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MA Game Design: Completing the First Screenplay & Prototyping

Holy moly guacamole, a new post!

So, since the last post, a fair bit of work has been completed which is a huge relief. This is across a few different documents, including my GDD, which annoyingly resulted in me creating more visual assets to help convey what I was writing better. This includes stuff like diagrams, mock ups, the works, so I've ended up losing more time than was anticipated. I can talk about some of the more interesting pieces of progress at least, like the first complete script and prototyping it!


The First Complete Screenplay

One of the two key screenplays have been finalised - that being the screenplay for Allan's route in the first case. Originally, I had intended for this screenplay to conclude after the training segment was finished, which would be where the main co-op mechanics are introduced and explained. In the interests of time, though, I've decided to stop it just before this training segment starts. If the writing can be finished in time, I may look to extend it back to the original stopping point, but as things stand, the time will be better used working on the remaining artefacts and documents. I'm really happy with how it turned out, since all the links work perfectly and take you to the start of whatever you chose to click on - just like in the "Choose Your Own Adventure" books! Hooray!

The second screenplay, i.e. Ace's, is part-way done but not in a completed state yet. Part of this is because I realised I lacked an introduction location for Ace. Allan's intro scene is outside of the HQ building since he has driven there, but for Ace its not as straight forward. I would've liked to have had some kind of room with dog cages in it for Ace to begin at, which would also be where he meets the first animal NPC, Hunter, but I've not been able to find a suitable image. So, I've had to adjust the starting narrative for things to make sense. When you now start as Ace, you'll be in a covered cage and be introduced to a different view of the same HQ building, which will be inside a sort of walled off garden. The rest still needs to be written out, sooo more writing for me! Luckily this is all in my head already, I just need to get it out!


Prototyping in Arcweave

Regarding the prototyping portion, I've had to make a slight change to the schedule. Long story short, the time its taken for me to get the documents to this stage has meant that doing a prototype with Inky and Unity may risk me running out of time. As an alternative (and sort of Plan B in case I have a half-baked Unity project), I've begun using Arcweave instead to start constructing a more basic clickable prototype to accompany the screenplays. Granted, this lacks the snazziness that I could get in Unity - such as text appearing one character at a time and other effects - but its a faster and more efficient use of my time right now.

I have (surprise surprise) had to create some additional, but minor, bits of artwork so that it looks nice when playtesting. Its early stages, but so far I think it looks nice!

The main menu or choose your character screen

The first moments of gameplay

This is actually the much cleaner set up that you're seeing. The first iteration was a little more chaotic, with more text boxes among the arrows and additional islands (blocks? elements? the square boxes) that were meant to be like a new screen. Since the design would be...

  1. Options are on screen (Move To, Investigate, Talk To, Present)

  2. Picking any option except "Investigate" brings up a different UI, e.g., a list of locations to go to

  3. Clicking one of these new options results in an action, e.g., moving to a new scene or location

I was trying to reflect this inside Arcweave. Sadly, it did not work as expected, instead making the project look cluttered and resulting in a lot of transitions happening that were unnecessary (when you move to a new box, it automatically does a fade in/out effect that cannot be controlled). So, it ended up having this more streamlined appearance and the transitions are far fewer now! All boxes are also labelled for easier navigation. The colours also represent certain actions within the context of the game: blue means you are moving to somewhere and red means you are investigating a scene. More colours will be added later once I get to those bridges and cross them.


Closing Thoughts

Well, that was another speedy update! Mostly because I want to save my writing energy for the all-important documents. The Arcweave service is incredibly handy, and its very easy to pick up thankfully. I also looked at Arcity, but hooooo boy is that a far more intimidating piece of software to make heads and tales of!

Right, I best get back to writing out...well, everything else! So, thanks for reading, and see you next time - buh byyyye! :)

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