Dev Log

Puppets and Presentations | Homerun Miko | December 22, 2022 by Michael Sim

Hello Spirit Sluggers!

With the holiday season in full-swing, our team got together this past week and celebrated our 2nd annual Chonksmas. Happy holidays ☃️

Puppet character mechanics in games

Puppet Character Mechanics Presentation by Eli Miller

Entering November 2020, Team 37 grew to Team 92 with the fresh faces of one programmer and one game designer/composer. The next two weeks would produce our very first playable prototype and introduce Hanami's signature bat and Spirit clone.

For this sprint we focused on implementing a combat system that meaningfully intertwines with our existing puzzle-adventure game concept. Our new designer made an immediate impact, providing research on puppet character mechanics in games. This information helped us transform Hanami's spirit from a detachable body that could be maneuvered while Hanami is locked in place, to a puppet character that could move independently from Hanami and perform actions simultaneously when the left mouse button is clicked.

As a result of this innovation, we decided to remove the Spirit Walking mechanic and found places for improvement such as adjusting hitboxes and visual communication about what assets Hanami and her spirit can interact with.

By complete coincidence, one of our programmers had added a baseball bat as a placeholder weapon asset. After seeing it in action, we decided to turn that into our narrative focus: Hanami, a delinquent, would rather play baseball than follow her family traditions of being a shrine priestesses. After accidentally hitting a baseball into a shrine while angry, Hanami finds herself on a quest to unfreeze the Spirit world and return home.

We in this prototype, we implemented 4 puzzle rooms based Hanami's new element-based spirit abilities. The 2 abilities we had implemented by this point were:

  • Fire - Hanami's spirit dashes forward and leaves a trail of fair which burns enemies over time

  • Wind - Pushes back enemies.

In playtesting, we found that the puzzles were solvable and our playtester could successfully use spirit abilities to combat an enemy. With our new combat focus, we wanted to iterate on making the attacks feel satisfying to pull off, as well as give players a sense of growth with the potential for combo attacks.

Miko Combat Pres

Project Miko Combat Design Presentation by Eli Miller

Project Miko build 0.1.1 Gameplay

Heading into Winter Break, one of our programmers opted to join a new team. With a team of 6 and a need for programming and art department support, our next priority would be preparing for the upcoming Winter Recruitment Fair in January 2021 where we would be pitching to External Collaborators from across UCSC looking to join a capstone team.

Despite being on vacation, we continued to work and it paid off in the new year when we attracted the attention of 3 new, talented individuals.

Thanks for reading and that's all for now!
-Michael ✌️