Thursday, 21 May 2015

Off The Map Post Mortem - Goodbye Alice, goodbye year two

And so this is it, the final post of this academic year, and what a crackin' year it has been. Before I get properly into this post, and reflect on my last project of year two, I just want to take the opportunity to thank all the tutors for their support this year, and anyone I worked in a group with, as I wouldn't have made it through without your help.

After a week of mulling over what me and my group achieved in the Alice project, I can safely say that I am the proudest I have been so far this year. The quality of the level is great overall, even with a few issues with loading and the like, and everyone has their own individual star pieces throughout the game which is nice to see.

One part I definitely feel has been very successful is that the style throughout the game has remained consistent. Our style guide has proved to have been easy to follow, as every member has produced assets which are in-keeping with the theme of the level and don't stand out and throw it off balance. This was something I thought we were going to struggle with, after having not produced a guide until quite late in the game, but in the end it worked out very well for us.

Another stand-out part of the level is the gameplay element, which I have to say lies on the shoulders of Jake and Emily mainly, so massive kudos to them. I feel like our game is genuinely fun to play. Some parts are a little difficult, with jumps being a bit too unforgiving, but apart from that it plays well and introduces the game mechanics smoothly. As well as this, we have a few cut scenes to split bits of the level up, and even some dialogue, which all add to the level nicely. Jake also incorporated some interesting loading screens to help make the transitions from each level more interesting, and these work well. I am definitely pleased we chose to keep the game as a side-scroller, because there's elements of gameplay that would have no existed if we had chosen otherwise, and I think these are what make our level work the most.

A bit of an issue, which we are still trying to fix now, is loading times. When transitioning to the forest area, the game takes an impossibly long time to load, almost seeming as if it has crashed every time. We had to wait a good ten minutes or so to get it to load last time, and if we're not careful people are going to think the game is unplayable. To help with this, we are working on reducing the loading time dramatically. And also, if we put some sort of animation into the loading screen, it will be obvious to the player that the game is still loading, rather than just crashed,as the animation would be frozen if it had crashed.

Overall, I am so proud of my team it's unreal (no pun intended). I was constantly in awe the whole project at the skills and talents of my teammates, and I think we can all be really happy with the game we have managed to produce this project. We will now hopefully iron out a few issues with it in time for the competition hand-in, and see where it goes from there.

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