New Lead in the Mix

Hey everyone, you may remember me from a while back when I posted my concept art (https://twohatgames.wordpress.com/2015/10/28/paranormal-objects/#comments). A lot has changed since then, Building 37 has expanded from a narrative focused game to include more action/puzzle mechanics. The game’s demographic is now for two types of players; those looking for a good narrative and uncover the mystery hiding in the depth of the facility and those who want to explore and solve puzzles. Because the game is expanding our producer Dave Beck elected me to become Lead of Game Design. Our previous lead game designer, Jeremy, has taken the role of managing narrative, a role he has been playing all along anyway.

 

Last semester I proved myself based on my concept work, being a primary teammate in the Mechanics focused group and seen as hard worker among my teammates. I am excited and honored to be a lead on this project. It is my goal and a promise to always keep the player in mind. Since this is the second semester of the project a lot of the pre-production decision have already been made so the remaining time will be spent finalizing and polishing.

 

As first step as Game Design Lead I created a small group that would focus on getting game design specific items in the game. We started by concepting player centric mechanics such as the hud and menu system. The team looked for inspiration from other games and decided what would be best for Building 37. We are looking forward to the end of the sprint to see how this goes over with player feedback.

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Menu UI

 

The biggest challenge the Game Design team will face is redesigning one the games main puzzle systems: The twine boards on each level that allow you to gain enough knowledge to unlock and use items such as the Lektrax. The player collects redacted documents throughout the game and must connect these documents to un-redact the information. The team looked at the feedback from our playtests. We are feeling out possibilities as to why people didn’t enjoy this feature or why they may have become confused and frustrated. The new prototype system is about to be put into the build and we hope to see if people will enjoy it.

 

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Current Twine board

The Game Design team is also in charge of making the builds at the end of each sprint. Luckily our producer has changed things up a bit and sprints are now 3 weeks instead of 2 weeks. This will give us more time for polish and get everything that people created in the game. The artists will focus on creating game design specific assets first. These things will be due in the middle of the sprint so that the programmers can implement them into the build. These assets include objects that need some love from the programmers and images that will be going in the Ai. Programmers will be focused on taking what we concepted mechanics meetings and bringing a prototype of it to the game. For now the game design team is making sure these new mechanics will available earlier in the build and expand to the other levels of the game once we get feedback.

 

Again I’m excited to be a lead on this project and look forward to seeing what we accomplish on the game as a whole. I have high expectations and I know we can reach them.

 

Game Design Lead

William Falk

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We are back from “Break”

As you may have noticed, the Two Hat blog has been a bit empty the past few weeks. As we transitioned from semester one to semester two we found it necessary to give ourselves a bit of a break to spend the holidays with our friends and family. We hope you had a good holiday season and hope your year has been off to a great start as ours has. With the first day of class and production ramping up to full speed tomorrow we are more excited than ever. We are now just over the half way point in the development of Building 37 and now things are really going to get exciting.

As you may have noticed the word break in the title is in quotations. That is because even though our dedicated artists and programmers were not it the lab, they still continued to work as they came out of their holiday food comas. After having a mid-mortem discussion on the progress we made on creating an alpha of Building 37, it quickly became apparent that if we want to produce a quality deliverable game that we are all proud to stand behind we must have a smaller sub-sprint over winterm. So for the past two weeks our artists have been working to further geometry on existing rooms and objects as well as laying out UV maps so that we can start to incorporate textures and really breathe life into our underground warehouse of mystery. Our programmers started to clean up and make their code more efficient as well as fix bugs in the existing mechanics. Our goal over break was to set ourselves up for success once the semester starts up so that we may hit the ground running.

Building37

So what’s next you ask? In the following weeks you can look forward to seeing finalized art and clips of gameplay. Much of semester was spent laying the ground work and putting things in place so to speak. This semester will be spent polishing and revisiting things so that they are as visually pleasing and as engaging as we can make them.

Cheers,

Alex Dvorak Environment Artist