The Next Step - Capstone and Chaos Crew
Now that OASYS is mostly wrapped up (and available to play here) and I've managed to make it all the way to my senior capstone, I think it's about time to announce what's next. Last year, before the whole pandemic, everyone in our year formed into teams. A few good friends and I agreed to form a team, and now it's finally time for us to get to work on something new. We're excited to say that Chaos Crew (that's us) is currently in the early concept and prototyping phase of a new take on Cyberpunk Victorian Occultism. More on that soon.
For now, I want to talk a bit about some of the decisions that I've had to make early on in order to make sure we can execute on our vision within the roughly thirteen week time frame that we have before greenlight. In other words, the infamous scope vs. time dilemma. For context, my role on the team is Systems and Technical Design. That said, we're still a very small team of six, so some overlap into other roles will be inevitable.
Currently, our plan is to simultaneously develop three prototypes, each of which is an element of the larger game that we plan to make. Our programmers are working on prototyping out the combat loop, our narrative designer is working on a prototype to demonstrate how narrative and gameplay will be intertwined in progression, and I'm working on a prototype UI for menus and combat. A major reason why we're doing three prototypes for things that are planned to be in the same final product is that scope vs. time dilemma I mentioned earlier. By focusing on these separate elements of the game as prototypes, we can quickly iterate and change each element of the game based on feedback from these separate early prototypes. If stats and gear aren't engaging in the prototype UI form, it's easy to make adjustments without needing to change the other prototypes. Additionally, if we learn that the combat loop isn't as fun as we had hoped, we can easily change to a different combat format entirely without getting too far into full development.
Last week, we spent a fair amount of time scoping down our original concepts to help keep our sanity intact as well. We decided to focus on turn-based combat, so that we wouldn't have to deal with complex real-time AI. I'm also rapidly prototyping three different basic UI layouts so we can test early on what works best. I've also dedicated a lot of time to building out a statistics spreadsheet that covers every stat the player will have on their party members, which can double as a stat calculator for the team in case we need to do some quick balancing. As we go on, I'm sure there will be many more sacrifices that will need to be made, but for now I've covered most of our major decisions without going in to too much detail on the minute things. This blog will be getting pretty frequent updates on the progress of this project (which will hopefully have a name soon) so check back often!