Hey everyone, it's been another week of good progress! I've mainly focused on getting the tutorial level working properly. I did do some documentation again but as I've been talking about that a lot over the last two posts I won't be talking about it in this one.
While I haven't spent much time on this, I have added some minor additions that should help teach the player how to play. I've done quite a lot of research into tutorial methods now. What I found is that making a good tutorial hinges on finding the balance between direct instruction and player discovery. I've decided to only show the player how to use the basic mechanics and then let them experiment with them to discover how best to use them, at least until I get some feedback on this. Another aspect of the tutorial that I'm going to push is mechanic reinforcement, which ties into the previous point. Once taught a mechanic, I force the player into a situation where they must use it multiple times to progress so that they can get used to it. I cannot say whether this actually works, but I am fairly confident it will.
You can see it in the above GIF, but I should probably mention that I've made the 'Helix' dash cooldown effect more noticeable. Now, instead of just the player's edge colour changing to white, the whole character changes colour. I'm not sure if it will stay as a white colour but it makes the cooldown a lot clearer either way.
In the last post, I mentioned that I would work on some more level designs. I've managed to get an initial design for the Flop Shark tutorial level. However, I'm still working on getting this setup so it isn't ready to show yet. I expect there will be something to show in the next post though!
I thought it was about time that I work on the combat. The first thing I added was a stun effect. This was very easy to add and should prove fun to use in combat. However, it will need thorough testing once fully implemented to ensure it isn't overpowered. Then I added in functionality for a skill element in the combat. Every third player attack will deal double damage. I don't have a proper indication of the skill attack yet so I've added a placeholder effect for now. While adding this skill element sounds simple, I ended up overhauling the combat system I've also added a more evident particle effect to the enemies for when they take damage and it looks much more satisfying. In addition to this, I've added a freeze frame effect for extra satisfaction. This only triggers on skill attack hits and enemy deaths so it isn't overused.
Now because I was working on the tutorial, I had to teach the player how to use the Test Dummy enemy. When I tested this for the first time after making changes to the combat, some bad bugs happened. These bugs were much worse than those I mentioned in the last post. Making the aforementioned combat changes completely broke them. So, I spent a day ironing out as many of their issues as I could. The most frustrating issue was the joust problem where they get stuck in the ability state, moving around uselessly. It took me hours to find that a single line of code meant all of the joust ability logic was ignored. Needless to say, I was very irritated by this but pleased I had finally fixed it. In an effort to make my life easier in future, I cleaned up the Test Dummy script. Thanks to the combat system changes I was able to remove a substantial amount of code from the script.
Something I've wanted to have in the game for a while now is better control over time. I wanted to have a system that allows me to control the speed of time for individual elements of the game. So, I attempted to make it this week. However, I had not done any research into this sort of system and as a result I failed to make it work. I then did some research into it and discovered how hard to make and unnecessary this type of system is. In short, I've scrapped this system and instead created one that gives me a bit more control over Unity's time system, which has more than enough functionality. Anyway, it was a good lesson learned.
That's it for this post! The next one might be slightly different because I'd like to start doing video development logs. These would be monthly video updates to go along with these weekly posts. However, I cannot confirm that this will happen next week but you can look forward to this, or at least something like it, happening in the future at some point! Anyway, thanks for reading!
I'm the game developer for Squillamorph. I'll post here on the devlog as often as I can.