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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!