This week we focused on improving our game experience based on the feedback and observations from our playtest last weekend. We have another playtest scheduled for this Saturday so that we can test out the mechanical changes that we made. Our semester is approaching its end so we have accelerated production to reach our goal of a complete game experience by our soft opening.
We conducted a playtest last weekend to assess our current game design. The playtest showed us that players liked the team shooting experience we offered them. They really liked the visual theming. With regard to the 3 control interfaces we had them try, the majority of players liked being able to independently rotate their cannons around the entire ship as opposed to being dependent on the captain for positioning (as was the case in the other 2 control schemes). They really liked the surprise of the special ‘danger’ event that happened at the end of the test level. Criticism centered around the insufficient responsiveness of the controls. We had incorporated friction and inertia into the movement of the captain’s shield and crew’s cannons in order to give the cannons more weight and make the game a bit more challenging; however, we observed that we set those parameters too high so we will be reducing them for our next playtest, in addition to the other mechanics changes.
Our challenge this week was for our design team to lock down the intended game experience. So far we have been creating an experience intended to be cooperative; however, the shooting mechanics and current enemy designs do not require or encourage the players to work together. In the playtest, we observed that each player’s role is so intuitive that they don’t need to communicate more than once or twice during the game. We had a long discussion on whether we wanted to continue with this shooting gallery approach or stick to our original intention of tower defense. We chose to stick with the simple basic shooting mechanics; however, we will be adding unique special abilities to each player role, as well as enemies that can only be damaged by specific players in order to increase the cooperation requirements of the game. We believe this will make gameplay have more meaningful choices on strategy and we will test the theory in our playtest this week.