Thursday, February 24, 2011

Playtesting: Round 1... Fight!

With about two weeks until our engine proof milestone (more like one, considering GDC is next week), we decided it was about time to begin playtesting our game, now titled PhaseOut. DigiPen has a student-run playtesting club which meets every Wednesday. Teams sign up to get their games playtested and then set up in the production lab, a huge area on the second floor, so that anyone at DigiPen can come and test them.  For the most part, the feedback we got from testers was what we expected. Namely, there's still a fair amount of tweaking to be done with the controls and player movement and we need to get some legitimate levels up and running to replace our current sandbox environment, which doesn't really work as a tutorial. With our level editor nearing a state that's at least functional, if not feature complete, I should be able to start whipping up the first couple of those fairly soon.

While it's exciting to finally be at a stage where we can at least test something, this has also been an eye-opening experience. We only have half a semester left, if that, to get our game to playable status. While that's certainly doable given the current state of the game, it's already obvious that some things are going to get cut. Our lack of real artists is certainly limiting in some respects, and it's a continual learning process for all of us. Still, the fact that we've gotten this far already is a good sign, considering we started from scratch and that we've all made mistakes here and there along the way.

One thing's for sure: game development is not easy. As someone who's not used to undertaking large-scale development projects, it's going to take a while for me to get used to the fact that I'm probably not going to do things the right way the first time (or the second time), and that not every problem has one perfect solution. Hmm... seems a lot like real life. Who knew?

For those of you eagerly awaiting a playable build, you'll have to wait a little longer. Rest assured, though, I will publicize it heavily once we have something neat!



--Jeremy Kings
Gameplay Programmer, Creative Director
Codefire Productions

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