_Midway video update_
We’re really starting to cook with gas. This is concerning in a room with so many explosives, but also exciting.
One of the leads calls an impromptu team meeting to rein in the speeding train a bit and ask a new question: “Where’s the fun?” Designers talk about how our first play test had enough shallow mechanics to split into three games, and we want to go deeper on one. Everyone agrees there’s too much going on, so we talk about what works.
The design lead pulls up a document with three categories the team has identified: acrobatics, trick shots, and hordes of enemies. We look at it for a few moments without any immediate outcries for what feels right. There’s some element in each of these that we all like.
_“What should it feel like to be Ziggs?”_ This is a question we can answer.
_“Exploding!”_ - _“Running around and blowing everything up.”_ - _“Reckless gameplay.”_ These behaviors and emotions instantly jump us all onto the same page for how to narrow our vision. If we want to do more exploding, we need more objects that can explode. If we want to be reckless, we don’t want to care about difficult terrain or -gasp- friendly fire (at last, there’s the answer).
Friendly fire probably wouldn’t make or break our game direction because we can design around it, so instead of finding a ‘right’ answer we just needed to find what felt right for Ziggs. _”Let’s focus more on monsters and dial the destruction way up.”_ We also decide that we want bigger levels (a few teams are visibly uncomfortable), and a third stage if we have time (silently screaming).
We start to think about how we want players to experience the game - is it speedrunner friendly? Let’s remove some random elements we were considering to make that path easier. Because we pulled off the mini internal alpha, everyone is phrasing things like _“It wasn’t fun when X happened to me”_ or _“I would have enjoyed Y more if we made it harder”_. This might sound obvious, but we’re landing on a much better end product because we’ve been able to spend half our time looking at an _actual_ game. We’re collaborating a lot more now because of it, too. With a shared experience and frame of reference, we’re all speaking the same language.
Our next checkpoint is 7 hours after that team meeting, the official all-in (DUN DUN DUN!).
That’s when everything needs to be totally done so we can get to optimizing, QA, and polishing. We’re still having some nasty performance issues on lower end machines, and that’s top of the priority list for the home stretch. Our leads are serious about keeping those final hours for problem solving.
_"I'm the lock master, so if you want to get a feature in after 10pm, come ask me and I'll probably tell you to fuck off...but I’ll say it a lot nicer than that.”_ We mostly believe him on both accounts.