After surviving the rush that was the week leading up to our Quarters presentation, this week was spent more on reflection and determining priorities for our new sprint. While our presentation went well, we learned from our demo session that there are aspects of our game that need to be changed and tweaked. Many playtesters told us that drawing a path for our ship to follow was fun, but it got frustrating at times as the camera did not allow the player to draw a line that went very far. The camera keeps the boat in the center of the screen, which prevents guests from constructing a path that was more than an inch or two in length if they are trying to move in a straight line. This coupled with the fact that our players want to start the line from the center of the ship instead of in front of it informed us that we needed to sit down and discuss how we were going to solve this conundrum.
During this design meeting, we also deliberated about what the playtesters felt about the firing mechanics. They felt that the primary weapon, the one where you click and drag a target circle out to your enemy, was underpowered and not as satisfying as our secondary weapon, where you can shoot a huge volley of cannonballs from both sides of the ship in a limited range. This is partly due to not having a the firing sound for the primary weapon and that it only shot one cannonball at the enemy, but it is also due to how slow a process it is drag out cannonball path. During our meeting, we discussed several ideas about how we can this interaction better, and we were able to come up with several concepts that we are going to prototype and playtest in the near future.
Another feature that we will look for feedback on during playtests will be a new UI mockup. The buttons around the ship did not convey to the users what they did very well. For instance, the arrow in front of the ship was not seen as the mechanism to move the ship, but just as a way to see what direction the boat was facing. More often than not, as previously stated, playtesters usually tried to move the ship by starting their paths from the center of the boat. Users also had difficulty in seeing the secondary weapon button, but when they found it, they spammed it like crazy. We are going to put a longer cooldown on the weapon, but we had to figure out how we would convey this status change to the player.
With these in mind, set up a new list of priorities for us to accomplish by our next demo day, which is next Friday. Unfortunately, a good portion of our team has left in order to go to conferences outside of the city, so we will redouble our efforts next week to make sure we hit this next milestone.