Week 14 – On Fire Now

At our last team meeting, Max introduced the concept of On Fire Now or OFN. This scrum tactic is meant to help us prioritize the tasks that are the most crucial and time sensitive so we can have them complete by our next milestone, which for us is Greenlight. Now that we’re in our second sprint of the semester, we only have one more to go before out Greenlight presentation is due. Therefore, we’ve identified the tasks that are OFN so we can make sure they get done sooner rather than later.

Greenlight Goals

In addition to the requirements set by our faculty for Greenlight, the Firing Squad has assembled our own list of goals that we hope to have implemented before Greenlight is over. Given the feedback we received at the end of last semester, our most important tasks have to do with our feedback loop and our gunplay balancing. We want to improve audio and visual cues whenever the player takes or deals damage, along with making the player very aware of whenever they get a kill. In addition to that, we want to reexamine our Magnet Arm mechanic to make it easier to use. Lastly, we want a new first-person model with basic animations to deliver more of the expected experience that players want to see.

Obviously, none of these tasks are a small feat. Luckily, all of our team members are dedicated to improving the overall feel of the game and making sure that each of these tasks are accomplished. I’m really looking forward to seeing how our game changes during this sprint.

Team Updates

Before I get into my own accomplishments from last sprint and my plans for this one, I’d like to examine some of the work that my fellow developers have gotten done so far. Natalie was unfortunately very sick the last sprint; however, she’s on the mend and bringing us some great new UI assets.

natalie_hitMarkers

(Natalie added this disclaimer when sending the gid: “please forgive potato quality, Gyazo is garbage now”) After putting together the reticle documentation that I shared in last week’s post, Natalie started creating animated assets for Justin to implement. I’ve seen some of the progress that Justin has made so far in engine and I’m already noticing the difference. These hit markers are WAY more noticeable than our current system. Hopefully, QA will show that it’s a lot easier to tell when you’re dealing damage now.

Screenshot (2)

Tim finished the first pass white-box of our new level this week. Using a combination of Pro-Builder in Unity and his knowledge of Maya, he was able to produce a really interesting map concept that will allow for several different levels of verticality but also lends itself more towards a stadium-style setting. Now that Tim’s finished, Mike can take hold of the reins and begin determining how this level will look artistically.

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Mike started by breaking the level down into sections and then determined the assets necessary to build this level in a logical way. The first image shows his visual breakdown of the space. The second image is a first pass mood board concept. While he’s stated this concept doesn’t accurately represent his vision for the level, I’m excited about the direction he’s taking none the less.

Personal Sprint Plans

Last week I focused a lot of my time on making the player grunt noises sound good. I wanted it to be really clear that the player was taking damage. Now, those sounds are implemented in the game and I’m very happy with the results. These new sounds with the addition of Natalie’s assets which are soon to come will significantly improve player damage feedback.

This week, my plans are to have another look at our weapon stats. I need to rebalance damage values so that I can bring player health back down to an even 100 instead of 250. I also need to make sure that there isn’t one obviously better weapon combination (like the Sniper Shotgun) to incentivize players to explore more options. Hopefully, when we implement more weapon parts, this will be less of an issue.

My other tasks involve getting us ready for Greenlight. I need to take a look at our current & planned systems and determine the risks involved with each of them. Finally, I’m going to be putting together an outline to help us organize our game’s context. We’ve put together a new Context Team on the Firing Squad; consisting of Max, Mike, and myself. We have some really exciting ideas for selling our context to players so I want to make sure those ideas aren’t lost.

Until next time!

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