090 - Prototyping Hunting

October 25, 2020

This week I kicked off a new routine where, for the next couple of months, I will be prototyping and deploying a new game play idea within the world of Akigi every week.

One benefit of this new weekly prototype cadence is that needing to deliver weekly will force me to focus on building the most important aspects of each feature, as opposed to spending time on less urgent improvements.

A second benefit is that having a deadline to aim for each week serves as a motivator that increases the amount of time per week that I can spend at peak focus, especially in the last few days of the week as the deadline begins to feel more pressing.

Third, by focusing my week on delivering game play there is less opportunity for me to over invest in my guilty pleasure of tooling and automation.

I hope that this new routine will lead to a few fun features and a few eager players that feel invested in Akigi and are excited for it to come to fruition.

For now, my plan is to throw all of the prototypes into one area of the world over the coming months as I iterate towards having a handful of fun game mechanics.

Once there is interesting game play in place and there are a few players looking forwards to Akigi's progress I will use a couple of months to better organize the world before releasing an official alpha version of Akigi.


This week I worked on prototyping the Hunting skill.

Hunting Prototype Vision

Akigi is a point and click game, and point and click games are not generally known for giving you a feeling of deep immersion in the activity that you are performing.

Despite this, I am aiming for the player to feel engaged with the skills that they are performing and training.

I started my approach with the Hunting prototype by thinking about how you hunt in the real world. You may go off into the woods, look for indications of a nearby animal such as tracks and broken twigs, and then continue to follow the clues until you find your prey.

Or you may set up a trap in a frequented area and come back later.

You may catch some prey live, while others you might first finish off with a bow.

This week I wanted to capture the feeling of using your wits to track down your prey and then catch it.

When you are close to tracks you can see and inspect them. A good hunter is able to tell the direction that the tracks point in and how fresh they are, giving a sense of how nearby the animal might be.

By following the tracks you eventually find a rabbit burrow and can attempt to grab the rabbit. If you are quick enough, you'll catch it. Otherwise it will run away and you will have to track down another one.

Making this feel right will take iteration. This week way my first attempt.

Hunting Prototype Reality

I did not finish all of the functionality that I wanted to prototype this week. In fact, I barely even have anything visible to show.

Even still. I am happy with how this first week of prototyping went. It showed me that the engine has come far enough to be able to get game play into the game in a reasonable amount of time, albeit rudimentary this time around.

Most of the work that I did for this prototype was one time ground work that will be re-used for future features, so as the engine matures and more of the ground work is in place my prototyping speed will get faster and faster.

That's encouraging.

What I managed to get done for this weeks prototype. Not much, but I am looking forward to the second week of prototyping. I did not get to make new meshes, so I used placeholders. I also did not get to making a hunting animation. Better luck next week.

Other Notes / Progress

  • Added the ability to focus and edit a TextArea in the user interface. This will be useful for different editor tools.

  • The first couple of weeks of prototyping will be slower and have less to show for themselves than future weeks since I will be adjusting to this new cadence and putting engine features into place to support it. But I'm expecting that over the next few weeks I will begin to be able to deliver more robust prototypes each week.

Next Week

For the next journal entry I will be prototyping the Butcher skill.

This skill involves converting1 animals that have been caught into different raw materials.

The Butcher skill will feed into other skills.

For example, you may use certain animal parts for ceremonial rituals, or as ingredients in cooking recipes or for juju.


Cya next time!

- CFN

1

Put nicely.