This week we focused on communicating with testers and modifying the game after taking their feedback into consideration. We added a laser sight to the guns since people were complaining that it was hard to aim. They also said the guns were too slow and did not "have enough juice." So we decreased the cooldown time of the guns, and increased the amount of recoil that they have. They also noted that the shield was overpowered, so we made it so the shield HP decreases the longer it is active (so there is a penalty for just leaving it on all the time). We also added artwork from TheO for the enemy spawn points in Wave Mode. People were confused by them because enemies never spawn where you can see them, so they didn't know what the spawn platforms were for. So we are going to make it so enemies spawn where the players can see them, and add some particles effects when that happens.
The number one complaint about the game that testers have is that the enemies do not react enough to hits. This is the hardest one to fix. For a long time the hit reactions have consisted of two effects: Final IK's "Hit Reaction" behavior, and volumetric blood particles. At some point I added a "stagger" effect, but I found it difficult to find stagger animations so I used my mocap setup to do my own. Of my takes only one was usable. This problem combined with modifying the complicated mecanim controller for the enemies made it difficult to get the stagger effect working for all of the enemies. So for a while now only the zombies staggered when hit. Today I implemented staggering for most of the other enemies as well.
Unfortunately, this is still not enough. I need something like Puppet Master to really make the enemies react properly. A long time ago I was using Puppet Master in this project. I took it out early because at the time I felt that it was not necessary.. My current AI would have to be modified in a bunch of places for it to properly work with puppet master. I am going to take a look at ragdoll animator and see if it will be easier to integrate since I don't need all of the features of puppet master (knockdowns, for example).
But even after adding something like puppet master, there is still have more to do. We have been talking about dismemberment for a few weeks now but never got around to implementing it. Most likely it will be deferred for a few more weeks.
Another complaint from testers was that they want to pull grenades off of their belt, rather than reaching over their shoulder. TheO came up with the design for and is currently working on the artwork for a belt to replace the "invisible grenade backpack." The belt has a counter to show how many grenades are remaining.
We would like to finish up a few more arenas for "Endless Wave" mode by the end of next week. This is going to be tough since we are busy with other things.
We will also be starting the design work for the "rogue" mode of the game next week.
We also need to release an updated free demo (right now it is Quest 2 only). The free demo is lagging far behind the paid version (which is still in very early access so we are not promoting it yet). The next version of the free demo will likely have Wave Mode.
Testing is still ongoing. So I will be working with more testers over the next week.
So a lot is going on. I will be traveling for the next two weeks for the holidays to see family I have not seen in a while. So this will impede progress. I will still try to get work done as I will be out for a few more weeks starting at the end of January for medical reasons.
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