Week 12 – April 12th, 2024

Work Preparation:

At the beginning of the week, we were busy discussing the feedback gathered from Saturday’s Playtest Day. The challenge we faced was prioritizing the feedback, considering we only have about two weeks of development time remaining. Following a meeting with our faculty, Jesse, we also brainstormed new ideas for the shadow puzzle. These ideas aim to distinguish the shadow puzzles from regular ones by incorporating light and shadow elements more prominently. Additionally, we discussed developing the puzzles in a more systematic manner.

Despite having a long wish list, we acknowledge the constraints of our limited dev time. With the goal of delivering a bug-free build for the final presentation, the team has decided to lock down the build by next Wednesday, April 17th. Subsequently, our focus will shift towards bug fixing and preparing for the final presentation.

Saturday Playtest Day Feedback

Last Saturday, we hosted a playtest day and welcomed over 30 playtesters. We were pleased to observe that, overall, players enjoyed and liked our game very much. However, with the introduction of the new light refills, the difficulty level of the game notably decreased. As a result, approximately 90% of players were able to complete the game and light up the furnace. We received repeated feedback indicating a desire for increased challenge. In response, we dedicated this week to implementing a new balance pass to address the feedback regarding difficulty. 

Additionally, we noted that players expressed a desire for more narrative elements in the game. They wanted more information about their character’s identity, where they come from, purpose within the giant house, and objectives.

These are the main pieces of feedback we gathered from the playtesters, and we will address them in our ongoing development efforts:

  • Some players can’t understand how to light up the furnace at the end 
  • Bug: mushrooms keep trying to walk into the wall Bullcap can push the lever for player Bug? Shadow puzzle breaks if the player dies before reaching it 
  • Some people still can’t tell whether the enemy is dead or not 
  • Some people try to avoid the light pickups, thought it is something bad 
  • Want more things to do with pushing 
  • The control is easy! And the scope is good! 
  • Giants and tiny people concept is well-conveyed 
  • Doesn’t know when the game ends and they win 
  • The game is too easy 
  • Want intro cutscene

New Balance Pass

As mentioned earlier, we received consistent feedback from playtesters last Saturday expressing a desire for more levels or increased challenge in the game. After analyzing the feedback, we identified two primary reasons for the game’s current low difficulty level.

Firstly, with the recent implementation of the light refill loot drop system, nearly all enemies currently drop light refills. When combined with the campfire light refills, most players rarely run out of light.

Secondly, thanks to the excellent animations provided by Derek, there is now clear indication when an enemy is about to attack. This gives players more reaction time, allowing them to cleverly avoid deadly attacks and making combat easier in this build.

Based on these observations, we conducted a new balance pass to meet player expectations for challenges. First, we increased the movement speed of the mites, the enemies that appear when players are low on light. Our aim is for players to feel the sense of danger when their light is running low, encouraging them to actively seek out light refills.

However, to ensure that players experience this highlighted challenge moment, adjustments were made to the light distribution within the game. This includes decreasing the amount of Hum light refills obtained from loot drops, reducing the rate at which enemies drop light refills, and decreasing the maximum light that Hum possesses.

Further testing is required to tune this balance pass and ensure that the game offers an engaging and challenging experience for players.

Saving & Checkpoints

Implementing a system with which to save game data that persists across runs of the game is important to prevent players from having to backtrack through the whole game each time they die. 

For our short demo the only data we really need to save are the furnace valves the player has opened and the candles they’ve lit. Because this data is relatively primitive, we can easily serialize it to JSON format and store it in a text file as the player completes tasks. The game can then read from this file when it reloads, adjusting GameObjects according to the data stored within.

Add Beginning Storyboard + Ground Assets

As the project is coming to the end, artists are finishing what is remaining on the asset list. Artist finished the scroll asset which will be used for the library area. For the narrative purpose at the beginning part of the demo, artists also started drafting the storyboard which indicate the worldview, the vagrant’s objective, and how the vagrant encountered the fire spirit “Hum”.

Progress Report:

  • Made more sounds and implement it
  • Made more Enchanterelle animation and implement it
  • Made a new balance pass
  • More particle effects
  • Changed the shadow puzzle logic
  • New interior assets made
  • Started on saving / checkpoints
  • Debugged the upgrade system
  • Weekly blogs

Plan for next week:

  • Player death animation
  • Soft goal: Enchanterelle projectile, player push animation
  • More combat sounds
  • Implement Michael’s music into game
  • More environmental assets: mushroom + plants
  • Saving + checkpoints done
  • Bug fix
  • Greybox the new shadow puzzle 
  • Stun damage bonus
  • Grass cut + grass performance
  • Storyboard for Soft
  • More indoor assets: Skulls + bones, scrolls, tapestry
  • Shadow puzzle door
  • Weekly blogs
  • Post-mortem
  • Final presentation outline


  • Need to lockdown the build next week to save time to prepare for the final
  • Need to prepare for the Soft Opening
  • Need to implement more sound effects into the game