Finally wrapping things up into a playable demo that you can try out.
Go on a mission in the mountains to retrieve intel regarding a mafia's operation with your sniper buddy Chip, who is there to guide you.
I want to make it clear that this is a prototype that I didn't quite get to a level I wanted to, due to me underestimating the time it takes for building a cohesive level. Now that school has picked back up, I don't have time for this project anymore, but I still wanted get something playable from this that people could try out. So after working a couple of weekends on some fixes and small additions, It's finally ready.
Welcome to my blog where
I'm currently posting updates on the development of a 3D stealth platformer prototype.
Soft deadline: 3̷1̷.̷7̷.̷2̷0̷2̷2 ̷2̷2̷.̷8̷.̷2̷0̷2̷2̷
At the moment my main goal is to make a prototype that's fun to play and learn how this could be achieved in different projects in the future.
Melee Combat | Stealth | Movement | Puzzles *
That consist of Melee combat and stealth*
Having my classmates test the prototype and end up with a lot of great feedback. Sharing thoughts about the process as well as the future of this project.
Developing the prototype for 3 months without playtesting or much feedback made me ready for some big surprises that might come up. I didn't come up with any questions beforehand, instead I just wanted to interfere as little as possible and then plot down every time I had to comment (and oh boy did I end up doing that). I thought there would be only a small part of the interfering caused by technical bugs and most by lack of clear instructions. The split ended up being more of a 50/50, which might have been caused by testing the build on Thursday and doing changes after without testing them in the build.
The lack of feedback probably showed most in the difficulty of the sections early on. I've been going through them like a speedrunner using the fastest path forgetting the alternatives completely. This caused one route to be a total deadend. In the figure below, route #1 is the one I have been going through, which looks impossible for a new player (and for good reason as it requires a good double jump and gliding). Route #2 is the one that the players took and found a deadend because the last platform is way too high.
Lots of other issues were with unclear instructions as expected. Then there were things that were missed because of poor integration (players not needing them or having no instructions for them). For example critical strikes, "shopping" or combat overall hadn't been forced at any point so they weren't really tested naturally, this might've been up to the preferred playstyle too though.
The conditions for playtesting weren't optimal as this was a "demo friday" for our class so almost everybody has something to show which ends up cutting the time for testing a lot. This makes everyone a little antsy and I also didn't have headphones which could be crucial for immersion and of course the stealth element. These are good to know for next time but I still got a lot of great feedback.
I got my classmate Mikk to test it when the dust had settled. He had played platformers and also had the patience/interest/goodwill to go through the whole level. He knew what to expect and had great critiques as well as tips on what could be added or modified. For example I had totally neglected the need for health refills of some kind, which he was looking for. I jotted everything down and ended up with a list 23 items long that I can now go through (not just from this session).
I will be going through the list for fixes and then releasing a build for download, on which you can give feedback if you so desire. After that, development will probably be slowing down as I will have to start focusing on some school projects. I will be creating a presentation for uni about the lessons learned during development (which allows me to use this project towards the degree). Of course later I might pick this back up, maybe with a vision for a different kind of platformer or trying new things with the current mechanics based on the feedback.
Still putting minor things into place, testing out a build and baking lighting.
Baking the lighting brought out the shadows so you can actually recognize the shapes of the terrain now.
Bringing in the last messages and continuing to work on little things all around the level. Also trying to make the mountains shapes clearer to see with a different texture.
Adding some gold crates and doing small bits here and there preparing for playtesting.
Throwing in some gold crates. Will be continuing to weed out the bad ones during testing.
Continuing work on the final objective and some fixes.
Creating an enemy variation, figuring out Chip's helpful messages for every objective and modifying the last addition to the blockout.
Weekend started off with the realization of having forgotten to push to github on thursday when I was at university. So that meant very limited Unity work, fortunately I had access to the blockout blender file.
Adding functionality for the last objective and some dynamic platforming elements.
Working on adding a final section to the blockout.
Creating a satellite phone to receive intel from Chip and making it possible to scroll the message history. Monday was the first day back in school, meaning I didn't get too many hours in during the mess, so it didn't really deserve it's own post.
I also passed the soft deadline I set myself but that's kind of expected while discovering so many new things. I will try to get the prototype testable as soon as possible. I'm starting to have the crucial elements together and building with these elements hopefully doesn't bring about too many more surprises.
Changing the sniper communication UI to something that makes it clear that it is just that. Also keeping a history of the messages received so that they can be scrolled in the pause menu with the left stick.
Updating the UI because I noticed it was a bit unclear on what the next major objective would be. Also wasting time trying to make a new area for a shop.
A divider that communicates there are more objectives in between and masking the list, so it doesn't become the height of the whole screen.
I tried blocking out an area next to the base that would have been a little harder to get to but the scale might already be too large. So I ended up placing the shop in one of the buildings inside the base and I'll later have to make it make sense with the sniper dialog. For example, the dealer could just not care about selling to a total random, or be plain stupid.
I really don't know what to call these sequences where the sniper is giving the next objective. The camera control is taken but you can still move your character and stop the sequence anytime (at least this first one) so I thought I'd call them helper sequences for now. I also worked a bit on the blockout.
I hadn't had any climbing elements in for a while so the lack of testing with it had lead up to it being very broken. I fixed slipping and jumping from the ledge, but some bugs still persist because they started taking way too much time to fix.
Working on the blockout and adding the first dynamic element of the level. An air vent that has to be disabled by destroying it's electrical box.
Adding fall damage, clouds and fixing gameplay breaking bugs.
When landing with too much speed you take damage (max 25% at the moment) and make a loud sound that enemies nearby can hear.
The clouds are very subtle in the fog but with their movement they make the world feel more alive.
Fixing bugs, making weapon hit particles the right color and trying to add more weight to the character by adding landing effects.
Adding a settings menu for adjusting the camera settings and putting finishing touches on the objectives UI.
New graphics in Unity:
Adding helpful UI showing the active objective, hopefully preventing players from getting lost.
The list is made up of groups of "Objective Items" which are generated from "Objective Item Info" objects, which basically just hold the text.
Then these are handled by the ObjectiveDisplayManager setting the height of the group objects and updating their states.
Creating a display for the weapons to enable purchasing, later they will be placed in a shop I just don't know where that will be yet.
Giving our guy a sniper accomplice who does surveillance from the shadows and guiding you towards your goal with a laser. You will not be able to directly see the sniper, but I'm trying to create a feeling of his presence.
I'm creating the sniper to be a guiding light for the player. He's going to be helping the player with controls and give the information for the next steps towards a goal. For starters though, I wanted to see how I could highlight the objectives on a map using him. So I made it possible for you to request him to show the objective with a laser. After requesting he responds and starts setting it up, the laser then shows up when he's done (~5s), then hiding it after some time (~7-10s) to avoid revealing the operation.
Importing dialog from google sheets with CSV Serialize by VisualWorks.
Making checkpoints satisfying to reach, some platforming and fixing movement bugs that are starting to drive me crazy.
Implementing a system for managing checkpoints, spawning to them and saving the progress to memory.
Working on the gold crates and UI.
Gold is collected with particle system collisions and sucked into the player with a force field.
Basic pause menu with Unity's new input system.
The level is starting to look pretty decent, so I began spicing it up a little bit.
I wanted to add a really hard challenge that gives you nothing when/if you finally do succeed, so there's a useless radio tower in the middle of the section now (or the skeleton for it).
Giving enemies access to the roof with off-mesh links.
Splitting the day for blocking out and some necessary gameplay elements.
Not in Unity yet, but maybe tomorrow.
I will probably simplify/change this a lot to get a clean gold gathering mechanic and just move on. I made the destroyed crate with blenders Cell Fracture addon, which is great but I forgot to boolean out the overlapping parts so it goes flying the moment you touch it. Also I'm not sure how gold would fit in with the theme, but I don't need to worry about that right now.