Dredge Developer Blog – Sprint 8

In our Developer Blog Updates we’ll talk about some of the work we’ve completed in the previous two weeks and explain our approaches. Through this you’ll get an understanding of our game development methods and tidbits on the features we’re planning for Dredge!

Sprint 8: 

A big theme of this sprint has been player feedback – through SFX, visual FX and notifications we hope to make it easy for players to understand what’s going on in the game for them.

Notification System

Notifications are an easy-win for player feedback, we know let a player know when they’ve gained an item in their inventory, completed reading a book or importantly, when they take damage and potentially lose an item from the hull.

Camera shake on damage

Speaking of feedback we now have a shake effect when your boat collides with any of the environment… or if the environment collides with you.

Relic Spot FX

Relics are mysterious items that players will be able to dredge up from the seabed. They now have a special visual effect at day and night to help players identify them.

Sound FX

As we were starting gameplay testing this sprint we really wanted to give players as close as possible to the first session we imagine in the final released version of the game. Throwing in SFX helps add an extra layer of feedback and hopefully removes something that might otherwise stand out as strange for the player, distracting them from the experience that we want their feedback on. We just used some SFX from a giant asset pack.

Character Conversation icons

Some of these characters will want to talk to you when you pull into dock, their icons will be displayed in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen.

Boat Drag

Fixing an over-shoot issue we had on pulling up to fishing and dredging spots, adding a whole lot of extra drag on the boat when a player anchors seems to pull them up nicely.

Shipwrights Yard

Our Shipwright has an impressive shipyard now to help repair and upgrade your boat. Although you’ll have to help the town unlock its potential:

Fishing Speed

Fishing speed will now affect how fast you can reel in a fish after adding in the new mini-game for rod fishing.

Updates from playtests

After our first gameplay test this sprint (thanks Ollile!) we jumped in to make some tweaks ahead of our next two tests. They included:

  • Updating the weather weighting system, it rolled dark and stormy way too many days in a row, now it has a lower % chance of giving you bad weather
  • Updated our inventory icon colours; this was one we didn’t see coming, having the general slots coloured differently from the equipment slots meant playtests automatically assumed non-eq items could be placed in eq spaces. We changed the icon colours to all be the same which seems to have removed the assumption from players
  • Moved some of the fishing spots around so players would encounter fish needing different rod types so they would know early on that was a feature to plan for
  • Tweaked music so it doesn’t trigger as often, and isn’t as loud ^ ^
Debug command – God Mode

Two commands actually; immunity so your equipment ignores damage and god mode so player (or hull in our case) health limits are ignored. Integral to tester sanity when they need to test island colliders and to be honest, the way Nadia likes to play all games. 

Not available in Demo screens

Gearing up to our demo at the end of the month there are unfortunately features that we plan to have in Dredge for release that we haven’t built in yet — mainly things that will impact players further down the line like a map, quest journal and boat upgrades. Until we get those features in there’s a placeholder screen to suggest to the players what’s coming in the future.

Marrow Monster update

We tried out a plugin for enemy behaviour but it was not playing nicely with our environment, causing hilarious but unwanted bugs like slowly inching its way up the shore and onto the beach. Joel decided to rewrite the AI himself and now we have a much smarter monster…eek. 

Mental State UI

While there are currently no in-game consequences for staying out too long at night on the water the UI doesn’t know that. A UI feature will become more and more agitated as you lose your grasp on your sanity.

Bug fixes

Our favourite bug of this sprint:

  • Discarding an item while anchored will discard from the stock as well – A double whammy! If you happened to discard an item while anchored at a fishing or dredging spot (say to make room for the item you were about to fish/dredge up) you’d not only discard the item from the inventory, but the next item in the fish/dredge stock!