Week 9 – Vertical Slice

We’re getting into our final few weeks before the capstone presentations. Fortunately, our team challenged out of Proof of Concept and we are now in the Vertical Slice stage which means we get to spend a couple weeks in production mode. This sprint, I focused a lot on audio and editing the level to address tester feedback.

It won’t be long before our pre-production phase is complete and we see who will be moving forward to next semester.

Now that we’re using FMOD as our audio engine, I’ve been trying to familiarize myself with the program. It’s not something that I’ve ever used before, but it looks like a very useful tool. Essentially, FMOD lets us dynamically change whatever sound is playing for any event just by changing a single value. James had already set a lot of this up to figure out how to use FMOD but next sprint I’m going to have to do a lot more to get more of our sounds in the game.

I spent a lot of time trying to modulate a few voice lines that Max recorded to give our announcer some character. The announcer isn’t in the game yet, but we’re hoping to get these audio tracks in before the presentation to add some juice to our game’s context. The announcer needs to sound robotic, so I played around with some effects in Logic to simulate a robotic voice using the lines Max gave me. Below is one of the lines with these effects applied.

What I discovered was that the voice sounded a little too much like someone speaking into a toy voice changer. I scrapped the effects and tried to approach the problem using a different tool. Logic’s vocoder has a lot of presets that will make vocal tracks sound robotic. I played around with a lot of them until I found the voice that I liked. I needed the lines to sound as robotic as possible, while still being able to understand what the announcer was saying. So as a first pass for these lines, I ended up with this…

I’m still not totally happy with them, but I think they’re heading in the right direction. That’s what iteration is for! If we can start prototyping the announcer’s role in the game I think that would help sell our game show context better to players. That’s definitely something we’ll want to highlight during the presentation in a few weeks.

Later in the week, I started placing decals that Tyler created in our level. This includes things like bullet holes, caution lines, scuff marks, and graffiti. Before, our level looked nice but was a little bare. It’s hard to believe a game show where robots constantly shoot each other takes place in this arena with it looking so pristine all the time. Decals are small details that add a lot to the world. All of sudden, our level looks a lot more polished and believable simply because we added some scuffs and bruises to the walls and floor.

 

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I also textured the remaining walls and floors so our level doesn’t look so patchy anymore. Finally, our environment is starting to reach a finalized state that we can begin to iterate on.

One final note that I think is worth mentioning; our game’s name has officially been changed. Our game is no longer “Modulate”, instead it is now called re[Mod]. re[Mod] refers to the constant gun modification that players have to do during our game. It’s important to us that players understand gun modification is part of our game’s core experience so representing that in the name of our game as well is crucial. I took a little time throwing together a new logo for our game and with Tyler’s help, I think we’re starting to push our game’s brand in the right direction.

decalExample4

Until next time…

PS – as a little bonus, I’ve included a gameplay video that James put together. This shows 4 testers playing against each other. Some were familiar with the game, some were experiencing it for the very first time. You’ll notice during moments of player vs player interaction, any players not involved will be grayed out. I definitely recommend watching this video to see how real players are experiencing re[Mod].

 

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