Week 12 – Building Bridges / Dashing to Goals

This week saw us dive deeper into a new prototype with a more centralized focus on combat. We decided to expand upon the combat moment we tested before and build out a prototype with more polish as we did in the first half of the semester.

We started with working on what this experience would actually be and what would our “combat loop” entail. We also took feedback from our latest online playtest (which consisted of both uploaded builds and videos, but the advice strictly came from the videos). Our to-do list included tasks such as:

  1. Increasing feedback
    • Visual feedback through effects (particle effects)
    • Haptic feedback through controllers
    • Aural feedback whenever possible.
  2. Consider my diegetic UI schemes
  3. Make sure our art gets more screentime in videos

With these in mind, as well as our outline formed for this prototype, we set to work.

A new level was quickly discussed and built. The castle ruins in the background provide a grand point of interest to draw the players eye, while the spiral bridge leading up to it will circle around the LSE and provide a space for the player to dodge the giant’s assault as it punches towards you. These punches (that should miss due to player’s skill) will consequently destroy the bridge behind the player, pushing them forward. With this prototype, we are changing the narrative and themes slightly when compared to last week. Now, you have power in your hands, but you still dwarf the LSE in comparison. It’s only when you earn the power to meet his might head-on that you can defeat him.

However, this beginning section won’t be all ducking and weaving. A new kind of smaller adversary will be there to thwart your progress:

rough draft of a “bird” enemy

These “birds” will be coming towards you as you make your way up the spiral as well as when you’re on the LSE itself. These enemies can be taken out with a well-placed punch, but will also be used to teach the player the punching UI. We also hope this will add some variety and can be used strategically for interest curve purposes.

On the programming side, there was a truckload of features that got implemented, and even some strictly for testing purposes. Feedback was the name of the game here; additional UI was put in to better teach when the player should punch, haptic feedback was put in when punching, and enhancements such as a red vignette when taking damage was added. In addition, time went into researching different methods of locomotion for this prototype, and as such a trio of dashes was put in to test out which would work best for this specific experience and world.

The first kind of dash involved punching the air and dashing in that direction. While this style works well with our themes and experience on paper, the technical side could get tricky. The difficulty will be to know when the player is punching an enemy or when they intend to dash. This one appears to be a team favorite, but requires more work and engineering to get it right.

The second type is reminiscent of our hookshot from days past. In this one, if the player is within a certain range of the object and “grabs” it, they are pulled towards it. We have a handful of ideas of how and what these static objects could be, but this dash-style limits the amount of freedom the player may have.

The last kind of dash we’re testing is one that is governed just by the joystick. While the least exciting, it does provide a potentially safe method, although dashing in this manner on the spiral ramp provides interesting results.

It seems like we have so much to do and never enough time. But we are confident that we can pull it off. We do have giant ambitions after all!