Final Prototype week
Time's moving fast, and we are reaching the end of our final prototype week! We got a lot of work done, so let us fill you in on the details.
Last week we mainly focused on the core mechanics: brawling with other players, while mom occasionally comes in to check on you guys. This week we worked on several aspects that take the main mechanic to a new and more fun level. First off, we all know it's super cool to punch each other in the face (in the game of course). But you know what would be even more fun? Grabbing mom's super expensive vase from South Korea and throw THAT at each other's faces! Now you can not only physically abuse each other with your fists, but also with objects that will be scattered all around the room. If you break an object, you'll get points. If you manage to knock a player into the lava with an object, even more points! Beware though, if you break an object when mom is in the room, you'll lose some precious points.
The second mechanic we worked on is, you may have guessed it because every game has them nowadays: powerups! A brawl game wouldn't be a brawl game without some powerups now, would it? We currently have five types of powerups planned that should make it into the final version:
- Double jump
- Increased power on your throws and punches
- Swim in lava for a short amount of time
- Short distance flying
- Charge across the room
All powerups will take shape as a cute, cuddly toy. Our plan is to have a central location in the level where these powerups will spawn, one at a time. Each player has a one-slot inventory where they can store a powerup for later use. We're trying to make it so that getting a powerup poses risks (mom might come in and see you), while also not making you too overpowered. Most of these powerups will also work for a limited amount of time before they run out.
When it came to the artwork, we had to get three different things going:
We divided the tasks and each started working. It was obvious that are going to need lot's of livingroom props, so the sooner we started pumping these out the better. We also needed to start experimenting with breakable meshes, because we would love to break some furniture in this game of ours.
Looking at the concept art we have 4 playable characters that are made up out of different basic shapes. We just picked one to work on first, because a lot of things need to be tested. Are the normal maps going to work out in this stylized setting? How far do we take the normal detail, mainly in combination with the cell shading? Do we need a different colour palette for our characters, in comparison with our environment?
We also experimented with Mixamo.com as a way of speeding up our process. Mixamo is an online platform where you can upload 3D character models and it will magically rig and skin your model. Up until this point it works fine. There are some imperfections in there, so we need to re-rig our models manually ones we get to production, but during prototyping this site will really help us reach our deadlines. Thanks Mixamo!
Then there were the effects. We need some flashy effects to show the impact of our punches. This is also where the struggle with Unity started, seeing as none of the artists had ever made any particles in Unity, but that barrier was overcome pretty quickly.
The Engine Battle
Since it's the last prototype week, we were told to settle for our engine completely. Because we chose Unity first, we were tasked with making a prototype in Unreal as well. The challenge was that we could only spend about two hours on it. To be fair, that's not enough time to make a well thought-through decision. We spent most of those two hours learning the engine, as none of the programmers had any experience with Unreal.
We found Unreal's blueprint system in some cases easier than Unity scripts but we found that in most cases, blueprints take significantly longer than scripts.
In Unity scripts, we found it easier to access the properties of our object while in Unreal, it can be difficult to find a property that you are looking for.
We find that the one thing blueprints has going for it, is that it is very visual. It is very hard to make mistakes since you cannot link properties that do not go together.
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