May/09

12

Agent Matt

Weekly Roundup

So this post should be the first of many weekly roundup posts.  The week marked week 3 in development of our first game DolphinFantastic (working title) and things are shaping up very nicely.  We made some big improvements this week, we’re a lot more comfortable with the device, and user testing provided a lot of valuable direction (more on that later).

Entering the week, we had 2 different play modes prototyped.  From some internal testing one version was clearly showing promise, and thats the version we decided to go ahead with.  I got busy working on feedback mechanisms for the user, adding scoring and putting more graphics into the game, while Tom was busy working on the all important texture tool, to mash up and compress our textures.  Now that we’d picked a play mode, Simon could focus on a final look for the game, and putting together a long to-do list.

When the game was a bit more polished, it was ready for user testing. This was the first chance we’d had to try it out on unsuspecting people, and it turns out that southbank is pretty much the prime location for them.  There’s always a wealth of people milling around, and all it takes is a friendly smile to get their attention (Trying not to look too much like sales-people).  We realised after the first two people that we had a lot of work to do, and this drove the direction of the game for the rest of the week.

First thing that had to change was the “Missiles” – the bright red triangles flying across the screen. Some people thought they were directional arrows.  We slowed them down, and put some proper graphics on them, now we have pufferfish, and the game plays a lot better.

We also needed to work on the pacing of the game, instead of just randomly dropping loads of items on the player.  Tom whipped up a nice pacing system for Simon to play with, and we slowed things down a lot, so new players wouldn’t get scared away.

Come weeks end, we had a game that was playing pretty well. We did some user testing on Friday night and things were good if not great, after sleeping on it we’re pretty happy, and with one week until our target release date, we’re pretty excited.

Still plenty of work left.

– Matt

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