Week 7 – March 1st, 2024

Work Preparation:

This Monday, we had our half presentation, and the team received useful feedback from the faculty. They mentioned that while our focus on game graphics aligns with our initial plan to emphasize the game’s unique art style, they are hoping to see more emphasis on game design ideas. This is precisely what the team is currently concentrating on.

Immediately after the presentation, we held a level design meeting with our instructors, Jonathan and Heather. The team had been grappling with level design for some time, and this meeting provided us with a lot of inspiration. As a result, we decided to create a mini-map to kickstart the process for the GDC playtest.

Last week, the team established deliverable goals for GDC, and all members have been working hard towards meeting these goals this week. Enemy animations were created, a new enemy called the Mite was introduced, and the Hum flash ability has been implemented.

Playtest with Dorseyville Middle School Students:

We playtested with 6 students from Dorseyville Middle School this week. We were delighted to see that most students managed to solve the shadow puzzle with no problem. However, some bugs were also noticed during the playtest. Here are some useful feedback we got from the students:

  • Want flavor texts when they interact with objects in the environment 
  • Should convey feedback better when you’re hit in combat 
  • A lot of people hit things that are not interactables, like books 
  • “Hard to tell it is a puzzle when it has no textures” 
  • Hum stun not working on mites 
  • Mini boys just get knocked back and fly out of screen by Hum stun, feels too powerful 
  • Notice some players do good Hum stun + player attack combo, should tune the battle to make more of those player behaviors appear 
  • Invisible obstacle / weird collider bottom right of the beginning camp area 
  • Want to have visible enemy health bar 
  • Hum and player both use WASD control feels weird

Level Design Iteration

This week, we iterated on the game level after the team brainstormed together in the level design meeting. We decided to create a more open level, offering a nonlinear player experience where players can explore the giant house without being directed to a strict path. Our aim is to provide players with surprise rewards for exploration. However, certain areas, such as the tutorial and puzzle-solving sections, will be somewhat restricted.

Additionally, we plan to incorporate hidden passages and shortcuts that allow players to save time backtracking and provide a way to escape during combat encounters. With these ideas in mind, we created a new mini-level, and Annie began laying out the map using the Tilemap in the engine.

Astrolabe Puzzle + Furnace with Fire + More Book Variations:

During this week, the art team began to prepare assets for the showcase and playtesting for GDC at the end of March. After the decision on the shadow puzzle gameplay and the main quest of the room which is to light up the furnace, the designer team finished a set of complete design documents that helped artists to design and create corresponding assets. The first prototype of the astrolabe puzzle was created which consisted of crystals, astrolabe, gate, and runes that indicate game mechanics and background story. The idea is that players will be able to open the gate after Hum unlit every purple crystal and complete the rune pattern on the right side. On the other hand, the lit version of the furnace was completed with a combination of fire and lighting animation. Placed at the center of the room, this asset will become part of the iconic subjects of the game which visually captures players’ attentions and leads them to uncover more myths revolving around the room.

Hum Flash Ability Implemented:

This week, our artist Derek began working on the animation for Hum’s flash ability. We iterated on it through several versions to ensure that the light stun range is clear and conveys a powerful feeling. Ezra then implemented the animation in the game.

Currently, if there are enemies within the light stun range, they will be knocked back slightly and stunned for several seconds. After implementing this feature, we observed some interesting player behaviors. Players would often send Hum forward first to stun the enemy, and then move the player character closer to attack when it’s safe. This behavior aligns with our intentions, as it encourages players to practice their skills in combat.

Progress Report:

  • Made a build for the Tuesday Playtest Night
  • Shadow puzzle design doc wrote
  • Hum flash implemented
  • Finished mite (slime enemy) implementation
  • More mite(slime enemy) animation
  • Level design polished
  • Iterated on the level greybox
  • Drew more smaller assets for the level
  • Reacted to the playtest night feedback
  • Reacted to the half presentation feedback
  • Weekly blogs

Plan for next week:

  • Bullcap(mushroom enemy) behaviors + animation plugged in
  • Enchatrelle(ranged enemy) animation
  • Mite swarm behavior
  • Valve asse + software
  • Level art pass + add colliders
  • Flash cost
  • Light refill collectables
  • Light candles with Hum + upgrade system
  • Polish combat
  • Puzzle assets
  • More smaller assets
  • Weekly blogs


  • Need to explore the design possibilities and get feedback from playtesters
  • Need to prioritize the feedback we got and meet the GDC milestone goal 
  • Need to make sure systems are in scope
  • Need to think about creative ways to implement light and shadow into mechanics