Getting in the gameplay
Our main objective this week was Operation Get The Fun In.
Last week we had kind of an idea of what the game would be like, but we didn't have anything concrete, an thus the game play we had was pretty boring. Over the past week we had the goal to dig in, and find what would make our game fun, and refine those features. We did this by asking ourselves some questions, and finding the right answers.
How can we make the play area more interesting?
We had a basic shoebox level with a single pillar in the middle... and that's it. So we tried some different variations with more walls, holes, and different shapes. In the end we figured that a rectangle is still the best choice due to the camera, but it needed some walls to block the player and their bullets, and some holes that only block the player. With a right amount of obstacles and open space, it became a lot more fun to move around, chancing and avoiding other players.
How can we improve the 'gunplay'?
Our demo had some basic bullets that did damage if it hit an enemy straight on. Again, it was pretty bland, so we had to spice it up. We had another ammo type that created a hazard on the floor at distance which was more of a powerup. We looked at it and decided to use it as our main gun instead. Shooting the gun creates areas on the floor that deal damage, so you can't just drive forward anymore and spam fire, and you'd run into your of hazards. This mechanic increased the need of driving skill and the gameplay more hectic and fun.
What about something with portals?
We have a time-travel theme so the question of potential portals was asked. We had some different ideas such as portals randomly spawning, or being able to shoot them with pickups. In the end we found that just static portals as part of the arena increased the potential for skilled play as they the most reliable. With a rectangle shape for an arena, they also to get to the other end faster. As an extra bit of fun we made it so not only tanks, but bullets also go through portals. So a more skilled player can potentialy harass a player across the map.
Can we shake things up a bit?
At this point we had a pretty decent basis for a game, but we wanted to shake things up to make it more hectic and fun, and less serious. An obvious direction was to go with some sort of buffs. We tried some basic pickups that gave a speed boost and another that increased the size of hazards that were created by bullets, and we instantly got what we were looking for. As another addition we added some random 'stage hazards' that occasionally make part of the arena dangerous. This adds an extra element of unpredictability and forces people to move around the map more.
After adding these features it was down to playtesting and finding the right values to increase the fun.
Some of these changes are as follows:
- Slightly increasing the movement speed and turn speed for faster gameplay
- Increasing the max health of tanks from 5 to 25 made the rounds slightly longer and gives the player more chance to come back
- Making holes no longer instantly kill you but instead deal bunch of damage and respawning you makes a small mistake more forgiving, while still being punishing.
- Instead of turning the player 180° when hitting a wall, they now reflect off them, which makes hitting them feel less awkward.
This week the art team worked on the three references assets first (particle, character & prop).
Particle > Explosion
This explosion particle that appears when you die in the game:
Character > Tank
The tank main player character used by all players:
Prop > Time machine
This time machine is used for respawning and / or teleporting:
Once these assets were done, the art bible was finished using the three assets as reference points.
Here you can see how the three assets nicely fit together:
Latest build controls
- Turn left: A (controller 1 dpad left, or L)
- Turn Right: D (controller 1 dpad right, or R)
- Shoot: W (controller 1 button A)
- Drift: S (controller 1 button X)
- Turn left: J (controller 2 dpad left, or L)
- Turn Right: L (controller 2 dpad right, or R)
- Shoot: I (controller 2 button A)
- Drift: K (controller 2 button X)
Get [group 23] Time Tanks
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