Thursday, May 7, 2020

Final Project Reflection #1

For my game design class, we are working on making a game as our final project, and in this blog post, I will be sharing my progress in my game so far.

Project Vision: For my project, I chose to work in both Twine, a program for text based adventures, and MakeCode Arcade, a program you can make minigames in. I decided to combine both of them to make an adventure/RPG game. My vision is to have Twine provide choices for areas the player can go, and the MakeCode sections provide hints and answers to puzzles through winning a minigame. I also want to add a battle system where players can earn experience and level up. By doing this, it would make later battles and minigames easier. However, I do not want to be too ambitious, so I am not focusing too much on the battle system yet as I can add that in later if I feel it would benefit the game.

An image showing one of the MakeCode sections of the game where you travel through a library.

Progress so far: In the entire game, I am aiming to try and make four levels, and so far, I have completed around half of the first stage. While it may seem like I am behind schedule, I spent a lot of the time so far learning more about Twine and MakeCode Arcade so that I know what I am able to do in the programs. I am almost done creating the first town in the game, and then I will move on to the first dungeon (which will be the end of the first stage). I feel good about my progress so far, but I know I still have a lot to complete, so I will continue to work at a good pace.

Successes: So far, I am happy with how many options I can provide for the player in Twine. I have made various different paths for players to take so that every time they play will be different. By making my game this way, I can add replayability to it and make it so players can discover something new each time they play, and I am excited about this.
Another thing I am happy with is how I have made a curve of difficulty right now. While the start of the game is easy, it gradually gets harder as the player goes through it. For example, in the first minigame section, the player will be exploring a library to learn about interacting with objects in the world, but there will be no way to lose the game. Later minigames will have more enemies and ways to lose, and this will allow players to feel challenged as they go along but also make the game fair. I am excited to make harder challenges later on and come up with new ways to challenge the player.
An image showing the map of my game so far in Twine, showing how many different paths there are in the game.

Challenges: One thing I want to do is make my game more exciting. Right now, it is a lot of story and going through text, but I need to add more gameplay so there is a balance of story and gameplay. One way I think I can get around this is putting in a more minigame sections in between story to break it up. Also, I want to add a minigame section before the first level begins as a prologue section. This would help teach a lot of the controls of the game and get people interesting in continuing to play the game. It would also reduce the amount of text at the beginning by putting a section before it to get the interest of the player gameplay wise.
Another challenge is making sprites for the MakeCode sections of the game. I personally find making sprites difficult because MakeCode Arcade only provides a few colors and sizes for the sprites to be. This makes creating detailed sprites challenging, and I have had to keep them simple so they are easy to see and recognize. However, in the future, I would like to look into whether there is a way to make more detailed sprites to make my game more visually interesting.

What I want to work on: My goal for the next two weeks is to finish the drafts for stages one and two. Like I mentioned earlier, I am going to focus on the adventure part rather than the RPG parts because while both are interesting, I think the adventure parts are more important and I do not want to be too ambitious. Another goal will be to try and find a way to add music to the game. I feel that a soundtrack can help set the mood of the game and make moments more exciting or tense. However, I am not sure how to do this, so I will have to do some research and try to find a guide to adding music. Luckily, now that I know most of how Twine and MakeCode Arcade works, I feel I will be able to get more progress done in the next two weeks.
An image showing the different areas you can go to in the town at the start of the game.

Final Thoughts: Overall, I feel I am at a good place in my game and am excited to continue making it. I have so many ideas for the game like adding more playable characters with different abilities and adding bosses, but I have nothing to share about these ideas at the time being. While I do not feel ready to share a prototype of my game yet, stay tuned as I will hopefully try to make one available in the next few weeks, and I am excited to share more information soon.

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