Devblog Week 3: Finalizing Prototype

Devblog Week 3: Finalizing Prototype

All right! The second Devblog! We've just finished week 3; the third and final week of prototyping. Let's give you a rundown of what's changed. We also shifted the tone/focus of the game quite a bit, so let's discuss that too!

The most important question we were asked repeatedly, was "What makes your game fun?", and next to that, we also focused on "Why would someone play our game, as opposed to established, already existing games?"

So... what makes our game fun? At the point when we were asked this question, the answer was simple: "Right now? Nothing.", and while that's fine for our first attempt at a prototype, we NEED to do better than that. We had a basic idea of what would make our game fun in the long run "A mix of co-operative and competitive gameplay"... but... again... that's in the long run... what does that REALLY mean? We were 2 weeks in and still had no proper answer. We decided it was time to change that. We set everything aside, and started a new brainstorming session.


We first considered what we had so far on that front. "You'll battle enemies together and fight your way through the dungeon. Along the way, you'll earn gold, and the person with the most gold is ultimately the winner." We still like that, so let's build on that. One of the concepts we came across, was the concept that players could steal gold from one another... but no matter what angle we tried... we couldn't make that work together with the other elements of our game. 

We decided it was time for a radical change. The idea started with a simple concept / idea:

Gold will from now on be the main focus of the game. When you attack an enemy, they have a chance of dropping gold, when you kill them, they explode in a cloud of gold (/ other valuable objects like artifacts). As a result, we'll make our game a LOT more "Arcady"; we increased all movement speed, and put a focus on fast, dynamic gameplay. The player would go in for a few quick hits, collect the gold that that resulted in, and so on; all while trying to dodge the enemy's attacks. Bigger enemies like minibosses would walk slower, and attack slower, dealing a lot of damage. Dodging their attacks is a must to survive.

So: More Arcady gameplay, a focus on collecting the most gold, and faster, more dynamic movement & combat.

We were satisfied with that as our answer. It differentiates us from other games, similar to ours (Gauntlet, Nine Parchments, Magicka, Lara Croft (the Top-Down games)) and will, almost definitely give us that fun-factor we were missing until now.

So... how do we go about implementing that?
We decided to start with the attacks; the system was still not entirely [read: at all] implemented, and that's top priority by-far. We need that before we can start testing anything. [I'll get into the struggles of implementing the Attacking a bit further on.] Next would be the gold; we needed to get that in ASAP as well.


I alluded to the some new features earlier, but let's start go over them from start to finish in the order they were implemented.

  • Walk & Run Animations were added for the Enemies
  • Cel Shading was added
  • Weapon Spotlights were added 
    • Colored lights around a weapon when it is on the ground (not when dropped by a player, only when dropped by enemies / at the start of the level)
  • Proper Destructible Vase prop was added
  • Enemies attack player (detecting when to attack & playing animations)
  • Improved terrible light setup of level...slightly.
  • Implemented idle/walk/run animations used when holding weapon
  • Added attack animations
    • 90% this week went into this. I'll try to explain why. For this project, we're using Mixamo animations(and characters, for now.) in unreal. Unreal has a wonderful feature called root motion. What it essentially does, is translate your character over the translation of the root bone in the animation. I absolutely wanted to take advantage of this... but hit a bit of a snag... We... don't have a rootbone...... I decided to take to the internet and was set on finding a way of making it work. Eventually I found a tutorial explaining how to add a root bone to all our characters & animations using Blender. While this is a timesink, it does add quite a lot to our game, so I implemented it without a second thought.
  • Enemy AI was improved
    • they return to their spawn location when they lose the player
  • Added drawing & sheathing weapon when pressing 'Q' or 'Y' on a controller
  • Added damage & quick VFX+SFX on character attack
  • Broke and Fixed item spotlights
  • Fixed overhead player UI for all 4 players
  • Added auto-equiping picked up items
    • Opted for a different approach due to time constraints of the prototype; when a player picks up an item, they automatically equip it; this allows for more efficient testing as opposed to having to first fix the Inventory & Equipment system for 4 players & controller support
  • Fixed Crouch, Jump and Roll animations when holding a weapon
  • Enabled CCD (continuous collision detection) for items
  • Enemies can now damage the player
  • Added Music and Sound Effects
    • Game felt very unsatisfying, and I had a hunch this would help. Implemented Item pickup, weapon slash, weapon hit enemy (x3), weapon hit other, enemy hit player, pot/vase break (x2) into the game. (also added gold & potion SFX for later use)
  • Added invincibility when dodging/rolling
  • Added floor panels & an ornament wall piece
  • Added a gold emitting particle
  • Added a magical aura particle
  • Added a non-Mixammo artist-made Character (+Texture)
  • Added Gold (UI, gaining gold when hitting an enemy, implemented SFX & VFX)


So... what's next? Where do we go from here? 

This week, a new idea came to mind; I was considering the way we were planning our levels to be designed, but realized they would be... limited in their possibilities, due to the horizontal nature we've been thinking in... but what if... We had a Sims/Diablo/Divinity-like wall-hiding mechanic, where walls which were in-between the camera & the players, would automatically be hidden. I've already got a pretty good idea of how I wanna implement it, but it'll have to wait for the production sprints! Speaking of...

This is the end of our Prototype sprint; next up is our Sprint Review, and after that (,hopefully), we can begin production of our game! We'll have to basically start from scratch, and rebuild from there, using what we've learnt! (I'm personally looking forward to it; our prototype project is a bit of a mess, and this allows us to regain the structure we really need!)

Added onto this Blog you'll also find the final Prototype Build (and a quick version in Unity, but obviously much more development went into the Unreal version).

That's it for this Devblog! Thanks again for reading devblog, and we hope to see some feedback if you give our prototype a try!

Sincerely, Glenn 


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