Senior Production Dev Blog #3
Almost the end! We have 1 more week to get the game ready for the senior show and to its final state for our senior year. I think we are in a pretty good state, but there's always that stress of anticipating a new game-breaking bug or some fatal flaw we somehow haven't seen till now. Here's to hoping we are in the clear!
What has happened
I have been working on the seafloor- but I definitely wanted to give an update of the wonderful work our designers have done with the map. In the last dev blog I showed a map that was in development hoping to make it feel more cohesive with the seafloor free-flowing style, described as outer Boston suburbs:
After some much needed feedback on that iteration- they took the direction of putting major emphasis on the landmarks of the level and trying to provide as much clarity as possible:
And finally, after locking themselves in a room for 5 hours- they created this final iteration, taking inspiration from the original city map and adding the feedback we have received along the way. I think this map is awesome, I personally love playing rounds in it:
Art assets are going in and the map is coming together! I'm personally super excited about how the map looks. It's really cute and has a great seafloor vibe to it. Since the map is getting closer to complete- we have also had a much easier time implementing and testing traps/tasks. It's been really fun to have everything assemble and be able to play the whole map in testing.
A new trap that I have implemented lately was the Naval Mines trap. These are a set of mines that appear in an area defined by the Mapster and knocks back Piecelings in an explosion. The main elements of this trap that required a lot of planning and thought was how it would be best for the Mapster to place the actual trap. We initially wanted a random number of mines all within a range of the map- but a new problem appeared with mines clipping through objects and having odd space conversion issues. In the end, we decided to manually assign the locations of mines, especially because of time limitations. Overall the difference isn't really noticed by players anyway- the Piecelings are mainly focused on avoiding them or the Mapster is content with the decent density of bombs.
The puffer fish now has a very cute art asset and is able to be placed in the world by the Mapster and slow down any Piecelings that come in contact with it:
The Clamlings have an art asset and have a clear user feedback indication to show a Pieceling is caught by a Clamling. The controls still only reverse the vertical and this went well at testing. I think they turned out pretty cool, the traps feel cohesive and I'm super happy with it
The shark also has a new asset and we decided to make some changes like removing the "sleeping" phase. Now the shark continuously patrols the ship and the Piecelings must avoid it.
The levers are working and our programming lead Ethan implemented this very cool effect of the levers pumping open a treasure chest and finally awarding a chalice to complete this part of a task.
Quality of Life Updates:
Lately I have put in a cute giant clam quick animation to reveal the pearl once the Piecelings complete the task. This was a really minor and quick task, but I thought it looked nice and added some life to the asset.
The team has also been working on making the main menu look nice and I think it looks amazing. They have added the entirety of the room around the menu cabinet and added assets to the various elements:
We decided to change the seafloor sound track to match more with the city soundtrack. The city music was much more upbeat and happy while the seafloor was a more intense and climactic song. This was not unintentional, but we decided it would be better for them to be cohesive. In the end we changed it to a major key and changed the horns to blend better with the other instruments and this was the final result!
Well, we have a week left of development before the submission is due. We have cleared alpha and beta deadlines and I'm honestly feeling pretty happy with where the team is at. It's definitely been a rough few months for everyone- school is incredibly busy and the pressure of finding jobs is looming. We are getting there though and I'm really excited that even though we all went through some very intense burnout this semester- we have a great game and I'm so excited for people to play it at the show.
This team was definitely a learning experience with joining something halfway through development and holding my contributions to the standards already set. Sometimes I would be debugging and was afraid to touch any old work because what if it was written this way for a super specific reason? What if moving this node breaks it? I know it won't but if it did it would be bad.
I had to develop the confidence to adjust small pieces when I could and ask questions when I was concerned. A lot of times it was just a quick implementation that wasn't necessarily meant to be permanent. It only had 1 semester to get thus far after all. It made me feel a lot better about joining the programmers as well- as I added my own touch to the systems and mechanics, I felt more included and involved in the team. It was a really nice progression and I'm really lucky I had such supportive teammates who took the time to listen to the contributions I had.
I also finished crocheting the plushies for the display! I ended up creating Baby Cone, the Pumpkin, and the Trash Can. They were all super fun to make and I'm pretty happy with how they turned out, considering I was winging it the whole time. Our programmer Schoney has already claimed the Trashcan as his son.
I'm really excited for the senior show, even though I'm nervous as well. I hope people love this game as much as the team does. I think one of the most important goals that I have for my games is that they are fun. They don't have to have really insane technical qualities, unbelievable art, emotional storytelling, etc. They definitely can and it's always nice when they do. But the best part about game development for me is when I see players enjoying themselves, playing the games we have put so much time and effort into. It makes it all so worth it. I can't wait to play Mapstermind with everyone at the show and I'm so excited to share all of our hard work.