Over the past week and a bit, we wrapped up the rocky development of Tales from the Blasterverse, with a bit of a bang. I’m genuinely shocked by how well everything came together, and how much got done, even taking into the account the exuberant time some of us put into the the last few days. I think the hours were somewhere around 35, spread over less than 3 days.
The programmer process was pretty simple, but effective. We threw together a spreadsheet with different categories in our game, including each individual level. We started to ourselves, but soon enlisted help from other team members to play through the game, and taking note of things. Every notes bug was color coded. Red for a critical thing, yellow for something less important, blue for something that might be fixed, but has to be tested in co-op, and green for done. The issues ranged from game breaking, to minor balance tweaks (that we largely ignored, cause there were more pressing issues).
By the end of the first night, the makeshift task board had become almost fully green, yellow or blue. Barely any major things left. A lot of what we fixed, ended being a bit silly, but almost expected as a programmer at this point. “Why isn’t the client getting information about interacting with mission events?” Probably, cause we don’t ever call the function. “Why is this menu breaking for a new player?” Probably didn’t have a null reference check for an object they won’t have yet. “Why do these enemies have no health?” Because they are set to have no health.
So, with a lot of focus and man hours, the game went from a broken mess to a beautiful mess that broke far less often. Final art passes, collision checks, and some UI tweaks also went into effect. As for the balance tweaks, things got a bit odd. Some players thought the game was too easy, other too hard. Ultimately, I leaned towards accessibility, decreasing enemy counts and spawn rates on a lot of levels. which also helped with packet loss, as some enemies were teleporting or disappearing for clients. The game was good, and playable. Now all that was left was making it presentable.