There wasn’t much going on this week related to programming.
Emanuel suggested a little tool that counts every collision the player has with any object and for every tile the level generator instantiated. This tool will help Rebecca hopefully to balance each tile in a more objective manner.
As I mentioned in my last blog post, the boat is spinning too much sometimes. I invested some time into this issue and realized that this problem occurs every time a combination of more extreme boat’s Z position values and the boat’s X rotation values add together (e.g. high-velocity impacts with an obstacle). At first, I thought about freezing the boat’s position at its z value. This eased down the issue but didn’t solve it completely, additionally, we wouldn’t be able to lower or raise the river anymore. Actually, the way I calculated the force was the problem. I made some wrong assumptions and fixed those.
The second improvement to the rapids is a dead zone. The boat is getting pushed towards the center of a rapid vertically in the Alpha Build. This desired behavior is, therefore, that the player shouldn’t have to concentrate on following the river but to avoid obstacles. But the dark side of this behavior is, that the rapids cancel a lot of the player’s rowing actions, what makes it even harder to get around some obstacles. I decided to add this vertical dead zone. The boat is dragged to the rapid center, but only to the desired maximum, for example, to help the player to avoid the surrounding terrain.
This dead zone is between the magenta lines on this picture.
The intermediate Presentation
Our “lesson learned” from the Pitch Presentation is the amount of time we need to prepare a good presentation. So I rearranged the milestones beforehand that we will have the time (two and a half days instead of one) to achieve the quality we aimed for. After all, I think we did a great job. Everyone performed very well on stage and there weren’t any big issues, besides the technical ones for that very special room and its projector. Next time, we will have to get access to 204 to test out the equipment, once more.
The Feedback Week
We finished the Alpha milestone on Friday the 12th and joined proudly the playtesting event on that day with our prototype. We got a lot of valuable feedback. The way we introduce the controls and main mechanics to the player is the most important one, I think. We also had meetings with Cécile, Emanuel and Björn, this week. The other team members wrote a lot about that in their entries.
Somehow, our enthusiasm after the alpha milestone didn’t last very long. And that hits every one of us at the same time. It is the combination of the amount of work we did, the feedback we received, the scope that shifted and the proximity to our project that influenced our mindset a lot. The weekend is the worst part about it because we hadn’t the time to discuss everything and everyone have to overcome this on his or her own, at first. I feel somehow responsible for this, but I also needed some time to rethink the project scope and the project plan. For my own motivation, I switched back the active Git branch to the “first playable prototype” milestone, the one we reached just before Christmas. This build consists of a mass of things that don’t even look like a game. We added so many systems, content and concepts in this few weeks…
Tomorrow is the Monday of a new week, I am very confident that we will get back to our full strength and potential that we are used to having. We will have to talk about most of the aspects of our game and as long as we take care of everything, the resulting vision will be more detailed and appealing as the ones we have achieved so far.