Portobelly Production Journal #55

24/04/2019 to 03/05/2019

This blog post will be a combination of the last weeks worth of work. This week was spent finalising features of the game ready for release and fixing any major bugs with the game.

Fig 1 - Suction cone changes with Belly’s size

Fig 2 - Size change cone blueprint

After taking the game to several Bristol Games Hub playtest I discovered that a lot of people playing the game would stay at Belly’s smallest so that they would receive the speed increase and when they encountered enemies they would be able to easily absorb them. To give players an incentive to change size more often I decided to make the suction cone smaller when the player is small and when the player is maximum size the player is rewarded with a larger suction cone size. This allows players to draw enemies from further away towards the player when they are at full size. I also increased the speed of the suction ability when the player is larger. Hopefully these incentives to the player increase the chances of players to change size more often.

Fig 3 - Belly’s digestion sphere not changing with Belly’s size

Fig 4 - Adapting the digestion sphere so that it changes size with Belly

Fig 5 - Digestion sphere blueprint

When playing the game I discovered that player was unable to digest enemies/objects when they were at full size. I discovered this was due to the digestion sphere not changing size with the player which prevent from objects entering the digestion sphere during the suction period as it was inside the player. This was a massive issue because it prevented players from eating object/enemies at full size. This also illustrated that players were not changing size often during playtests or feedback sessions as this issue was discovered very late in production so no one has noticed this bug until now.
To fix this issue I made the digestion sphere scale with the players size when they change size. Doing this scales the digestion sphere with the player so that the sphere is always larger than the player so that they are always able to digest enemies and objects.

Fig 6 - Adding a suction bar that depletes when the user uses the suction ability

Fig 7 - Suction bar now recharges when the suction ability is not active

Fig 8 - Values controlling the suction bar increasing and decreasing

Fig 9 - Preventing the player from using a suction ability when it’s empty

During playtest we discovered that a lot of players were holding down the absorb button for the majority of play which made fights against enemies incredibly easy as they were able to kill enemies before they could attack the player. To prevent players from using the absorb ability constantly we decided to put a limit on how long the player could use the ability in the for of a charge timer. When the player is using the suction ability the charge on the suction bar is decreased and when they reach zero charge they are unable to use the ability. As soon as the player releases the suction button the meter begins to fill up again. We made the decision to have this ability run out quickly and recharge slowly so that players had to to use this ability sparingly.

Fig 10 - Boomshroom suction animation

Fig 11 - Boomshroom suction ability implemented

I created a suction animation to the Boomshroom so that when it is being absorb the enemy plays an animation to sell the effect of being absorbed. I feel this effect works well at clearly showing when the enemy is being absorbed as it is very different to the Boomshrooms standard animations.

Fig 12 - Implementing the first few particles on the spiral spore

Fig 13 - Top view of all of the spiral spore attack trails implemented

Fig 14 - Applying the spiral spore particles onto the character

Fig 15 - Activation and deactivation of the spiral spore particles

Before adding the particle effects to the Spiral Spore the enemy would display a red sphere around it’s tendrils when attacking to show that it was able to hit the player. Instead of having this red sphere to show that the enemy was ready to hit the player I decided to create a trailing particle effect was attached to each tendril. I feel that this was a clear indicator of when the attack starts and ends as it is very visual and it also exaggerates the movement of the spin attack.

Fig 16 - Boomshroom exploding on impact with the player

Fig 17 - Changing the move to task to a custom move to task for the Boomshroom

We felt that the Boomshroom was one of the weakest enemies in the game so I decided to refine the self destruct ability of the enemy. When the enemy ran towards the player they were programmed to run to the players last location which led to problems if the player was in the way of their last location. This would result in the enemy trying to run to the end location but being blocked so that the enemy would not explode.
To fix this issue I created a task tat would finish (move on to the next task) when the enemy has reached the end location or makes collision with the player or another object. This made the Boomshroom a lot harder to fight as you had to be weary of their self destruction charge.

Fig 18 - Belly is able to continue to jump when underneath object

I discovered that the player could continue to apply jump force while underneath object which gave an effect as if the player was hovering or stuck on the surface which was something I had not intended.

Fig 19 - Belly’s jump gets cancelled when there is an object above it

Fig 20 - Checking for object above Belly when jumping

To fix this issue I created a line trace coming from the player that would cast from the player upwards and if the player would collide with an object the jump force would stop being applied.

Fig 21 - Updated HUD bar

Will supplied me some images for the health bar and suction meter. I feel these assets are functional as UI elements and they also fit the theme of the game.

Overall I feel the project went very well and I am surprised at how much content we created we such a small team in the time we had. The project taught me a lot about game development and the Unreal Engine as well as additional skills such as animation, rigging, artificial intelligence and user interfaces.

 

Figures List

  1. Rees, O (2019). Suction cone changes with Belly’s size. [offline]. [Accessed 03/05/2019].

  2. Rees, O (2019). Size change cone blueprint. [offline]. [Accessed 03/05/2019].

  3. Rees, O (2019). Belly’s digestion sphere not changing with Belly’s size. [offline]. [Accessed 03/05/2019].

  4. Rees, O (2019). Adapting the digestion sphere so that it changes size with Belly. [offline]. [Accessed 03/05/2019].

  5. Rees, O (2019). Digestion sphere blueprint. [offline]. [Accessed 03/05/2019].

  6. Rees, O (2019). Adding a suction bar that depletes when the user uses the suction ability. [offline]. [Accessed 03/05/2019].

  7. Rees, O (2019). Suction bar now recharges when the suction ability is not active. [offline]. [Accessed 03/05/2019].

  8. Rees, O (2019). Values controlling the suction bar increasing and decreasing. [offline]. [Accessed 03/05/2019].

  9. Rees, O (2019). Preventing the player from using a suction ability when it’s empty. [offline]. [Accessed 03/05/2019].

  10. Rees, O (2019). Boomshroom suction animation. [offline]. [Accessed 03/05/2019].

  11. Rees, O (2019). Boomshroom suction ability implemented. [offline]. [Accessed 03/05/2019].

  12. Rees, O (2019). Implementing the first few particles on the spiral spore. [offline]. [Accessed 03/05/2019].

  13. Rees, O (2019). Top view of all of the spiral spore attack trails implemented. [offline]. [Accessed 03/05/2019].

  14. Rees, O (2019). Applying the spiral spore particles onto the character. [offline]. [Accessed 03/05/2019].

  15. Rees, O (2019). Activation and deactivation of the spiral spore particles. [offline]. [Accessed 03/05/2019].

  16. Rees, O (2019). Boomshroom exploding on impact with the player. [offline]. [Accessed 03/05/2019].

  17. Rees, O (2019). Changing the move to task to a custom move to task for the Boomshroom. [offline]. [Accessed 03/05/2019].

  18. Rees, O (2019). Belly is able to continue to jump when underneath object. [offline]. [Accessed 03/05/2019].

  19. Rees, O (2019). Belly’s jump gets cancelled when there is an object above it. [offline]. [Accessed 03/05/2019].

  20. Rees, O (2019). Checking for object above Belly when jumping. [offline]. [Accessed 03/05/2019].

  21. Rees, O (2019). Updated HUD bar. [offline]. [Accessed 03/05/2019].