Progress Update on Plains of Callisto

- 2017.7.3 4:00pmModels from Callisto

That's the name of Game #1! Last week I spent working on the first seven days of the project, and it felt amazing! It's a relatively straightforward top-down mobile shooter, and it takes place on the moon of Callisto, orbiting Jupiter. I've done a game very similar to this already, which is one of the reasons I chose it. I wanted something easy so I could test out my workflow, focus on my priorities, and just get a feel for what the rest of the project would look like!

I quickly figured out it would be a bit of a time squeeze to get it done in a week. While I had a basic playable game done in the first 4 hours, (yay tools!) I soon was sucked into fixing bugs and adding cruial features to some of my newer, less tested tools (yay tools?). Also, about 1/3 of my week was spent working on UI as well, definitely way more than I wanted!

My 1-page design document.

I may have also had a slightly ambitious feature list for a week. When I looked at my Minimum Viable Product at the very start of my week, it was a little too big. The pieces were also surprisingly intertwined, it was very difficult to look at any one feature and say that removing it would be ok.

I ended up cutting a major feature halfway through the week, skills, instead focusing work on a gun inventory and store. I was hoping it would save enough time to fit everything into the week. It almost did, but it also ended up completely messing up a lot of the inventory mechanics. Too intertwined. So when I got to the end of the week, everything was looking and feeling great, but also unbalanced and kinda purposeless.

A fair bit going on here for a 1-week game!

I finished the week by deciding to put the game off for a second week. I want to get these games done quickly, but I also want these games to succeed, and if another week will make the game feel whole, then I have no problem taking a second week. Especially at the start of the project when I still have kinks to work out :)

Since it likely won't take me an entire week to finish this game, I'll also be focusing on tools! I have some relatively major changes to Ferr StateWeb that I'd like to do, and I have an idea for a UI tool that should save me a tremendous amount of time on future projects!

Ferr StateWeb has been fantastic, but these wires are getting a bit weird.

Things I Learned

The art style I'm using is extremely fast. I didn't do a ton of art, but I did do some mildly complex stuff, and got all of it done slightly under my allotted time. I spent 11 hours on art, made an animated player character, an animated enemy (with 6 color variations), 3 guns (64 color variations), 4 floor tiles, and a habitat dome.

Plus a few small models for VFX and stuff, but those don't count.

UI is rough. I tried to keep my UI pretty simple, but even the simple stuff ended up being time consuming. I also dread the idea of going back to change it any! I've never much liked Unity's built-in UI systems, and I really need to find an alternative. My current thought is to make an HTML-like tool, something that's built to play well with Unity's systems rather than actually emulate HTML. If I can find some good tools out there too, I may use that instead!

My design was very interconnected, and therefore not able to flex well when the schedule became tight! I'm uncertain what exactly I should learn from this. I feel like the interconnectedness is an important thing from a gameplay standpoint, but it may still be possible to intentionally design gameplay systems to work well if one is absent. For right now, I'm going to consider this a scope issue rather than a design issue.

A small clip of gameplay in its current state. Enjoy! :)