It’s been a busy couple of weeks at Canalside studios. Our team have been working hard, adding improvements and features to our puzzle-platformer “Attraction” (working title).
From optimisation and cosmetics to playtests and sound effects, here’s what we’ve been up to:
Over the past 2 weeks I’ve finished working on the alpha of the menu and pause screen interfaces. I have now moved onto level designs for the magnet game. The typical design process for a single level goes through idea generation, drafting, building, quality assurance and finally refinement.
In addition to this I’ve also been assisting Luke in the recording of various sound effects to be used in the game.
Over the last two weeks, I have been working on adding new features to the level editor. I’ve finalised the camera system in the editor, hopefully making it easier to setup cameras in levels and streamlining the production pipeline. I also added a favourites menu to make it easier to find commonly used objects. Outside of the editor, I added a new system to track the player, putting a floating indicator above their head. I’ve added a new death animation to the player using particle systems to make a disintegration effect. I’m now re-introducing the checkpoint system into the game, allowing players to die without having to reset the entire level.
Now that I’ve finished working on the AI, I’ve been creating a rail system which the magnet parts and moulds get transferred on around the forge. The parts are enormous, multiple time the size of the player.
I’ve been working on improving the visuals of the menu by adding different image effects, such as noise and lens aberrations, to add distortion. This has the effect of making the menu look like it is on a old television screen. I also changed some of the functionality of the menu including tying the sound options into the audio manager created previously. Right now I’m implementing customisation options for the player, including a menu to select different accessories which will be unlocked by completing levels and earning achievements.
During the last 2 weeks I have been heavily focused on optimising the assets and textures within the game in order to increase performance. All assets in the game have had their polycount reduced, as well as being placed on one large atlased texture. This erases the need for multiple textures and materials. I have also been modelling an ‘acid shark’ to add some interesting background visuals to the game, instead of everything being static.
I have helped unwrap models to an Atlas map (one giant texture sheet that fits all the textures on, resulting in less draw calls). I also built the sprite atlas map and applied these maps / new prefabs to the unity project. Furthermore I polished another level and worked further on the optimisation of the game so the game can be run on lower PC specs. This included replacing the blocks with one giant block (Less polygons) and replacing the textures with one giant texture (Less materials).
Over the last two weeks I have been working on levels and the new “cosmetics” system that we are creating. I have been making assets such as hats, glasses, headphones and even a shuriken. The idea is to provide a certain level of customization to the player, so we are trying to think of interesting stuff that the magnets could wear. Apart from modeling those assets, I am still making new levels for the game. We recently had some feedback from tutors and playtesters and decided to add some easier levels at the beginning of the game, as most people felt that the first few levels are more challenging than they should be.
This week we had discussions on how to increase the overall sense of reward and satisfaction while progressing through the various puzzles we have made. We have decided to add a series of fun cosmetic items that the player can collect assuming they find all the hidden secrets in a level.
Both myself and Dimitar have spent the last week modelling and unwrapping possible cosmetic items for each character while Reuben has been focusing on actually implementing them into the game.
Since receiving some feedback after a few playtests of the first chapter, we have decided to make adjustments to the overall difficulty curve when the second character magnet is introduced. This is mainly due to the fact that players were finding we had given a lack of practice with both magnets and switching between them before throwing them into harder puzzles.
Since the start of January, I’ve been composing music for Attraction. Due to the game’s unusual theme and style, there’s been a lot of trial and error involved. It’s been quite a slow process and I don’t really have anything final to show off right now, especially as I’m primarily working as a Web Content Producer and have to dedicate time to that too. I did, however, take some time out last week to record some sound effects (with the help of Liam). Right now I’m processing these sounds so they’re as clean and polished as possible before Matt implements them into the current build.
Once again, you can watch the video below to see what we’ve been up to.