A Summary of Week 5
Updated: May 31, 2020
For us as designers this week has been mainly about playtesting and balancing, although problems with the repository have given us a bit less time than we originally intended. One major change in terms of balancing included the player’s projectile: after our teachers noted that in the game’s current state it was too attractive to stay away from the enemy and just shoot them in ranged combat we have scaled up the cost of the projectile to the point where it now costs nearly half of the player’s energy. This not only forces the player to be careful with their aim to avoid wasting this attack but also encourages them to become more mobile since movement gradually fills up the energy after all. At the same time, the player still has the option to upgrade into an endurance-based build when they enter the elevator (endurance is the player stat that increases the player’s energy and reduces the cost of actions that require energy - such as the projectile).
Speaking of the elevator: our artists have come up with a very neat but simple idea to convey a sense of progression and have remodeled the lobby area into a walkway that allows the player to look up or down into the other floors. Aside from this optical guideline, we are planning to slightly alter the level’s music theme to make it more and more intense on each new floor.
Unfortunately, we have had a couple of technical problems that have slowed down our art production and required some restructuring of our tasks. One of the problems includes registration problems with Substance Painter which in which some of our artists were not able to activate their account. In turn, they had to hand over the texturing to those of our artists whose account was functioning which worked out in the end but cost us quite a bit of time. Animation has become a bit of a bottleneck as well since we still don’t have any placeholders for the enemy feedback - something that would be practical for playtesting but could also greatly help our sound team to estimate the length and style of the SFX.
All in all, I have to admit that this project has been a bit challenging because of its unusual genre mixture. There are more than enough good references for first-persn shooters but when it comes to finding first-person games that are focussed on melee, comparable examples that we can use to reference the gameplay are not that easy to find. While the Warhammer: Vermintide series is certainly a good basis most of the other comparable games are not as recent. In fact, the game series most closely resembling our playstyle is called Hexen/ Hexen II came out in the 90ties. Put the whole roguelike aspect with its randomized levels and augmentations on top of that and we are doing a bit of pioneer work here.