Sunday, December 1, 2013

Much Button

     I'm a bit of a night owl, and spent a couple hours in this night worrying about buttons. I made a photo dump a while ago which featured our beautifully ugly buttons and the main button artist is hard at sleep, so in my brilliance I decided to make placeholders (which are sadly worse than what we began with).

     The first photo shows a room selected before I began making any changes. 
     You can see how much space the buttons do not use. The deselect button is hardly legible, and some of those play testers didn't notice them immediately. This was the problem I set out to solve. It is one of the many things on my plate and kind of more of a personal tackle.

Original Button Layout

     I made some placeholders and gave them an outline. I didn't take a picture pre-outline, but I noticed that you could hover over the blank space and still select the button. This was important to keep the legibility of the buttons up. We wouldn't want players to click on what they think is nothing and actually press a button! Already, the buttons stand out (and for the record, I activated all of the buttons just for the proof of concepts.), the large button is the deselect button, in a common "back" location and slightly bigger than the rest. The picture below shows how the button changes when you hover over it, my mouse wasn't captured in the screenshot unfortunately.

New Hotness layout!

Top Left: Button highlights!

     I added some background boxes to the buttons. This helps them pop out a bit more and would obviously be noticeable now, but I feel like we could drive the point a bit further. Fun fact: when changing the buttons on the fly the room deselects for some reason. Hopefully players don't have to worry about this as they shouldn't have access to the code during game play!

Background added.

     I hovered over the deselect button again, but the main point is I added a placeholder background image. It's just a black box which made for an interesting... clash. Another change is I zoomed the room in a bit more. This should help with a problem that may or may not be discussed later on. More importantly, the buttons are basically on a panel now, which makes them stand out tremendously and draws the player's eye. Currently it is a bit clashing as the black is very bold against the rest of the game.

Major clash, but background darkened.

     These images are placeholder, once again. It is pretty late so I didn't give it my all for them and the person in charge of the buttons currently is working hard on his sleep. We will revisit the button topic if it becomes relevant, or when we get much closer to the final  layout and configuration. Until next time!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

First outside playtest results.

This past Friday, the 15th of November, we were able to demo the early stages of our game to a group of people.  For this we came up with two levels.  One of them was very basic and the other was rather difficult.

The difficulty of the second level was a little too high for most of the players, indicating that we would need more levels to teach the players by giving them a more sloped learning curve.

Several other issues about the game were reinforced by the playtesters.

1. There were not very clear instructions on what to do.  The end goal was not immediately obvious, and so players at first did not see the puzzle as a puzzle.  This lead to some of the other issues.

2.  It was not immediately obvious that the player could select the room.  This was caused by a lack of direction, as well as a core feature that was not implemented as well as it could have been.  Players would often have the right idea and try to select the room, but would be unable to do so because they were standing in it.  Their natural first instinct was to move into the room, inadvertently making them unable to select the room in "hacker" view (top down perspective).

3.  The above two issues were apparent in the first level.  In the second level, which is probably one of the later single room no button levels, players became disoriented in the room.  This is likely due to the fact that they have had very little time (one level ) to actually acclimate to the game, as well as the fact that they could not see where their first person camera was while looking at the top down perspective.  This lead to confusion, and took away their focus on actually completing the puzzle to trying to figure out where they were.

4. This is a relatively minor one.  Players could not see where the doors (holes in the cube) were, and it hindered their progress in completing the level.  Instead of rotating the level to a point where they could exit or enter the cube, they found the way out using trial and error, without actually trying to think about the level from the top down perspective and relating it to the first person perspective.

I will make another post later on to hopefully put down some possible solutions to these issues, as well as other observations from the unofficial playtest.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Photo Dump 1

This first image is of the firewall de-activation panel. Many of our textures have yet to be developed, so we are still using flat colors.

This next series of photos shows the room being rotated, including rotating the room in a way where a wall hits the door you are on. The white hallway was added to establish points of entry and exit between rooms, as it is planned to have room rotation disabled for where your character is.

This is the room rotation view, complete with buttons. The room becomes transparent when it is selected, allowing you a limited view into the room. Although there is no close up, the red line in these pictures is the firewall that the button panel will disable.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Zero Point Zero

Here are a couple early screenshots of our game. 

The top screenshot shows our first person 3d viewpoint and the following two show the top down "bird's eye" viewpoint.  The green blip is the location of the first person camera.  This is simply a testing environment for the technical and gameplay aspects.  The 3 colored squares/cubes were used to test selecting specific entities in the space from the top down perspective.  The rest of the level is actually 2 layers with the blue rectangles being ramps.  This was to demonstrate the lack of depth perception and limited knowledge of the layout while viewing from a top down view.