Okay, so I’m a little late on this one…. 😛
On a slightly more serious note, I would like to apologise for not posting for a while. I’m at the stage where testing is pretty much required for me to progress, and the stuff that I had to work on once I’d gotten some testing in wasn’t massively interesting until now. With that said, since Murdoch Uni’s Co-Op group has started up again, I’ve managed to get a lot of work done on Samurai Showdown since my last update. While none of it was directed at making new mechanics, quite a bit has gone into making the gameplay better, the visuals more interesting, and the UI more readable by humans and not hypothetical AI from the distant future, among many other areas.
So, with that said, let’s get started!
New Sounds And A Music Manager:
Thanks to Brian’s continuing efforts to Make Samurai Showdown Sound Good(TM), I’ve been steadily replacing sound effects from the original implementation with Brian’s new ones and adding sounds where there previously were none.
Here’s an example of what the countdown sound effect sounds like now that I’ve added Brian’s work:
I’ve also added a music manager to Samurai Showdown that takes advantage of FMOD’s API to offer players a pretty standard assortment of tools to control how their game sounds. It’s nothing too fancy, but it means that I won’t have to bother using Unity’s audio mixers and I’m entirely too happy to skip learning how to use those. :v
New Countdown Effect:
To accompany the new sound effects for the pre-round countdown, I’ve also completely changed how the game displays and handles the countdown. Firstly, I’ve made it so that instead of simply appearing in the centre of the screen, the countdown text appears at the top of the screen and drops like so:
I’ve also decided to make take a note from Bro Force’s book and made the final ‘Go!’ text more kinetic and, well, hyperactive. This means that players really get a sense of energy from the game and is part of my gradual tinkering with the game feel to get players pumped before a match.
Finally, and thanks to the feedback of the testers at Murdoch’s Co-Op dev group, I added controller rumble to the countdown.
New And Improved Menus:
As part of an effort to make the main menu less, well… boring, I’ve been adding some background features and experimenting with animating things such as clouds. While the menu itself is mostly unchanged, there have been several changes made to the options menu and the character selection menu.
For the most part, the character selection menu remains mostly unchanged. However, to improve usability for players, I’ve added text to inform them how to access the profile menu and create new profiles, and just below the character view, I’ve informed players how to select a character.
These lines of text and the button icon all change their appearance/wording depending on which controller is plugged in, though the button image is limited to Xbox/Dual Shock controllers due to a lack of graphical assets on my part.
The changes to the options menu, meanwhile, are quite significant. While little has changed since last time, visually speaking, the options menu now features both keyboard and mouse support, and gamepad support. Players can now select resolutions or change the volume of the music with equal comfort, and there is only one major bug outstanding and that should be fixed by the time my next update is posted!
Gameplay UI improvement:
After too long a wait, I’ve finally managed to set up the central list mode of Samurai Showdown so that it can now handle the event when two players have differing controllers. While nothing too fancy in the long run, it means that I can avoid confusing players and that’s always good in my book.
Furthermore, I’ve also changed the look of the directional arrows used in the game as I noticed that players were often having to pause and analyse what the game wanted them to do. Again, this is nothing too fancy, but it minimises confusion and generally makes the game more fun to play.
Finishing Options Menu Improvements:
As mentioned above, there remains one flaw to the options menu and that is when the resolution is changed a remnant bit of a code is triggered and spawns a confirmation menu that attempts to get data from a now defunct script. While this doesn’t prevent the resolution change, it is disruptive and I need to replace the menu panel that spawns with a new one that allows players to revert or confirm their changes.
Fixing Missing Gamepad Support:
Currently, Samurai Showdown has a bit of a meltdown if a gamepad is unplugged during play or is unplugged when the game starts due to how controller assignment is handled. Hopefully, this will be resolved in the next month or so and players will be able to hot-swap controllers at will.
Fixed Menu Screen Appearing Before Panels Close:
This was actually a bug that I noticed long ago, but for whatever reason hadn’t gotten around to fixing until recently. Essentially what would happen is that when players finished a round of Samurai Showdown, sometimes the end of round menu would pop up before the game had finished moving the versus screen panels back into place. While this didn’t really impact how the game ran, it did make things look weird and so I had to fix it. With that said, the system now works as intended and the end of round panel doesn’t pop up until versus screen panels are in place.
Fixed Volume Starting At 0:
When starting a fresh copy of Samurai Showdown (I.E one without any saved data) the system would automatically set the volume of the game to zero. This has since been fixed, though I may adjust the starting volume later to ensure that no one blows out their eardrums the first time they start the game.
Profile Buttons Resize Properly:
Previously, profile buttons weren’t being resized properly alongside the game. That’s since been fixed.
There honestly isn’t much left to say at this point beyond the fact that it’s slowly getting done and I’m looking forward to getting some art from my very kind volunteers. With some luck, I’ll be able to take Samurai Showdown to next month’s Playup Perth event and get some feedback from random Perthians (and have a good excuse to get pizza :P)
As always, thanks for taking the time to read this update on Samurai Showdown and until next time, bye!