Week beginning 3rd April – 9th April
Today has been an odd day as I’ve had to work around my job today. Due to working an early shift, I only began working on the Sprint at 7pm but this worked very well for the team as we all convened on Twitch where Millie was streaming her art progression of the Helping Hand characters. We used this time as a team meeting which was really useful as we managed to physically see what Millie’s been working on as well as discuss the Trello which we could all see on screen and go through together.
Millie hasn’t managed to finish the character portraits from last week, however, on the Stream, she understands that she’s a bit behind on these tasks and after discussing with the team, she feels that through streaming on Twitch it will help her to work on the tasks at hand; she’ll be looking to do this from now on. This is also useful for me as I can use these streams to work out a consistent way of painting that’s similar to Millie so I can help her out with painting characters and backgrounds in the game.
This week James is continuing on with refining his code and the whole project to fix any bugs in Twilleir so far. When we’re back at Uni, we will be looking to test the project so far with our target audience and get them to try and find bugs/break the game as this will help us to make sure that Twilleir is in a great condition and near perfect!
I’ll be looking to work on Harvesting this week so as to get that up and running as a mini-game so that we can also try and get this tested in the next three weeks. I will be working alongside James to see what he needs from me in terms of UI as well as designed backgrounds and how these will work. This week is likely to be more challenging for me as I want to make Harvesting fit the style of the game so far and make sure it looks and feels ‘Twilleir’. As I’m limited to two days that I can work on jobs this week, I’ve set tasks accordingly and if I manage to do more then I’ll crack on with those too.
I’ve been finding that by setting myself tasks broken down into its simplest form and only a handful a week has helped me to be productive as I’m not grouping tasks together so that they feel so large. By breaking them up, I’m managing to tick tasks off of Trello more quickly and is improving my motivation as well as enabling me to work on extra tasks thus improving the production rate of Twilleir just that little bit; I’ll be continuing to set a minimum of 4 tasks a week and then moving on from there.
I began working on creating the colour icons that we’ll be needing for the UI bar that the player interacts with in order to harvest the ingredient. I felt that they needed to not be ‘in your face’ like say different coloured trowels or shovels and instead just have that fantastical Twilleir feel to it.
I played around with the idea of gems, crystals and orbs and how they could work within the UI. The icons need to be relatively simple and not distracting to the Player as they’ll need to focus during the game in order to get more points. After some sketches, I felt that the coloured orbs would work the best taking into account the simplicity needed as well as that added fantasy feel.
You can find the initial sketches in A3 Sketchbook pages 35 – 36.
The above orbs are some of the colours that I was playing around with. I found that by using a darker background, the luminosity of the orbs really came through and so I feel that this will influence the colours of the UI bar. As the background is to be light and earthy greens, I may choose to have the UI bar or at least the main part of it behind the orbs a dark reddy or earthy brown so as to accentuate the orbs and making it easier for the Player to see.
I’ve been thinking about how we could make this game more accessible for those who are colour blind and one idea that came to mind is that maybe we have sounds associated with each colour so that Twilleir can be playable for all. This may have to be something that we add in later on as we already have much to do but this is something to bear in mind for sure as our aim is to make Twilleir a game for all 🙂
Over the past few days, I haven’t been able to complete any more tasks, however today I had a meeting with James about what he was looking for in terms of the Harvesting mini-game aesthetics and UI. Whilst discussing, we were unsure what we needed a mini menu design for and so, for now, this has been struck from my Sprint tasks and has made way for me to start designing the background for the mini-game; we will revisit this later on once James has gone back through the project and has worked out what art he’s still in need of.
My new tasks for this week now consist of:
- UI colour button bar design
- UI colour button bar paint
- Beginning of designing background
These tasks are definitely doable and I’m excited to crack on with these today. James also mentioned that there were a couple of buttons that he needed which once he has compiled his list, he’ll be letting me know where I’ll be able to easily change the text so he can swiftly drop them into the project. I feel that this way of working with James is working out well so far as we’re able to complete tasks on the fly as well as our original Sprint tasks; this relieves the workload later on when it’s crunch time!
We also discussed that the panels that I designed and painted for the active quests, greenhouse plots and garden plots could be reusable within the Harvesting mini-game. Potentially with changing the colours, the panel could fit well in this instance. I’m still going to be playing around with potential decoration to the panel however, the key instance here is for the panel to not be distracting to the Player and hinder their gameplay.
By the end of today, I hope to have mocked up a couple of rough designs for the mini-game background as then I’ll be able to get feedback from the team and make adjustments before Monday where I can fully crack on with painting it. I’m a little concerned with painting it as my skills aren’t at Millie’s level so I’ll have a hard time trying to replicate her style in the short amount of time I’d like to spend on it but I’m certainly up for the challenge. My aim is to have completed the background by Tuesday evening of next week so then I will have the rest of the week to work on ingredients which I’ll have to paint in fully grown form and from four angles (front, left side, back and right side) due to the rotating mechanic of the plot in the game. This shouldn’t take much time as I have already worked on the ingredients and so hopefully with some tweaking and painting I’ll be able to complete these by the end of that Sprint (10).
Since yesterday, I had a thought about how the mini-game would work aesthetically. As we’ve decided to keep the background static, the plants shouldn’t rotate as it wouldn’t fit?? Therefore, I did some thinking and worked out that what could work is if we have four stages of harvesting instead. I.e. when you finish one side of colour, a sparkly animation will go over the plant and it will turn into the next stage of harvest – it could be that part of the roots have uprooted, some hops have fallen off of the vines etc; this will be something that I’ll need to decide when I come to this as for now I’m focusing on the background.
In light of this design decision, I managed to sketch a couple of ideas that could work for the Harvesting mini-game background. We’ve chosen to have a vignette around the plot with some small sparkling orb-like animations around it so as to avoid distracting the Player with a busy background; I’ll be playing around with what colour the vignette will be. I will be getting feedback from the team tomorrow where I’ll make adjustments to the background and then begin painting. I aim to have it completed with examples of the vignette by Tuesday afternoon so I can then begin to work on the ‘animation’ process for the ingredients as they are harvested. If I maintain a steady work ethic this next coming week, I feel that Harvesting will be near completion within the next two weeks maximum.
Despite working 45 hours this week at my other job, I feel that this week has been surprisingly productive considering. I have made sure that over the next two weeks I am working a lot less at my job meaning that I can truly focus on the Twilleir project. However, by doing these hours, this has made me realise that I can work a full time job and continue to work on work for our company on evenings and weekends which fills me with hope and focus that we’ll be able to achieve our goals of setting up a studio! #exciting
Bring on tomorrow and the new Sprint! B-)