Team: Gwamm

Producer: Liam Craffey    Designers: Richie Conti & Joshua Bernstein

   Artists: Alana Slattery,  Lena Wagner & Matthew Sharp    Programmers: Tyler Chermly & Alan Meehan

WE made it to semester 2!

>CLICK HERE FOR FIRST SEMESTER'S BLOG<

Sprint 9: Its all in the details

This week I messed with a lot of internal numbers. A few of the upgrade abilities needed some tweaking to feel more powerful/more impactful. The bomb's speed needed to be increased to make it easier to hit enemies. The tentacle upgrades needed to be longer, and the final tier of the thruster upgrade needed a complete overhaul because it didn't feel very powerful. Originally it was just directional thrust, but we moved that to the tier 1 upgrade, and the tier 2 became a sheild that covers your squid to protect you for a short time. 

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Sprint 8: Alpha Milestone

For this week, I had two main goals in mind. The first being getting the boss level in a playable state, and the second being a revamp of the Overword. This meant that his week I would be doing a first pass on the boss level. Although I'm not positive about the layout, I know that the room needs to be small enough that the player always has a wall to grab onto, while also giving the boss some room to move around. I am also thinking that there will be rooms with pods that power side objectives around the level, like gravity or turret systems. 

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In terms of the Overworld, I needed to update it a lot. There were ships sprites that needed to added, moved, or updated. I ended up spreading out the Overworld to make room for these new sprites. 

I also updated a lot of the hover icons for the levels to accurately represent the challenged that the players will face in that level. For instance, in the level that the player first gets introduced to the Gravity Generator - there is an image of the new system. 


Sprint 7: Mid Mortem

This sprint I focused on just one ship system, rather than trying to teach both of the remaining in one ship. I chose to use the gear system. The benefit of the gear is being able to grab on and quickly gain momentum - especially helpful around corners. In order to showcase these features, the level I made is very angular - with lots of sharp corners to swing around. In addition, the level escape has a relatively low timer - meaning that the player needs to use the gears to gain speed in order to escape on time. In the end, I was able to get this new level in, AND get it tested at QA this week. I am happy to say that the new level, Hammerhead, was a sucsess. 

In addition to this level, I wrote out some docs about squid upgrades. Each one of the 4 abilities have two tiers of upgrades. This first is a smaller QOL upgrade, like increasing the laser width and charge speed - or increasing the length of the tentacles. The final tier of upgrades are more powerful - granting triple lasers or a cluster bomb. 

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Sprint 6: Unfocused Level design

This week I tasked myself with creating a level for the final two systems that we prototyped - the gear and the piston. I created a level which I called "Drill". In this level there is a large open space with a left and right path, one side with each of the systems. Although I enjoyed the general shape of the level - I didn't end up very happy with the final result.  

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I think there a few reasons why this design layout didn't work for me. The first and most important is that this level isn't focused. It has two new systems in the level, but it doesn't teach you HOW the systems work. They are just placed in the level, without the requirement for the player to understand their full functions. In addition, this is the level that introduces both the systems at once - while also trying to maintain a relatively small scale. It is trying to do too much in a small space - and in the end I feel like it does too little. 


Sprint 5: Spikes!

With the addition of the Jellyfish last week - it added a new mechanic into the game - a stun. When the player gets hit by the tentacles, they cant make any actions for a number of seconds. I wanted to combine this mechanic with one of the new systems that we prototypes in a previous week - the spikes! By putting the jellyfish above the spikes and adding gravity into the ship - it threatens a deadly combo that can destroy your squid if not handled with care!

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In addition, I focused on some planning for next three sprints - getting us to Alpha and Mid-Mortem.

For me, the major focus is making sure that we begin working on the boss prototype before then. After Mid-Mortem the main focus will be getting the boss feeling and playing good. 

Besides the boss, we continue to move towards finalizing the partnership to aim for steam. 


Sprint 4: IMPLEMENTING all the Badguys

This week I spent a lot of time getting the new enemies in various levels throughout the game. Many needed a couple tweaks to make them feel better in the gameplay. For instance, the scale of the Piranhas were doubled to make them seem more threatening, while also making them an easier target for your laser. 

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The JellyFish was placed in a relatively secluded location at the bottom of the Hourglass level. I have an idea for a later level more focused around the enemy type, so I just wanted to use this spot as a safe-ish introduction to the enemy - and give the player the chance to experiment with how it works.  

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I also added the Sanddollar enemies to the Starfish level. This level had the most open area by far. This lent itself well to adding the Sanddollar enemies. It allows players to try and avoid them, while also providing a large area to throw the player around if they do knock into one. This level is pretty relaxed compared to the previous and next, so passive enemies in the form of the Sanddollars are perfect.  

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Sprint 3: Greenlight

Although a lot of my time this week was put toward the paperwork for greenlight requirements, I was able to get a couple things done! 
First, I built a new level - Pipe. This level serves as an introduction to the Piranha enemies. It also is the players first experience with downward gravity. Because of this, I put the gravity generator at the bottom of the ship. If the player falls in, and has a hard time with the gravity and Piranha's, the gravity generator shutoff is close by. 

I also blocked out the tutorial level this week. Is relatively simple, as I use the same basic layout as the first level that we have in right now. However, I moved the player lower down in space, and sporadically placed ship parts around the pod so that they player can pull themselves to it. 

In addition, I added wings with pipes in them on the sides of the tiny pod. This is so that we can include tutorial dialogue telling the player to swing their tentacles up and around - in an attempt to teach them about more advanced tentacle-ing techniques. 

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Sprint 2: Forward Thinking

For me, this week was mainly focused on planning future enemies. We want three new mini-enemies to scatter around the levels. They should be unique, interesting, and add a specific challenge. A bunch of brainstorming was done, so that we had a couple different enemies to choose between. 

 
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SandDollar
Stationary enemy that explodes when player enters collision box attached to the prefab. Plays explosion VFX, damages surrounding walls (radius on a public variable), and applies force to player in the opposite direction (force on a public variable). 
 

Jellyfish
Floating enemy that bobs up and down (distance and speed of bob on public variables). The enemy should float between two set locations on loop (movement speed as a public variable). If the player collides with jellytentacles they take x damage and the player disconnects from any grabbed surface and can't use their tentacles for x seconds. Cannot currently be destroyed. 
 

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Piranha
A swarm enemy that will chase after the player and chip away their health. These enemies have collision boxes and can push the player around. They have little health and can be killed with two uncharged laser shots. 

State: Seeking
     The swarm will seek out the player once the player enters a specific collision box. They will continue to chase the player outside of the collision box once locked on. The speed that they search out the player should be a public variable. There should be a “front” to the enemy which points at the player at all times (that way the “Face” of the piranha is the one colliding with the player). If the piranha collides with the player it should do x damage (variable) and then back off for x seconds (variable), until trying to collide (attack) again. 

 State: Roaming
    The enemies will “float” around inside a specified area randomly. The speed and distance which they roam should be public variables.
 

In addition to these new enemies, Josh and I also began designing the boss sequence. First, we needed to figure out how the boss would be defeated - and the steps the player needs to take to get there. The boss will have multiple phases, and the player will need to release starfish that are in capsules attached to it's head. After releasing the starfish, the shield on the boss drops and allows the player to shoot it in the weak point - the eye. They also get to tear a tentacle off the boss, sending it to it's next phase. The fight overview goes as follows:

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Boss Structure:

Phase 1: Pull Lid 1, Laser Eye, Pull Lid 2, Laser Eye, S4 gets stunned, Pull off tentacle.
Phase 2: Pull Lid 3, Laser Eye, Pull Lid 4, Laser Eye, S4 gets stunned, Pull off tentacle.
Intermission: Player Rest - S4 Feigns Death - Enter Rage Mode - Enter Phase 3.
Phase 3: Pull Lid 5, Laser Eye (Eye gets destroyed).
Escape: Start self destruct sequence - Get out of the ship!

The boss also needs to react based on the players location, so we designed a quadrant based system, so that specific attacks can activate based on the players location to the boss. A lot of work still needs to be done, but this is a good headstart. 


Sprint 1: Starting the Engine

I was really excited to jump into this first sprint. Josh and I stayed after class for a couple hours just brainstorming ship system idea's. Within the ships there needs to be more powered systems, besides just turrets and gravity. While brainstorming we wanted these systems to have more than one application. This not only allows for different types of levels to be made, but it also allows the player to experiment and learn more about how they can interact with the world - leading to further engagement. 

When bringing the game to QA we also showed a lot of these systems to testers, seeing which ones they would be most excited to see. Seems like the extender, gear, and spikes are the ones that players would be most interested in interacting with. These are also sort of the simplest ones, so they should definitely be top of the list to implement! 

I also am pretty excited for the extender, because not only could it be used to push the player around, but when you place two facing each other, all of a sudden it is a crusher - an enviromental hazard. 

Besides brainstorming these systems, we also did some thinking about the boss. Though I am not completely happy with where we ended up, I think that this is a great starting point, and there are some good ideas being thrown around. 

I was also able to do a lot of work a new level! I'm calling this one "The Trout". It is probably a little bit harder than the current hardest level in the game, but for different reasons. In the other one the challenge comes from the gravity and the race to escape the long ship at the end. In this ship, the challenge is supposed to come from all the different turrets that are piped up on different capsules around the ship. Some of the turrets are shielded, meaning the only way to beat them would be to saving the starfish and turning off their power. This is also the first ship I am really playing around with multiple paths. There are three ways into this ship, meaning three different ways to approach it. Upon testing and receiving data I can then figure out which paths need to be buffed or nerfed. 


Sprint 0: We made it!

Between last semester and this semester we had winter break. I used this time to clear my mind of the game and enable a fresh start coming back. I think taking a step back and viewing your projects with fresh eyes is important. For me, it's really impressive to see the work that we have done, but also reinforces that there is still a lot to do. I came back to Burlington a little bit early this semester, I was very excited to continue to work on this project. A few of my team members were excited as well so we got together a few times for some starter/cleanup work on the game.

Tyler had been working on a tool for me to be able to quickly build connected sections of pipes. Rather than having to manually connect them in the editor they will now automatically link when I build them in a line - enabling me to quickly build longer and more complicated sections of pipes. I also used these work sessions to begin planning for the first few weeks of the semester, and build a starting focus for all members. 

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Here you can see that a lot of what we are doing this week is setups for future larger projects. I wanted to put the focus of these first few weeks on clearing some prerequisites so that we have a solid plan and basis to work off of. In my mind some of the most important things on this list is the focus on getting our game on Steam and planning the boss fight. I want to make sure that we are heading in the right direction while also leaving enough time for the development and inevitable evolution of the boss mechanics. 

I am super excited to get started working on this awesome game with these really awesome people. I know we will make Celestialpod a game to be remembered.