Hey Guys, how's it going?
Keen for the latest update? We have graphical updates, analytics updates, mechanical updates. All sorts of updates. Although I will be mainly focussing on the Play Testing that occurred recently, and how I'm changing the gameplay with data collected from that.
So, small stuff to start. We are getting to the end! In one week, beta will be released and the university section of this project will be completed. As you know by now, I will be continuing work on this project post-uni, so don't fret on that part.
As we reach the beta stage, graphics are taking a significant rise. Implementation of new township models;
And the nice little particle effects you can see around the wizards tower and on the braziers (not going to put a gif, too intensive for a blog post :P)
As you can see, the bottom menu has been drastically changed, with the removal of the Actions button. That's because you can now get to all of them through the town! Dojo for training, Blacksmith for work and the ArrowSign for exploration :) This is all explained ingame via the new tutorial I just added. Very simple, just some narrative at the start and some prompters before you go to play.
And for just a bit more, I added audio! Simple enough, just clicks, ambient noise, win, lose and some clangs for minigames. Working on sourcing some more suitable menu music at the moment, the one I have is perfect for my minigames, but needs to be calmer for the menu.
Now! The Play Test!
First off, it was awesome. I held it at the SAE Qantm Open Day in Perth, and it was packed. Largest Open Day in the uni's history, and largest in Australia that year. 600 people came! Less people than that go to the university! So, I had lots of candidates.
After whipping up a quick "I agree to be monitered, recorded, etc" screen (just in case), I was ready to go, and I got about 10 unique people to play the game.
Before I started the Play Test, I had integrated Unity Analytics into my project. This was keeping track of statistics like, what minigame did people prefer, what level did they perform the minigame at, and all sorts of fun stuff. I was there, but the finite detail of the analytics definitely caught some stuff I missed.
The interesting bit;
With all my planning, I had expected people to work and train for money, and go to explore. Then, work and train for more, then explore. Thus increasing their character ability, (and their ability to explore), then exploring further. Two things I hadn't accounted for were; #1, Exploring is a hell of a lot more fun. Narrative, combat, it beats sorting balls any day. #2, Exploring is really profitable. For every enemy you beat you get a minute or so of work money and exp. And it takes a couple seconds. So people were farming the Explore.
So, instead of 4 Work + 4 Train to 1 Explore, my final statistics got me 8 Work + 7 Train for ... 20 Explores. (Un-normalized).
Once I got this, my initial thought was "Nerf the explore". And I did. But upon further thought, I came to realise that capitalising upon a good area of the game could be better for the player than making a good thing bad, or a bad thing worse.
So I took a couple measures.
So you might not know that term "Job Level". Not sure if I have talked about it in a previous post. Job Level refers to the job exp you get when working. Pretty much, its the basis for an evolution for titles such as "Novice", "Journeyman", and "Master Craftsman". It is also the statistic that your work gold rate is based off. Right now, its pretty simple. Per correct sort, you get you job level in gold. So if you are Job Level 13, you get 13 gold for every nugget in the right cauldron.
Increasing the rate that the player acquires job level means that work increases in value as a viable job source. This helps balance the decrease in earnings from explore, and even a bit more, as I had also noticed that gold acquisition was a bit slow.
So, as you can see, the play test was extremely useful. For those of you wanting to play the most recent version of the game, I am hoping to have it up within the next week, or tonight if you're lucky!
Thanks to all of you for your help and support, it is intensely appreciated :)
Founder - Dracon Interactive
Student, Programmer, Legend