From the start of production, my project has been shaped by the factors previously discussed in my earlier posts; when developing my idea, my understanding of ‘high concept’ ideas greately influenced the methods with which I formulated and crafted my core idea, drawing upon inspiration in the same topical areas as I was heading for in my game in order to gain ideas and understand how others approached similar themes in the past. This methodology ultimately guided me towards producing a game based around the notion of controlling time.
When it came to putting the systems and mechanics for the game in place, research methodologies in the form of user testing came into play; my understanding was that I needed to guage my audience’s expectations in order to make the right decisions regarding gameplay. The first round of testing occured early, when I was utilising a simple testing level constuting of basic cubes and structures to jump and climb on and manouvre around to test the controls and the movement speed and intuitiveness. Using a feedback-based model of user testing, I found a handful of aspects about my control system were not problematic, but not to the taste of my playtesters, who disliked features such as not being able to turn in mid air. The original intention behind limiting turn control for the player in mid air was to introduce some semblance of realism to the mechanics, however knowing that players were not used to this feature, I opted to remove it and allow full directional control in mid air, sacrificing realism for the accessibility of gameplay and ultimately the enjoyment of the player. The changes made whilst user testing will be detailed further in a later dedicated blog post.
Returning to the pre-production stage, I chose to adopt Frayling’s ‘research through design’ method (http://folksonomy.co/?permalink=589) to justify my game in a research context, but also took a look at the current climate for games hosted online in order to get a solid reading on how others approach the hosting and deployment of their games, and realised that whilst web hosting for direct browser-play is an option, standalone would be the preferential choice due to the increase in performance of playing a game independent from the browser.
Another aspect of production that shaped my project were my technical considerations; I had to make sure that both the programming and art production sides of my project were done in the correct manner to result in a game that was acceptable visually and based on performance. On the art side, I needed to ensure that whilst creating my models in my modelling program I built each model out of a minimum number of polygons, as more polygons used means more work for the processor and graphics card to do whilst rendering them. On the programming side I needed to ensure that my methods and functions operated in an efficient manner, reducing the performance impact and again making sure that the game was not too processor-intensive.
Overall, my understanding of the aspects of creating my game in every stage of production of my project has worked to shape it and align it towards my end goals and interests.