Progress for ARC Continuum has been coming along nicely. A big part of the game design process is iteration – that is, going through what you have and discovering how you can make it better. In this week’s blog, we will talk about what we are doing.
One of the first things we can talk about is art. Games are visual experiences. Currently, we are working on the levels that will make up the first playable beta. From an artist’s point of view, working on this beta involves looking at each level from multiple perspectives: How is the lighting? Are there any textures we can improve? How can we guide players where they want to go? What can we do to improve performance/lag?
By going through the levels in this way, artists can identify what they think is missing and add these elements to complete the visual experience. On ARC Continuum, we are striving to create a world that makes sense and feels complete as opposed to a world that purely exists to contain gameplay.
Something that is harder to nail down is design, especially as it isn’t something you can just see in a picture. Improving gameplay is a result of constant playtesting. Designers need to get into the game and see how the powers “feel”, how the weapons are balanced, how difficult the puzzles are – the list goes on and on.
Everyone at Akimbo Creations loves games and we bring that passion into our work. By critically reviewing other games, we can identify not only what their designers did right but also what they did wrong. The idea isn’t to copy systems from other games, but to identify how certain game aspects make you feel as a player and what mechanic, or combination of mechanics caused that feeling.
We believe games should always be designed with the player’s experience in mind. Every part of the game should work towards an engaging user experience, where each mechanic is a cog in the machine that drives the experience.
With the base systems in place, the programmers now have their work cut out for them – they are constantly optimizing and adding to the ever growing codebase that makes up the game. As the designers identify what is missing from the game, they discover more features that need to be added and variables that must be tweaked. When testing, you always find bugs that you never even thought about – sometimes when you fix one bug you inadvertently cause another. Because of this, a designer & programmer’s job is never truly done. Even after release, we will be improving the game with patches and even extra content.