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.

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