July 2018 Recap
Another month, another recap! I know what you’re thinking, we released our last recap a short while ago and we already have another one? We usually don’t post recaps in such quick succession but there’s a method to the madness. We have been posting recaps at the end of our condensed work periods (which last a month), but we realized that once we factor in planning, those work months become a bit skewed from the calendar months. To realign, we are posting a bit of a shorter recap for July as a sacrifice to get back on schedule. This means that you can look forward to our recaps being posted at the same time, somewhere during the first week of each month! With that out of the way, let’s jump into what we have been working on for the last couple weeks.
Although it hasn’t been very long since our last post, there have been some pretty significant changes to the gameplay which we are all pretty stoked about. We set out into making this game loving local multiplayer games and wanting to make our own mark on the genre with the unique mechanic of controlling your opponent’s character as a win condition. Since we consider this the core of the game, we have been finding ways to build around this mechanic as a focal point and always ask the question when we think of a new system to implement: does it help encourage the core gameplay?
We asked this question recently after playtesting, and realized that being able to kill players with weapon fire did not support this mechanic, and it seemed that gameplay outside of being switched into an opponent’s body was just not very interesting. The result of this is removing all damage from the game other than the instant-kill mechanic of a player falling into the pit. This means that players may no longer damage others by shooting their primary or secondary fires, or by landing a jump kick. To ensure the weapon still serves a purpose, the primary fire now slows any enemies hit by it and stuns any enemies who are already slowed. Secondary fire is an automatic stun if the shot connects.
Along with the weapon changes, we have updated the jump kick and player switching mechanics. Instead of players switching based on a global timer, players may now target other players and switch into their bodies by landing a jump kick. We feel that this will create more interesting and emergent gameplay, as players will have direct control over which player’s character they are controlling, and can strategize throughout gameplay around that.
Another major change is the addition of a laser sight for the purpose of aiming. The idea behind this is to show where each player is aiming at all times to both assist in more accurate aiming, and to allow players to maneuver around enemy fire / bait others into areas of the maps. Below is an early representation of how this will look:
Polishing existing mechanics has been a focal point for this month to make character movement feel more enjoyable. We have improved the feeling of the jump kick and general player movement, and have more improvements coming in the near future such as jump, wall jump, and ground slide mechanics.
This month has also been big for art, as we finally have a scene in engine full of original art – no placeholders!
The final piece to this puzzle was getting the platforms in the engine. This took a while due to a few issues, namely a bug with Unity’s tiling tool in 2018.1 (resolved when 2018.2 was released) and the team learning how to create a proper tileset. After trial and error, we finally have a usable tileset for many platform combinations which can be seen below.
We have also been diligent in creating a new character, as we decided that the old character did not fit well into the resolution that the game is being displayed in. To shape the character, we first created some new concepts and went through a few iterations before deciding on a new character to move ahead with.
Since this has been a month of improvements and iteration, we also decided to iterate on the effects we created last month for weapon firing. We felt that our first iterations of the fire and hit effects were not large or impactful enough. For this iteration, we focused on greatly expanding the size of the effects and focusing on the silhouette to make the effects feel more powerful. These changes can be seen below, and we think these are already looking a lot better.
Since we created a new character, all of our old animations for the character have become obsolete. This means new rigs and animations for our character! We are trying to take things we learned from the first pass of creating the character and apply them to create better looking and feeling animations. A problem with the old animations were how slow they were, which made actions feel lethargic and clunky. This new crouch animation is literally 2 frames, making it barely classifiable as an animation but a hell of a lot more responsive!
Not much has changed in the level design department, other than finally being able to build our existing level with the new platforms. We are continuing to playtest that level and polish it to make it balanced and fun to navigate.
Although it hasn’t been long since our last recap, we had quite a bit of changes to show. Once again, you can expect these recaps at the beginning of every month from now on, and can keep even closer tabs on us by following our Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages linked at the bottom of this webpage. Near our social media links, you can also find an invitation to join our discord community (which gives unique insight to our dev process and will allow you to directly participate in development and community events) as well as a link to twitch where you will be able to find our live playtests once those start next month. As always, thanks for checking in on our progress and have a great August!
-Humongous Bone Games