Monthly Report #8 – August 2016

Feedback summary

It’s time to wrap-up and summarize all the comments and opinions on Sapu prototype. If you missed the main issues discovered earlier, you can check them out on previous report. In this article, I’ll provide some charts that present the overall statistics from the survey.

Statistics

Other than open-ended questions, we’ve made some “rate something” questions that can be statistically analyzed. As there were several extreme ratings, other than simple average rating I’ve provided the median of the results as well:
sapu stats 1
1. We want Sapu to be pretty difficult game. We didn’t really know how the first-time gameplay would look like, as we were pretty skilled from all of the internal testing (I wrote about it on June Report). Also, we didn’t include any mechanics-learning tutorial so we’ve lowered down enemies statistics a bit to compensate that. One thing that is interesting is that the answers varied between 1 (very easy) and 8… Does it indicate that we should provide different difficulty levels? Maybe…
2. This is the most important chart for us from the closed-ended questions perspective. The average of 5,89 rating is definitely the number that is not satisfying at all. But it doesn’t really surprise us, Sapu is not polished and it was the first iteration of the gameplay. We hope that this number will increase for the next version.
3. We’re happy that audio and graphics were rated pretty high, but we still work on improving those aspects including smoother animations, addition of shadows and creation of other scenes to avoid repetitiveness of environment.
4. Even though there was no tutorial, after few minutes players felt comfortable with mechanics. Still the tutorial is required as well as the UI that provides better information about Sapu’s skills etc. Another feature to be polished.

Also, we divided the enjoyment rating on the type of enemy included in prototype scene. As we can see on the charts below, Larissa brought noticeably more fun to the gameplay as she has different abilities and also the boss-music provided intensity of the fight. Good to know 🙂
Stats #2

Other issues discovered

Other than pure feedback findings, we discovered many flaws of the game that play-testers didn’t have chance to acknowledge. Summing up all these things together, we have hands full of work. Check out what we are working on right now…

Rebuilding process

This section contains rather few words what is being taken care of, but hell – these are some time-consuming tasks. Here are the main ones:

Changing environment to 3D

We’re changing the ground (and many environmental stuff) from the 2D sprites into 3D ground. This is a major slow down in the progress, but long-term will accelerate our efforts. There are many more convenient Unity Assets for creating scenes and environments in 3D. Also, this is huge step up to create nice lighting system with proper shadows – a super-important feature for such dark/horror-ish games as Sapu is.
shadows4
Unfortunately, this change causes delays as the scenes have to be rebuild, new physics have to be included and the whole pathfinding also needs tweaks here and there.

Refactoring states

Sapu now has so many states (i.e. running/fighting/spellcasting/getting hit etc.) that are nested to each other or can block other states. These states are strongly connected to animations. So as we want those to be smooth, it was required to fully refactor the whole system.

Awaited new features

Currently on hold as we’re working on the whole rebuilding described above, later this month we will start working on new features including:
● Smoothing gameplay animations and Sapu reaction time after player does something
● Adding melee attacks. At first, we thought that it would not be required but now we see cons of such approach. Now it is a constant “run away” battle. In specific situations, we want player to close the distance between him and enemy. Melee attacks and spells should make fighting a lot more fun.

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