Week 4 -February 9th, 2024

Work Preparation:

On Tuesday, we were busy with merging gameplay systems and constructing an updated playable build for the first Playtest Night. Team members were testing some new features independently on their devices earlier, which led to the emergence of issues and bugs when we hastily built the demo. 

Reflecting on this experience, we decided to move our build process every Monday morning starting from next week, and refrain from touching the build or hastily including a bunch of new features thereafter. This approach will enable us to reduce the need for rushed debugging before the playtest.

First Playtest Night at Hunt Library:

This Tuesday, we conducted our playtest at the Hunt Library, and our preparations began on Monday. We put together a shadow puzzle utilizing the Sundale shadow generation feature Collin wrote and also implemented an updated Hum projectile attacking in the combat system. 

We received a wealth of valuable feedback from the playtesters.

  • book interaction is strong, classic puzzle, want to do more with the books
  • hitting enemies feels fun, but enemies are docile, don’t feel the need to fight now
  • want more information on Hum, who is it, why it exists 
  • More interaction with NPC! Want to learn about their missions and identity
  • if there are puzzles that need to send Hum away or move it around, it will make more sense to toggle on/off Hum following, right now doesn’t feel the need to do so 
  • some players failed to notice the grass is reacting to light, players who noticed it love it, maybe better to make it more obvious
  • want to jump/climb on books
  • The campfire looks small but the book looks huge. Hard to understand that we are tiny, it just looks like the book is huge and we are in a magical world/dream. should have more objects in giant size that looks familiar to us
  • some people think moving light around is fun, but it currently is a little bit confusing for people to understand that light is following the cursor, due to its movement range and maybe due to the pits bug (hum dies falling into pits) 
  • maybe the light amount UI can follow Hum, like a halo, or maybe pull out a stopwatch when idling

More Animation!

This week, we began thinking about making the combat system more juicy. Our decision led us to sketch a new draft of the vagrant attack animation. To reduce the burden for our artists, we opted to create combat animations in four directions, while keeping the eight-directional walking, akin to Hyper Light Drifter. We extended certain frames in the animation to enhance the sense of power in the action. Derek took charge of drawing the animation, and we aim to have it implemented and tested in the engine next week.

Asset Planning and Discussion the Integration of 3D Models into Scenes:

During this week, the artists organized the asset list into distinct categories to enhance efficiency within the scene, particularly emphasizing the reusability of assets (such as cube-shaped elements) to streamline the blocking out of level barriers. Through this process, they discovered that certain assets, like interactive objects akin to the red book in the game demo, require the creation of 3D models using Sprytile to apply pixelated textures effectively. To explore this technique, artists experimented with basic Sprytile texture mapping in Blender, with plans to review the finalized results in the following week.

Lutong completed work on the large bookshelf initiated last week, and a prefab was generated to facilitate further testing within the Unity scene environment.

Shadow Puzzle:

This puzzle was our first attempt at implementing light-centric mechanics. The goal of this puzzle is to extinguish the glowing objects around the central pillar by using Hum’s light to cast the pillar’s shadow onto the objects. This puzzle, while an early exploration of light mechanics, has so far seemed intriguing to playtesters and our team. However, the idea of using something’s shadow to interact with objects is somewhat unconventional and occasionally confuses players – for this reason we are exploring ways by which we can make the fact that you need to use the shadow a little more obvious.

Improved Hum Controller:

This week a new controls scheme for Hum was implemented. The previous design left much to be desired in terms of control fidelity: Hum had a “dead-zone” that was required to prevent him from orbiting his target position. This dead-zone made it impossible for players to direct Hum to locations that were too close to his current position. The new controller makes use of Unity’s built-in physics engine to solve the orbiting issue. By applying drag to Hum’s GameObject, we can prevent the orbiting issue while also allowing players to move hum very small distances. 

We find that this control scheme will be better in the long run for things like the above mentioned light puzzle that requires precision movements of Hum to solve. Additionally – we have added a “range mode” for Hum – allowing players to switch control between the Vagrant and Hum. This allows Hum to move further away from the player character and explore while the Vagrant stays stationary. We think this mechanic will be helpful for players when scouting new areas without overwhelming them with having to control two separate characters. 

Progress Report:

  • Merged systems together and make a build for the Tuesday Playtest Night
  • Iterated on the shadow puzzle
  • Improved the level layout
  • Iterated on the level greybox
  • Planned for small assets for the level
  • Improved Hum attack projectile
  • Reacted to the playtest night feedback
  • Weekly blogs
  • Website polished

Plan for next week:

  • Make a build for the Tuesday Playtest Night
  • Iterate on the shadow puzzle
  • IP form signed
  • Level design and reward design meetings
  • Iterated on the level greybox
  • Draw more smaller assets for the level
  • React to the playtest night feedback
  • Weekly blogs
  • Set up all pages on website
  • Finalize poster and half-sheet


  • Need to explore the design possibilities and get feedback from playtesters
  • Need to prioritize the feedback we got and set goals for halves
  • Need to think about creative ways to implement light and shadow into mechanics