Final FMP Reflection

Let’s start off with the progress of the Semester.

I’d say that we’ve had pretty good progress throughout this half of the year, it slowed up a little over Easter (Maybe more for me than others) but I think that this time was definitely necessary as we hit the first half of the Semester. Over the course of these three years, I personally think I have only now struck the balance between work and relaxation, this has positively affected both the quantity and quality of my work and I hope that this is reflected in the quality of our FMP output, Twillier.

Now for what I’ve learned. Well, I mean I’ve basically picked up coding and have made that my chosen career path, so I’d like to think that I’ve learned quite a lot this project. Most importantly, how necessary clean and efficient code design is.  I launched into coding the framework of the game very quickly and looking back I now think that this was both beneficial and detrimental in certain ways, it dropped me in the deep end with coding and forced me to learn at a very much accelerated rate, I’m glad I had this challenge as I don’t think I would understand as much as I do now about gameplay programming without it. However, after looking over some of my code architecture from the start of the project, I can fairly easily see what I would rewrite or design to be more efficient and “clean”. I am happy to say it’s never been a boring endeavour and has definitely fostered a new appreciation and devotion to coding as my career of choice.

Dr. Stallwood was invaluable in helping me over the first few hurdles and setting me on the course to write the best code I could. He taught me to first plan it on paper and then write and execute it in manageable blocks rather than huge multi-purpose scripts that leave you a little bit confused about what’s going on, and cause you no end to issues when looking for bugs.

His help was much needed when we were confronted with our monster of a GDD that we created from the first Semester. We were very naive to believe that as a three-man team we could tackle this beast and create a really outstanding product, looking back now I find it incredulous that we even thought that possible. From the get go we had to perform a massive number of cuts to reduce the scope of the project, and this continued even throughout the project when we realised that it just simply wasn’t feasible to aim as high as we had.

Initially, the potential of producing a 3D game went straight out the window, this therefore shifted the primary art style and workload from myself onto Millie and Jess as 2D artists, something that back then we thought would make work easier for ourselves. Instead as we near the end of the project do we realise how much time it has taken to create an illustrated world that really immerses the Player, don’t forget that the majority of the game only has basic animation, there was a lot more planned trust me!

Second to go was the various little Systems that promised to provide further immersion and gameplay, these of course included the Barter, Dungeon Battle and Economy systems. The Barter System intended for Players to engage in a small mini-game to be able to sell their wares for more, or get a better deal from the Market. Dungeon Battles initially worked in a very different fashion from the iteration you see today, we planned for them (when the game was still 3D) to be a cave-like environment you battled through much like a Dungeon Crawler, an iteration further down the line played a lot like Pokemon.  The Economy was the most disappointing feature we had to cut for the Demo of the game, essentially we wanted the Commission Cards you received to be influenced by in-game events such as seasons and visitors to the Town, the system would adjust prices of wares and materials to adjust to these events and allow savvy players to capitalise on certain events by preparing dreams in advance. Unfortunately, as fun and engaging as these systems might’ve been, we simply just didn’t have the time to get all of these into the game and therefore made choices to get the best iteration of the game out as we could.


I wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on the general Teamwork and management of the project up until these final few days. Jess has been doing a phenomenal job of motivating us and keeping us on track, I managed the team we were on last year and definitely think she’s stepped up and improved in leaps and bounds since then. She’s always on top of her work and I still don’t understand how she manages to produce so much work of that high standard and so consistently. Millie has also been doing an amazing job working on all of the assets alongside Jess and has provided the enthusiasm to immerse us in the Twilleir world. Out of the three games we had to choose from to make, this was definitely her baby and she’s done a great job working with us to bring it to realisation.

As I said earlier, since the game changed from 3D to 2D it has essentially been those two working tirelessly to get all the assets together that we’ve needed, it’s been really tight for time but through great management and even better comradery that we’ve managed to come out with a beautifully illustrated project with (I hope) a great framework for further development. We’ve all had a massive workload even with the much-reduced scope of the Project but it’s been a fun ride and a perfect swan song before we graduate.


I suppose I should talk about the Ambition here, in my design videos I’ve made for each section I talk a little bit about what I would do differently to make the game more efficient or to keep the code architecture clean, but I can go into more depth here. If you refer to the game Playthrough I recorded you can clearly see, par a couple of finishing touches that were made after the video was recorded, this is what we have achieved. We have, by some miracle managed to produce a Tycoon game that people enjoy playing (as evidenced by our Playtesting, Aaron played for 40 minutes!?), that looks great, and is bug-free!

Compared with what we wanted to do way back at the start, obviously it only scratches the surface, but definitely gives a good indication of what the game could develop into, given that we take it into further development.

On that topic, I’ll chat a little bit about what is left to do over the next couple of days before we hand in, and then wrap it up with what I’d like to do with the game in the future. In the four or so days until it’s all done with, I’m primarily looking at making sure we have both an asset complete and bug free game that’s ready not just for hand in but also for the exhibitions, I did also just remember that I made a valuable change based on some feedback, the Objectives Board! This displays the current tasks the player has to complete in each room, this was done because we did receive feedback that people didn’t remember what they’d been told to do by Eliza after the tutorial text ended, and has proved very effective.

But anyway, back on topic, having everything finished earlier means that we’ll have a little bit of time to relax rather than trying to scramble to fix things prior to Winchester or London shows, I would also be nice to organise some printed T-Shirts or merchandise so people can easily recognise us to ask questions at the event.

In terms of further development, I’d quite like to continue with the project after a short break. I believe that in the 6 months that you have in the second semester to develop the game is only ever enough to get a demo or a very small game done. I think we’re at a stage now where we have a really strong framework to build additional gameplay upon, this could also be patched in via addons or DLC if we wanted to release the game in its current state but I’m pretty sure we’d like to develop the game in-house further to get a better product before we get it out to the public. Specifically, I’d like to rewrite a small portion of the game, mostly the sections I coded right at the start as these are most likely prone to poor design or mistakes that could cause performance issues. Other than that it’d be introducing more gameplay and in-depth systems like those I talked about earlier that were removed from the scope such as the Economy and Barter Systems. I’d love to get seasons and a proper day/night cycle in also as these could completely alter the aesthetic of the game and make it feel even more immersive.

Thinking back, if I was to change anything about the game it would most likely be changing the way I designed the code such that it was more tutorial friendly, for example, setting events up in a way to make them accessible by the tutorial as prompts (Click this Bucket before proceeding) as the way we’ve done the tutorials is by quite a lot of text which obviously works, but isn’t necessarily the best way of doing it. If I think about what I would’ve changed in a broader sense, I think that I would’ve been happier with the game had it been designed with a story in mind to help drive the gameplay. Otherwise I would’ve liked to do some more playtesting earlier on, but we did quite a lot anyway, just because we did go through a few iterations of each mini-game before we arrived at something fun and enjoyable which used a lot of development time. I am, however, extremely proud of what we’ve done and I’m excited to continue work on the game in the future, It’s been a crazy few years.


May Reflection; Final Hurdles

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!

Screenshot 2017-05-30 10.29.19.png


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.

Screenshot 2017-05-30 10.30.27.png

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!


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.

Its been a long month!

So, I’ve done the horrific thing of leaving it a whole month since I last made a blog post. I mean there’s quite a lot to recap on so I think I’m going to write a list of all of the proceedings that have occurred since the last reflection post, and gradually make my way down the list. It’s currently Easter at the moment so we’re kinda chugging on quite nicely, just getting on independently and trying to make sure that we don’t fall behind on Jess’ sprint deadlines.

As you can see from the video update on the 6th of March, which should be in the post above (below????) this one. There is going to be quite a lot of development since then and I’ll probably make a video very soon documenting EVERYTHING that has happened since then as this text post probably won’t do it justice.


Right, since my disappearance this is whats been going on, it’s not in chronological order because I couldn’t tell you for the life of me what happened when:

  • Arduino Workshop with Andy and the Team (Custom Controller). This led us to decide that we’d quite like to create a custom controller for the player to more easily engage with the game. This is because all of our minigames only require four buttons to play with, therefore it would make sense to utilize this feature and create a cool custom controller for either Winchester or London Exhibitions.
  • Mind the Film came in. This started us on the road to collecting footage for the process video, the Mind the Film crew will be coming in regularly to record us and perform interviews that will feature in the final film. I’m excited to see the finished piece but it has been a little bit of a hassle trying to grab all of the footage that we’d like to use.
  • Reflective Journal was finished and handed in, we had about a week to do this. It was much like last year where this kinda got crammed in, in the last few weeks before the deadline. This wasn’t actually due to poor time management I promise, but more that the Reflective Journal impedes the development of the game and therefore we decided to take a couple weeks off to make sure our Reflective Journals were the only thing we were working on at the time.
  • Harvesting is in, assets yet to be added but core gameplay is enjoyable and we’re confident with continuing with this as a prototype. Once we’d playtested the game however, Jess suggested that we make a change to the game as it wasn’t as enjoyable as we had hoped. Instead she suggested we change it more to a reactionary “Guitar Hero” type minigame which, although I was hesitant about redesigning and programming the game, I agreed with as it would make the game a more enjoyable experience.
  • Gardens are almost finished, Greenhouse and small animations to add. This came about as Millie had finished off the Gardens background and Jess had started to collate all of the seeds icons I required for the gameplay. The game is really starting to come together in some areas and does wonders for morale.
  • Crafting first prototype was finished, decided it didn’t fit thematically and a redesign has been proposed but yet to implement. This is because it was based around just matching up some colours to those written in the crafting book, whilst it seemed good in theory, in practice it just resulted in people waiting for ages. The proposed redesign fits with our Harvesting redesign along the theme of match three and reactionary gameplay and therefore once it’s built I will update with the playtesting feedback.
  • Shop added, Commission card generation is in but not hooked up to our living economy yet. Huge bits of UI put in, days and gold generation work. Inventory panel, plant monitoring panel.
  • Dungeons received UI updates and several helping hands have been added visually.
  • Marketplace has been added, you’re now able to visit and purchase Potions required to succeed in the Dungeons, and buy Seeds (VERY IMPORTANT). Flavour Text is yet to go in, need to check if race applies correct benefits and that prices adjust based on demand.
  • Essentially we’re just in the huge art cramming phase whilst I iron out bugs and add in additional functionality.
  • Tutorials are mostly in and work well in explaining to players what they need to be doing.
  • Play testing will be a necessary evil as soon as we return to make sure the game is playable.
  • Easter has been a little bit lighter than I would have liked but with two weeks to go I’m in a position, as we receive more assets, to see what needs work and what works well.
  • Jess and Millie are doing a fantastic job of smashing through the list of artwork and getting me UI assets as soon as feasible. Jess is doing a great job staying on top of the deadlines and making sure we don’t fall behind.

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.




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!


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.


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.


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!




Reflective Summary: Week Two

From the 6th to 11th of February.


To begin the week we had a meeting to officially ‘launch’ the project. The blog post about the day can be found here. I was quite excited to start the project as the past couple of weeks off have allowed me to recharge and now I’m raring to go.

We started the meeting by sitting down and talking about the research trips we want to undertake over the first few weeks of the term. These will allow us to collect primary research and inspiration for the various areas of the Twilleir world. I’m really pumped as we’re going to do some quite lengthy visits to areas like Dartmoor National Park and Cheddar Gorge, both of which have some amazing scenery that is really applicable to our game. We also have a trip up to London on Thursday to visit the Design Museum (Which will be relevant to Millie’s development of the visual identity) and during this visit we can go and look at Treadwell’s Book Store – another necessary research visit – to collect some further primary research.

We also had to tackle the elephant in the room; breaking down the game into parts for development during our Sprints (We’re going to be using the SCRUM methodology as we did last year as I found it really effective as the team leader and led us to finish our game well before deadline). We did this on a large piece of paper so we could break down each of the sections into their subsections, and then further into individual development pieces, this can be seen in the blog post linked above. It was a good exercise as we’re now more clear about the scope of the project and about how much we need to produce. I’m so glad that we decided to cut certain elements of the game because the project is large enough as it is without having to deal with producing an immersive 3D world.

We finished by developing a rough timeline for the project, this was useful as it allowed us to visualise the time scale and work out when we need to have our milestones achieved. We are printing out a calendar and filling this in, this will be available on the wall of the studio for my team to adjust and add to as the project continues. This has information about Degree Show meetings, Research Trips and Sprint Deadlines. We’ll add milestones as and when we work what these are.

We’re using the first sprint to determine the sort of timings we’re going to need for the rest of development phase. I’m excited but also quite daunted as I’m going to try and nail down the systems behind the Dungeoneering in the week ahead, this will involve working out the turn-based combat system and trying to figure out how the Helping Hands will integrate. I’ll most likely begin with some paper and do some basic design; launching into the code straight away never proves valuable and leaves you confused as to what to work on next. I’ll also be researching into the Steam Greenlight process, the reasoning behind this has been explained in a previous post. In short, we want to get the game to an alpha state and launch on Greenlight; the live feedback we could receive from this process would be unmatched and as a result, this is our end goal for the project.

Jess and Millie will be working together during this sprint to work out the Art Style. Once this is done they’re going to be working on the layout of the map and then producing a range of scenes via thumbnails and sketches to get a variety of designs for the shop floor, market, dungeons etc. I can’t wait to see what they produce, it’ll be great to see the world we’ve designed start to take shape.

Millie is going to begin looking at Typeface and researching how to produce Motion Graphics, these will be integral for our website and Game Manual that we wish to produce for the deadline. I’m quite looking forward to seeing how she progresses with these as I think they will add a great deal to the visual identity of the game.

From now on we’ll be providing audio logs from our meetings as this will save time on writing up the notes and will allow us to better recollect what we discussed as we can often forget details. These Audio logs will accompany a reflective post much like this one!


Today was the day that I started programming the Controller Classes for Twilleir. This information is very important as it is the information that every activity in the game needs access to ,such as the; Player XP, Level and Inventory. The blog post about this can be found here. I was quite anxious to start as we have quite a large list to tackle, however, I take comfort in the fact that if I run into serious issues I can ask Millie and Dr. James for assistance.

As you can see in the Blog Post, We began by writing down some of the controller classes on paper, breaking them down into components, and then implementing them. Some of them cannot be completed in full yet as we haven’t discussed all of the design aspects in enough detail for me to be certain as to what needs to be coded. For this reason, most of my work will be the coding and further design of systems.

To my surprise, I didn’t find much trouble in completing the Controller classes i assigned myself for the day. I found the paper documentation very useful and it is a practice I will continue as we develop, Aaron also suggested that I make videos to explain my code as this will save a lot of time and will provide better explanation than writing it all out.

It’s now a case of sitting down and doing the required design work so I can plan and code the Systems, this will all be documented of course. Tomorrow we’re headed to Lyndhurst to collect some research material. This is more important for Jess and Millie as they’re working on the Artwork for the game, however, I’m enjoying the trips as it allows me some input into the art side.

We’re losing a couple of days because of the various trips to London and Lyndhurst, however, our sprints run from Monday to Monday with Sundays off for personal projects. This is really important as people need to prepare their portfolios for after graduation, and also allows people to develop their skills outside of their team roles.


We left the house at 9:30 this morning to get the Lyndhurst trip out of the way before we had to be back for other commitments. I’ve been a couple of times before but Jess and Millie hadn’t been to the New Forest, it’s a great environment with a completely different landscape than Winchester and Southampton. It really inspires you as a creative and the Forests and Towns provide us with some really interesting material to use in our game. We visited The Old Apothecary specifically as inspiration for the Shop Floor in the game, see the blog post for photos!

Otherwise we walked around and took photographs that can be used as reference for other assets within the game world. It was really nice to get out of the studio as it can definitely get a bit claustrophobic and cluttered when everyone is in there, Lyndhurst is so rustic and quaint, I was sure the location would serve us well.

I’m really excited to start seeing Millie and Jess’ responses to the visual research we collected today, already I’ve seen some great stuff from both of them in regards to the concepts for the different areas of the game. The photos from today were essential for interior design development for both the Player’s Shop and the Merchant’s Shop, I could already see the girls begin to think of how the different elements we saw could be integrated into the game’s visual style.

We continue tomorrow with the trip to London for the Design Museum and Treadwell’s Book Store.


Today was spent up in London visiting both the Design Museum and Treadwell’s Book Store. I also spent the morning researching into the Steam Greenlight process, the blog post of which can be found here.

We’ll start with the Greenlight research, I quite enjoyed researching the process because it isn’t just applicable for our work this year. It is likely that we will continue to produce games for release on Greenlight in the future and therefore all of the research I’ve collated can be applied in the future. It was interesting to see what successful greenlighters suggest to make your campaign more engaging and enjoyable, the Trailer is the most essential part of the campaign, using impressive icons and a strong description to back it up seems to provide the most success.

Staying engaged with your audience is also important so you can answer any questions and let people know that the project is continuing to progress and hit milestones. Try and involve the audience as much as possible within the design process as they are more likely to commit to buying the game.
Above all, its really just about the game. If it has strong USP’s and looks genuinely enjoyable to play then it is more than likely able to pass through the Greenlight stage quickly. A good trailer, description and iconography will supplement the campaign, keeping all of this concise and enjoyable is the key.

Otherwise, we spent the day walking around the Design Museum. Not necessarily that relevant but you can see the blog post that involves the photos from Lyndhurt aswell to learn more. Essentially it was more for Millie as she’s going to be developing our Visual Identity, there were some really good examples of Type and Layout design in a few of the rebrands available in the Beazly Design of the Year exhibition. But for myself and Jess I wouldn’t have said that it was a good use of the day in terms of Twilleir development, there were however, some quite interesting starting points for Reflective Journal. There were some interesting installations but I’ve commented on these within the Blog Post.

We finished this up by travelling across London to Treadwell’s Book Store; this was really fun as its a bookshop with lots of material on the Occult, Tarot, Mysticism, Paganism and Alchemy. We found a lot of visual sources for objects within the game and Millie managed to find a book that could feed directly into the game design. I really liked the visual style of the shop and I could imagine a lot of objects in the shop having a place within the Shop in Twilleir.

Tomorrow is the final day of the week and the second to last day of the first Sprint. I’ve outlined a couple points that we need to discuss during the meeting, these will be written up in full afterwards.


The blog post about Friday is here.

I’m quite happy with what happened today. We had a meeting to discuss some systems that I needed more concrete information on to be able to continue working, and I was glad that my team helped me to sort that out so we could all get back to work. Adam talked to us about Freelancing which was helpful as we were all a little bit confused about that prospect after University. He discussed the importance of having contracts and keeping a careful eye on your expenses for tax returns.

Adam talked to us about Freelancing which was helpful as we were all a little bit confused about that prospect after University. He discussed the importance of having contracts and keeping a careful eye on your expenses for tax returns.

Finally we had a 1-1 that helped Jess and I out about the amount of documentation we were doing (Too much!) and how we should be focusing on the outcomes more this year. For the project we need to be thinking about putting our existing basic pen and paper environments into Marvel App and seeing how users interact with and navigate the environment. We can they survey them to see which environments they liked best and their thoughts with the current navigation.

Jess will be looking into what elements of the background should be interactive and which should be animated. I’m continuing with my code as is, and Millie will continue with helping Jess out.

Reflective Summary: Week One

From 30th January to 3rd of February.

So after quite a leisurely week off we returned to the Studio on Tuesday to discuss our game with Dr. James, unfortunately Millie was ill so myself and Jess spoke about our game to try and nail down a development process so we weren’t left floundering as to where to begin the project.

I won’t deny, my motivation is yet to return after quite a brutal first semester, and I’m feeling rather anxious about starting up again. I believe it has been the same for Jess and Millie, so I believe we’re going to take the rest of the week quite slowly so people have a chance to recover in time to power ahead with the development.

Anyway, the meeting with James was rather successful; we had discussed at the end of last semester that the scope of the game was way too large. Whilst we want to be ambitious, there was little chance that we’d create a professional level prototype in time for the deadline. Instead, Dr. James helped us out by asking us questions about the relevance of certain areas and design decisions for the game. It was really useful as I think we’d become so immersed in the idea that we’d started to add in features that really weren’t, necessary, or failed to provide anything further in terms of game-play. I, however, was initially apprehensive about cutting features; I realise now that this was because we had been working on this idea for weeks on end. It is important to recognise when you need to sacrifice parts of an idea to both, save on development time and, realise that implementing these ideas could cause the quality of the game to suffer.

The results of this meeting left us with the transition from a 3D game environment to that of a 2D environment, the simplification of Dungeoneering, and the removal of the Barter System. I’m pleased with these changes mostly because it means I can focus on Coding as my Job Role. I was worried beforehand about having to produce an entire 3D world as I have decided that 3D modelling is no longer my chosen career path, and I find more enjoyment in programming, this as a result has caused my modelling to suffer and I feel that if I had to produce assets in 3D, they would not be of the quality the game deserved. This now means however that the art style of the game rests heavily on both Jess and Millie’s shoulders. I am going to be developing my coding skills by keeping an open line of communication to Dr. James, and undertaking some online courses to learn new skills in the gaps between development phases.

We decided that we would begin work officially on Monday (6th of February). This gives people a little more time to recharge and to start thinking about what we need to discuss during the meeting.

On Friday we had a Branding Workshop with Derek Yates. This was actually a lot more enjoyable than I thought it would be, you can find the blog post regarding the workshop here. I’ve always had an interest in Marketing but have found the idea of Branding rather stale, however, during the workshop we looked at several videos on These inspired me massively as the ‘DeviantArt Rebrand’ showed truly how much work goes into redefining a companies visual identity, it also made me realise how important a visual identity and its components are for promoting a game. Derek gave some really good advice that the visual identity should both feed into the product, and be born from it. The exercise we undertook (can be seen in the blog post) was invaluable for getting us started and hopefully in the coming weeks we can build that toolkit.

We are going to put Millie to work on defining Typeface, Iconography, Colour Scheme and Layout for use in both our publication and the website for our game. This is because she has expressed interest in working more within Graphic Design in the future and would be an excellent portfolio piece.  Jess is going to be looking at promotion and marketing further as we definitely need to start building a buzz around our development process. I will be researching Steam Greenlight as this is an end goal for the game we produce this Semester, the results of which will be posted in the coming week.