Dreckley Theme – Prototype Complete!

The Final Development Phase

After polishing the level design a little and adding one more level, this prototype is complete. I’ve added a nice camera sweep to showcase the objective and level at the beginning of each level as mentioned in the previous post on this prototype. It seems to work well and combined with some text pop-ups to give the player instructions, should be all the player needs to allow them to play the game. It also gave me a chance to show the TigerĀ and I’ve been able to successfully demonstrate what the tiger is capable of during this cut-scene animation, offering the player a sense of urgency and building tension at the start of each level. I feel like there may also be some level of attachment built during this cut-scene towards the Pandas. This is exactly the direction I wanted to take at the initial design phase of this prototype (albeit with just one panda) so I am pretty pleased with the outcome.

 

Level 1 intro camera sweep

Aesthetics

I feel like after polishing up the levels and polishing the aesthetics, the assets I’ve used have really come together and created a believable, immersive and enjoyable experience. I’ve plugged in a soundtrack, level end sounds, sound effects for the item placement, a tiger roar and jungle ambience to really push the limits on this. I’m using the jungle pack as a base for my level designs which includes some post-processing, particles, wind and fog and it seems to give a really nice feel to the game. I’ve modified the original terrain from the pack for the first level and created my own terrain for the second level using the textures from the pack. For the cut-scene and Menu UI I’ve used the Adventure Creator plugin which is really helpful and speeds up development of these elements of a game. As you can see in the above gif animation, the camera shows the parent panda, before transitioning to the tiger attacking some cubs, and then finally to the player’s pandas. I felt like this cut-scene would evoke a strong emotion from the player and one tester of the game mentioned that she felt “on edge” the whole time and that it was “very tense”. This is most likely in combination with the fact that the pandas also have a mind of their own and when left to their own devices, will wander the level and may potentially wander directly into a tiger, keeping the player constantly wary of them and evoking said feeling.

 

The First Level

This level is used as an introduction level to the game and includes one tiger and a single choke-point as seen in the last post. It allows players to learn the mechanics, get familiar with the game and enjoy themselves during this early stage of play-time. It also fully immerses the player in a somewhat graphically complete level set and may be seen as a vertical slice of the game in this sense. I think this is a good and engaging way to introduce a game which relies quite a bit on aesthetics and I feel the mechanics and design really deserve something like this as opposed to a grey-box type of graphical introduction. It should take the player between 5-10 minutes to complete depending on how quickly they pick up the game mechanics. This level duration is in stark comparison to the DIY theme’s levels where each level may take a couple seconds, to a maximum of 5 minutes, and considering how much longer it takes to design each level, I think this is an obvious trade-off and balancing factor. It did concern me that I may not have that much time to build these levels but I quickly realised that the gameplay time was adequate overall. I was able to completely graphically flesh this level out because of how simple it was and also because it is using the original terrain from the jungle pack. I dropped some low-poly rocks into the level, did some terrain shaping and painting and it was basically complete.

The Second Level

For the second level I aimed to demonstrate a much higher difficulty setting than the first level, perhaps gaining a glimpse into the future possibilities of the mechanics and prototype, essentially stress testing everything to push the limits of the game design. This is also due to the time constraints that I took this quick and dirty approach instead of gradually increasing the difficulty through more than one level, as would be typical in the final game. This level features many choke-points, two tigers and more than one path through it, also, the player has the same items in this level as he does in the first and the intro cut-scene is of the same nature, mainly due to time constraints. I think if I had more time I would introduce new items and play with the item cool-downs a bit to bring more sense of choice and freedom to the game, I would also vary the cut-scene and change where the parent panda is placed (he is in the same place as the first level). One thing that is immediately noticeable in this level are the prototype cubes as a placeholder for the final graphics. Building a proper level would have taken me too long and I felt like producing draft levels is much more flexible and appropriate for a prototype than complete levels.

 

Level 2 intro camera sweep

Overall Impressions

I really enjoyed this theme and I felt I had to be much more creative with my idea than I had to be with the DIY theme, it gave me a chance to really challenge myself and I feel I learned a lot due to this. I think this prototype is probably one of my most complete prototypes in terms of a vertical slice of gameplay as it includes a generally complete graphical and sound setup, and simple but complete mechanics. I would have liked to add a little panda noise to give the pandas a bit more character but upon searching during development, I came up with nothing that suited. In terms of a target audience this game would probably suit casual gamers but also has the difficulty to appeal to a more mid-core or hardcore audience. Mobile would be my first target platform for this but it could also work on others with a controls adaptation. I have received good and positive feedback for this prototype and I’m pretty pleased with it’s outcome. The design is flexible and expandable and I’m still excited about the possibilities of the game even though it’s complete and branching off from the dreckley theme you could switch in different scenarios, settings and animals or characters.

 

Update: Download prototype link – Lazy Panda

3 thoughts on “Dreckley Theme – Prototype Complete!

  1. American food is the food of immigrants and Chick Fil A menu. You go back a couple of hundred years, and we were all immigrants, unless we’re going to talk about Native American cuisine.

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