well as work on the promotional game trailer in time for the Cube exhibition and deadline. I’m going to be looking to get some ideas from the rest of the team too as we’re all bound to have a variety of ideas and these could end up making the Twilleir trailer awesome. 

Today has been a matter of trailing through all of the footage that we’ve collated over the last few months and figuring out what could be usable in the development video and what could potentially be used in the promotional trailer too. I’m surprised that we have quite a large amount of footage to play around with so this will be my task for the rest of the week. 

Tuesday

We had Mind the Film in for the last time today so the majority of the day was taken up by this so not much work got done as the whole Twilleir team had to be interviewed and I spent the whole day collating footage for Mind the Film onto several different memory sticks so they had a range of stuff to use for the film.

I managed to find the time today to work on the Dungeon Loading Screen. We wanted it to be relatively simple so that it didn’t overwhelm the screen or the Player when they enter the Dungeon, but instead, it acts as a buffer and helps mask the two-second gap that we currently have in the game.

In the game, it loops over until you’re into the Dungeon battle scene giving the Player a buffer between battles as well as helping us cover up the delay that we have in the game!

Today, we also had an in-depth discussion concerning the rest of the tasks that we have in the Sprints left to do. I’ve decided to drop the Town shopkeepers that I was going to be working on as I feel that they’re not essential to the gameplay of Twilleir, they are just placeholders to show the rest of the town is looking to expand (once we finish uni, who knows). I’ve decided to take more of a backseat role now and work on the stuff behind the scenes such as the film for our development video, the promotional trailer as well as work out if we should put this up on Itch and set up a Patreon account; I’ll be doing a bit of research into this later on this week. 

I will, however, still be on hand to help James fix any last minute assets and create any more buttons or UI that’s been missed out or is needed in order to help the gameplay.

Millie will be working on a few of the remaining assets needed for the game and will be picking up the characters if she feels there’s time to do so.

James will primarily be fixing the final bits and pieces based on the feedback that we received from the play testing session the other day as well as building the last few assets into the game. He’ll also be screen recording a full gameplay run through which will help me to put into the game trailer and development video. 

We had another tester today of the game. Elinor hadn’t played through before so again it was great to get some more fresh eyes to the game – especially considering James updated to a newer build after the play test day so it meant that hopefully, we’ll get some new feedback to work in and see if what was implemented helps the Player. 

1. On a scale of 1 – 5 (I being awful and 5 being fricking awesome) how many stars would you rate the Alpha build of Twilleir?

4 stars/5

2. If you had to use three words to describe Twilleir, what would they be? I.e. thematically etc

Interesting

Bright

CRAFTY!

3. What parts did you enjoy the most (if at all)?

The fighting was interesting! Really liked the idea that you could fight for ages with the right attacks/health potions. Crafting is fun but needs explaining?

4. What parts didn’t you enjoy or didn’t think worked (if at all)?

I didn’t realise I had to/could click on anything else while Eliza was talking. Maybe leave a moment for peeps to click, then trigger her to talk again? Eliza seems to talk through EVERYTHING before I can do it?

5. Was there anything in the game you didn’t understand? If there was, please explain what and any suggestions you have!

The names for the plants seem to be in the top left corner? (in the garden) Not sure if it was obvious what to do once plants were done growing. Harvest music game was a little confusing for me (but I am awful at music games so maybe that’s just me), there’s no time to move my hands to the keys!!!

6. On a scale of 1 – 5 (1 being ‘eurgh no’ and 5 being ‘hell yeah!’) would you be interested in playing the full Twilleir game if it was released? 

5 stars – definitely interested in what else will happen!

She also left some great notes/feedback for us:

  • in character creation, I would suggest putting L’Hallen and Meidryn above the Male and Female buttons, especially because if I click ‘F’ and then choose L’Hallen or Meidryn, it defaults to Male. Plus I think people will initially be more interested in the race so they can look at what Male and Female looks like for that race, rather than M/F then race.
  • can clicking to continue Eliza’s speech be programmed to if I click anywhere instead of if I click on her speech bubble?
  • When I go back to the Crafting screen, the back to shop text disappears!
  • I feel like some windows could do with ‘close windows’ buttons – x’s in the corner sort of thing
  • wasn’t obvious when I didn’t have an ingredient that I needed!
  • could do with being able to see your inventory while in the crafting room.

This is great feedback and James will shortly be implementing this into the next build and making sure some areas area clearer.  

Overall, today has been a bit of a mess of stuff due to being busy running around doing bits and pieces but I’m glad that we’ve outlined what exactly we’re doing now and have managed to get some more feedback. 

Wednesday

Today I worked through the remaining footage that we have and reduced it all down to about three minutes worth of footage. As Millie is very good with After Effects, I have now passed on all of the relevant footage to her and she will be working on putting some cool effects together plus some of the artwork we’ve worked on to finish off the process video. 

We also discussed our ideas for the business cards we wanted to have ready in time for the Winchester but mostly the London exhibition. We felt the front needed to be simple and so we decided that the Twilleir logo would work the best. Millie edited this and then built the cards so now they’re all ready to be printed. We’ll be waiting till after deadline to order them as payday is on the 1st of June and we’re broke third-year students but we’ll have them all ready for the shows. It’s exciting to see it all come to life! #adulthood

business card mock up 

As well as working on this, I have been going through the speed paints that I made during the project and have been adding some music to them and uploading them to Youtube now that I have some more time on my hands. This way, people can see our process as we painted some of the assets for Twilleir so they can get some insight into the game development. Below is a list of links to the various videos in the Speed Paint playlist on Youtube as if I put all the videos in here, it’d be chaos:

Shop Buttons

Comedy and Comfort Potions

Commission Cards

Flowers

Harvesting Background (ft Millie’s Twitch Stream)

Harvesting Mini-Game UI Panel

Mushroom

Sparkly Orbs!

Romance and Quest Potions

Study and Flying Potions

Travel Potion

Trowel Icon

I got bored of adding normal music to the videos so the music choices go down hill after the first few. Just for the lols Adam, I’ve put some really random and fun songs to some of them. Take a lucky dip, we all know you won’t read this anyway but would be nice to see if you actually did…

Now for tomorrow, I will be focusing on putting together some ideas for the promotional trailer using storyboards in order to figure out what we want to include and how we want it to come across; I’ll be discussing this with the team tomorrow. 

Thursday

Millie is away today so I’ve decided to postpone the promotional trailer discussion until tomorrow when we’re all definitely in the studio. This way we can incorporate the right sort of feel we would like and how we want it to work – whether we take a simple, boring approach by just having some of the playtest footage or we go all out and make something comical and dramatic. I know which choice we are likely to go for, but I’ll wait to see what ideas the guys have and mesh our ideas together.

I’ve started to have a look into creating a Patreon page for Twilleir as this would be an excellent way to get funding for the game and see if people would actually want to support it.
I found an interesting article Setting Up Shop: Tips For Building A Successful Patreon Creator Page where there were a few tips and tricks to help set up a good Patreon campaign. We’ve decided to look into creating one of these rather than Steam Greenlight due to the changes they implemented this year where we could have to pay $5000 just to put it up – and let’s face it, we’re broke students so that won’t work out… The next thing we found was this Patreon page which is where you get followers or ‘Patrons’ who pledge to be your supporters and give you money to make the thing. This is a page which has been suggested by many online as a place to put up games rather than places such as Kickstarter. 

One of the first tips is:

“Ask any of our top creators and they’ll tell you: the journey to becoming a successful creator on Patreon starts with a carefully crafted profile, a well thought out promotional launch, and a steady stream of the awesome creations that led your fans to your Patreon page in the first place.”

Considering we are starting to think about the promotional trailer now and what with our shows coming up in Winchester and London next month, we are definitely in the right stage of the process in order to create a promotional launch. We’ve already got nearly all of the artwork complete for Twilleir too so this will be easy enough to filter onto the Patreon page, especially seeing as I’ve been working on Instagram and partly Twitter to share the work we’ve made for it.

KEEP IT SIMPLE

Don’t make your video so long, get it down to a good minute so people have a chance to quickly watch it and it won’t make people lose interest. Also, make sure your description is as short but informative as you can possibly make it. This will increase our chances of people looking at your Patreon page and who knows, they may even pledge!

REWARD YOUR PATRONS

Ideas for this:

  • behind the scenes of you working on the job
  • handwritten thank you notes
  • signed artwork/posters

Having rewards is not only great to show your Patrons how much you love them and appreciate their help supporting you but it also helps you find more Patrons; people like stuff!
They have warned not to make rewards too extravagant – like signed posters, but as there are three of us working on Twilleir, I feel that this wouldn’t be much of a time restriction at all; especially if the posters and artwork have already been made and all we’d need to do is sign them.

LAUNCH BEFORE YOU LAUNCH

There are apparently two types of launches that have been mentioned in this article. One is the launch of your actual Patreon page and the second is your promotional launch that you do after you press the big green ‘Launch’ button on your Patreon page. This is where you link your existing fan base to your page where hopefully you could get some pledges!

“Do you have a clear description of what you’re creating?  How about a short video that introduces yourself and gives a quick explanation of what Patreon is?”

“While you may be thinking the best way to promote your page is by spending the day obsessively sharing out your URL to all your social media channels, this is only grazing the surface.  The truth is, you should always be promoting your Patreon page!  For every piece of content you share on your website, blog, Youtube channel, etc., you should be linking back to your Patreon page and reminding your fans that there is additional content and exclusive perks accessible to all who pledge to you on Patreon.”

Through our Instagram especially we have a fair few followers join us on our journey over the past three months (151 to be exact!). Even if just twenty people pledged, imagine how good that could be and how you could grow? I’m starting to think that by using Patreon, we’ll be able to hopefully at least start off small but then after this who knows what could happen; definitely, something to consider for our future projects together. 

ALWAYS BE CREATING

No matter what, always be making and sharing stuff with your Patrons. Don’t stop, do stuff, show it off and get busy! I think we’re doing okay with that currently what with updating the Instagram every three days on average – we wanted to make sure we didn’t overpost as a lot of Instagram articles mentioned in order to be successful and for people to actually want to follow you, you need to not overwhelm them. This is quite clear as Twilleir have only posted 41 times and have 151 followers whereas Hurry Hurry Heal Me have posted 87 times (over double the amount) and yet only have 124 followers. It goes to show it’s quality, not quantity people are interested in. #shade.

Whilst having a look at this, I went to the Games section of Patreon to see what sort of games are on there, how much people tend to pledge etc. There were a couple that caught my eye including:

VaatiVidya is creating Souls Videos
$
6,492 per month

This guy is a Youtuber/streamer.
With this, I was mainly interested in the rewards he was offering as well as how he set up his profile. They used great colour schemes that fit the artwork he’s working on so it looks like a brand, looks clean and polished and overall looks quite cute. The only issue I have is that the video is 5 minutes long and by the end, I didn’t pay much attention – need the video to be short, informative and maybe a bit fun to keep the viewer interested.
Some of the rewards they offered were things to take note of, stuff such as releasing content earlier to Patrons would be something that we could do. Maybe we start a Youtube Channel where we show behind the scenes of what we do and then those Patrons get this an extra few days or a week in advance? Potentially a shout out? There’s a lot we could potentially do. 

Jim Sterling is creating the Jimquisition
$
12,230 per month

This guy is a games industry reviewer who also wants to make podcasts alongside this Youtube channel where he hosts a series called Jimquisition where he commentates on AAA games etc.
Similar to the above guy, Jim Sterling wants to stop media and advertising trying to take over videos and make his videos completely ad free meaning that people can enjoy his services without the annoying advertisements etc. Very simple thing and his fanbase obviously love it.
All he has in his rewards section is a minimum spend of $1 otherwise people can add what they want to it. This unlocks his content on Patreon so that people can see streams and comments etc. Something as simple as this has helped him to reach his nearly 12 and a half thousand dollars a month…

Team Cemu is creating Emulation Software
$34,015 per month

This team are a bunch of programmers who work on creating games console emulators. Their ‘bio’ or description is really short and sweet and yet directs you elsewhere to their website if you want to learn more about them and their CEMU project.
Their rewards are based upon early release news or news in general of the projects and how it’s going plus getting their name mentioned as a supporter on their CEMU website. These rewards again are super simple, and people obviously love what they’re doing considering their intake of pledges per month!

Admittingly, there aren’t too many games as such on the Patreon website, however, the ones that are on there do as well as $4000 per month so it’s still not bad at all. It’s definitely something to be worth considering, however, I will also look at Itch too to see if there are more benefits using this platform than Patreon.

Itch is slightly different in that this is more of a place you use to put your game for selling and not for people paying for updates like Patreon is. With Itch you upload your game, some screenshots, design the layout and potentially set a minimum price so that people can pay what they want to play.
The analytics involved in Itch are pretty cool too as you can track how many people are viewing the game as well as how many purchases and downloads are happening too. Potentially I think it may be best for us to firstly upload on Itch, letting people know it’s an Alpha tutorial, so people can see the basics, buy the game (donate or whatever if they want to) and then when we get feedback, implement this as well as upload the game to Patreon. This way, if people like the game enough to donate on Itch and say they like it then we can make sure that we continue to work on it and update it due to the Tycoon nature of the game through Patreon with pledges. We can add in the trends and seasons that we’d been planning to do etc to make the game come to life more than the tutorial so it could work out very well.

This will be something to discuss with the team tomorrow, however, I think we really could have a shot at bringing Twilleir to life if we really tried. 

Friday

Today we had a team meeting about the Promo trailer that we’re wanting to create. We’ve started off by creating a mind map of the sorts of ‘feels’ we wanted the trailer to have. These included but are not limited to:

  • EXPLOSIONS
  • DRAMA
  • FUN
  • EPIC
  • NOT BORING
  • COLOURFUL
  • ALIVE
  • NOT DEAD

Much like how we want Twilleir to be, we are looking to give the trailer a quirky, fun and cute feel to it. As it is also a Fantasy theme, we’re looking to have an epic feel for the first section of the trailer before using comedy to then take the audience through the rest of the trailer – we’re aiming to have a minute trailer so that it’s exciting, fun and not too long or boring.

Millie has decided that she would like to take this task on instead of the development video so I’m going to be back working on this again. I’m a near complete newbie to After Effects however, Millie has shown me a couple of tips and tricks to using it so I’ll be using my notes, the example animation she made and I’ll also look at Youtube tutorials over the weekend. 

I’ve spent the majority of today collecting the footage that is needed for the development video from our Dropbox as well as from the team so we have a large range for me to play around with. I’d like to make the video three minutes maximum so that it’s not too long but it shows how far we’ve progressed over the past couple of months. From these, I will compile the video; unfortunately, I don’t have After Effects on my computer so the only place I’ll be able to do this is in Uni. This means that apart from today I won’t have too much time to work on this (pretty much Tuesday and Wednesday) due to Bank Holiday weekend, however, I’ve planned this so that I can spend the weekend finishing off documenting, recording ‘talk-through’ videos, proof reading blog posts and creating my final reflective ambitions post. This isn’t ideal but I think with the Development video being one of the last things to set up apart from us putting Twilleir on Itch then it’s not too bad! 

The Weekend

This weekend has been a slight clusterf*** where my laptop has died and my files are trapped inside. Despite going to transfer the files before Windows 10 took a sh*te on me, I’ve definitely realised the importance of backing up files immediately.

Luckily, after confiding in the team, James has come up with a potential solution to save my files, however, I need to find this SATA cable or hope my prime order still arrives despite being Bank Holiday weekend before he can help me on Monday.

I’ve accepted my fate now and have found that I can still just about work on my blog from my phone (even though it’s an ass to type on) so at least I have the comfort of knowing I could get my last big reflective blog post done over this Bank Holiday, leaving Tuesday and Wednesday of next week to finish the development video, and if any of my files have been saved, do some last minute organising/documenting a playthrough plus put the game on Itch.

Now for a quad vodka with no mixer me thinks…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reflection of Week Sixteen

Week beginning 15th May – 21st May

Monday

As per usual, this morning was setting up the next sprint of the project. We have two and a half sprints left in this project and it’s all starting to really come together. I foresee that we’ll have most if not all of the necessary assets and tutorials in by this Friday which is the big Playtest day. The extra Town area is something that is an added level anyway that sets us up to expand Twilleir after university if we choose to so this isn’t so much the main focus. 

James informed me of some more assets that he’s in need of or that he needs altering to suit the project. As they’re not massively big undertakings I will be getting on with this today so that we don’t have more added tasks to the back burner. These tasks are:

  • Making an end of mini-game Crafting Panel showing the potion you made and the score
  • Making adjustments to the Market Panel so that you can see how many ingredients you already hold. I.e. when you select Pine, the market panel will show you how many you have left in your inventory so you don’t overspend etc
  • L’hallen and Meidryn race buttons for the Character Customisation level

I’ve managed to get these done relatively quickly as I used panels and buttons that I had already previously created and altered the colours. This way, the UI has some consistency within the game and gives it a ‘whole’ feel. Below is what I worked on this morning:

The next steps of today are producing the rest of the bits and pieces for the Character Customisation for the Meidryn. I’m using Pinterest and my teammates in order to get some inspiration for both hair styles, accessories and eye shapes. Even though we’re not going too in depth with the character customisation due to it being an Alpha build, I’d still like to give the Players some variation and choice in the game. 

From my Pinterest link I’ve been sketching some potential ideas and styles for the Meidryn character which I will be carrying on with tomorrow and taking it to paint where I’ll test what works and what doesn’t.

Tuesday – Friday

Over the past few days, I’ve been spending my time refining the work that I already had done on the Character Customisation and progressing with the two races that we’re using in the Alpha/Tutorial which is the L’Hallen and the Meidryn races.
I’ve been having many issues with layers and having to organise what goes where and what is visible and what isn’t which originally slowed down the process. Now I’ve a better understanding of some short cuts etc which have helped me to speed up a bit. 

So far, I’ve managed to complete the Meidryn character in full and have finished the ‘female’ aspect of the L’Hallen. As mentioned before, we’re not having Gender be an icon or option in a sense, what we’re doing is having a range of two face shapes, six eye shapes, eight hairstyles and eight accessories. This way people can choose whatever they want and be whoever they want to be with minimal restrictions – I mean, come on, it’s Fantasy!

I received some great feedback from the target audience when I asked them whether they would like to see a character with no hair (Alopecia) as I realised that not many games seem to include anything like this. People loved the idea and really thought I should go with it so I’m doing it! 

They also loved that you could choose different piercings as these and tattoos are still stereotyped in the ageing and unaccepting workplaces of today. I didn’t do tattoos as we’re only focusing on the bust area, however, I’m baring this in mind for the future when we decide to take Twilleir further. 

I’ve still got the ‘male’ L’Hallen to finish which is a shame as I sort of wanted to have it done in time for the big Playtest tomorrow but I’d rather not rush it. The Player will still have the Meidryn which they can test out and then the rest of the L’Hallen can be added in afterwards. 

Below is what I’ve been working on:

Now that these are finished, James will be able to drop these into the build, test it all works and functions correctly and then the character customisation section of the game is complete! YAY. There are quite a few aspects that I’d like to change and adapt, however, this will likely be a job for after University when we have more time due to time restrictions; we’ve managed to show how it would function in the Alpha which is enough to ‘set the scene’. 

Play Test Day!

Today was the play test day where it was expected that people from around the university would come forth and test our games. Unfortunately, over the 4 hours, only two people turned up which was a great shame. However, we made use of each other in the studio and Twilleir were lucky to have Aaron and Liam from third year and James W from the second year test our game. None of them had played through the game before so it was great to watch them work out what to do from tutorials as well as rip it apart thoroughly. It was so useful to have people who hadn’t played before as it meant that we could see if it is easy enough to understand and have some fresh feedback. 

Here are the bits of feedback we received:

  • Text slightly off with Eliza
  • Needs a delay on the Harvesting mini-game as it’s too abrupt
  • Need an example of how to do Crafting because it wasn’t clear what to do
  • The names in the commission panel are different to the potion book?
  • There’s a fish having a fit in the garden?
  • Tutorial repeats itself after harvesting a plant
  • Garden background art doesn’t cover the width of the screen
  • Commissions go to the panel even if you decline 
  • UI is larger in the Greenhouse
  • Managed to craft by clicking one colour over and over again?
  • Make PNGs in harvesting mini-game not stretched
  • I want to check my dream book all the time 
  • Put the ingredients of the potions in the commission’s panel
  • Let the Player know what they have and what they need to have when the commissions come in
  • The leaves in the garden (falling) render behind the Greenhouse door
  • When the plants are ready, will they die if you don’t harvest them?
  • Names of the crops in the inventory screen are needed
  • Can’t make the flying potion even if have all ingredients

These were just some comments that the guys wrote down and asked but I also made a survey that they were to fill out afterwards. Below are the questions with thae answers that everyone put plus the average star score:

1. On a scale of 1 – 5 ( 1 being awful and 5 being fricking awesome) how many stars would you rate the Alpha build of Twilleir?

3.6 stars

2. If you had to use three words to describe Twilleir, what would they be? I.e. thematically etc

Exciting

well-designed

Interesting 

Fun!

Too much text

Good story

Chill

Pretty

Confusing

3. What parts did you enjoy the most (if at all)?

“The Garden”

“Dungeon! Farming!”

“Making money. The variety of genres. Working out what I could afford and what Ingredients I need to find”

“I liked the farming system. The randomness of the dungeoneering was exciting and the most fun”

4. What parts didn’t you enjoy or didn’t think worked )if at all)?

“The rest of the game”

“My plant died. Didn’t have enough time to realise what was going on”

“Not knowing the name of ingredients, or what ingredients I need at any particular point. Not knowing what I recieved from a dungeon. Having to go back and forth to the Dream book.”

“The crafting didn’t have much explanation and seemed random – hard to do. The farming system could have something extra.”

5. Was there anything in the game that you didn’t understand? If there was, please explain what and any suggestions you have!

“The Dungeons part”

“Maybe a little more directioning, although maybe I should have spentmore time reading”

“It was difficult to grasp what potions were what. The crafting mini-game didn’t tell me when I failed and what the consequences were for that.”

“Quicktime events to the Dungeoneering possibly?”

6. On a scale of 1 – 5 (1 being ‘eurgh, no!’ and 5 being ‘hell yeah!’) would you be interested in playing the full Twilleir game if it was released?

4.5 stars

Overall, we got lots of amazing feedback from everyone and it has given us plenty to think about. There’s lots of essential maintenance that’s needed but then there are some extras that we didn’t think about which we’ll need to decide if they’re needed. This is what James will be mainly be working on over the next couple of weeks before the deadline to make sure it’s playable and easy enough to understand. Millie and I will be working on the remaining bits of artwork that’s still needed as well as the trailer and looking into whether we continue with Steam greenlight or whether we go with Patreon.

This will all be a job for next week as this weekend is dedicated to moving Millie and James into their new place. 

Reflection of Week Fifteen – WE’RE NEARLY THERE GUYS.

Week beginning 8th May – 14th May

Monday

As per usual, we spent some time this morning figuring out what we’re going to be working on for this Sprint. After a good talk with Adam on Friday where he offered advice to make a good tutorial, Millie has worked on a structure for the tutorial and has passed this on to James who will be implementing it this week and testing it externally to see if this works properly. Hopefully, by the end of the week, we’ll have a working tutorial which will make the game easier to understand and hopefully play! Then we will have a chance to implement any more feedback before the big playtest day on the Friday 19th May where we can again fix and build again ready for another testing session. 

Millie is finishing the Tarot cards for the Dungeoneering experience this week and working on the Monster portraits to get the Dungeon battle scene fully on the way. There are a couple of extra pieces still needed in the Dungeon ‘level’ but these are some UI assets which can be worked on easily and won’t take much time. 

I will be working on the Character Customisation ‘level’ this week and will be aiming to try and get this finished by the end of the week. This will mean that I’ll be available to pick up more tasks from the backburner and help to move the project along. I’ve put off doing the Decor owner for now, as discussed with Millie, as the Town checklist of the game will be an added extra we will be spending our time after the essential artworks are completed as then we can have some fun with the characters instead of rushing them. 

Today, I worked on the Character Customisation buttons for what we’d need to go through different hairstyles, colours, eyes etc. On Saturday, Millie and I had discussed how we didn’t think just having buttons with the item on would be readable for the Player. We’ve decided to go ahead with arrows which the Player can use to circulate between different options. 

2017-05-08 20.11.31.jpgAs you can see on the right, this is what the set up would be for the Character Customisation screen. You’d have a set of arrows per asset that can be changed. I feel it may be a little cramped if we have all four sets together on the screen but we’ll have to see when it comes to James building it. If this is the case, it won’t take long to draw up the icons so this isn’t too much of an issue currently.
Below are two of the favourite arrow designs we picked from the iterations I made (See A3 Sketchbook page 86) which I took into colour:

After looking at them again, we felt the colours were a little too bright and needed to not be so ‘in your face’! I went back to our Twilleir logo and colour picked the deep purple and matched this with a silver to give it that ornate, Fantasy feel; these are now the final assets.

Above, I also made a Next button and a Name Panel where the Player will input their name (duh) using the same silver colour in order to keep the UI aesthetic the same. From these, I’ll be looking to create a background that fits these colours.
In other news:

WE HAVE 3 WEEKS AND 3 DAYS LEFT. *cries*

Tuesday

Today, we were supposed to be filming some footage which we’re going to use in our brief animations for the Helping Hands (or Adventurer’s) in the Dungeon battles. Unfortunately, Millie was off ill and she has a specific way she would like these animations to work so we’ve decided to postpone this until next week.
Despite this setback, James and I got on with our Sprint tasks – James has nearly completed the first version of the tutorial which I tested at the end of the day as I hadn’t played all the way through it. I understood what to do and there were a few aspects that needed changing but it’s a great start!
We got our heads together and figured out what’s still missing in the build and if there are any extras that were missed last time when we made the Backburner list. A couple more UI parts and backgrounds have cropped up which we’d forgotten about and so have been added to the list but the rest we already knew about. Looking at the tasks, there are quite a few left to undertake which I was hoping we could get done by the 19th but there may still be a few assets missing. I’ll be looking to make sure the majority of essential tasks are completed before with the Town aspect being one of the last areas to complete. 

Today was a lot of organising, doing backburner tasks and shipping assets to James via memory stick as Eduroam was having a bad day… However, I’ve made a lot of progress with the character customisation ‘level’ and am hoping to have just the customisable race portraits to do by Friday if I manage to get the background complete tomorrow and Thursday. 

Wednesday

I’ve been working on finishing the small Extras that I added to my Sprint list yesterday that James is still in need of as I would like to have the majority of levels fully complete rather than all the levels with bits missing ready for the big Playtest on the Friday 19th (next week).
Below are the bits and pieces that I’ve completed:

The Seeds are the what he needs for the Market and Inventory, followed by the Crafting Mini-game background (with and without the board in it to help James with placement) and the icons for the Character Customisation. These haven’t taken me too long to do which is surprising but I’m rolling with it!
My next step is to work on the background for the Character Customisation. I’ve designed two designs that were favourites so I’ll be looking to work on the both of them and see which one works best. As there’s going to be a lot of UI and stuff going on in the foreground, we’re thinking that if we add a blur to the background this could help the Player focus and not be distracting when choosing their character.  

Friday

 Today I managed to get the background of the character customisation completed in a shorter time than expected which was useful. As the background is going to be blurred anyway, I didn’t go into too much detail as this would end up being lost; this I felt helped save some time. I used the Shop and Crafting backgrounds to help gather the right colours for the scene.
Below you can see a blurred and an unblurred version:

We will need to test what side the character will go on and what side the icons and UI go on depending on how it is affected by the background. Originally I thought about having the character on the right-hand side and the icons on the left but after painting the background, either the assets may have to be swapped or the background would need to be flipped as it may end up being too busy behind the icons and making it difficult to see; this will be something that will need to be tested when everything is in. James has already started to drop stuff into the project in Unity so hopefully will get some feedback on this soon.

I also started working on the Health Bar for the Dungeons so that this extra is out of the backburner. I wasn’t sure how to go about designing this as I haven’t worked on anything like this before UI wise so I had a look on Google to see what I needed to make to help James. This was the tutorial that I looked up and it was really useful:

Now I have a better idea as to what I need to design and paint for James to drop into the project. I will be using the colours scheme of the Dungeons to help me make sure that I don’t use colours that are too bright or don’t fit the aesthetic. 

Saturday

I finished off designing the UI health bar for the Dungeons battle scene. I tried to make sure that it would fit with the rest of the UI I’d already done for this level without either overwhelming the screen or making it seem too different. 

The left image is the full health bar. The gap in the left will hold the number of health you have left and depending on this, the red bar will decrease/increase if you’re attacked or take some health. Red is commonly associated with blood, health potions etc in Fantasy so I felt sticking to this colour would be beneficial to the Player; it should hopefully stand out well on the background too.

I started working on the Meidryn character customisation assets working from a base sketch that Millie made previously. I used the Icons I made with the colours to make the different layers. Once I’ve done a few different hair styles, eye shapes and accessories then Meidryn will be complete and ready to be exported for James. This has taken more time than I expected it to, however, I did make a couple of layer mistakes which slowed me down a bit. I feel more confident in how to go about doing this task so it shouldn’t take me longer than Monday to get the Meidryn done; I’ll be looking to get the L’hallen done afterwards as these are the only two customisable races we’re using in the Alpha build.

What I worked on today (showing examples of skin tone, varying hair colours and eye colours in one eye shape and one hairstyle):

Overall, today has been really productive, as well as the rest of the week really. I’m glad about the progress we’re all making this week as a team. James has been amazing at building the project and telling us what he’s in need of. Millie has knuckled down and is firing out artwork like there’s no tomorrow. With this continued attitude from everyone, I think we’re going to be in a great place by Friday and by the deadline which is awesome!

Sunday

Today, I had an unexpected chance to spend some more time on my uni work as the Airport was dead. I had been looking at my female character customisation work from yesterday and there was something just not right with it. I couldn’t put my finger on it but after working on the male character, I realised it was the nose and the shading on the face! Below are the adjustments I made:

These already have made a massive difference so I’m glad I altered it. I also realised that I made a human blue (the Heralorn race can be different colours and so as not to discriminate – plus I’d done the Icon for the skin tones already, I went with it. We can always not use it!).

I then moved on to the Male. Now that I had a better idea of how layers worked and how to cut corners *shifty eyes* I managed to get them done a lot quicker than the Female character. I did the same thing by doing the 8 different coloured eyes and hair and starting with a base eye shape and medium hair. I’m going to be doing 4 hairstyles – short, medium, long and a stylised one so that the Player has a bit of choice and individuality in the Alpha; I’ll also be doing four different eye shapes too. Below is what I made for the Male character:

Now that I have the base set up for both Male and Female, it will be easier to design the other layers (hair and eye shape) and get to work. I’ll be asking Millie to sketch a L’hallen base so that I can work from this so that there is consistency between the characters. 

Next week is going to be heavy but if we continue our 10-6’s and keep the work ethic going, we’ll do great. So nearly there… Go team! ❤

Reflection of Week Fourteen

Week beginning 1st May – 7th May.

Monday

As it was a Bank Holiday Monday today, we were unable to use room 3015 which is a great shame as this is one of the only days we get completely uninterrupted to crack on with work. Having that time in the studio away from everyone else works really well for us as we have a different work ethic to others where we find having chilled music on in the background helps us work but are aware that other people on the course don’t appreciate this; I guess it works out the best for both parties!

I began the day by working out the next sprint for us all to work on. I’m trying to plan the tasks strategically so that we’re not overwhelmed with lots of tasks in the last few weeks. I’ve worked it out so that by the 19th if we all continue at the same hardworking pace, we can get the majority of the artwork completed giving us the last couple of weeks to refine artwork, create promotional pieces and trailers, focus on marketing for the shows in June and add in some cool animations to make Twilleir come to life.

I also worked on some of my sprint tasks and produced the Harvesting timer and started the UI for the Market.

Overall, today has been relatively productive which is great. Millie has managed to finish all of the Dungeon ingredients today meaning that’s another task off of the backburner. Everyone’s working super hard and I’m really proud of what we’re producing and putting together #dreamteam. 
As we’re all in the studio tomorrow, we’re hoping to flesh out some Mind the Film footage in time for the deadline Thursday as well as have Dr Stallwood help James correct any ‘spaghetti’ or ‘dirty’ code. Everything’s coming along 🙂

Tuesday

Today, I began by designing the Market background so that it means that it’ll just mean painting the background and the text from James and then the Market is complete. I had to make a few adjustments as I misunderstood the requirements that James needed as he’d already built the project a certain way. Once I realised I was being an idiot, I did a couple more designs and now we have a final one ready to be painted. I will be working on the Crafting background this week to practice my painting skills and imitation of Millie’s style which if I manage to do it right, I will be looking to work on the Market background too to help Millie out. 

We filmed some footage for Mind the Film today so as to show them what sort of feel and vibe we wanted us to come across as. As mentioned before, The Office is a big inspiration for us as it sums up our humour and personality and after filming today and Millie putting together a quick edit, it’s already working really well! Below is the link to a ‘taster’ of some of the footage we got today; this is on Millie’s Youtube Channel. She’s edited it brilliantly in such a short space of time to really get across our personalities – great job Mills! 

As well as working on the film, today I managed to make a start on the Crafting room background. I’ve been using Millie’s Shop background in order to try and keep a consistency in the art style between rooms. It’s helping to see all of her layers, however, I’ll spend the rest of today and tomorrow working on it and then on Thursday I’ll be going over it with Millie to see how I can improve it and make it more similar if needed to her Shop painting. I’m finding it a little bit challenging but pushing through as I want to be able to help Millie out so she’s not stuck with painting all of the big backgrounds! Below is a speedpaint of my progress today – featuring a banging tune from Fleetwood Mac who I was listening to whilst painting this.

 

Wednesday

Today has pretty much all been devoted to trying to mimic Millie’s style with the Shop in the Crafting room. I’ve been finding this quite hard and have done as much as I can without her but tomorrow I’ll be speaking with Millie about how to make it look more like her environment art.

Crafting Room

Above is the final image with help from Millie with fixing the lighting which she helped me with on Thursday.

Thursday

WordPress sucks and so I spent most of my day rewriting this blog post which it told me was invalid.

Millie managed to finish off the Dungeon fight battle scene which not only we can put into our promotion trailer, but it’s now ready to drop into Dungeoneering – well done Millie!

James has also been working on getting the tutorials together and has managed to get the Market and Adventurer’s Guild done today – woooo, James!

I’ve had not a very productive day. I’ve managed to make a button which James needed for the Crafting room. Below is the button:

Begin Crafting button

I also began blocking in the Market background so that I can continue on with this tomorrow with shading and textures. By at least attempting to do this, it means that I’ll have a head start tomorrow and hopefully finish it leaving Saturday to do extras such as the Character Customisation buttons and potentially start the background.

Friday

Today, Adam went through our game fully for the first time. It became very evident that the tutorials that were in place were not as useful as first thought and there are quite a few bits we need to alter in order to help the Player understand.

During the time spent with Adam, Millie drafted up a structured tutorial of how it should play out and where it takes the Player in order for them to understand what they’re supposed to be doing in the game. This is useful as now she can pass this along to James in order for him to implement this and get us further ready for external testing. I understand that external testing is important but at the same time, if some of the UI isn’t in then it won’t make sense to the Player anyway. I feel that once this new tutorial is put in and the artwork is dropped in then it will make external playtesting easier as hopefully if we’ve done the tutorial correctly, people will be able to play the game without getting confused. 

I managed to complete the Market background today so now that’s ready for James to drop into the project. I think I’m getting a bit better with my painting skills through these past few months due to regular practising and having to work on tasks pretty much every day which includes painting have helped. Below is the image:

Market Background

Now I’ve done this, the tasks I have left for this Sprint are the Decor owner design or working on the Character Customisation UI and backgrounds which are extras. After the chat with Adam today, I think it would be best for me to work on the Character Customisation bits and pieces as then it can be dropped in and tested immediately whereas the Decor owner can be finished at a later date as this is something that is less important that the Character Customisation UI. 

I also discussed with Millie today about the Character customisation screen. We feel it needs to be simple so that the focus is on the character itself. Due to time restrictions and also ease, for the Alpha, we’ll be making it so that you can only customise the face (hair, eyes etc) as then it’ll be easy enough for us to complete this for the onscreen communication between Eliza or marketman and when on screen in the backgrounds. 

 

 

Reflection of Week Thirteen

Week beginning 24th Apri – 30th April

Monday

We met again in Room 3015 to flesh out the next Sprint in the project.
Over the weekend, Millie and I managed to crack through a lot of the artwork and have managed to have Harvesting and the Greenhouse/Garden completed. This is great as it means that we can work through the rest of the tasks and as tasks pop up from James as to what he needs and what he learns from playtesting. We’re really powering through and I’m hoping that by having a full day back in the studio will help us to really progress with Twilleir. 

After consideration, we’ve found that we have a list of things that James is missing from the project. He made a detailed list today where we have 41 missing assets that he needs from Millie and I. At first, I was quite shocked at the amount we still need but after looking thoroughly at the list, I’m confident it’s not as bad as it sounds as the majority of the missing assets are buttons.  The list you can find below in screen shots from the Trello.

I updated the Trello with these tasks and I’ve also updated my sprint tasks too. As I worked on the other buttons that have been made, I’m going to be looking at getting as may buttons completed as possible in the next week as extra tasks.
I’ve decided to personally work on these ‘backburner’ tasks more so than newer tasks as it means that we’ll be getting levels completed ready to playtest and refine.
I finished two concepts for the Crafting room so far today and am a third of the way through another so, already, I’m hoping to have finished these by tomorrow and get on with designing the Decor NPC and the inventory panels. I’m aiming to have these done by Friday evening as it means that on Saturday, I can have a full day of going through the extra tasks I’ve given myself and hopefully get the Garden, Harvesting and The Shop (apart from shop background and text for Eliza) complete by Monday morning next week! This will mean that we’re near enough ready to playtest these levels which will help for us to get feedback from our target audience and see if anything needs fixing or adjusting.
Today’s been a productive day for all in 3015 and I’m looking forward to seeing what tomorrow brings. James will be working with Dr James to make sure the code is all good and as clean as possible while Millie and I will be working our way through the art assets we’ve been assigned this week; great stuff, it’s all coming together now!

Tuesday and Wednesday

Over the past couple of days, I’ve been working on the design for the Inventory panels, Seeds, Crops, Dungeons and Potions. I’ve been trying to make sure that they all have the same, simple layout and that the colours are different enough so that you can work out which panel is for which items. 


For the Seeds Inventory Panel, I decided that earthy brown colours would work well to symbolise this panel alongside having some vines growing along the side of the shelves to give it some life and character. I felt that the shelves on their own looked bland and boring which didn’t give the right cute and charming fantasy feel we wanted it to have. 
With the Crops panel design, instead of vines, I had some grass and vegetation that you’d find in the garden such as mushrooms and flowers. I felt these were enough to separate the panel from the Seeds one whilst giving it some charm through the quirky mushroom and flower.
For the Dungeon Panel, I had the idea that as it’s a fantastical environment, the stone-like shelves would have glowing aspects to them; in this case there are lines and cracks over them. Neon blue worked well to give it that fantasy look as well as helping to symbolise bravery in the notion of Dungeoneering; it also complimented the stone colour well.
Similarly to the Dungeon Panel, with the Potions panel I chose a vibrant green that filled in the cracks and lines on the shelves so as to give an idea of Alchemy and that this is where you keep your potions. The green and the browns of the shelves worked well together and yet is not distracting so the Player can still see and focus on what they’re looking at in their inventory.
I didn’t manage to start the Decor Owner NPC today, although I have had some thoughts on what they could look like. As discussed with Millie, the character will be based on James so as to add some fun to the characters and help us create original NPCs; I’ll be starting this on Thursday along with discussing with James what buttons he needs in what sort of design so that I can quickly give him these assets and help him build the project.

Thursday

Today, I decided to have a tidy up today and work through the list of extra tasks we have rather than work on the Decor character. Although the character is important for the game, I felt that we needed to make sure the game was getting completed rather than leaving small tasks for later and starting new tasks; it makes sense to fix everything before moving on!

I discussed with the team how we felt about the buttons that we needed for certain areas in what way they should be designed. Leftover Crafting, Market and Dungeon buttons should be themed like the one that I made with the Shop so I’ve been playing about with some ideas for this. There are a few other buttons that just need to be simplified so they’re not as overpowering on the screen so I’ve been thinking about using the ones that I made for the Shop but taking off the decoration so that it’s simple and easy to look at. 

I began by looking into the Crafting buttons needed and started sketching some ideas in my sketchbook. 

Above are the finished pieces. We wanted to make it look quite Alchemy like, I used some of the Treadwell’s Bookstore pictures we took as a reference for the inspiration for the Dream book and Back to Shop button which helped. I also went with the neon-like green as this is often something seen in Fantasy and Alchemy so as to make it fit the theme. 

James put our game up on the big screen in the studio and we were looking through the game as to what it looks like now and what art we still need. One thing I realised was that the buttons I originally designed that looked kind of fancy just look way to overwhelming on the screen. Therefore, I’ve altered them to a more simple design which we’ll be looking to put in and test as to which ones look better. 

I moved on to the Crafting Panel that James put in his list of assets he needs. This piece of UI is where when you first enter the Crafting room, you select the Crafting Table where this panel will then appear. In this, the nine potion icons will be inside the circles (see below) where the player will be able to select which dream potion they want to make. We’re thinking of making it so that the name of the dream pops up when you hover over it in order to conserve space and not make the panel overcrowded and unclear to read.

Crafting panel to choose potions fromI used colours from Millie’s Crafting table artwork so as to keep a consistency with the room; the purple and pink colours work well to convey the idea of Alchemy and Fantasy.

Overall, the team did amazingly today. James managed to get the crafting table mini-game finished to a point where it can be tested, Millie completed the Shop and did a beautiful job and I managed to finish off eight of the tasks that are on the backburner. Everyone worked hard and the efforts paid off as we’re closer to reaching our goals. After looking at the tasks left, I feel that if we continue with this level of dedication and commitment from the team in the last 34 days (yeah, we counted…) then I think we’ll be able to finish the game. It’s going to be tough and a busy time but we knew this when we took this on that Twilleir was going to be pretty damn big. We’re aiming to get Twilleir to a finished standard where the game mechanics all work and the artwork is all there but after discussion with the team, we’re likely to refine artwork after the deadline and before the shows as we won’t be so pressured and can leisurely work on the assets at our own pace.
Tomorrow is another 10 – 6 day, let’s hope that it’s as productive as today! 🙂 

Friday

We had a talk with Adam today about the scheduling for the next few weeks. The main key date that I’m going to try and bear in mind is the 19th May where we’ll be joining everyone in a big playtest day. Although we’ve been playtesting internally for as long as James has been coding, this day will really be a good day to get up to speed on what needs fixing, what works well, if the target audience enjoys the game etc. With this date in mind, I’ll be looking to push myself and Millie to get as much of the artwork complete by this time as possible so that the last couple of weeks can be spent refining artwork, creating promotion artwork, the promotion trailer and putting in small animations in order to make Twilleir come to life. There’s a large workload ahead of us but I feel we’ve done incredibly well so far to get as much done as we have and I have every confidence in us all that we’ll be ready on time for the deadline.  

In terms of the artwork today, I worked on the mass list of assets that James is still working on and managed to complete the Potion book, Dungeon Panel, Dungeon Continue button and Dungeon back button. 

The Dungeon menus on the right have the text boxes and buttons included whereas I’ve made PNGs separately so that we can adjust them depending on the text that James has already mocked up. These didn’t take me as long as I thought they would and so I managed to complete all my extra tasks for the week.
Admittedly, I haven’t designed the Decor shopkeeper NPC this week but this was because I felt it would be more beneficial to complete the backburner tasks and leave this for a later date. I will be adding the Decor NPC character design to my next sprint, however, I’ll be classing this as an extra rather than focus on it straight away; I’ll be looking to draft up backgrounds and get some more UI completed next week. 

Overall, this first week back has been long but productive and I’m proud of what everyone has achieved over the past few days. If we keep up these 10-6 working days and stay focused, I’m confident that we’ll be on track with tasks and succeed in making it to the deadline. 

 

 

April Reflection; James’ horrifically inconsistent posting schedule

This post accompanies the last in ironing out what was actually completed during the Easter period and into the latter end of April. There was quite a big ramp up on our return from Easter and I’m going to document what occurred and what this meant for the progress of the game.

  • The Greenhouse is close to completion, all that was necessary was Millie’s Greenhouse Background to finish it off. I had previously migrated and altered the code from the Garden as the Greenhouse works in an almost identical fashion, however, due to naming conventions it required some tweaking to ensure functionality was the same. Once Millie had completed the background I cut the plots up into their individual plots, and thus finished off the Greenhouse!

Screenshot 2017-05-26 14.34.51.png

  • In terms of the Harvesting Redesign, this was completed within a day once I actually decided it was necessary to complete and continue the progress of the Project. I’m really proud of how my coding has developed thus far this Semester and I’ve definitely noticed an improvement in my problem solving, and breaking down large problems into manageable segments. Obviously, I have lots left to learn but I feel a lot more confident in tackling the different types of problems I come up against.
  • After the completion of the Harvesting Redesign, I collected the assets for it from Jess which led to the completion of yet another screen, we’re really cracking on with the game now and it’s starting to look more professional each day! You can see in the screenshot below that the theme is vibrant and colourful, which we hope will entice players to keep on playing!  The grey rectangle in the centre alters based on the plant you are wanting to grow, which uses the great little animations Jess made for the Plants.

Screenshot 2017-05-26 14.32.44.png

  • In the final week of April, I focused primarily on working on reworking the Crafting minigame, that was redesigned by Millie. This resulted in completely tearing out the old system (which can be seen in my Semester One prototypes under Crafting Minigame) and starting from scratch. Our new Crafting system revolves around matching the longest string of colors you can match, and reaching a score threshold to successfully “craft” the potion. This new minigame really challenged me in terms of algorithm design, and I actually really enjoyed implementing the different solutions to the various problems I encountered.
  • The most difficult was easily designing how each “Tile” in the minigame spoke to each other; this was a necessary behaviour as the basic summary of the game is pressing a “tile” of a certain colour, and all neighboring tiles with the same colour will “chain” and disappear, giving more points as the number of tiles in the chain increases.
  • To achieve this I designed the method within the TileFinder.cs script below; essentially I gave each tile this script, which carried three arrays. The first contains all of the immediate neighbours that surround the tile, the second contains the neighbours of the immediate neighbours, the third contains the neighbours of the neighbours of the immediate tiles. This functionality was required as it allows players to achieve the maximum combo possible on the board, 11 tiles, without this algorithm, players were only able to make combos as large as 9. This felt really strange as they may have had a larger combo on the board, but not all of it would change colour. The final part of this algorithm makes sure that certain combos are counted correctly, it does this by removing duplicates from the three arrays, this makes sure that each tile only appears once in the arrays.
  • Before this behaviour was implemented, say if you clicked a combo of 2; Origin Tile (Blue) and its Neighbour tile (Blue), you would get a score of 3 rather than 2, this is because you would get a point for each of the Origin and Neighbour tiles, but in the Neighbour tiles’ array, the origin tile would appear, and therefore would award another point. To combat this I made sure to include a line within each of the For Loops that checks the tile its currently iterated on against the tiles within the three arrays, if it appears more than once across all of the arrays, it removes it to ensure no duplicates and therefore correct scoring.

Screenshot 2017-05-26 14.52.21.png

  • I asked Jess and Millie for a long string of assets, around 41 that definitely raised some shock amongst the team, however, being the gems that they are, took it in their stride and got to work straight away on getting them pumped out. This mentality has been a great factor in our successful teamwork and has made sure that we’re always hitting our targets for progress throughout the project. The assets are definitely assisting in helping the project feel more complete, it’s a very gratifying feeling to see people playtesting our game and seeing it more closely match that vision we had for the game in our minds. As you can see below, I very swiftly received the assets for the Inventory Panel, these graphics greatly assist the instant feedback you give out to the player so they instantly know what they’re looking out without having to think about it.

We’re now nearing the end of the April month and its been an interesting progression, mostly because the majority of this month has been Easter and therefore it’s been a little bit more foot off the gas than I would’ve hoped personally. However we’re launching into the last month in a couple of days and I’m fully expecting the workload to skyrocket as we get hand in and exhibition ready with the game! We also have a large playtest session planned to get some essential feedback on the tutorial system and to catch some pesky bugs should they occur. It’ll definitely give me some more things to do as I’ve been doing a lot of small bug fixes since the implementation of the large sections, which aren’t the most enjoyable but are of course, essential.