The finish line for this quarter is in sight. After three months of hard work we’re ready for our first major deadline. With the future of Firewall shining before us we’d like to take a moment to reflect on the week we’ve just completed and celebrate what the team has achieved. Firewall has made a lot of progress in the past two weeks, and it’s really exciting to see it come together into a playable experience. Let’s take a look at some of the key developments that have had the greatest impact on the game this week.
The player can now choose between multiple AI modules when creating units. These modules contain a set of behaviors, some of which are common to all modules and some of which are unique to a particular module. There are three AI modules to choose from, each with one major unique behavior. The Flanking module contains a behavior that will guide the unit around enemies and attack them from behind. The Strafe module contains a behavior that allows the unit to perform strafing runs on slow-moving or stationary targets. Units controlled by the Defensive module will remain near the hero or the player’s base when not in combat, ready to defend against any attackers. Allowing the player to choose the AI module for each unit that is created introduces a new strategic element to the game that we will continue to expand upon throughout the rest of Firewall’s development.
Camera control can make or break the player’s experience, so we spent a lot of time on camera control this week. The camera now pans to reveal more space in the direction that the hero is aiming, which allows the player to focus on the area of the playfield that is the most important at the time. We’ve also implemented camera zooming using the Xbox 360 controller and put constraints on the camera so that it doesn’t show areas outside of the level. We now have a very solid starting point from which to tune our camera in accordance with the results of our playtests.
Speaking of playtests, this was the first week that we put Firewall in the hands of playtesters! We’ve already gotten a lot of great feedback about areas in which the game can improve, and we’re excited to start on those improvements next quarter. We’ll continue to playtest and iterate based on feedback so that we can pack as much fun into Firewall as possible. Thanks to everyone that came in to play Firewall this week, your input and feedback is much appreciated!
On the art side of development, this week was focused on cramming as many assets into the game as we could before the end of the quarter deadline. Mainly this meant creating some awesome-looking projectiles for our units to fire, adding special effects, and animating the existing unit models. Though much of the art in the game is still a work in progress, we’ve gotten rid of all of our placeholder programmer art, which makes the game feel much more polished than it did at the beginning of the week. When they could spare time from making in-game art, our artists have been finishing up their production pieces. Some of these were already posted in this week’s Gallery Post and we encourage you to go check them out. These pieces are amazingly cool and we’ll be posting more of them soon. We feel very lucky to have such talented artists on our team and can’t wait to see what they come up with next quarter.
We’d like to wrap up with a couple of announcements. The first is that we want you to come playtest Firewall! We are going full-throttle into our playtesting sessions, but we need more playtesters. If you’re interested in being a Firewall playtester, get ahold of us through the Contact page on the site, or through our Twitter and Facebook. Second, we will be presenting Firewall alongside the other UCSC senior game projects on Friday, March 16th at 7pm in the Baskin Engineering Auditorium on the UC Santa Cruz campus. The presentations are open to the public, so stop by if you’d like to check out our game!
As next week is the beginning of our Spring break, there may not be another blog post until the beginning of April. Thank you for following along with the development of Firewall this quarter, and we hope you’ll continue with us on this journey.