Reflective Summary: Week Four + Five

From the 20th February to 4th of March.

So I’ve left writing up the reflection for the past fortnight until now, this was definitely an error on my part but I’m trying to focus more on producing a solid cohesive product for hand in. This obviously results in reduced documentation but I don’t really see the point in producing lots of documentation; much like Adam said, why write about all of my code when I could do a quicker explanatory video, or evidence of the work can be seen in the Game Prototype!

However, I’ll attempt to recall the events of the past few weeks through the work ‘haze’ that’s overcome me recently, time seems to be passing and we’re definitely doing work, but I couldn’t tell you what I had for dinner last night. I’ll keep the list as brief and bullet-pointed as possible for my own sanity, here we go!

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been working on the Farming System, this was the second system we needed to implement after Dungeoneering was sorted out in the week before.

This allows the Player to grow the ingredients that form the basis of all of the potions in the game, this was quite a big undertaking due to all of the working parts involved. The plants needed to be able to grow whilst out of the scene, need to be able to ‘talk’ to each other so we can introduce benefits and disadvantages to growing certain plants next to each other, and need to track their own water levels and display this information to the Player. The whole system actually took two weeks to implement alongside a few other Systems, during this time we had a couple of team meetings with Adam which I will write up at a later point in this Post.

What I essentially achieved was the layout below, this uses Millie and Jess’ Garden layout which is really cute and I’m a big fan of the work they’ve been producing thus far. The Garden encompasses all of the functionality I was looking for and stated above. The Garden System takes seeds from the Players inventory when you click on a Plot with the corresponding seed equipped. If you are to plant for example; Pine next to Ginseng. The growth rate of Ginseng will increase by a percentage set in the script (I will do a script video I promise but theres so much to cover please help me). Right now this is indicated by colours but this will be removed until you’ve unlocked the perk at the Player level we decide, instead we want our Players to work out what combinations of plants will produce the most optimal Garden.

Screenshot 2017-03-07 10.59.31

UI Elements provided allow us to display relevant information to the Player whilst they are out of the scene, this lets them know if a Plant has died, it’s water level and whether its ready to be harvested.

We’ve started thinking about a Tutorial character that explains to the Player the purpose of each puzzle and system within the game, this will only run on the first visit to an area to not frustrate or annoy the Player.

 

The next item on my agenda for the past couple of weeks was the redesign of the Inventory System. This had to be done as in its last form it was simply a list of words, this worked great if we also didn’t have to take into account the quantity of an Item, however, obviously as its a tycoon game this became a problem rather quickly.

To achieve the redesign I worked with Dr. James and reworked the Inventory into a List and a Dictionary. Essentially the dictionary holds the name of the items within the game and their index within the List, this means that I can predefine items within the game and use the List just to hold Quantity. I now know that at Index 0 of the List is Peppermint Seeds, as I’ve defined it so in the Dictionary. The use of the dictionary is just so I can search items by Name rather than by Index which is really useful. I was quite happy with the work on the Inventory as it means that I can keep better track of all of the items in the game and its much easier to manage via a few public functions I’ve defined to remove and add items.

Next, I worked on implementing some really basic Unity UI just to allow Players to navigate around the different game scenes and interact with the activities. This will be important during the testing phase as we can work out what players find difficult to understand and then iterate on the UX. I’ve been looking at making the whole Helping Hand system more clear to the Player as well as the actual battle system, additionally, with the changes to the Garden its already starting to look more like a completed game and we’re really excited to get it moving along! The Final part of the UI changes were just to make the Character Creation more intuitive by adding mouse over functionality and ensuring that as many placeholder elements were in place to be swapped out at a later date.

I spoke to Millie sometime during the week and she mentioned a couple of design changes to the Dungeons, instead of a single battle. You now are able to ‘gamble’ all of your rewards and participate in up to five battles to receive greater rewards, however you aren’t able to acquire more potions once combat has begun, and your health persists through each battle. This makes combat more interesting as you have to think about your health at the end of a battle as you could get one shot at the start of the next battle and potentially lose not just your Helping Hand but also all of the Items you’ve acquired in a Dungeon visit.

Finally, last Friday we finished off with a 1-1 meeting with Adam. This was essentially just catching up and telling him about what we’d been upto. He was quite happy with what I’ve been doing which is great to hear, he suggested that we start working on a Room to Room process which means that we get each area of the Game to a polished state before moving onto the next area. I agreed with this idea as from my perspective it means that we can have a very much ‘pick up and forget’ process until we have to go around and tune different areas of gameplay. However for the girls it might be more disruptive as they could be working on a background one day and then icons etc… rather than doing all of one thing at a time, I’m excited to see the results of this new workflow but there will definitely be some adjustment time to get us going on this.

So that was the reflection for the past few weeks! That was a struggle to remember, note to self, don’t leave your reflection for two weeks! The code video will be here at some point, I promise, in the meantime check our weekly recap videos HERE.

 

 

 

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