The Endless Sprint: Weeks 13, 14, & 15

Jehan – Production:

This post covers development for weeks 13, 14, and 15. 
The past few weeks have flown by… time for a quick recap!

You wouldn’t believe how far along our experience has come over the past couple weeks. We’ve refined the player experience to be more engaging and intuitive (dare I say “fun”?). We’ve been working on our visual polish, the interface, combat balancing, unified soundscapes– even new weapon mechanics, shaders, and….. particle FX!

We have also been in close communication with our client, the National Robotics League, preparing everything for the end of semester handoff. Their parent organization, the National Tooling and Machining Association, recently expanded their media development team and have received certification as App Developers on the App Store. We have been in correspondence with this team for the past few weeks, as they will be receiving our deliverable to run further QA/Optimization on it before taking our beta-build to TestFlight, then eventually the App Store.

Professors get a hands-on chance to demo our experience and provide their feedback during Softs.

Softs, also known as Soft-Opening, is a day set aside for ETC faculty to demo the various  projects and provide “last minute” feedback to the teams. Faculty tried our experience in groups of 2-3 over the course of the day, and shared their constructive critiques as well as their thoughts on what we should fix in our precious time left.

From Softs, we prepared for the 2018 ETC Fall Festival, an evening devoted to showcasing of ETC Project works and select experiences made by first year students and attended by some 400 people: friends, family, and visitors from the industry. After feeling like we had been in nonstop crunch mode the last few weeks, the evening was especially nice– seeing guests smile in enjoyment while they played, people lining up to have a go, there were a few younger kids who didn’t want to put it down!

Next Week:

Regardless, there’s a ton more work to do! From here, we need to prepare for our final presentation and walkthroughs by faculty, and most importantly, preparing our final handoff for out client!T

Nicole – UI & UX:

In these two weeks, we made our best to merge all separate parts together and fine tuning all the details from beginning to the end. Before Halves, for the team, showcase and battle are the two significant parts of our experience. People work so hard on testing and implementing this two. On the other hand, before softs, we need to consider other parts are not that challenged but still important for us and client like title screen, NRL branding integration and pause menu during the battle, which could make the whole experience more smooth.

Specific to my part, even though all the work of the interface looks like tiny things but matters a lot. I spent a lot of time with Programmers and they helped me to change all placeholders image into the high-fidelity one. After receiving the feedback from soft, the biggest problem for our experience is the ambiguous state. We added a state bar to identify different states on the left side of the screen. Menu inside of the showcase phase was a big problem at that time. Programmers use a carousel plugin to implement this feature but it looks horrible on the screen.

We also spent a lot of time to find a way which could be implemented but also make sense on the screen. And we have our final iteration of all components description UI with different value of 4 features from design. Besides of all the things mentioned above, I changed the rest of UI elements to keep the style consistency as much as I could.

Kang – Art:

In this week, in order to make the battle clear and juicy, we iterated and redesigned several times. Firstly, in the visual aspect, we added a blue ring under the player’s bot which can easily show that which bot are controlled by the player. Based on many videos of real NRL bots battle, we found out that the sparks and the damages of bots cased by metal impact are always make people excited. So we implemented those elements into our experience. When two bots crashed into each other the spark effect will come out and the different components will also drop off when it got enough damage. How easy it will break depends on its material.

In addition, to make the battle more diverse and the different weapons more distinguish. We set up two different controlling ways for the players. One is the Beater Bar and Spinner that the players only need to hold the attack button all the time to case damage. Another one is the Rammer that the players need to hold the button to charge and then release the button to make dash and cause damage.     

Guanghao – Programming:

We now start iterate on the battle part. We first came up several physics solutions to deal with component based bot. The difficulitis laid on how to make them behaves like an real physical world while still have those dramatical smash moment kept in our game. We modified the existing system in the Unity and finally got the value we want.

After physics done we finally be able to tweak our opponent AI. To make the system to be stable and avoid unexpected error behavior opponent, we trying to make the jump between different states simple enough. We add some randomness to the FSM so that the enemy could look smart but still competatable.