Tuesday, April 19, 2011

2085 - First Play Test

Got the game up to a state where I felt I could get people to test it, and that's what I did last Saturday. My school was having a PC Game Night and used the opportunity to get a bunch of my friends to play the game and give me their impressions.

A counting bug crippled the tutorial level, so I had to resort to teaching the controls to players, myself. In the game, I have players piloting a spacecraft in zero gravity and all the controls are for the ship's thrusters. This includes six keys for translation thrusters (forward/back, side to side, and vertical climbing), and another six keys for rotation (pitch, yaw, and roll). Writing it down, it sounds like a handful, but I thought the controls would be easy to use once learned.

As it turned out, all my players had some difficulty handling the controls. I even taped a couple of index cards to the monitor with the controls drawn-out in marker, and it didn't help.

There were some other issues that came up during testing, but the controls were the one that got everyone. I have about a month and a half left to update the IndieCade build, so I'm starting to have to really prioritize what gets done. Controls are now definitely first on the list.

The one thing I was very glad for was most people seemed to have a very favorable opinion of the game's feel and general atmosphere. Nobody appeared to get motion sick, and they quickly grasped how to work the thruster mechanics (minus which buttons to press). So overall, the test went very well.

Now to figure out what to do with the controls...

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Introducing 2085!

So it's been about a year since I last even touched this blog, but it's not like I've been sitting on my loins. Over the past couple of weeks, I started working on a little game experiment in Unity that I'm now looking to make into something more substantial. So I'm now announcing the development of 2085.

2085 is a spaceflight game, putting you in the pilot seat of a spacecraft in the near future. So far, I've just been working on the game mechanics and the overall feel. I've entered the game into IndieCade, and will be working feverishly to adding polish for the May 31st deadline. The goal is to have a game with numerous mission types, but simple mechanics. When I first started working on the prototype a couple weeks ago, I quickly learned that piloting a ship in a drag-less, weightless environment can be quite difficult, so not much needs to be thrown in to provide arbitrary challenge.

Space and spaceflight have always been a personal interest of mine, and I'm really excited to work on a project that incorporates it.

As I make progress, I'll post more updates.