vOS is dead. Well, our original concept for vOS is dead. The wonderful floating head of the game’s focal operating system has not survived past the first round of iterative design, and its in-game representation has been removed, as we’ve chosen instead to portray vOS’ character through an in-game console log instead. Not only does this offer performance improvements (no more secondary perspective camera, yay!), but we think that through compelling dialogue, we can actually characterize vOS better than an animated head full of angry, angry eyes that is almost too hard to pay attention to anyway. vOS will be sticking around to guide players through the tutorial, become exploitable in the progress screen to spout random dialogue that reveals more of its backstory, and generally yell angrily at the player through the new text-only medium.
Speaking of replacing old game elements with newer, better ones: the player has gone back to the drawing board this week after we reviewed the current design and found it lacking. The player avatar’s gyroscopic shape actually evolved out of the original player model for GLTCH’s first prototype, which featured dragging the player over the grid instead of controlling it with swipe gestures. With so much of the game that has changed between then and now, we’ve realized that the player really deserves a redesign effort from the ground-up to suit the new control scheme and pace of play. This marks the last 3D element of our 3D game to become a sprite, so I guess we can no longer tout that attribute…
The beginning of this redesign process came about with our desire for a better material shader for the player, as cut-of-the-mill transparent green wasn’t doing it for us anymore. We discovered matcap shaders, a material concept that originated in Zbrush that a) we had never heard of before, and b) is totally awesome. A matcap (material capture) material basically captures all of the complex shader information of a detailed 3D setup (bump, reflection, specular, etc) and maps this to a flat 2D projection of a sphere. The light is replaced with this small texture to offer some gorgeous visuals at a fraction of the processing cost – perfect for mobile games! Matcap shaders have their drawbacks, but it suited the needs of our new player perfectly.
Outside of the visual realm, GLTCH’s progression mode has been vastly improved this week through the redesign of the badge system. The loop badge has been replaced by the new multiplier badge, which makes a whole lot of sense since the former was basically punishing the player for a behaviour that was encouraged by gameplay. The new multiplier badge tasks the player with achieving a certain multiplier within the round instead, a challenge that is much better suited to GLTCH’s score-focused gameplay. We’ve removed the score badge and replaced it with the completion badge, which is awarded for completing the level’s basic objectives. Having to keep track of 2 different score targets and 2 different time targets was just far too confusing, and this new completion badge solves a heap of UI problems that had to do with showing whether a level had been completed or not.
With all the new badges ready to go, we’re just about ready to start designing actual, real levels to make use of them! We’ve been coming up with concepts all week, and once the basic difficulty and movement has been tweaked in Infinite Mode, we’ll be able to begin for realises.