Design Devlog #2

We finally got a digital prototype out, so the programmers did a bunch to get the game playable. Adam got doors to work as in the documentation. That is, you can now throw enemies and players into doors to open them, and open doors into enemies to injure them. He also got the dash to be usable which makes navigating the levels way smoother, and a stamina system to keep the players from dashing indefinitely. Players can now revive each other by kicking each other's incapacitated bodies. Adam also got various furniture items working. The functionality for bookshelves falling over and crushing enemies thrown at them is in place as is throwable furniture.

Trevor got the first enemy working: the basic model. The player targeting system isn't quite working as documented in the GDD, but that's because the encounter system hasn't been made yet (coming soon). He also got weakened states working on enemies. Certain moves leave enemies in hitstun, stunned and grabbable, or stunned and ungrabbable depending on the move. While I called them "weakened states," their purpose is actually to keep the players from indefinitely grabbing and throwing enemies repeatedly: enemies must be stunned to be grabbed, and are stunned but ungrabbable after being thrown. The player feedback needed to understand the system is supposed to come from animations and visual effects though, so this wasn't super intuitive during the digital playtest. I was surprised watching some people figure out the differences between the different colored spheres even without the feedback. Most still didn't really know what they meant though.

On the level design side, Branden got a blockout of his annotated map ready for the digital prototype. There was an issue with the level prefabs that delayed this process a bunch for all 3 level designers, so I was really happy he managed to get 1 ready for the first prototype. The breakable walls were not working though, so the navigation through his level was a little messed up. There was also a glitch in the prototype build that caused players to clip through the floor, and we didn't have a respawn system implemented yet, so many players played until they fell through the floor. This is unfortunate, since only 1 playtester actually played until the end of the second floor of Branden's level. We know now that we need to prioritize fixing getting stuck for the next build, so that we can extract better playtest data next time.

The levels needed to be rescoped as it became apparent that the level designers would not get the feedback needed to iterate on the number of levels as were initially planned. Instead, each level designer is focusing on their own level until they are perfect. To keep communication open, I have scheduled weekly meetings for the design team which I hope will also serve as a check-in as they work on their iterations. I have asked them to write questions they have to include in the feedback forms for feedback on their levels.

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