The Piggy Payback! Alpha demo is finally out! We’ve had a bunch of people play it and we’ve received overwhelmingly positive feedback. Much better than we we’re expecting. We also received a lot of great ideas as to how we can improve the game, and we are going to use most or all of them. We’re so grateful to all of our playtesters, so thank you, guys!
Some of this devblog post is from right before the demo, so for those I’ll be talking about pre-demo updates.
Last week before we released the demo we did some testing to get the appropriate point thresholds for each level. This gives the playtesters of the demo the proper level of challenge. We found that we could pretty easily collect most of the birds and eggs, but we kept in mind something called “developer difficulty”. The fact that we, as developers, play our own game so much that we get super good at it. So we set the difficulty to match. Then when the players play, not having played before, they find it far too difficult. So we kept that in mind while we set the point thresholds.
We disabled some of the emitters in the cannon blast particle system because it was briefly freezing the game when the system spawned on the Android build, even on new phones. We also made the particles a big smaller. We hope this prevents the game from freezing briefly upon launch.-
We also made menu buttons bigger since there’s plenty of room, and we want the UI/menu to be as easy and enjoyable to navigate as possible. We increased the size of the buttons by about 20%.
We’re having a problem with the boards in the levels properly taking the material. We added logic to force the material, as well as collision onto the boards, but this didn’t work. We will come back to this.
We removed all shadows and changed all lights to static to improve performance. We also updated the intensity and other settings on the Directional Light and other lights. We then built the lighting on every map. This is the build we used for the demo.
We’ve started on the tutorial video for the next demo and what will eventually be in the final game. It shows a large green rectangle around each half of the screen to show where you can touch to engage the left and right paddles. It will also Have a pointing finger showing the player how to select the power and launch their pig.
We’ve devised a brand new power+launch mechanic which is both actions built into one. The player will touch and hold the button then drag in the direction they want to launch. The farther out they drag their finger before releasing, the more power the launch will have. There will be a power meter that fills up as you drag your finger to show how much power you’re using. The engine will get the original touch as well as the release point to tell what direction and power % to use.
We fixed some more problems we’ve been having. We fixed the problem with the boards. This was only happening in the Android builds, but we’ve managed to solve it. We also fixed the flashing bricks on level 6. This was happening on the background of level 4 before and we already fixed it, so this was an easy fix. We also fixed the lack of functionality on vertical levels by scrapping the current logic and redoing it, then resetting the engine. Sometimes this is all that’s needed.
We’re still having an issue where the CrowBomb explosion particles don’t show up on Android builds. For now we just created a black feather explosion particle to match the color of the crow. But we’re going to have to look into this further.
[Next pig button]
We made some changed to the UI HUD as well. I drafted up a new “Next pig” button with the image of the 2D spherical pig with a curved arrow above it. Then Andrew created this in Photoshop and we added it to the game to the button that just said “Next”.
We finished creating the point multipliers in the game. The system that gives you x1, x2, x3 or x4 points depending on how fast the pig is moving when it squashes the bird or egg. We then made the point multipliers show on the HUD next to the point pop-ups when you score a bird or egg. Now the max points you can score per level is extremely hard to get, so hopefully players will be playing the levels over and over to beat each others’ scores. This brings a lot of replayability to the game.
We decided to remove the Pinko Board level from the game until we have it fully functioning. As it stands, if we added it in, all that would happen is the pig would start falling upon loading the level and bounce to the bottom and trigger a sound effect. We felt that it’s kind of pointless to have just that. So for the next demo we hope to have it functioning properly.
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