Build in Progress

Many, many blueprints later, Construction on the official Zombie Crawler controls have begun! The last couple of weeks we’ve sent our lead technician on a hunt for materials all around town (She did mention something about having to “saw by hand –on a bench made for giants- a 3.6 meter long wooden plank in order for it to fit in her car”), this thursday we’ve finally been able to get to work in the workshop in Fårösund.

Lead Tech Linda and Producer Anders were sent on the mission to build our treadmill. Even though it was a bit of a sacrifice for us, sending two from our team at once, it was a good thing we did as it probably cut the build-production time by half!

Linda begun her work by sawing up the wooden planks while Anders found a suitable wooden slab to use to support the treadmill fabric on which the player will be dragging herself forwards on.

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Our Producer Anders in action!

We pre-drilled the screw holes to prevent the wood from cracking later on. We’ll be placing two thick metal pipes on each end of the frame where we’ll attach our treadmill fabric. We’re constantly being told to mind the somewhat more viol… I mean eager and enthusiastic players, the build needs to be steady and strong to withstand all kinds of abuse. 😉

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Our treadmill-frame is taking shape.

 

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Violà!

It’s starting to look like something right? The build is only half done in fact. The fabric and metal pipes are still to be attached, as well as one more of these kind of frames will have to be constructed, thus enabling our tilt-function! More on that next week, stay tuned. 😉

 

Highlights of the Week

So, you might be asking yourself what the MolaMola group has been upto so far? In today’s blogpost I’ll give you a personal update from our team members.

Until the near end of this week, our programmers have been building Zombie Crawler from scratch, engine and all in C++. However, as it turns out… it might have been a case of biting of more than we could chew, considering our given time frame. In a bold move, our programmers decided to switch over to GameMaker as a platform for building Zombie Crawler instead, salvaging what code they could from the previous build. The final decision to use said engine was taken as a result of a demo of our core gameplay, produced in GameMaker at an impressive speed which also went above and beyond our expectations. According to our Lead Programmer, project synchronization of assets will be much simpler in a GameMaker project, but there might be some issues following changes to code, without some more advanced knowledge of GameMaker’s own source control. So far the change has filled the dev team with renewed energy and confidence!

As for our game art department, we’re steadily making progress. As always, turns out there are a lot more to do than we originally accounted for. Zombie Crawlers artstye is heavily inspired by comic books such as The Walking Dead and Jonah Hex. Our intention is to go full out with this artistic view in the game, as if Zombie Crawler plays out in an actual comic book on paper pages. So far our work appears to be cohesive, next week we’re planning to have our avatar completely finished with all of it’s movement patterns. We’re also aiming for having all of our game’s animations complete, at least in a first draft stage.

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This thursday MolaMola’s Lead Tech and our mighty Producer, along with a gang of other groups, have taken a roadtrip to Fårösund on Gotland where they’ve visited the workshop and prop depository of a film studio. They were able to secure a few of the required materials for our treadmill-controller, which is awesome as it trims down our budgetcosts by quite a bit. In the coming week we’ll be sending them back to the workshop to begin our ambitious build!

Up until now our lead tech has put together various 3D models of how the actual construction is supposed to look like along with a rather daunting looking shopping list of all the bits and pieces of materials we’ll need for the build. We’re aiming to have our controller completed and ready to be manhandled within two weeks time. Wish us luck!

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Week Four in Production: Playtesting

We are now halfway through development of Zombie Crawler. To be completely honest, this week hasn’t been one of our best, the beginning of the week in particular as things were looking especially grim with no actual gameplay to show. I’m not going to lie to you, we’ve struggled slightly with motivating our team and getting things done.

Don’t get me wrong though, we have a group of passionate and dedicated students, eager to learn and improve. We have resolute faith in our game concept and we’re convinced it will be a roaring success at launch! Surely, everyone is allowed “one of those days”? Towards the end of the week we had already picked ourselves up and managed to present an actual prototype of our game for the playstesting session this Friday.

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We’ve received a lot of useful feedback from our playtesting subjects and were able to get a somewhat clear understanding of what our players are going to be expecting from Zombie Crawler. Naturally, the controls are still under development, meaning the players had to make do with a trackball and a keyboard (to some of our players disappointment).  None of our textures, animations or images have been implemented as of yet. You can however, claw at chairs, crawl through the corridor, dodge incoming bullets and munch on human flesh at the end.

We now have exactly one week until our Alpha is due, meaning this week will be a busy one! We’re intending to finish off all of our animations, add sound, implement the stamina meter and establish a Punch-Out-esque fighting sequence with our unfortunate human victim upon reaching the end of the level.

More updates to come within the next few days, aren’t you excited? 😉