I have been using this blog to discuss different design practices based on what I was working on for my Senior Capstone game, this update will show where the game has gone from the beginning of the semester. The team I have been working with has been hard at work creating an interesting co-op mech experience that is as fun to play as it was to make.
The gif above shows the game at its earliest playable form, at this point in the project we had basic movement and shooting as well as the radar set up. This version of the game was pretty rough but it was just a proof of concept so most of the mechanics had not been developed yet. As the game advanced we added a second player to the mech which created one of our biggest game mechanics. One of the biggest hurdles that we had to overcome was getting the shooting to feel satisfying, in this early build when the player aims the targeting reticle it moves around the screen as opposed to most FPS games where the reticle is locked and the entire screen moves when the player aims. When we finally got aiming feeling satisfying it felt like an entirely different game. The next big task the team needed to overcome was dividing up the tasks that each player will have to complete to be successful. We used QA testing to help us narrow down what the tasks could be and how to best divide them. We ended up taking the two most popular divisions and combined them together to make our current gameplay.
Bringing the Experience Together:
As the semester went on we started focusing on making changes to our established gameplay to make the game feel more interesting. One of our mechanics was a buffing system where the second player could route power to different systems in the mech to aid the first player in combat. The mechanic started out as a puzzle style game as you can see from the gif below.
The system was based around rotating arrows to direct power to the nodes (the squares with circles inside). We wanted the second player to focus more on combat so we decided to make the system more of a resource management system. This not only streamlined the gameplay for this mechanic but we also found through testing that it was more popular with the players.
The new buffing system was easier to understand and looked a lot cleaner. We spent a lot of time getting this system looking right and feeling right. I spent a lot of time at the end of the project balancing all the different buffs to make sure none of them were too strong or too weak.
In the weeks leading up to the final presentation the team was working on getting all the final tweaks into the game. I spent my time working on level design with my artist Kody. I was given a lot of objects that I could populate the world with to give it a more realistic feel. I would make changes to the level and then I would send them to Kody of feedback, he would give me ideas about how to better use the play space. The picture below shows some of the feedback he would give me.
The communication between the art and design disciplines made making changes to the level easy, I also feel that it never hurts to have a second pair of eyes looking at a problem never hurts. We also added a lot of our art and animations in during our final push, this not only helped our game space feel more realistic but it also helped give the players more feedback. The team really came together in the last few weeks to make a product that everyone is really proud of.
Our game did not move forward into the next phase of senior production but we did come a very long way from our game’s humble beginnings. The team worked really hard on this game and I have a feeling that this is not the last time people will be hearing about Korku. Check out the gameplay video below to see what the final version of the game looked like.