Week 13 – Back in Action

Now that spring semester is officially in session, The Firing Squad is entering full production mode. I’m really excited to continue working on re[Mod] this semester to continue making my vision for this game, a reality. I am now the Product Owner of re[Mod] which is a wonderful opportunity for me because it gives me a chance to develop my leadership skills and step into a role that I hope to one day, be doing professionally. Because of my promotion on this team, I plan on broadening the focus of these weekly blog posts to not only discuss the design work that I’ve accomplished/planned for and include some of the work that my fellow team members are contributing as well. I think by working together, we will have the best senior game ever made at Champlain College by the end of this semester.

New Recruits

I’d like to start this blog post off by introducing some of our new team members. Our new environment artist, Mike Manfredi, is going to be an amazing new asset for us. His skills in creating lively and well-detailed environments is going to help us bring the world that re[Mod] is set in to life. We want players to dive into our universe and Mike is going to help us achieve that.

Our new programmer, Justin Mulkin, is going to be assisting our Lead Programmer, James Keats, in implementing new gameplay and feedback systems, as well as assisting the design team in creating new weapon parts. Having Justin on our side allows us to do a lot more than we were able to do last semester.

On our design team, we have brought on Tim Eccleston and Natalie Frost. Tim is an incredibly talented level designer with a keen eye for FPS gameplay elements. Tim’s role will be to plan and build new levels that can hold a varied number of players, giving our players more options when starting a match. Natalie is our dedicated UI/UX designer. Her background in vfx, hud design, and player feedback is going to immensely improve our user experience. We’re so glad to have both of them working with us this semester.

Latest Progress

Right away, we knew that we had to improve our gun-play systems. A lot of the feedback we received from faculty and industry professionals had to do with making our gun-play feel more satisfying and believable. So when I was putting together our backlogs over the break, I made sure to prioritize the tasks that would be necessary to accomplish this. So far, only two days into this sprint, some of my fellow Firing Squad members have already begun pushing us toward this goal.

Explorative Painting 1

Mike’s role this week is to concept some new environment art styles that are more exciting than what we have currently. He was able to throw together this exploratory painting, showcasing his vision of what a re[Mod] arena should look like. I’m in love with this image. I think creating a darker environment lit by bright, neon-like lights, will help sell our futuristic game-show theme. I also think this new design will create a helpful contrast between the weapon parts and the environment itself.

remod_reticle

Natalie has also made some great progress this week on redesigning our reticle system. I’ve included a snippet of the document she put together for us, but what’s exciting is that you can really see how much thought she puts into every design choice. Our goal with the new reticle is to make hit markers, damage indicators, and weapon spread more noticeable. I think what Natalie has come up with will make a huge difference and hopefully, our next QA sessions will prove that.

Personal Sprint Goals

So aside from helping orient our new team members onto our game, I have a few things that I need to work on this week as well. Most of my focus this week will be on audio feedback. Our current audio is pretty bare bones and while I’m proud of the work I did last semester, a lot needs to be improved. My top priority is to create new sounds for when the player is damaged, when the player successfully gets a kill, and improving the player movement sound (again). Once I have these new assets created, I’ll be working with James to create a more advanced audio system that will determine whether or not a sound should be networked or kept to the client. In addition to that, I’ve been spending some time exploring FMOD to learn more about all of the features it offers. I think after these audio improvements, re[Mod] will feel like an entirely new game.

That’s all I have for now, but I’m looking forward to sharing more about our progress as the semester continues. Until next time!

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