There have been many a Game Developer to learn the hard lesson of, “Don’t commit anything right before showing your game off.” While this holds true, sometimes, it has to be done in order to make sure that what you are showing off does in fact, work as intended. That is how “OOPIBROKETHEBUILD” was created.
“OOPSIBROKETHEBUILD” is the one version of The Root of the Problem that is not in our builds repository, it only exists on a handful of computers in a room, probably erased at this point in time. It is a build of the game that has the unique feature of not having a version number. The whole reason why “OOPSIBROKETHEBUILD” exists is because the version of the game we were going to be using was unexpectedly broken to a level none of us knew going in. I was there setting everything up when we noticed a large amount of controller issues. Player 2 controlled Player 1’s attacks, Player 1 controlled Player 2’s weapon changing, sometimes there was a Player 3 so one person would have had to use a controller. In the state it was in, the game was unplayable, let alone testable. Now, depending the team, a multitude of options are presented when the build is non-functional. One can either pack up and go home, persevere with the broken build, or the option our team took; try and fix it. “OOPSIBROKETHEBUILD” was the product of trying to fix the problems very quickly, and it did work for the purpose it was needed for, but making “OOPSIBROKETHEBUILD” really showed how Team NAH interacts with each other as a whole.
What that interaction is is hard to write in words. No one blames anyone when something doesn’t go according to plan, we all shake it off and figure out where to go from the current point. With “OOPSIBROKETHEBUILD”, we all saw that the build was broken, and instead of trying to figure out what broke it, we decided on making a new build so we can keep on testing. As a team, we are all friendly with each other, and I think part of that is because of how we see The Root of the Problem. It’s a game we all enjoy the concept of, and enjoy working on. It’s an aspect I don’t see in other teams, that might be because I don’t see the internals of that team and how they interact, or it is not just there. All the other teams seem very serious about their games, while we are being serious also, but having fun at the same time, and I think that shows in our work and our presentations.
One thing that holds true for most modern gamers is the idea that, “Graphics rules all.” I believe this to not be the case, however, graphics do help hide a game’s flaws, or helps make a game standout amongst its competition. After almost a month of development, The Root of the Problem has it’s own art assets in engine, alongside finding a look that sets apart from the rest.
Due to this week being different, due to not having classes on most of the days, one would expect there to be either no work done, or a substantial amount of work done. Thankfully, Team NAH was the latter, and went into overdrive over this long weekend. We only had one of our enemies modeled going into this weekend, and coming out, we had that enemy modeled, rigged, and having an idle animation, our main character, Salt, being modeled and rigged, and having all of these being in engine and put into use.
Although that seems like it was only our artist who was doing a majority of the work, all of us were at it. As a team we went to QA Test our game twice since the last week. The first one giving us valuable feedback about how players felt about player combat and interacting with each other. With that information in mind, we refined the player controls and how the camera works. Now making it so the players can not run off camera from each other, causing problems such as the camera not dealing with elevation, random bugs causing parts of the game to break. All of which amounting to “OOPSIBROKETHEBUILD.exe”
For the past couple of days, Work on The Root of the Problem for myself took a pause for a combination of reasons. The primary reasons for not working was being under the weather, and some celebration for moving into the Deep Dive portion of TRotP. However, not working directly on the game does not mean that it has been a productive week.
In place of our usual Saturday meeting, we took the time to explore one of the inspirations of The Root of the Problem, Magicka. Magicka is a four player game where each player controls a Wizard who can use keys on the keyboard to cast a wide variety of spells to hurt enemies… or your allies. We spent about three hours going through the Story mode seeing what we actually liked about the game and how it does it well, and what we didn’t like about it. One thing that we all agreed was how the camera only grew so large, and after that, restricts the players movements. Outside of finding game systems that we enjoy and we think would work in our game, it also was a way to have an efficient Team Building Exercise. And also showed we all enjoy the cooperative aspects of a game where one can also unintentionally hurt their allies.
The next day, we decided to have a more traditional meeting, where we planned out everything we want to appear in The Root of the Problem. Doing this allowed us to make clear what we are all expecting from a vertical slice of the game and what is needed to get to there. We started with five core features we want for the game, and then made user stories for each of those five features, covering every facet of what would be needed to accomplish that goal. Once we figured out what was needed to be done in order to accomplish the vertical slice, we figured out what was considered the highest priority to finish first and added them to the current Sprint.