Week 12 (4/7 – 4/11)
Last week our team decided early the exact tasks for team members to tackle in the next two weeks to make the best progress in the time we have before our soft opening. These tasks were primarily focused on creating new art to convey our Tiki Island theme, and designing and implementing the necessary systems for simple non-verbal communication and sharing in the game. By the end of the week the team had replaced existing assets and had a basic prototype for a book cover decorating tool which we tested on Saturday at the ETC Playtest day.
This week the team focused on putting in the needed components to allow players to communicate, which included additional art assets and animations.
The designers worked on developing an intuitive system for the players as well as in-game instructions to deal with the confusion of our younger players. The programmers dealt with updating characters’ movement and actions real-time so that the experience could have an online multiplayer feel.
The artists divided at the beginning of last week point into one dedicated animator and two modelers working on the environment and UI elements. By the end of this week we had 6 animations for each character ( 4 expressive plus walking and idle) as well as a newly detailed tiki hut, updated bookshelf model, and additional backgrounds
At the end of the week we had a new prototype, with functional multiplayer, new features for basic communication, and additional art and UI to communicate the game’s theme. When players visited each other’s houses or went to the public space they could see each other’s’ actions and animations. They could also send invitations to each other’s homes through icons, a feature which we will develop with additional invitations and drag and drop text.
Our in-game instructions were designed and revised, and ready to be integrated.
We also integrated our tool for decorating book covers with some additional options that Maria developed so that players could decorate using particles.
The team held a playtest Friday evening with two players in our demographic in order to see how the players received the new changes, and observe what areas needed the most clarification.
With only one week left before our soft opening the team will be hard at work in the coming week. At the beginning of the week the team will work on discovering and addressing any bugs in the current feature set. This will include trying to improve the performance of communication between the backend and the frontend to more quickly update player’s positions and restructuring certain queries to reduce loading time.
Following this, the team will implement the last few needed features and then work hard to do quality assurance over the whole experience and make adjustments where needed.