Where We’ve Been
Developer meetups, playtesting, work, work, Unturned, work, work, beach, work!
Hi all, we’re not dead. We’ve attended a few more dev-meetups, did some local playtesting. Overall very fun, very helpful! We saw what people liked, what they didn’t. What made sense, what didn’t. We discovered things nowhere on the radar. I’d say the reaction to the game was on the positive side. We know what our magic is… and must now figure out how to best implement it. These last few weeks were about tuning and exploration. This will be a wordy post on problem-solving, but I’ll try to sneak some pictures in near the end.
General Feedback from Playtesting:
+ Decent graphics
+ Dug the feel of the world
+ Combat was easy to understand and perform
+ Liked the idea of climbing everywhere
– Movement speed is way too fast and unpredictible for new players
– Needs clearer goals
– Background and foreground lacked clear distinction
– Collision bugs
Core Mechanic Adjustments
First of all, throwing max speed at beginner players had to go. We figured “keep the control simple, and the learning curve will stay low” but the speed hikes it right back up prohibitively fast. We’re exploring ways to ease players into the high-speed gameplay without blocking off the fun bits. Tuning the controls to behave more predictably is equally as important. I sometimes forget that we know the system inside and out. But knowing a system is not the same thing and having a good system.
Another thing was that people would kill the first few enemies and then run past the rest. Combat just wasn’t satisfying. The first step was to increase feedback to the player. Everything should put up a fight, react theatrically, and die spectacularly. We boosted all FX & SFX, and are adding react animations and a healthy heaping of knockback/ragdoll. From that combat got some traction, but we need to make the hitting motion satisfying too. That’s still in the works. Really happy with the direction so far! Expect our next gameplay video to show where we end up.
The background and foreground objects also caused confusion for some players. Rightfully so. Anything that looks even the slightest bit interesting and is just a little too close to the main path, people will try to interact with. Without fail. A ladder set 20 feet from the path looks like a great thing to try and climb. Lighting catching the surface of a background object just right creates an illusion of a platform. It was eye-opening. Placement, color, and lighting are so important here. If something isn’t intractable, make it boring and get it as FAR away as possible.
Swamp Level Preview, Water Shader
Press on towards solid core combat and movement mechanics. Gameplay video. Playtest playtest playtest.
Experimental level-construction write-up!