DualTron – Gold Milestone

Six weeks have passed, we have reached gold, the end of the project and it is time to do a small recap of what happened.

We have the first level completed and a second level barely started, and many things still to do so we decided to split the tasks. Aitor took care of the meta-gaming, gathering all the statistics, time, number of deaths, accuracy, etc… and use them nicely to laugh or blame at your partner at the end of every level. Eneko started to pick all the elements that were created, but needed feedback to understand how they work and transform them into something that makes sense for the new players. Finally, Jon as he did the first boss it was logical that we would take the second as well, but he also did the menus and pause that were something that we still needed.

So what was left for me, an empty second level to build, a fusion state yet untested and sounds, fill everything with sounds. Luckily Ander Guerrero, one of our classmates, helped us creating the soundtrack for the menus and the level with Jorge Fernandez.

This was our plan, a lot of work and little time to do it, so we quickly got into work.

Work

There are three things that we wanted to have in this level the link, something that it is barely teach in the first level, but was not yet exploited. Gravity change, something really simple that transforms everything we have into something different, and just because it is hard to jump upside down on the ceiling. And the fusion state that at this point it was a total unknown that could send to the trash all the plan we had.

I already did some design and tests with the gravity change and they worked well, but I thought what happened if we add to those challenges the link, and the results were really nice, a great combination.

With this, we have total cooperation in which the roles are constantly changing between the one holding and the holder for every change of gravity. So with this idea I designed three challenges each one of them trickier than the previous, trying to introduce this idea slowly into the game so that the player can understand it.

With this three challenges, another simpler platforming part to introduce the gravity change, and another two sections that are harder versions from the previous level, we had enough material for half level. It was time to work with the fusion.

The fusion state was one character controlled by the two players, that had a jetpack to fly with fuel that run out. It had health to resist many hits and could shoot to the left and right in a cone shape. This was the design of the fusion, but it change quite a bit.

We remove the fuel so the jetpack can be used all the time, it was hard enough to coordinate with your mate, so removing this, it is one thing less to care about.

Another thing that changed was the shot, we wanted to give something to do all the time to the players and we decided it to be the shooting. So we added another gun to the fusion, two guns each one controlled by each player that can shoot in every direction. And this addition opened more possibilities for the challenges, like having the players to shoot at the same time to different objectives.

The last change was the life, we removed the idea of health and we kept it as the rest of the game one hit and death. It made sense to maintain the same concept and do not overwhelm the player with so many changes, that it was one of my fears.

One of the problem we had with this changes was that the layout controls needed to change. The left stick to move the character and the right stick to control the gun and shoot. It was the more natural way to do what we wanted but, then it meant that we had two different layout controls one for the players splitted into two characters and another for the fusion state. I did not like this at all, forcing the players to relearn new layout control is something I wanted to avoid, so we did some tests using the fusion state layout to control the splitted characters, but it felt so unnatural to control them like that. We did not see any other choice than to leave both control layout different and hope that the fusion state layout was simpler enough so that the players catch it fast.

Once we had the final fusion state working and funny to play with, it was easier to design and build the challenges. The first step was to create a small section to get familiarize with the movement and the control so that the players feel comfortable. Then start with some enemies, still something relatively easy.

Once they know how to move and shoot is where we start to test their skills, shot, move and avoid, or synchronize the movement. In the end, it is a mix between a flappy bird and side scroller shoot’em up.

Finally, the boss was a test to all the skills that the players have learned during the level, avoid obstacles, move synchronized, and shoot to different targets.

In conclusion, the fusion state turned into something fun and different, another way to enforce cooperation.

Once we had everything built I started adding the sounds trying to fill the gameplay using sounds for everything I could think of. In the end, this is an arcade game, and we wanted to maintain that feeling that everything has its particular sound and that every action you did it is corresponded with its sound feedback. Without the music, we saw how the level started to feel alive and once we included the music it was even better.

Conclusion

The game is done, after hours of testing and tweaking and changing everything that felt out of place, we have two complete levels that are fun and engaging, with many different situations and everything new after each corner that keeps the gameplay fresh. I am very happy with what we achieved and how the people received it. We had to drop out a third level because we did not have enough time, and there were some ideas left, like the vertical levels, and new challenges, that we did not have time to implement or enough room to add in the levels.

In general, I think that we took advantage of everyone strengths when we divided the tasks and it helped the development and finally the game. We had our ups and downs as everyone, but we overcame them as a team. And here is the result. Download

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