The Verdict is In!

Hello once again, readers! Welcome back to another issue of Chris’ horribly chaotic and sometimes consistent development blog! This one will just be a bit of a short update, but there’s definitely some juicy stuff coming up so read on!

If you haven’t guessed just from the title of the post, we made it through the Phase 1 challenge! Hell, not only that, we were told immediately after presenting (for 45 minutes, mind you) that we would be moving on to the next phase: Deep Dive. This, as far as I know is very rare, and usually the teams have to wait a day or two to find out if they’ve passed or not. As I’m sure you can probably guess, we were all very excited and quite relieved to hear that we had not only passed, but passed with flying colors.

Unfortunately, that relief was short-lived, as our noses are already back to the grindstone for the second phase of capstone development. We’ve got several different things in the works for the game right now, but believe it or not, only one new thing is being implemented overall. See, during our challenge presentation, we were given quite a bit of feedback in regards to how we could make the player feel a greater sense of urgency as they go from wave to wave of skeletons during gameplay. There was one major point that stuck with us the most, and it’s something that we like to call The Crystal System.

The Crystal System

Basically, what we’ve done is add seven magic crystals into the game which the enemies must destroy in order to win. We’ve placed one crystal on each of the six platforms that player can teleport to during gameplay and one, larger crystal inside of the tower, which acts as the core of the tower and is the final goal of the game’s skeletal enemies. Rather than just have the crystals there as what would basically be just walls, however, we’ve also added a bit more functionality to The Crystal System:

  • The crystals act as a source of magic for the player through which spells can be cast greater distances. If a crystal is destroyed, spells can no longer reach where that crystal was, effectively decreasing their [the spells’] range.
  • If a crystal is destroyed (EXCEPT FOR ANY OF THE THREE CLOSEST TO THE TOWER) then the player will no longer be able to teleport to the platform that belonged to the destroyed crystal.
  • If all 6 of the crystals outside the tower are destroyed, the player will be teleported (if all goes well) to a bigger space inside the tower where they must defend the final crystal from enemies. They can still teleport to any of the three closest platforms outside, but they will not be able to cast magic unless they are inside the tower.
  • Obviously, the largest crystal that resides inside the wizard’s tower is ultimately what the player is trying to protect. If that crystal is destroyed, then the player loses the game.

Using this system, we feel that we can definitely give the player more of a sense of urgency as their enemies advance towards the tower and the final crystal. Plus, having crystals like these is actually rather easy to contextualize as well, which gave us all the more reason to go with crystals instead of something like large metal gates. Now I know what you’re thinking: this can’t possibly be any cooler. Well, you’re probably wrong about that, and I think a little list of some possible features we’d like to get in the game at some point could show that off:

  • Leaderboards
  • Spells that buff the player or the crystals (or both)
  • Different enemy types
    • Bosses
  • Diegetic UI
  • Funny VO commentary
  • Velocity-based damage (damage based on how hard the player swings)
  • Dismemberment (possibly)

As you can see, we’ve got our work cut out for us. No sane person can deny that. Me, though? I’m not sane. I’m a game designer. To me, this daunting list of tasks and work isn’t actually work. No, no matter how hard, tedious and frustrating this stuff gets, no matter how tired I am or sick it makes me, this isn’t work to me. It’s fun and there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing. I wish I had more time to give updates, but this one’s gotta be cut a little short so we can get back to work on getting those much-wanted features into our little masterpiece. Thanks for joining me again for another awkwardly-formatted blog post riddled with bulleted lists (my favorite)! I promise you guys that next week’s post will be a much bigger and longer one, what with QA coming up on Thursday! Stay tuned for updates!

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