Monthly Update – March

March 1st, 2015

It’s that time again…

February is the shortest month and wow it went by fast. I set myself a lot to get done this month and unfortunately I didn’t quite get everything done.

Firstly I wanted to do a basic design of the whole game from start to finish, which I achieved. So now I know what each location will be, in what order you unlock each one, basically what will happen in each area and how it all progresses and ultimately ends.

The main task for February was to get one level designed, blocked out and playable with all the gameplay elements in. This is where I came unstuck because, after getting off to a good start I got stuck in a loop of designing the level, starting the blockout and then the following day not liking what I’d done and redesigning the whole thing. I spent about 2 weeks in that loop and went through half a dozen designs. In the end I managed to break out of if by sitting down with all of the ‘failed’ designs and doing a little post mortem of what was and wasn’t working. This was really useful for two reasons, firstly I realised that I had equal lists of things I did and didn’t like – so I’d made some progress at least! I was only focusing on the things I didn’t like and getting stressed over it so it was useful to remind myself that I’d done some good stuff too. From the two lists I made a solid plan of what to keep, what to get rid of and what I needed to add.

I then went back to Photoshop and used it more like a whiteboard, not worrying about making it too pretty (which had occupied too much time in the previous versions) and really just let loose. Well loose for me anyway. Which isn’t that loose really but… maybe I’ll find a power-up for that later on.

The outcome is a level design that I’m pretty happy with and seems to ‘work’. I’ve blocked out the geometry with primitives in Unity and it’s going ok so far. Most of the gameplay elements either exist in the prototype I made before or are modified versions of existing  things so I should have the level playable within a couple of days.

I did add a couple of other features into the prototype level this month too, which will be a bit of a giveaway as to what game I’m making. No prizes for guessing it’s a platform game! It’s a 2D platformer, built in 3D so I decided to make use of the z-depth and added the ability to switch planes/depths on pre-determined paths. That sounds more complicated than it is, basically you can go ‘deeper’ into certain areas of the level instead of just right and left on the screen. I also made a super annoying lever/door puzzle and figured out how I’m going to handle doing secret/hidden rooms and change the lighting set up from one area to another. And I’ll leave you with a video of the ‘super secret room test’!

Next month (this month?) it’s art month, finally. As soon as the level is up and running I’ll be working on some art so I can finally do a proper game announcement and show what I’m up to.

Ok now here’s the video, thanks for waiting 😉



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