4Drop DevLog #2

This devlog was originally posted on our forum, be sure to join for up to date info.

Hi again! Sorry guys for the radio silence past week, we were swamped and the update couldn’t go through, but we are up again with a lot of progress to show, so let’s begin!

Game Modes

The original scope for the game was local-competitive multi-player, but with the levels that Federico has been working on, we identified some of them that were quite difficult to play in competitive multiplayer, but they looked great and had a lot of potential, so we pivoted the game to something more appealing to the PC crowd and we think everyone will enjoy.

We’ll have 3 game modes:

  1. Single-Player is going to be a puzzle-based campaign where you solve the level grabbing the flag and taking it to the base. The puzzles will be environment-based, where you’ll have to identify the correct path to get to the flag and base.
  2. Local Competitive: This was the original game idea, a competition between 2-4 players, the objective is the same, grab the flag and take it to the base, solving environment puzzles, while trying keep the flag from being stolen by other players.
  3. Local Co-Op: In this mode you’ll have to get the flag to the base but collaborating with other players (2-4 as well), as an example you may need a player to step on top of a block in order to make other block move and allow you to get to a new place, and stuff like that.

We hope this change excites you, we’re really happy with the decision, wince we believe the game naturally asks for this and it will allow people to enjoy it in different ways.

Music-Gameplay synchronisation

One of the biggest milestones we achieved this week was integrating the music of the game with the gameplay.
For those of you interested on the details, we added a MIDI-file parser to the game, and Rodrigo exported some MIDI tracks from Logic so we could sync events in the game with the corresponding sounds in the music. This allows us to, for example, create visual effects that sync with what’s going on in the music, sync block movement, activation or whatever parameter we want with the music too…

Besides this event synchronisation, we’re also grabbing the BPM for the song from the midi, so we are now able to move blocks synced to the tempo, and not only the events. So many different behaviours for you to identify and solve puzzles! Nice!

Event System

As a consequence to the MIDI integration, we now have an event system inside the game. What does this mean?
We can now broadcast events and allow elements in the game respond to them, this allows us for better architecture in the code, decoupling things and having each thing to know how to act to different situations, instead of having everything tangled up to get the desired functionality.

Things we can achieve with this is for example having one block send a message when a player is on top of it and make other block react to this, moving it, disappearing, whatever. This will allow some nice mechanics for Co-Op mode and Single Player too. We still need to implement these types of blocks, but we certainly will next week or so.

We can also sync graphic effects to events in the game, when you grab the flag, score, time is running out, stuff like that.

So we will be able to have two different layers of synchronisation, one related to music and other related to gameplay, everything using the same underlying system.

First Play-test session

On Wednesday, Juan invited some of his friends (thanks Camilo and Jonathan!!!) to test the game. We quickly finished some last minute tweaks and get the session begin.

Sadly our algorithm to avoid falling from the second floor was broken (but now is somewhat fixed), so the experience was a little different to what we intended, anyways, the session was fruitful and we’re happy with the results.

Here are some videos and photos of it:


We did a first pass on the menu, now you can select the game mode, and it starts a level according to your selection.
Here is a video showing it:

Competitive Mode changes

Before we thought that as soon as you grabbed the flag (in competitive mode), you scored and the level ended. This created a small design problem: if the game was simple enough or the player knew its way through it, the run was quick and you didn’t even get to the drop in the song, losing the drop in 4drop at all. So we decided to change this a little bit. Now you listen to a whole track, and the winner is the player that scores more during the track duration. This creates longer sessions, we’ll adapt the song length later taking play testing results into account.

Level Editor

We continued working on the level editor, we reduced the need of having one Prefab for each block, and instead you can chose a type of block and have it preconfigured, which heavily reduces the time we need to apply changes to blocks.

We also added the possibility to select a block and change its type from Unity’s editor. This is super useful when making changes inside unity, or when you want to test one kind of block, then another, and stuff like that.

3D Models for flag and base

Juan worked on creating the 3D models for the flag and base. I also worked a little bit on some lighthing makeup for them inside the game. You can see them in this video:

Next steps

So, next week Juan is going on vacation, so we expect to work more on gameplay and programming music-gameplay sync and not a lot on graphics.

We will export MIDI files for all the songs and create graphic and gameplay synchronisations for them, and we have some ideas for this that we thing you’ll like.

Gameplay-wise we’ll implement message sending blocks, mostly to start experimenting with Co-Op mechanics.

We’ll also work on creating more and more levels, and choosing which levels fit better to which game mode.

See you soon…

We hope you’ve enjoyed this update and like the progress we’re making on the game!
We would like to hear your thoughts!

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