On April 5th Studio Lighthouse had its most recent Milestone presentation and demo. Understandably, the check-in was a major display of our full concept and improved player mechanics. Some things we were able to demonstrate were the meta game scene, teleportation integration, polished sword fighting and archery, and a functional catapult game.Clearly we had a lot to show at this time, and received some valuable feedback on how to fix some bugs, polish some mechanics, and tie it all together. Without further ado, let us jump right into the updates.
We begin with our game overview scene. In previous posts and presentations we described our vision for this scene to be like a child’s playroom with a table covered in a tower defense scene made of toys. Next to this table is a containing holding towers that can be taken and dropped onto the table. These towers represent mini games you can teleport into on the table. Suddenly, the scene changes and you are on the table fighting the toys to defend your castle. During our demo we finally unveiled a working version of this game mechanic. Players could choose from an archery or sword fighting tower and place them on highlighted areas on the tabletop. Once the towers were placed, players can teleport down and begin fighting our little toy soldiers.
The feedback we received about our game overview scene was ultimately positive. We did receive some feedback concerning the placement and position of the table. We need to figure out how to scale the table so that it sits at a more natural height for players. This also raises questions about where is the table? Does the table exist in space or out of it? Our upcoming task is to establish a better sense of atmosphere through decorations around the table, a unified set of assets, and audio design. This also impacts our teleportation system. However, by crafting a unique atmosphere the table size, teleportation, and placement issues will be solved.
From our game overview our players jumped into our minigames. We have four completed minigames, two of which were integrated into the demo. These mini games were sword fighting, archery, spear throwing and catapult launching. We have an actual sword for the sword fighting game. We have also implemented a handedness trick that registers which controller players use in the game overview scene, and then records that for when they use the sword. Another feature we have successfully implemented is a haptic response when a player uses the sword against an enemy. Previously, we had implemented a system that deactivated the sword when it made contact with the shield and now we have a haptic feedback system in place.
Related to the shield we also improved our archery game. Now arrows stick in the enemy shields and other places within the scene. Another major addition was the fact that now enemies roll away and disappear into cartoonish particles when shot with arrows or hit with a sword. Another thing we fixed was the handedness issue with the bow. Every time the players would pick up the bow it would be in the correct orientation, but as soon as the arrow was drawn, the bow’s orientation flipped. This was quite the annoying bug, but it has been fixed. We had some feedback that the HMD Odyssey headset sometimes forgets where in space the controllers are if the bow is drawn too far back. Nonetheless, we had a lot of positive feedback about the actual physical gameplay. It was described by one person as, “fun as hell.”
The final update is concerning our next steps. We have two more games completed that still needed to be integrated as towers in the main game scenes. We have already mentioned that a unified set of assets is in our to-do list as well as a comprehensive audio design. Of course, taking the feedback and more playtesting we will highlight bugs and remove them proactively. Let’s get to work!