July 16 – July 23
New week, still no creative input from game design. Omar did give feedback on the builds I sent the team which was important, but there was no initiative from him.
I got the final animation assets for the player and foxes, and realized my statemachine was too simple, so I reworked the system again.
I learned a lot about how the animation system in Unity works, and I’m glad I did, because animations were a thing I had struggled with before, and I’ll now be much more at ease dealing with them.
Chicks were the first and only major addition to the game after Week three, but they’re my favourite feature in a game, in every aspect.
We planned on having little chicks in the game from the get go, they were in the first concept arts and they were a major part of the original vision.
However we did not decide on a way to implement them before. We had different ideas, each chick could give the player a small damage buff or they could act as meat shields, or they could be thrown as a special attack, or they could be directed by the player similar to the pikmin in Pikmin, or they could just beat up any enemies around them.
I thought the small damage buff would feel too insignificant and not connected to the chicks to feel good, Omar said them dealing direct damage would be too OP once the player has collected some chicks, and Rick noted that using the chicks as meatshields or projectiles would conflict with the player’s intention of saving them. We also couldn’t do the Pikmin approach, because that would need more Buttons and we wanted to keep the controls simple.
The first assets of the chicks I got from Rick had a walking animation, a happy and a sad animation. The sad animation was played while the chicks were in the cages, and the happy animation was played when they were freed.
I implemented the animations first, having the chicks follow the player, still without knowing how we would implement them as a gamemechanic.
On the next day I decided to go with the idea I had liked best, so I gave them a little bit of contact damage. Since the chicks were simply following the player, this meant the player had to use the chicks as kind of a net, to maneuver them into the crowd of enemies where they would deal a lot of damage.
While this was in itself an interesting mechanic, it felt more like you were herding cows than leading an angry mob, so I gave the chicks some behaviour.
The chicks would now seek out nearby enemies and follow them to beat them up. But as they’re small chicks, they get scared when they lose sight of their mother, so they will scuttle back to the player when they are a certain distance away from the player.
For this purpose I asked Rick to make an attacking animation as well, and with all of it in place, I was extremely satisfied with the result. The chicks looked super cute and added meaningful gameplay to the game. Using their different animations allowed us to evoke some emotions in the player.
I also used Rick’s rig for a pose in the presentation which I’m really proud of.
Another important change was made to the camera. The camera is no longer locked with the player at the middle, instead it is now focused between the player and the cursor. This really increases how much the player can see, without increasing the size of the camera anymore. Increasing the camera size (field of view) any more would result in the player appearing smaller, conflicting with our “the player is a huge chicken” ideal.
I also made a whole bunch of minor changes this week, including animations for weapons, tweaks to guns and movement.