This day was spent with working on additional game mechanics for the game as well as the art asset for the first of the six game pieces. More game mechanics and technical work got done than expected today, but at the same time the art for the game piece took longer than expected due to technical problems with importing animations into Unity.
Art for the Red piece (The Book)
Today Calle started off with the work on the pieces. First up was the book, or the red piece as Michael would call it.
The piece is being made in 3D (we will be discussing why in a later post), and with that came some unexpected problems. The program the piece was animated in, Maya, played the animation one way while the game engine we use, Unity, played it another. Calle was given two different versions of the same animation, were the correct one was not the one present in the game. This has to do with how Unity handles animation, and how it “tweens” its animations while Maya does not. This problem took longer to solve than estimated, and the entire day was spent solving the issue.
Game mechanics and how they relate to Socratic dialogue
The first task of the day for Michael was to create the final three pieces, which the player can create by combining the three pieces that we already have (green, blue and red). These new pieces will have movement-sets that are a combination of the two colors that was used to create it. To see an example, look at the picture below.
The red-green piece gets the length of the red piece, letting it move further than the green piece and even over obstacles. The mechanic of combining pieces is inspired by Socratic dialogue techniques, while looking at the pieces as arguments in a dialogue. In a Socratic dialogue, every argument is carefully valued and tested. As the green and red argument collide, instead of simply removing one of the arguments (as would be done during a debate), we take the knowledge gained from valuing the arguments against each other and use that to create a new argument (piece). None of the combined pieces are entirely removed, they are merely merged into something new. As our aim with this project is to impart the understanding of the benefits in seeing a problem from different viewpoints, we feel it important to let this influence and form every aspect of the game.
Large amount of technical work finished
Michael managed to create the three “advanced” pieces today, henceforth called the combination-pieces. He created the highlights for the pieces as well as a function used to center the game-board in the middle of the screen. In addition to this, he started working on the HUD icons that will show what will happen if two pieces collide. These icons will show when the player has a piece selected and hovers with his mouse over another piece. The HUD and highlights are very important aspects of the game, since without them the game would be nearly unplayable by anyone except us developers. In order for us to influence our player, we need to easily explain to him how to play the game, at the same time as he’s actually playing the game.
The coming week
As there has been a lot of progression going on in the technical areas, time has been freed to implement additional features to the game that will help the player enjoy and understand how to play it. Before this week is over, we hope to have merged the mechanics and art for world one. We also hope to finish work on the icons that will help the player know what happens when two pieces collide. Michael will also do level design for world two, since the pieces for it are already done. He will also implement some of the texts in world one, mainly those that will show between the levels. In the coming week, we also aims to start reading the two texts that was recommended by the examiner.
The problem with the art for the first piece took longer to solve than estimated. Calle will still stick to the plan to have the pieces and the board done by the week, although with more pressure and perhaps less polish. Having them all done and in the game, ready for pretty effects when there is time, seems better than not having them at all.