Reflective Summary: Week Three

From the 13th to the 18th of February.

On Adams suggestion I’ve decided to stop documenting absolutely everything that I do. This is really helpful as it means I can sit down and complete a task without having to disrupt myself to write a post that I really don’t want to write. Instead I’ll pull up all of the code that I’ve written throughout the week and produce a quick video that details what I’ve been doing, and shows you the effects of this rather than me writing it all out in a huge post.

This means we’ll be seeing less general posts but hopefully more meaningful, reflective posts that detail the development process. So without further ado!

Monday

On Monday we sat down and started to plan out some further aspects of the Twilleir Systems. This was mostly thinking about our Battle System as this is the last part of Dungeoneering that needs to be completed before it can be ticked off the huge list we’ve managed to accumulate. Essentially how it will work is very similar to that you’ve seen in Final Fantasy and Pokémon, to reproduce this behaviour we’ll need to be thinking about an AI that responds to both its stats and the Players attack patterns. It’s something I’ll need to talk to Dr. James about as I’m not to sure how to tackle this, however, I’ve started to draw some diagrams in my Sketchbook that will definitely help with the process. I’m also becoming more conscious of the game hierarchy and how this will work, for example; what scripts should load in what order and which should belong to which scenes. I’m not really sure how to code or implement this yet so I think this is a problem for future me!

Otherwise I’m really happy with how the teamwork is going. Everyone is pulling their own weight and we’re starting to see the outline of the game appear, I’m excited to start getting assets in instead of placeholder objects but I really don’t want to rush Jess and Millie as you can’t force great artwork! I’m proud of how well they’re doing and I don’t think I could be capable of making a game like this without their support and skills.

Tuesday

Today, I sat down with James to think about the Battle System. However, it ended up in a complete redesign!  Which was definitely … interesting, as a result we now have a much easier system to code without the need for AI (I’m a little bit disappointed I didn’t get to give this a go). It should also be a little bit more engaging than the standard turn based fighting system we’ve seen before, but play testing will provide the feedback we need to make sure its both enjoyable and challenging. Unlike the previous few days, I’ve set out to complete this task all on my own, I want to challenge myself since programming is something I want to continue as a career after University. Completing Twilleir and having all of the code available will be a great portfolio piece to show to future employers.

I’ve continued with the practice of writing down my classes and how they interact on paper as it makes the whole code writing process a lot more efficient and means that I don’t forget certain parts of functionality. Now I’m aware of my task for the week it makes it a lot easier to get on, we have a research trip and will be heading down to Torquay, Devon for a couple of days to collect primary research from Torre Abbey, Kents Cavern and Dartmoor national park. These locations will be invaluable for visual inspiration for Millie and Jess to design the Dungeons and Town of Twilleir.

Wednesday and Thursday

I won’t be reflecting on this road trip as its mostly an opportunity for my team mates to collect necessary research. I’ll write up a brief post with some of the photos we take but otherwise I’m just there to drive and take in the scenery, I won’t really have time to get on with the coding whilst I’m there as we will be busy visiting the different locations but when I’m back on Friday this will be the top priority.

In Summary:

Kent’s Cavern –  I loved the atmosphere of the cave, it would make a great setting for our caves so I’m really glad we took the time to visit. It was a little expensive but well worth it, when the guide turned off the lights it was so surreal to be in absolute darkness and the silence was terrifying, it was strange to think our ancestors thousands of years ago experienced the same situation on a daily basis whilst avoiding all manner of hostile creatures.

Torre Abbey – So the actual Abbey is closed until Summer so we were only able to visit the gardens. Again it was a great choice of destination as I felt very inspired by the wooden trellises and greenhouses that made up the majority of the Garden. There was a huge variety of Flora that we can use for inspiration for our artwork to really portray a magical feeling whilst you’re in your garden in Twilleir.

Dartmoor National Park – I mean, just look at the photos we’ve collected from the Trip. It truly didn’t feel like we were in the UK, the differences in plant species and landscape were so drastically different to what we are used to in the South, even the New Forest pales in comparison. We were lucky enough to have great weather for the trip and I felt completely spellbound by both the scenery and bridges that dotted the park, there were moments where we had to clamber over fences and under stone arches to continue along the path and this feeling of adventure is exactly what I want to capture in the game. We only managed to visit not even 1% of the park so I’d love to return for a week just to have time to experience it all.

Friday

After a great trip to Torquay we resumed our usual schedule. Well I mean, we had a couple days of work to catch up on so it was probably the most productive I’ve been since the beginning of the Semester. My aims for the day were to completely finish Dungeoneering and then to consider how the game works behind the scenes, this includes how Unity handles persistent objects like the game manager and which scenes contain which activities.

To begin I implemented the rest of the battle system, this was relatively simple as I’d coded much of the framework on Tuesday with Dr. James. Once this was in and working I did a little bit of bug testing to make sure that certain edge cases were covered. For example:

  • I have set up protection so HP cannot display negative numbers which would look unsightly and could throw up bugs in the future.
  •  I have implemented functionality that prevents a helping hand from being away from Home if they are dead, this means that another helping hand will be sent away, ensuring one is always out of rotation. This led to a case where when only one helping hand was left, it could also be away from home, preventing the player from continuing, to fix this I added an IF block to ensure that when only one remains, they are always home.
  • Added functionality to make sure a helping hand returns home after being away, had cases where each helping hand would disappear and never return.
  • To finish off the debugging process I made sure that you have to select a Race at the start of the game to progress, without this protection, errors were being thrown up.

After I’d finished Bug-Testing I decided to implement some UI so the game feels slightly more interactive than the successive lines of text I’ve got going on right now. My aims were to hook up the elements I have for the Character Creation screen and link up all of the stuff that forms the Dungeoneering, this involved connecting the variables within the battle system to text UI elements so the player can actually see whats going on, I finished this off by adding UI buttons that allow you to heal the helping hand, give them a damage buff, activate a swing proc and activate the defense proc.

The Dungeoneering System is now ready to play-test and the feedback can be used to tune the systems so the Helping Hands feel neither under or over-powered, this feedback will be essential to making Dungeoneering in Twilleir fun and rewarding.

To finish, I wrote down the flow chart of how the game will handle global data vs that of which specific puzzles will handle and deal with. The screenshot of this can be seen in the blog post that contains my code explanation HERE. Essentially, it boiled down to allowing certain objects to persist through the different scenes so they could be referenced by local objects, this involved both the Dungeon and Game managers which contain Player Information and Trackers essential to the functionality of Twilleir’s minigames. To do this I split up the single scene I was using into several separate scenes and then thought about what information needs to be passed between each scene. The final implementation of this can be seen in the video I’ve produced, I’m really proud of how well I’m dealing with the bugs and issues that are appearing and my general implementation of the game so far. I’m relying less and less on Dr. James which is great as it shows my problem solving is improving, the game is really beginning to take shape which is great for team motivation.

We start again on Tuesday as everyone needs a little recharge over the weekend and over Monday. See you next week!

 

 

 

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