Post-Beta – Terminal Game

This Week

This week has been all about polishing, balancing, play-testing and implementing the last promised features of our game. The game is shaping up to be exactly what we set out to do, which gives me that fuzzy feeling of accomplishment, and pride for my group’s accomplishments as well.

The group has been hard at work finishing up the small projects (such as GUI graphics, additional content of the level and graphical errors) that was put on hold in favor of our larger features.

We implemented our last item yesterday, which fulfills all of our core mechanics. I’ve spent most of today conducting play sessions with other students, especially focusing on our new Disguise. The feedback has been great, and people really seem to enjoy it.

So, how does the disguise work? It’s fairly simple: The player picks up the item, as any other item on the map. If the player has to get through a tough area, or if the player realizes his or hers breathing (see earlier blogs) is way to loud to be able to sneak past an area, or to dodge an incoming guard, the player can equip (by pressing the Left mouse button, the same way you use any other item) the disguise which makes the player impervious to the guards FoV (Field of View) for three seconds (this is still being balanced, see section below).

The simple visual feedback the player gets when he/she is disguised – The main character gets a hat on her head!

We might add a timer above the player the counts down while the player is in disguise.

Image

“Howdy, ma’am”

Features

We’re currently implementing small features, that we know won’t take long time, and that the game COULD live without (hence the reason for the late implementation).

The following are features, and the explanation of features that are to be added:

  • Stamina(Fatigue) Meter – A small transparent meter above the character that shows your current level of Stamina that progress with the amount of Running or Shooting.
  • Bullet Spread – The more fatigue (or the less Stamina the player has, depends on how you see it), the player has, the larger the spread of the bullets are.
  • Intro – Camilla, our lead artist (Her blog!) has already finished the intro, so all that remains is how we’re going to implement it and at what stage of the game it is going to be shown (most likely at the start-up of the game before entering the main menu)
  • Options and Credits – Self-explanatory, these are being worked on by me and our brilliant Lead Programmer, Anthon. (His blog!)
Image

Testing our new transparent stamina/fatigue bar

Balancing

Numbers, tweaking and play testing has been the name of the game the last couple of days.

When we started the project, we made sure that we’d have an easy modifiable configuration file (made with YAML, see Anthons blog above), that allowed us to quickly change every single aspect of the game from health to sound circles to the range of sight for the guards.

My most important changes has been made to the Sound Circles and the Fatigue regeneration/degeneration.

Based on the feedback we’ve got from all of the play-sessions as mentioned earlier, I’ve been adjusting these numbers in order to reach enjoyable game-play.

Image

A slice of the Configuration file, showing some of the most important variables that can/have been changed during the balancing.

Level Design

I’ve put a considerable amount of time this week removing bugs in the pathfinder. There’s a large issue where different layers in Tiled (our map editor, read my earlier blog post), causes the A* Pathfinder to go absolutely ballistic; because of our semi-isometric perspective, a wall that the player has to be able to hide behind, also have to be able to move towards the wall from the other side without getting behind it.

This specific problem is easily solvable, but it presents an issue to the Pathfinder because the pathfinder does not count the “Hide-behind” layer as a un-walk able tile, so several areas have guards walking through walls while searching for the player. These are getting systematically removed and fixed, but it’s tedious and not always obvious.

Other than that, I’ve worked hard on making certain objectives obvious to the player. For example; the key-card is placed in a room above the first choke point early on the map, which forces the player to stop up and notice that the key-card exists in this specific room, but the room itself can only be entered through walking(or sneaking) through the entire map.

There’s also a weapon, shown early (almost immediately) that is more to the left of the map than the key-card, showing to the player that the choice of getting a weapon requires a detour, and is pretty dangerous to get to.

I’m also almost done with the manuscript of the Tutorial Level, which is to be created at the end of this week and the beginning of next.

I’ll most likely get into that in the next blog-post.

Release Version

There’s only one week left of work, which is stressing me out since the post-mortem (a large paper about the development of the game, that is due the same day as the release version) is due next Friday.

But, we’ve all got to keep our chins up, and pump out as much material as possible. Most notably for me: the Tutorial level.

That should about sum it up for me this week, Thank you for reading, and Good luck to y’all!

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About perkulatorn

I'm a 21 year old Gamedesign student at Uppsala University Campus Gotland. Creator of: Terminal Flight - Top Down Rogue Game Melvind - Tower Defense (http://doodlemeat.se/ggj13) Totemic - King of the Hill Competitive Game (WIP) Tamarrion - Hardcore RPG (tamarriongame.com , tamarriongame.wordpress.com)

2 responses to “Post-Beta – Terminal Game

  1. Hi!

    I just wanted to say that you’ve gotten far in designing, the way you present and express yourself is very professional! Reading your posts proves to be very educational, i will have to learn a lot from you regarding all your hard work! Keep it up and keep on inspiring!

    Thank you for an enjoyable read!

  2. Hey man!

    I think that this blog is really well written and even though it was pretty long it held me interested all the way through.

    One thing I’d like to know a little bit more about when you’re talking about balancing is what type of difficulty you are going for, like are you going after a really hard game where the player need to be extremely careful, or will it be more forgiving and such things, I don’t know, I just thought it would be interesting to know.

    I love that you use a config-file, no one in my group wanted to use it and now it is just tedious to edit even the smaller stuff.

    When you write “The specific problem is easily solvable” I would have liked to know more in detail in how that problem presented itself and why it was so easy to fix, and how you fixed it.

    Well, overall I really liked this blog and the things I wrote about it more more or less just some small nitpicks because I didn’t really have anything to complain about, it was well structured and professional.

    I’m looking forward to testing you game when it’s done, good job and good luck!

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