Senior Production Part 3 - Cross Pollination

Week 2 was a big one, as we worked together to finalize design plans. As a result, I should have far more direction for my future work. However, this week was still a bit tricky to navigate. I started out by making a series of video for our designers. It shows the basic process of creating maps and missions. There’s already presentations going over the process, but when testing it myself, I found that the presentations didn’t quite cover everything. The main problem was that there’s a few small kinks and issues that need to be manually fixed. These small actions are better demonstrated in action than through text. In addition to the videos, I also added tooltips to many of the fields in the mission designer, to clarify the language in those.

The second major thing I was working on this week was advancement of the player progression and gun unlock system. There’s different factors that can change about how guns operate, and different parts that can be swapped out. The details of the systems weren’t really fleshed out enough yet, and some of what was being planned seemed to conflict with the systems currently in place. Luckily, the team was able to bypass these issues. I brought up the problem to the lead programmer. The next day, he brought it up at the lead meeting, and we walked into that weeks class with the issue sorted out. Lastly, I implemented a simple system for converting unlock data to and from a string, so we can send and store it on our network (using Gamesparks).

For this week’s sprint, I have a few more things planned than for the previous ones. That said, with the systems more clearly defined, getting things done should be lot simpler. First, I’ll be making more videos for our designers. Last week, I laid out the foundation of creating missions, known as contracts in Tales from Space. This week, I’ll go a bit more in-depth on individual objectives, and everything you can do to make unique content. After last week, I’ve got the actual process down, so the only hang-up would me YouTube not playing nice.

Otherwise, I’ve got lots of tasks relating to the progression system, which should have it’s base level implemented by the end of the week. I’ll give a brief summary of what the plan is. At the start of the player’s game, they’ll have a few basic gun featured unlocked. Basic single fire, one or two elements, and the like. As they complete missions, more and more options are unlocked. Our selection of guns is predefined, so weapons will become available once every part of it has been unlocked. I’ll be making this system more fleshed out and visible to the design team, for when they start making more guns. I’ll also be connecting the unlock data to our networking system. It’s not a hard task, but should help me get more familiar with how we handle data.

There’s a few more scattered features for me to handle. First, is the idea of phases. The current plan, is to have three phases of contracts. Contracts will essentially come in bunches, and once a certain amount from the previous phase have been unlocked, the next phase will open up. First, I’ll be adding the phases to the actual design tool, so they actually exist. And then, I’ll mess with the contract station, so that only unlocked contracts show up. Lastly, I’ll start to implement basic loot drops from killing enemies. What exactly is dropping (guns/health/money) isn’t sorted out, but the basic system of “when enemy dies, x% chance of dropping whatever” still needs to put in place. So, that’s scattered week, which I’ll be bashing away at for the next few days.