OK, I’m going to pull back the curtain on the Valiant Interactive Dev Diaries. Every Monday we have a weekly meeting to discuss our progress from the previous seven days and to bicker about inane details that will probably never get implemented. At the end of this meeting, I request a list of features worthy of writing about on the following Tuesday. I usually eliminate a few elements (such as concept art that’s better saved for a character reveal) and if enough visual stuff has been added, I’ll put together a video. So imagine my horror at the end of the meeting last night when I look down at my final list; this week: Loading Screens, Project Management and Optimisation! …Yay?
We’ve been running into some issues in our playtest of our framerate hitching during the earlier moments of the match. We realised that Unity was pulling in assets that we’d not been loading properly and this was causing the game to wait until loading was complete. We’d been somewhat ignoring the pressing issue of managing our loading process, so Jenny has taken on the challenge of writing a robust Loading Manager for us to use on this and all future projects. It has three goals:
- To make sure that all game elements are loaded before gameplay begins (seems obvious, really).
- To start loading game elements once we’re certain that they will be used in gameplay (to alleviate time on our loading screen).
- To allow players to sit and load assets if they want (like their character model on the character select screen) but be agile enough for the player to rattle up and down our menu trees if they are in a hurry.
Project design and management ploughs on as ever. The most interesting decision that we came to this week was to split up the visual and gameplay elements from our levels into “arenas” and “courts” respectively, similar to the way that stadiums in real life are designed to contain a variety of sports. Arenas are our visuals outwith the game area and courts are our arrangements of goals, nets and other obstacles that drive gameplay. With this divide, we’ll be able to expand the lifetime of the game by creating dozens of unique match styles. We currently have two courts: singles and doubles.
See you next week!