Author: Natalie Lyon

Meeting Notes – Iteration 5 plans

  • Breaking up tutorial levels with regular levels
  • Reorder tutorial levels–first rotation, second parabola, third is apple types
  • Preamble comic
    Little Newton is under the tree, playing with toys instead of studying.  Then an apple falls on his head and he gets an idea and starts reading and writing physics things down and ignoring the toys.  The toys become alive and get mad and start coming towards him.
  • Remove treehouse, replace with apples
  • Remaining iteration 4 plans
  • Change movement to 8 discrete radii sections
  • Robot-change head color to yellow
  • Add leaves to improve style consistency
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Season 2 Iteration 1 plans

Plans for making the game “fun”

  • Explosions.
    Motivation: Explosions.
  • A skip tutorial button
    Motivation: avoid boredom from redoing tutorial
  • Barriers
    Motivation: Add a puzzle-type challenge to hitting certain enemies.  Also synchronizes with the impulse angle mechanic
  • Control for the initial impulse angle of the throw [throwing straight down, or up, etc.]
    Motivation: lower impulse angles will allow for faster throw, higher can avoid the barrier
  • Stats UI Drawings
    Motivation: Make the stats UI more fun

    • Remaining lives
    • Remaining enemies
    • Remaining apples
  • Animation additions: Boy side-stepping and background subtle wind movements
    Motivation: More dynamic aesthetics
  • UI cues
    Arrows displaying force and mass effects on parabola

First Turned-Based Full Level Settings

Here are the settings for the first full level of the turned based version of the game (in which the player chooses where to shoot, the apple shoots, and then the enemies advance one square):

 

Hit points:

The player can take 2 hits, and on the third, they loose (3 hit points, 0 left means you’re dead)

 

Enemies:

Spawn one enemy one turn at a time until only fourth to last and last spawn turn; on the fourth to last and last spawn turn, spawn 2 enemies at a time.  Order of spawning doesn’t matter for the level in which the player only shoots once per turn.

3 tanks (spawn from 2 different directions)

5 cars (spawn from anywhere)

2 boats (spawn from anywhere)

3 robots (spawn from 3 different directions)

 

Apples:

The player can choose which apple to shoot on each turn, but can only shoot one per turn.

2 rotten apples

2 sticky apples

10 regular apples

 

Note that these numbers don’t give the player a lot of chances to miss, but that should be ok since they have some hit points so missing 2 will be fine anyway.

 

 

Meeting Notes

Hi all,

Here are some notes about what we decided at our last meeting:

  • We will go for one last big overhaul in the form of a turn-based version of the game.
  • The enemies will move along a radial grid, advancing one square each turn either to the side or forwards based on AI
  • The player will be able to place barriers in squares to alter where the enemies will move next-this will be necessary as a delay tactic as the player won’t be given enough resources to deal with all of the enemies individually without planning.  For example, since the tanks need to be dealt with using the rotten apples, if there are 5 tanks and the player is only ever given 3 rotten apples, the player will have to construct the barriers in order to direct the tanks into a strategic location where they have placed the rotten apple puddle.
  • The barriers will also have height, which will necessitate that the player carefully set the arc of their parabola to be able to go over the walls if they would like to hit something behind the wall.
  • The player will have a limited number of projectiles, and has to choose where to shoot 3 of them each turn.  Therefore, the player will have to waste limited ammunition if they cannot shoot around the barriers, because there is no option to shoot less of the ammunition.

Please add or let me know if I missed anything.  Pictures from the meeting are incoming.

Art updates

Here are a few more art specific updates that might improve problems found in iteration #2 playtesting:

  • Create spawn areas (darkened area potentially themed around the enemy it goes with, like a dock for the boat for example) that would be placed over the enemy spawn points
  • Figure out animation import problem
  • Add animation for enemy deaths-red texture flash? Particle cloud? Both?

Iteration 2 Playtesting: a summary of lessons

Here are the main problems our playtest revealed in my opinion:

  • The UI was working for multiple reasons.  The players did not notice the instructions were there for a long time or ever, and when they did pause and read the instructions, there was too much there and they didn’t quite read all of the details.
  • The fact that the rotten puddle is slippery and the candy apple is sticky was confusing design-wise, although this would potentially be cleared up if the UI got players to read the friction descriptions on these.
  • The players noticed the different enemies did different things, but experimented with how to kill them without going through the physics equations (again, because of the UI and not noticing they had a shot limit)
  • The level was too hard too fast
  • The art needs to be ironed out to look more uniform

Since most of this has to do with the UI, here are my suggestions for possible fixes:

  • Introducing one shot type and one enemy type at a time in a gradual build of levels to the one we had for this test so that the player can learn the controls gradually instead of being asked to figure it out all at once.
  • More concise language in the instructions.
  • Have some of the instructions presented before play starts on the splashscreens.
  • Design changes to the UI itself, such as wording and font and placement.  The font should be larger, in a color that stands out against the background more, and more opaque.  We could also potentially eliminate some of the wordy instruction cards that pop up if we put some of that text on the splashscreens first.  For instance, the instructions about how the apple types work that we have up now could be on the splashscreen, and what would pop up on pause would just be a card with a reminder of the apple types.

As for the art, I think we should maybe try to even out the disparity between the grass and the trees.  We also need to solve the animation and shader problems as soon as possible.

Please post other problems and potential fixes you all have in mind too, and then we can plan out our next steps.