Accessible controls and clear objectives/obstacles would make the game very easy to pick up.
The game should have the player in constant movement, forcing them to make quick decisions on the fly.
A home is relaxing and we want to embrace that through how are game is presented visually.
What Does Home Mean to Us?
We agreed that home is wherever you make it and whatever you want it to be. This cosmopolitan ideology drove us to the idea of inhabiting an RV home. Home is exactly where you are throughout your journey.
Homebound is a game that simply requires the player to utilize one analog stick on a controller or the left & right arrow keys on a keyboard. Players maneuver away from obstacles and towards gasoline all while picking up souvenirs along the way.
Character Controller Prototype
With the character controller completed, we modeled the obstacles, collectibles and terrain to establish the scene. The terrain instantiates and moves towards the player with the objects instantiating at random point within a range, moving at the same speed as the terrain. This "treadmill" gives the illusion that the player is moving forward.
We constantly playtested to find ways in which we could iterate our design! This included tweaking the speed of our terrain movement and adding drag to the player so it felt more like a heavy RV was actually being driven.
Making it Juicy
I wanted to experiment with lighting manipulation within the game scene so I created a script for a day and night cycle that was a essentially two directional lights rotating around a pivot point. The lights were synced with two spheres that also rotated to look like the sun and the moon. As the duration for the cycle progresses, the colour gradient transitions smoothly from dawn to dusk and loops back seamlessly.
Day and Night Implementation
Finally, I added a post processing layer to the main camera, specifically bringing ambient occlusion and grain to the scene. These two attributes added some cartoon-esque depth to our visual design while still reinforcing the simplistic and toy-like artsyle.
Post Processing Adjustments
We were proud of what we created considering the time we were given; and, despite being very tired, we learned a lot along our 36 hour journey! For me as a designer, nothing beats watching someone smile as they interact with something I created.
Test. Iterate. Test again!
Conducting play test sessions frequently was vital to the progress and success of our game. We began testing immediately from the prototype stages which helped us to make make informed gameplay adjustments from the game concept to the end product.