The last few days have been spent making changes to Good Boy based on the suggestions I received at Game Bridge.
One of the main concerns I’ve had for a while is the size of the dog on the screen. The dog is part of the main game mechanic, and with him being a puppy, he’s pretty small. When you’re playing the game on your phone, everything is so much smaller than on a computer or TV screen. This meant the dog was visible, but a lot of model and animation detail was lost. I was given the idea to reduce the Field of View of the camera by someone I met at Game Bridge. This would make everything on the screen appear closer to the camera. I reduced it from 90 to 45, and extended the default camera distance (so it wasn’t too zoomed in), and it worked, the dog does seem bigger.
Another thing that bothered me was the way I was telling the story. The Tutorials and speech appeared at the bottom of the screen, reducing the visibility, and I had too many pages of text explaining how to play the game. This meant that when dialogue was happening, progressing the story, players wouldn’t read it, and would miss out on details. I’ve since scrapped the dialogue box, and opted for a more Runescape style of players speaking to each other. The text now appears above the characters, so it’s unmissable. If any dialogue is missed, I’ve added a (speech bubble) button at the side of the screen, which will show all of the dialogue from that level. I haven’t done this yet, but I’ll probably have it working in the next few days.
Since removing the dialogue box at the bottom of the screen, I’ve had to come up with a way of guiding the player without using text. I found it was too wordy and I wanted to instead use gestures. So far I’ve added three types of on-screen gestures.
- Tap to walk to/interact with
- Dragging to rotate the camera
- Dragging from the character to throw balls
I feel like it gives a good indication of what the player needs to do, without using any words.
I wanted to make the dog name-selection more clear. When people played at Game Bridge they seemed to skip over a lot of the text, and some of them missed the opportunity to name the dog. As I mentioned in my previous post, naming the dog is one of the most important parts of the game, because it builds a bond for the player. Now, as soon as the box appears, it’s pretty clear what the player has to do. The game is paused, so they can’t escape the level without naming him. I also added a shuffle button to apply a random name to the dog, in case players aren’t feeling particularly creative. The only way to skip this section is by exiting the level before the naming box appears. One of the next things I plan on doing is disabling player movement as soon as the bridge is unlocked for the dog to cross, and re-enable it once a name has been chosen.
The next video is an updated gameplay example of the first 9 levels with the updated mechanics.