Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Adam Courtney- Effish-ient development

Over the past week, the progress on the game has drastically picked up, and as a group we have pulled together something that I think we are quite proud of. The paracetamol shaped placeholder whale is now an animated, breathing, textured creature, the floating boxes are now very detailed, historically accurate boats, and the game is quite fun to play.

Today's presentation at Hull Maritime Museum went okay, I'm really quite happy with what we've put together, and we have some great feedback to continue developing the game to fit into the museum. The main concerns raised were to do with clarity of experience for a new player- whether the current tutorial sequence was enough to introduce the leap motion, and the gameplay elements. It was suggested that the tutorial text could be added to, and the harpoons could be made more visible when playing. I took the decision to be minimal with the text on the screen, so I will try to address this over the next day or so. We've experimented with adding flair effects to the harpoons, and making the lines stand out more, but it may be a balancing act getting the balance between accuracy and clarity in the gameplay.

My contribution has been exclusively within Unity, and Max- Ash, Nathan and Dan have put together the models for all of this content in Blender, which were coloured, and then textured in photoshop. In terms of gameplay, the core game is pretty much the same, but the changes I've implemented have made it far more robust, smoother, and much more streamlined to play. This has led to some tense points where I've had to take chances with re-writing code, learning new techniques such as raycasting, and learning more about textures than I could have guessed was necessary.

New Developments:

  • Raycasting is used to detect players being in range of harpoon guns.
  • Leap motion/mouse now is much more fluid, as the whale moves straight to it rather than it being a physics-based event each frame.
  • Randomised boat models, with boat's name appearing in text.
  • More arcade-based feel, with the year counter replaced with a simpler 60 second timer.
  • All models (Big boats, small boats, guns, harpoons & whale are all added.
  • Harpoons now fire directly at the player (they took a rounded path)
  • The guns point at the player properly, and the harpoons return to the gun properly
  • Tutorial sequence, added 10 seconds to the timer, where the UI explains some gameplay before boats spawn. (game is actually 70 seconds as a result).
  • Added a basic animated hand sprite and leap motion picture to indicate what the player should do to start the game.
  • Fixed a new bug where the boats intermittently wouldn't spawn (a variable in an if statement was the culprit after tracing it with my many print commands).
  • I've changed the layout of the game so that the boats no longer can collide with the player, and the harpoons fire at the player from background to foreground. This was part of the new recast scripting, as it let me use 3D coordinates to fire at.
  • Ash and I added a lot of new cosmetic changes, such as using a Creative Commons font for the text, making the text bigger, adding weather effects and lighting, and re-texturing some of the sky assets to create a new atmosphere for the game.
  •  Unity's sound events are used for instances of the boat as it is more logical than duplicating Max messages.
  • Fixed a bug where harpoons would get stuck in the scene (a misplaced game object in player hierarchy caused this)
  • I took samples from Creative Commons, and added them to Nathan and Dan's sound bank for the max patch.
  • Added in Ash and Dan's animation, and Ash helped me with the C sharp script to control the animations with in game events (death animation, and faster swim when mouse is moving)
  • Changed the background texture so it no longer scrolled, and instead the motion is implied by the sea movement, and the clouds etc.
  • Disable cursor, and then enable it with a hand sprite texture.
  • Added a sea foam effect to the big ships to give a sense of depth and water. (Ash also did this)
High Priority:
  • Improve tutorial section, make it more detailed, (explain player is the whale, how to use leap motion, that the whale needs to come up for air, and needs to dodge the harpoons).
  • Get the balance right between harpoon visibility, historical accuracy, and the game aesthetic.
  • Fix a bug where the breath sound isn't switched off in max after the game ends. Maybe a global reset would be a good idea.
  • Add the Background music
Medium Priority:
  • Add an escape function, so that the max patch can be ended, and the game can be closed without changing window. - Deemed unnecessary, as it's possible to power off the machine and have the startup script.
  • Add a win sequence or something aesthetically pleasing for the player to reinforce victory.
  • Add a splash screen/ intro, so that the game doesn't appear unresponsive during the delayed start.
  • Change the app icon.
  • If possible, open the max patch within unity? - Irrelevant due to Ash's startup script.

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