Week 9 - combat encounters, game over, character model and more

Encounter system

My main task for this week was to create a system to spawn waves of enemies for the game's combat encounters. The way this will work is a player will enter an area that triggers the start of a combat encounter, during which they are swarmed by a series of waves of enemies that they must either fight or avoid by escaping the area. The next wave of enemies can be triggered by a timer elapsing or a certain percentage of the enemies from the previous wave being killed.

This involved quite a bit of going back and forth with Dylan working out how to best create a system that could easily be configured by designers so that encounters didn't need to be hard-coded individually, but by the end of the week I we reached something that works well.

Game over and dialogue system

While I was working on the encounter system, Harrison did some work on our system for showing text boxes for dialogue with NPCs, and Baker worked on the game over functionality so the the game actually has a loose condition. The next step of this will be implementing negative conditions so that when the player gets hit one of their abilities becomes less effective or harder to use, but this will be done in the coming weeks.

Art update

Unfortunately the art team ended up deciding that our previous art style was un-viable early in the week, which basically put us back at square one on that side of things. I've been trying to deliberately distance myself from that process because I feel like my skill set is still most useful just working on programming and contributing to the art direction discussions would only further complicate things since at the end of the day I trust the artists to find a style that looks good, but I do find how behind schedule this has made us quite concerning.

In good news, we did manage to get a basic version of the player model with a running animation into the game by the end of the week so at least that is something.

Desk crit feedback

I think it's fair to say we got pretty slammed this week for being behind schedule. At this stage there is still hardly any art in the game and Laz and Alex also wanted to see a full plan of the level for the game, which we didn't have.

The reason we didn't present the full level for the game was because that will be informed by the story and testing we plan on doing with the combat system, but I do think those are probably things we should have tried to start earlier anyway.

After the desk crit we had a big meeting where we discussed how the project has been going, issues, and how we think we might be able to fix these. David Baker facilitated this and I'm really glad he did because he has a really good knowledge of how teams work and techniques for resolving conflicts, plus since he is only the team manager and not the designer he is very good at distancing himself from the politics of art and design decisions and helping us work out what is best for the team as a whole.

It was a long meeting so I won't cover everything that was discussed here, but we did decide to have a more structured process for the art pipeline, and to keep the art and design teams separate since one of the reasons things had been delayed so long was them interfering with each other.

Moving forward, we're going to have a heap of work to do for the coming weeks but I think we can still pull this together.