Getting ready for the final test – Week 5

Hello!

I will start this post by saying that I really enjoyed playing the game at the beta presentation, the crowd laughed, applauded, everything went great.

As usual, I will show you the current state of the game:

Capture

The game is almost complete. The days that remain are for polishing this gem. I will talk about what was added, since the last post, and what I will continue working on.

There is a beautiful sound that can be heard when you’re getting close to a spider:

I had some fun creating this sound. It’s not very original, I recorded it more as a joke to use it as a placeholder and I realized that I really like it and it fits the tonality.

The next I did was adding some feedback to the berry. We use the berry as a “handle” to destroy the unbreakable objects. Since we use the unbreakable objects more as a doors, I added a stone door being opened.

 

Another sound I added was a ripping sound. Destroying a spider web sounds like tearing up some paper, right?

During our last playtest, some players did not understand how our dash works. In order to deal with that, we modified the speed of the dash so yo can clearly see when the avatar dashes. Now, how do we show the player that he is supposed to press “X” to get through some obstacles? We changed the start of the level, introducing some kind of tutorial area, where the player is introduced to all of the mechanics of the game. Also, we changed our rule of having no HUD. The very first breakable object displays a hint. Our first attempt of teaching the players the mechanics, was a screen with the controls. Players seemed to skip that, understandable, reading is boring (at least in games), so we had to adapt.

tutorial.PNG

Yellow – Get the power up from the flower, (the blue square). Power up unlocks the dash which destroys the object

Orange – Get the berry in order to destroy the unbreakable object.

Red – Deadly obstacles, they have a red tint

Blue – Spider-web, also destroyable and triggers the spider

So, in 15 seconds, the players is introduced to every mechanic from the game. The rest is designing the level in a way which isn’t repetitive or boring.

This is the hint I was talking about earlier.

Echo

Sorry for the quality.

We will continue polishing the game and try to deliver the best experience.

Thank you for the read!

 

 

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Adding new sounds – Week 4

Hello and welcome to my blog.

This Monday we had the beta playtesting where we had to show our improved game since the last playtesting. The feedback was a lot better than the last one due to the fact that, people actually gave us a feedback on the things we already had implemented into the game, instead of writing what they would like to see.

I was pleased to see that we got a really positive feedback regarding the sounds in the game. Now that the we are getting closer and closer to the final deadline, we need to keep polishing what we have so people will get to experience the best version of our interpretation of Echo.

I will, as usual post a picture that shows the current state of the game.

moth.JPG

There are still some features that you will get to see at the beta presentation.

I didn’t do as much as I thought this week, due to the fact that my Unity keeps on crashing and my computer gets a blue screen. Moving on, I had to do some pitch changes and keep on trying new sounds, and see how all of them blend in together.

The moth’s actions are limited by its stamina. Bumping into an obstacle, in the game, makes the moth lose some of its stamina so, we had to implement some kind of feedback. For now, I added this sound. I think it kind of warns the player and it also feels like a comic relief.

Also, a breakable object has been added! (The brownish thingy). The object can be broken by dashing into it. Naturally, it felt like we needed some sound for the dash, since it became such an important feature. Also, we had some feedback requesting sound for the dash.

Since the moth currently does not have a “wings flap” sound, I felt like it needed to be added. I ended up on removing that, due to the fact that it became really annoying have that sound in the background, even in a low pitch. Tried making it slower, it was still annoying.

Most of the sounds were implemented the same way as the last week. Basically, it’s a function that plays the sound when the action is being triggered. Action happens -> sound is played.

This sums up some of the things I’ve been working on.

Thank you for the read!

 

Tweaking sounds – Week 3

As usual, I will start with a photo that shows some new/improved aspects of the game. week3.JPG

Things have changed a lot since the last week. Now, the sonar has a mesh effect (Cheers Jacob) and the moth gets to a horizontal position, when the player shoots the sonar. This mesh effect is really important due to fact that, now, the sonar does not reveal everything when shot. Enemies, death traps or other things could be hidden behind the walls, who knows?

However, this blog post will be about my experience of better understanding how unity works with sounds and how to combine them, in order to get to the desired result.

I had some suggestions about the in-game sounds, so, I tried to get the best from the sounds I already had and what I added after reading the suggestions.

Modifying the background was not hard. Get the desired sound effects, open up Audacity, cut, modify the volume and export. Below, is the updated background sound, which is still not final.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/1598a8cqjab6eog/new_backg.wav?dl=0

(I had to upload this to dropbox for some reason)

I added the owl hooting and the really cold wind. I chose to increase the volume of the wind in order to emphasize that, the moth is a small and alone creature. It’s more of an aesthetic choice, rather than a sounds that just had to be there.

The sonar sound has been modified and now it sounds like a bell. I think it also transmits the fact that the moth is trying, somehow, to get to the end of the path. Having a rather alarming sound for the most used feature of the game, the sonar, makes a great antithesis between the pitch black background and the moth.

 

A spider sound effect is added. It is actually located near the spider’s spawn point so the sound won’t follow the spider, but will alert the player that something is there, since the sound amplifies as you get closer to it.

And the final addition was the power up effect. Gaining a power up but not having any feedback, is not satisfying. Not at all. So, in order to change that a bit, I’ve added a sound! For now, it is only a “placeholder” sound, so there will be some changes to it, maybe a whole different new sound. Later on, we’ll add a visual representation which will transmit the player that now he’s powered up.

The power up, in our game, is gained by landing on a flower. The power up can extend your stamina, unlock the sonar and it also acts as a checkpoint. In order for me to be able to introduce the sound, I had to write a little bit of code, on top of the current code, telling Unity to give a sound feedback, after the power up is unlocked.powerupsound1.png

So, now, the flower has an Audio Source on it, and also a command that tells the source to pick up a specific sound from the assets and the sound source from the Audio source itself. This way, I can put a different sound effect for every power up, making the progress through the game more satisfying.

Adding sounds – Week 2

Today was the Alpha presentation day! Excitement! We saw all the games that are currently in progress, and it was amazing how creative people can be, coming up with different interpretations on the same design document. It also felt good noticing that your feedback was taken into consideration, right after the testing day.

I will write today about the sound that I implemented in the game. I will continue this post by explaining why I chose those sounds and how I implemented them. I know the last post was about programming but I am also the Lead Sound  in my team.

First things first, I will post a picture of the current state of the game so you will see how the game progressed in a week. (Heads up, the web is still represented by a placeholder).

new moth.JPG

I think that the game is already shaped (more or less) into our interpretation of the Design Document.

Now I will go back to talking about the sounds.

This is the current background noise. It is a combination of an old vinyl being played on a megaphone, frog noises and cricket noises. I chose this as background because I think it fits in the, gloomy, mysterious forest. The choice for cricket and frog sounds are obvious but in order to mix them together, I had to throw in some ambient. I went for the vinyl sound because, it is not perceived as a vinyl in this case. I think it makes the experience more interesting. Sure, I have to work on the pitch of the sounds (as someone suggested today in class) and maybe go with another option because it is still work in progress. I mixed them together using Audacity and I was more than pleased of how it ended up.

This is the sonar sound! It is an actual sample of what the bat sonar sounds like. Because of my poor audio mixing and editing skills, it can be hardly heard if you are not using headphones. I chose this because I think it brings more authenticity to the game and also it is not a sound that grabs a lot of attention, giving more attention to the art of the game and to the background noises, which blend together.

The game still lacks a lot of sounds, but I wanted to share this because I just started playing with sounds and I will bring you along the journey.

Don’t be afraid to give me some ideas for the sounds in the comments, in fact, I will appreciate them.

It’s a trap! – Week 1

My work today consisted in making a functioning trap for the moth. The trap represents a spider’s web, that can trap the moth until it is destroyed or the player gets “eaten” by a spider.

This is a visual representation of the web:

traps.JPG

The octagone is a placeholder for the actual web, which will later be implemented in the project.

In order for the challenge to be more realistic, if the player does not see the web in time and gets caught in it, the sprite will be automatically be dragged to the middle of it and will have ~3 seconds to escape. I am really pleased about how it ended up.

Coding wise, I had to implement a state – the “caught” state,  which unables the movement unless you use a power up when it goes back to the “movement” state. I made the web destroyable by the “dodge” abilty and in the future it will be destroyable also by the sonar, of course, under some conditions.

I think the hardest pract of this task was configuring out the state machine itself and how to make use of it. The coding was a medium effort because I had to do some documentation regarding classes in unity and some variables. Having Jacob as my Lead Coder is a great thing because he is far more experienced than me and can help me with some information that might be hard to understand at a first look.

Testing it worked as a charm. It took me 4-5 tries but it was more like tweaking the code rather than trying to rewrite it or changing it. We already had some scripts for the failure state or the “moving to the middle” (see power up flower for reference) so I was able to make use of those, making it even more easier for me to understand how to make the trap fully workable – with the stun and the destroyable object.

I stated above that I am pleased of the result because it is working as intended, everyone tested it and was also pleased by the result and I am eager to start on my new task. Needless to say – It’s a trap!

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