Tag Archive: prototype

Monthly Report #6 – June 2016

Prototype has been finished

This was crazy month with the progress we’ve made. All required tasks from last monthly report were done. Everyone put so much energy to meet deadlines. It was so encouraging watching the whole team’s activity this month. Hell, we just wanted to finally get the prototype in other hands. The most important issues of this month are listed below:

● The build weighs 750MB now. It is a satisfying result after seeing last month’s 2,7GB.
● Pathfinding has been finished – for prototype at least. It is still far away from final game performance.
● Graphics and sounds are done. The scene is very dark and we get some comments that it is too dark on screenshots. We are aware of that and we’re curious how the scene will look like on different monitors etc. For the final product enabling brightness settings etc. is a no-brainer.

Even though we’ve finished the prototype this month, no one from our tester-list played it yet. Why?

Level design errors

In the process of development, we focused so much on completing different tasks that we kinda missed the core of the actual gameplay that we wanted to achieve. After hours of testing, our skill increased so much that the level design went out of control. The game was too quick, too action-packed, too difficult – too “not what we wanted it to be”. We desired different mechanics than those which we’ve ended up with. We wanted the game to be difficult, but in an enjoyable fashion – not because it’s just simply difficult. So we decided to expand the gameplay a little bit and put another 2 weeks of development to achieve required type of enjoyment. By expanding the gameplay, I mean dealing with…

AI dullness

The behavior of spiders is too normal, too ordinary. We saw such mechanics in thousands of hack&slash games. This does not satisfy us. Sapu is not another hack&slash tutorial, remember? Currently spiders perform only standard melee attacks. We want them to at least jump on Sapu when in range, hell we want them to think and react! Ok I guess we want to slow down our horses too, cause right now there are only 3 of us in which only Sarseth do the programming. However, such (rather) simple task as spider jumping ability enables us to achieve a huge goal – player will have to calculate which skill to use in different situations. Sometimes even small adjustments change gameplay drastically, so we’ll see how it goes.

Deadlines

We postponed prototype premiere several times now. It sucks we know that. I think it’s just how it needs to be right now, with the lack of our experience with almost anything we create for Sapu. But you know what’s funny? Deadlines played a huge, positive role on development. We’ve put much more energy to meet our goals, we progressed much faster. It’s funny cause it’s not like publisher or boss is standing behind us saying scary things if we don’t meet deadlines. We put them on our own. Human brains are tricky bastards. I’m sure that, we would be far behind of where we’re at right now if those self-injected deadlines weren’t capitalized. So we’ll stick to them and will (probably) be late many more times 🙂

What’s next?

After releasing the prototype (next week? 🙂 ), we want to create another scene which will be a little bit brighter – mainly for screenshots (maybe it’s time to do some gifs?) purposes. In the meantime we’ll analyze results of our prototype surveys. We’ll get much needed opinions and comments and then we’ll adjust some things according to them.

Then we’ll move on to create sort of Vertical slice version of the game meaning that the main focus we’ll put on next Sapu skills and mobs behavior.

Check out our Facebook and Twitter accounts to get recent updates!

Followers

I’m giving up with website stats. Too many bots that mess up statistics. I don’t want to loose too much time making filters and all this crap. If you have any suggestions how we could measure website’s popularity, let us know! However, I’ll add a newsletter subscribers metric. This should be our most important metric… so I guess we have a lot to learn 🙂
followers-june

Characters in prototype version!

Hey!

If you missed some of our screenshotsaturday on Facebook or Twitter this month you might missed our characters that will be included in our prototype version! So here you have a short presentation 🙂

Sapu

Sapu
The main character. If you’ll ever play this game, you’ll play as this young boy. In prototype version, Sapu has 4 basic skills for each element and one additional, a quick teleport that should protect him from many situations.

Larissa

Larissa
This is Larissa, a Spider Mother. She is the most dangerous creature in a prototype scene. Other than basic attacks She has three additional special skills:

Vomit – Larissa takes a big breath and hits you with poison that deals constant damage and slows you down
Spider Web – Larissa turns and fires a spider web that (if hit) blocks Sapu for a second or two.
Egg Plant – Larissa lays an egg, and a second after 3 small spiderlings come out just to kill Sapu.

Other than Larissa and her spiderlings, we’ll have medium sized spiders on the scene.

Orkabat

Orkabat
Orkabat – a ranged enemy. Orkabats other than shooting Sapu with their projectile spells, are also remarkable acrobats. They can slide to the left or right to evade any spells thrown at them. Also, if Sapu get near, they push him back with powerful wind and fly away to shoot him from distance. Sapu needs to be careful with those as well.

Sapu and the Minimum Viable Product

Recently, I learned the term Minimum Viable Product. It is highly recommended approach for creating a new product, when you should focus on creating simple product, as fast as you can, and then show it to your potential customers. In such way you get feedback about it at the early stage of development, which might be very important (and sometimes refreshing). Then you can easily iterate and improve this product according to this feedback. When I read about it for the first time, I was amazed how so simple approach can be that much effective for Sapu. For over half a year we were slowly building our game, creating inventory system or other features that are not really “fun to play”. We had incredible gameplay in mind, but yet to be implemented.

Applying MVP to Sapu

In addition to the fact that our brand/game is pretty much still non-existent on the web and we are still waiting for our first true, long-term followers, applying MVP seems to be a no-brainer. Thus we transferred this approach to our little game development world. We focused solely on creating satisfying gameplay just to build short “production demo” as soon as possible and let some friends and other players play it to give us their opinion what they like about the game and what could be improved. Make no mistake, this demo will be far away from finished game, it will contain only few main features (and not top-notch polished SFX) of the game, but I’m sure it will help us tremendously to create the best gameplay experience we can.

Sapu gameplay?

When some friends asked me a month ago when they’ll be able test our game or see some gameplay, I responded that it is a long process and at the current state, Sapu is not ready for any exposure. But hey! The inventory system is implemented! YAAY… Well no, not really.

Now, if someone would asked me the same question, I still would respond that the game is not “playable” yet, but we are working hard to create such minimum viable product, that he’ll be able to test the game soon. And it really feels so much better!

Learn from mistakes

I’m sure we missed many opportunities during the whole development process by doing not important stuff at such early stages, but it’s a learning process and I love it. I am happy that we started this blog not only from marketing perspective, but it also allowed us to better evaluate our work and take the right course of action.