Week 5 is almost in the books and we are moving forward with testing new game mechanics and other hopeful improvements. Recently we have been getting a few playtesters and observers checking out the game and gotten quite a bit of useful feedback about what is working and what isn’t working in the game. Luckily, most of it coincides with things that we already knew and had already planned to address in the game.
Merely having one-on-one death matches is kind of boring by itself, so relatively early on we knew we wanted to add some more dimensions to the game. Basically, we wanted another goal for the player besides just “killing” (we are also working on the theming for the game to make everything more musically oriented) your opponent. We have a long design document (the “idea vault”) which has various ideas we want to try, but decided to start with the idea of control points.
Rather than health points determining who’s music is being played, whoever controls the majority of the 3 control points will not only have their music being played, but will go on “offense”. Control points, which are giant knobs, can be controlled for now by simply standing next to one for a few moments.
There will eventually be other benefits to being on offense, but the first experiment we are trying involves having a speaker that you can shoot with your sound waves (only while on offense) in order to get points and eventually convert it to your color/music. The match will last as long as the song (where the player with the most points will win) or until one player converts the speaker (pictured above and designed by Elizabeth) by firing on beat while aiming at it. There are many details to be worked out, but the best way for us to test it is to quickly implement a simple prototype.
As you can see from the picture about, we implemented combos (hitting the notes successfully in a row) that result in multiplier rewards. The multipliers make your projectile strength stronger every 10 notes you hit in a row. One of our big design goals for the project is to have the game be balanced for FPS players and rhythm game players. This addition is one that helps the balance swing back towards the rhythm players and has added a nice extra dimension from the playtesting we have done so far.
In our previous iteration, it was very unclear who was winning at any given moment and whose music is being played. The two songs, while somewhat dissimilar, blend together smoothly enough that it is hard to tell which is which for people that don’t know music very well. To add additional feedback, we now have the world’s color dynamically shifting between red and blue depending on who is winning thanks to the “cross-fader” dynamic created by Ariel.
Tao also changed each of the two placeholder characters to red and blue to make it clear which player is on which side. We are also taking a long hard look at the music to see what kind of songs can blend together smoothly, while also still being more obviously different. Visual feedback was also added to when you hit the other player as that was another area of confusion for us and our playtesters.
After deciding that mixing two songs in some fashion was something that we wanted to explore for the game, this created a problem with the beatmaps. If the two songs are mixed back and forth according to who is winning, then the losing player will have a beatmap that doesn’t match the song that they are hearing. We considered that this could be one of the disadvantages of losing in the game, but really it just hurts the experience of the losing player. So JD implemented dynamic beatmaps that will change the beatmap of the losing player to reflect the song that they are hearing.
These were just a few of the big things we have been working on this week.
Thanks for stopping by.