Sunline Development Blog 1

This is the end of our sixth sprint in the second semester on Sunline and I think a lot has been done so far. Our project has progressed through the greenlight process and we are moving towards an Alpha build in two weeks. Over this time I have been working on leading the technical direction of the team along with prototyping several mechanics of gameplay and UI.

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Greenlight

During the first couple of weeks my primary goal was onboarding our new programmer to the team along with working with the other leads to establish what the final goal of the project would look like. When it came to technical direction, I felt like we had under-scoped just a little to where we would have some extra leg room for last minute tweaks. Looking back it seems that it is more likely that some content will need to be scoped down and this led us to a couple changes like removing a few movement system features and instead focusing on two primary new mechanic systems. Those being weather effects, and Ezra, the drone companion that helps you traverse levels. I divvied up these systems giving our new programmer weather and myself. the drone companion. Our other programmer is primarily focused on refining our rich movement system and creating environmental shaders. 

Prototyping Process

Quickly into our greenlight process our project manager had asked us to get all of the new mechanics prototyped before leaving greenlight. So I got to work on the drone mechanic. My first part was the ability for Ezra to tinker with mechanical boxes that would translate objects in the world so that the player could more easily move around. I wanted to make sure that the switches were easy to interact with from a far distance so I calculated an angle that can be edited by designers which controls exactly how far away from the center of the screen will you get the popup 'press E to interact'. This allowed players from far distances to interact and use the buttons. I was happy where Ezra ended up he will hopefully be polished up and ready for Beta by next week.

Alpha Process

As we moved into Alpha last week things really begun to pick up. I made sure to attend some sessions that our game tested at to understand what was feeling good and what needed to be worked on. As we go into next week I realized that some level fluidity is missing so I want to go back to our UI systems and update our Waypoint system to work better so that players have a clearer understanding of where to go. This along with making interactable more interesting should help us have better readability in the scenes. I also worked with designers this week to add more functionality to Ezra allowing one switch to activate multiple objects. This should allow more complex machines such as Cranes to look and feel better to the player.

Conclusion

Moving towards Beta is pretty scary we only really have two more weeks before a significant portion of the team will be out of commission due to spring break or GDC so we got to get moving. While I feel good about our scope the hardest part in the process so far has been bringing all the pieces we're working on together. I feel that we need to do some correcting on our path for creating game builds. I want to make sure that the content is getting into the hands of our play-testers as soon as possible. In the future we have set up a requirement of all content to be in build by the end of the week on Sunday at 2. This gives me the time I need to work on building and making sure everything is all tied up. I think we are moving towards a good spot and have been making some solid improvements. I am eager to see us progress in the coming week I know we can make a solid amount of progress to our goals.