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2011 March

Finalizing Features for Forever Hunted – Plans for Summer

     We are now about five weeks away from having alpha, so as designer the pressure is on to really make sure this is feature complete. We’ve had an enormous amount of tech problems regarding the UDK and it’s lack of scripting documentation — our possible feature set continues to shrink, although all this is doing is pulling the game back into the scope of the original pitch I put forth. Many good ideas had been generated by both myself and the team in the intervening period during out design labs and independently, but they are now being stripped back. This is not that worrisome, as simpler is often better anyway. If we nail our two or three primary mechanics, we’ll be in wonderful shape.

Nonetheless, I’m gearing up to work on the project over the summer. I’ve started familiarizing myself with Unreal script, and I’d really love to be proficient enough with it to be able to implement a few straggling features over the break. The big one I would -love- to tackle is getting some parkour movement up and running (no pun intended.) Right now, movement is restricted to a subset of the existing UDK controls (standard FPS fair.) I want to get us more toward Mirror’s Edge. Movement should be deeply pleasurable in our world.

I’ve been rallying parts of the team to work with me over summer. Hours won’t be that long, but 12-15 a week will make all the difference in the end.

White boxing Forever Hunted with UDK

     Started working with the UDK a few days ago building prototype levels for Forever Hunted. Initially it looked pretty daunting, but it’s actually a fantastic tool. Making BSP based white box levels is quick and easy — it’s simple to throw some geometry together and get play testing. Really enjoying it. While there are incredible levels of depth and complexity I haven’t touched yet, as a designer I can get what I need from it quickly and easily, then hand the results off to the environment artist or the programming team and go from there.

If I go much deeper into the UDK it might be learning some Unreal script so I can implement and test some rough mechanics. The coding team says documentation for it is near non-existent, which I’m sure is as frustrating to them as it will be to me. Looking forward to diving into that angle when I get some time regardless. Sadly, getting familiar with the UDK has put learning Unity on hold — I’d far rather get proficient with one than muddy the attempt of learning either. I’ll build a game in Unity this summer to get familiar with that package.