MAGS Day 33 – Bug patrol

Oh man. We’re one day away from the (extended) MAGS deadline! And 15 Minutes is almost finished.

I sent the beta off to testers just before the weekend, ensuring I would have some feedback by the time I went back to work on monday. Or tuesday actually, since I had to do actual job work on monday. Work that intruded also on today, a day I had blocked off entirely to finish the animations. It set my planning back quite a bit, but the time pressure was a good catalyst and I still got pretty much everything I wanted to do today done.

That being said, I still hate doing walkcycles. I love ’em when they’re done and ingame, but creating them is just torture for some reason. The side walkcycle not so much anymore, once you’ve found the right key poses the side is easy to do. Just a couple of rotating limbs and things quickly look pretty good. No it’s especially the front and back walkcycle that annoy me. They’re a whole different story since perspective really comes into play there. And you can only get so far by distorting limbs. So that’s something I’m going to tackle tomorrow. I have the basic motion but I think I need some dedicated poses. Worst case scenario I substitute the front and back walkcycles with the sideways ones like I did in Coyote.

The rest of the work was mostly bug fixing and polishing. I’ve been doing a lot of polishing today and sunday – a little sound effect here, and extra dialog there. I’m glad I have time to spend on these little things, they really make the game feel solid. Much more solid than any previous (personal) project I have to say. I can’t wait to see what people think of it. Initial testing was very promising.

The feedback from testers was extremely valuable. They find all those little things that you overlooked or just never thought of. It was pretty remarkable too that three testers in a row picked the right solution for the final puzzle out of the 5 options! So I definitely had to change that. I toyed with the idea of scripting it so that the first try is always the wrong one, and the second one always the right one, but somehow that felt cheap to me. I know in game design it’s a big faux-pas to present a player with a critical choice without any sort of indication which one is the right one. That’s a pure guessing game. But when you think about it, that IS the situation for the main character. He is suddenly presented with a handful of options and no idea which one is the right one, so all he can do is try them all until he finds the solution. I liked that concept so I kept it the way it was.

Maybe also because making it random for every playthrough would have been a hell of a thing to code.

I’m really excited by what this game has become, and I do not regret shirking other responsibilities a bit to make it. Even if I don’t win MAGS, I’m proud of this game and proud of myself for building it in a month.

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