Week 12

Full Metal Tactics has been cut.  Though we have not yet found out if we have passed the Stage 2 Challenge, the project was not qualified for final presentations, and as such, has no chance of continuation into the spring semester.  The project will no longer be worked on, and the members of the team will eventually be redistributed to those teams which are selected from the  final presentations to continue to the next semester.  A more detailed post-mortem will be posted, once the group receives feedback.

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Week 11

Similar to week 10, this week was spent largely on working with the digital prototype.  Our programmer has done some amazing work, and the quality of the prototype has risen exponentially.  Players can create their own mechs, distributing stat points and weapons as they see fit, and these custom mechs can then be loaded for use in battle.  Within battle, players are capable of moving around obstacles within the map, targeting weapons via single unit targeting and circle AoE targeting, and using all of their abilities–a great amount of bug fixing took place in this area, from AoEs only damaging a single target, to reticules not following the mouse position after moving.  Additionally, the base of our eventual HUD system has been implemented.  This is seen in a ring of rectangles encircling each mech, which display its current health, as well as in horizontal and vertical bars next to the mech, displaying its ballistic resistance, energy resistance, and mobility, for easy reference.  Likewise, damage is in part represented by color coded numbers which float out of mechs upon being attacked.  Tooltips have also been attached to each mech’s weapons.  When clicked on, these present simplified, and if click on again, detailed information about the weapon in question.

In testing the prototype was received relatively well, though testers who had previously played the paper prototype were very enthusiastic to play it in its new digital form.  A variety of bugs did pop up, some of which were more critical than others–for example, players not respawning, or reticules not following the mouse.  Overall, however, the prototype was enjoyed by testers, the external interaction between players were just as strong, and the majority were interested in playing it the next time they could.

As previously mentioned, the group intends to challenge Stage 2 this week–though this is the last chance we have to do so.  Groups must be in at least Stage 3 to qualify for admission to the final presentation, which takes place in two weeks.  Hopefully, a strong presentation and clear description of the concept and experience will allow the group to qualify for the final presentation, and hopefully an even stronger presentation will allow the concept to pass into the second semester–where the concept will become a game, and the game could very possibly be released for the world to play.

Week 10

This week was again all about the digital prototype and getting the requirements necessary to challenge Stage 2.  Unfortunately the prototype was not ready for testing by the weekend, and as such we are not able to formally challenge the stage this week.  However, we will be prepared to do so next week, and intend to perform a mock presentation this week to refine our formal presentation and deliverables.

The digital prototype has evolved greatly over the past week.  Currently, the modular system for creating abilities is in place, including the weapons themselves, the effects they produce, and the ways by which they target objects.  Still required is the functionality for teams, implementation of the NavMesh pathing system so that the mechs move around obstacles, as well as conditional effects for weapons–for example, when this weapon deals damage, flip a coin.  If heads, deal the base damage again.  Additionally, we were able to create a basic build of the game, and successfully deploy to a tablet device.  Still remaining in that area is proper scaling of the HUD and GUI, as well as implementation of touch controls for gameplay.

Art and audio are likewise progressing nicely.  We now have access to all the pieces required to put together a level, and refined mech body and weapons are following right after.  Similarly, a basic background/ambient loop has been created as an example of the feel of the game’s overall audio direction.  This loop will soon be refined, and we will add some example sound effects to the build as well.

We have continued to test the paper prototype to experiment with some additional mechanics.  We tested a new turn system, wherein players roll for turn order, keep this turn order for three rounds, and then roll again.  This process repeats throughout the whole game.  Results seemed to be positive, though more testing will be needed to be conclusive.  Additionally, we tested a new type of ability called ‘ubers’.  These abilities are currently usable once per lifecycle of the mech–if it is destroyed, when it respawns it becomes usable once again–and have a very powerful effect.  For example, QuickBoost grants your mech an additional 7 units of movement for one round, while System Shock causes the actions of all enemies within a radius to have a chance to fail, for one round.  Results again seemed to be positive, though more testing will be needed.

We also intend to implement more weapons, especially shields, which have been a request from testers.  Rather than simply granting mechs invisible bonus defensive stats, we are attempting to make use of shield have an impactful active and reactive use.  For example, on shield might be capable of enlarging in size–therefore protecting a larger area–whereas use of another might cause line-based effects to be reflected back at their creator.  Another still might allow the mech to grapple another mech to the shield, causing the grappled mech to be damaged when the shield protects the controlling mech from damage.