Friday, March 18, 2011

Beta Level Testing

With the beta level I wanted to create an environment that felt more intense, and was more menacing to look at. I feel that I was successful to this end, but not without the help of the rest of the team members, especially the artists. The artists came up with the color scheme, and many of the models that are in the beta level. When I tested the level, testers were telling me that I should make the level even more difficult than it was at the time of the playtesters. I also wanted to know how the visual appeal of the city was. Testers wanted more dynamic objects in the game, more vibrance. So, I placed fans down and scaled them to be able to fit the road within them. This added a lot more dynamic movement in the game, but it wasn't enough.
Traffic Quad texture, it's actually moving in the game which is why it's blurry
I needed something to give life to the game world. This is when I noticed that our graphics programmer was working on a quad that had parallaxing textures that looked like traffic moving in one direction. I decided that I would put that into the game, and it gave the game a more lively feel. Things were moving around in the game world, and they are not there just because the player is there. Dynamic movement was still not enough though. I now needed lighting to make the game more vibrant in itself. So, I placed more lights into the world, and changed the alpha of many object textures to make them more vibrant. To give the game an over-the-top feel, one of our team members created a glass road that gives that "wow" sound in the crowd that our team was looking for.
Traffic Quad texture, it's actually moving in the game which is why it's blurry
With the beta level, I really wish I had not assumed that I would have time when I got to school on the day of the beta presentation. I found that I had no time to tweak some things in the editor to make the level feel better. Luckily, the level was already laid out and was playable. But I should have planned for the worst and worked on the level more before the beta presentation. Next time I will plan for this and be prepared for the worst. The thing that came out of creating this beta level and receiving the beta presentation feedback was that our car needs to have better controls and we need to have more people playtest the level. My focus for the gold milestone is to get the car to feel better, and to get a tutorial into the game. If the tutorial needs to be dropped then so be it. The controls for the car are paramount when it comes to a game based-on a driving a car. I'll keep you updated on any more playtesting that is administered for Nitronic Rush or any interesting design issues that pop up.

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