Wind with the Wind is progressing nicely and we have already gone through some play-testing which ran successfully in my opinion. I considered it successful as the wind gusts are finally operating the way that I imagined they would.
I wanted the mechanics of the game to replicate the feeling of flying a kite and using the wind to get higher. The wind gusts are meant to appear at random and with different strengths for different lengths of time to push the players kite higher into the sky and gaining meters.
As the players kite reaches each wind gust, the swoop bar is filled, which enables the player to swoop or fly towards the wind gust. As the button is pressed the swoop meter decreases, if the meter is totally depleted the player will not be able to swoop and will also begin to lose height.
The movement of the players kite and the wind gusts are meant to give the player a feeling of satisfaction of catching a wind gust and gaining height. The swoop meter is also meant to give the player a sense of urgency in the fact that if the meter runs out, they will lose height and possibly lose.
I chose to make the background scroll upwards as the player gains height. This is to give the player of moving upwards. The height meter count is also placed at the top of the screen to give the player an aiming point as well as a reminder of what they are trying to achieve. I didn’t want a side scrolling game but something that actually felt like the kite was getting higher and higher as time went by. Combined with the hazards that are designed to appear when the player reaches certain heights the player should hopefully feel like they are flying higher and higher.
The hazards which include:
- bird 1 and bird 2 are designed to fly and appear as birds do. The only difference between the both is that bird 1 flies straight across the screen and bird 2 will appear and then flying directly towards the players kite before disappearing.
- kite 1 and kite 2 are designed so that they appear as and behave like kites would in the win. Kite 1 has the same behavior as bird 1 and kite 2 is the same as bird 2.
- Light aircraft, commuter jets and jumbo jets are designed so that they will fly from one side of the screen to another. They are designed to behave like aircraft, flying straight and level.
- Storm clouds are designed to appear and behave like storm clouds with rain, thunder and lightning and will appear at random before disappearing. They will push the players kite down towards the ground making it lose height, if the players kite gets hit by a lightening bolt then the players kite is destroyed.
The hazards and their mechanics are all set up to give the player a sense of challenge and achievement by using their skills to avoid the hazards.
I wanted the mechanics of the hazards and the players kite in the game to interact in such a way that the player hopefully experienced:
- the player was presented with a goal of getting the kite to a desired height or as high as they could fly it on the last level.
- hazards give the player a chance to develop their skills in the game as well as added challenge .
- Meter counter added for more incentive.
- Swoop meter added to give player a sense of maintaining an important resource and when getting low, player is urged to replenish as soon as possible.
- The player is meant to feel how it means to fly a kite and use the wind to maintain and gain height.
- The music is meant to give the player a serene and playful feeling to replicate the simple pleasure of flying a kite.
I purposely asked questions aimed at what experience did the tester feel when playing the game as that was what I considered the most important in this game. The primary design concept was to allow the player to experience the simple joy and pleasure of flying a kite. I wanted to know as a designer if that was being replicated in the game. My first question was:
How did it feel like, flying the kite, using the wind gusts, and avoiding hazards?
My desired response – It felt like flying a kite and having to depend on the wind to gain height, the hazards provided an extra challenge but were not impossible to overcome.
Actual responses – The responses were mixed but a few testers did respond and confirmed what I was trying to replicate.
What did you find most challenging when flying the kite?
My desired response – Maintaining and gaining height was challenging or Avoiding hazards.
Actual responses – Majority of tester’s did respond and confirmed what I was asking for.
How often did you have to use the swoop action?
My desired response – I had to use the swoop action a lot to avoid hazards as well as to catch wind gusts.
Actual Responses – The majority of tester’s did respond and confirmed what I was asking for.
When I go through the feedback and responses from the play-testing I have to be honest and say at the best it is mixed results. Yes some testers did experience all of the above but an equal amount only experienced a portion or none at all. I will speak more of this in the post-mortem.
My goals and ideas behind the game were meant to replicate and give the player the above experiences and if we had more time we would have probably delivered a product that would have given all that. There is talk of changing the kite to a balloon as this would make more sense, but if that happens then in a way I have failed as a designer to adequately express the concept I wanted. It’s not a total loss as the concept document can easily accommodate such a change, it’s just disappointing on a personal level.
That’s all for now, thank you so much for your time and interest. Until next time…..
God’s blessings upon you.