April Dev Diary: StringZ

It’s the last Saturday of the month again, that means it’s time for my (slightly) regular monthly dev log. As always, I’ll discuss what I’ve been up to, what’s new & what’s next. Let’s get into it…

The Chosen One

This month has been fun if I’m honest, I’ve been keeping myself busy. To start things off I updated the visuals on the random wheel. Though it wasn’t a top priority, I couldn’t just leave it looking so plain. Here’s a little comparison:

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As you can see from the updated screenshot, I made a couple of minor changes to the visuals & FX. I also added the names of all the prototypes, with that spin the game was chosen! (cue the choir)

String-Z

If you read the previous dev log you already know this was a last-minute idea brought in from the extras pile. Now it’s the game I’m moving forward with first. Since it’s one of the larger titles too, I decided to bring in a little help (love me a group project). I’ll break down what I’ve been up to, keep things short & sweet.

Week 1 – Design, more design & a lil project management.
I had a clear picture of the core gameplay, but the rest of the game, only a basic idea. To know what needed to be done some things had to be figured out first. I won’t go on about design changes as you’ll see everything as it’s posted, I’ll also be updating “My Work” soon adding a detailed page for this game.

Week 2 – Main menu’s
These screens are boring right? But they are important, I didn’t want just a collection of screens though, so instead, after a little thought the player got a safehouse:D4IE7DRX4AIsm5q.png

Here you can interact with what you need to, or just walk out of the front door & choose a level to clear out! I figured this is more interactive, it’s definitely much more fun to work with. I started with a placeholder panel that pops up when you walk on the red mats. Then it was just updating them one by one.

Months end – Menu functionality, deadlines & game fixes
I won’t lie the start of the month was slow, I was getting work done, just not getting very far. So, to keep the ball rolling there’s now an alpha deadline. This is not a release date, but a personal milestone, by this time the aim is to have all, if not most functionality in the game.

With this I started building up all the safehouse features. Over the past few weeks I’ve added the basic settings & credits screens, a trophy shelf for in-game achievements, a wardrobe where you can change your costume & most recently, I’ve been working on the level select screen. Don’t worry, there will still be an endless mode! But the players job is to go from area to area drawing zombies out with sweet music from his tiny guitar & clear them out one by one.

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Surprisingly creating a level select UI was the hardest part, even though it’s similar to the costume UI (functionality wise). I had to build this up piece by piece, at first it just snapped through the options (no animation). Then there was a small bug with position vs localPosition, straight forward stuff but it stumped me for a moment. Then I had to layer on the rest of the functionality like the highlighted active level, locked levels, level stats etc. Point being I do not envy UI designers, It’s a lot of work for such a small feature.

Anyway, I’ve talked enough. There’s still a bit of time left on the deadline and lot’s more to add to the game. I’ll be finishing up a couple of things in the safehouse, then it’s all gameplay. I’ve already played with the zombies a little, they now walk aimlessly around the map once they’re spawned. They also now all move at slightly different speeds (makes things a little more interesting, less uniform).

By next post the alpha deadline will be over, so hopefully there will be loads of cool new features with not so cool problems to talk about.

Until next time…

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