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Relatively Painless Games - Week 4: Jumping In With a Late Start

So it came to our attention this week that we are behind. Originally, we had 3 game concepts: A competitive multiplayer game in which players compete in trying to steal the most from a place while sabotaging each other called Thievery, a crowd-combat hack and slash centered around monsters fusing together upon death called Monster Mash, and a crowd-combat hack and slash centered around players picking up the dead parts of their slain enemies called Junkbots. We had since decided to drop Thievery for scope reasons, and yet that was the only prototype we had. We still hadn't made a prototype for the two games we were deciding between - Monster Mash and Junkbots. And it's week 4. And we want adequate time for testing before we make a rushed decision on what game we want to go forward with.

And so, because of that, we kicked it into high gear.

We decided that we're staying with Unreal for the final product of our games, but we're going to be creating the prototypes for the games in Unity. This is because we're far more familiar with Unity, and rather than spend a lot of time on researching how to do things in Unreal so we can prove a concept, it seems more beneficial to just create it in Unity, test the concept, then learn how to do it in Unreal for our final product.

I think these mistakes largely due to one main thing - we, as a team, treated this more like production. We treated it like we had to start work on the final product now, so we thought it would be better to just create our prototype in the engine we were going forward with.

However, despite this mistake that held us back quite a bit, I felt like we recovered really well. We rapidly prototyped so that we got the Monster Mash prototype tested at the end of that week, and Junkbots was almost there except for a few bugs that were holding it back.

Then, after the rapid prototyping, testing, and feedback, we talked as a team about what we were going forward with so that we could catch up to where we need to be. And finally, we decided to go forward with Monster Mash.

The benefit of Monster Mash and why I supported going forward with that over Junkbots is because I felt like there was more room for environmental storytelling. Junkbots was set in a junkyard while Monster Mash is set in a more open foresty area, and we felt like we could more effectively tell a bit of an environmental story with the more open area that we could with the junkyard. Furthermore, I think there's more design space with Monster Mash because it seems to have more depth. While Junkbots boils down to a more advanced player progression system, Monster Mash boils down to a player choice affecting what monsters they face throughout the game. Because of that depth, I thought it would be both more interesting to work on and more interesting of a final product.

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