This week, the team continues on final content integration and the beginnings of polish and bug fixing. We have received the results of the playtest from two weeks ago, and are really happy with the improvements we have made, particularly on the onboarding and the comprehension of Arthur’s story. The extra time we have spent on these aspects of the game has really paid off.
That doesn’t mean we’re done, though. We have a list of issues to deal with on this front, so as we finish up the content, we’ll also be tweaking things here and there to respond to the issues raised. Playtests are so important, and we’re very glad to have the team at Gearbox here to help.
Narrative Team - Alex and Lisa
As part of finishing the game, Alex and I are running around trying to make sure that we have everything written that we need.
This week, I’ve been writing “pensive barks,” which are things our characters say to themselves while you’re playing the game. The idea is to give you a deeper sense of who the characters are and how they feel -- without having to stop the action for a cut scene. With Sally, pensive barks are a fun challenge, because the face she presents to the world isn’t necessarily the same as how she feels inside.
The danger is that we have promised you characters who are “moderately terrible people,” so I have to avoid falling in love with characters so much that I make them too good.
Design Team - David, Hayden, Antoine, Adam, Ben, Eric, And Benji
The level design team is a collection of busy bees this week, integrating, fixing and finaling the level content we have in the game. That means a lot of polish, but also a lot of meetings to review the content we’re finishing up.
As for what I did this week, I fixed some Arthur main story bugs and blockers, worked with Alex to make sure VO and narrative was both present and made sense, and the rest of my time I spent finishing some levels that came in late and just weren’t fully finished. Plus I got to hook up a sweet Arthur shower scene. So that was fun!
Engineering Team - Matt, Serge, Michael, Lionel, Rob, Evan, Maarten, Céline, Neil And Guillaume (Sometimes)
We've been working on upgrading the HUD elements. Some of it is revising old pieces that need some new polish, or presenting in better ways. The rest is finding ways to represent important information that was previously hidden from the player, for example we want to make a bigger deal of when curfew starts and when you enter a trespassing zone. (Everything is optional, for those who want a clean screen).
So after Sarah has finished doing her mock-ups in Photoshop over a screenshot from the game, we take an element and break it down into it's moving parts ( for things that fill up and move ) and then I create a widget object in Unreal's widget designer and hook it into the game so that we can review it, and iterate on it further. Often with a good deal of programmer art filling in the gaps and making the artists cry.