Season Mode work has resumed. As I’ve mentioned, I wanted to redo the tutorial after feedback from the MAGWest 2018 demo. Initially I had planned 12 new minigames (microgames?) which would focus on a specific aspect of each player. This was too ambitious.
I am still working out the minigames, but as it stands now, I have one unique minigame for each player. Some are better than others, and I am going to percolate on how they can be improved as I shift gears into finishing out the story mode content. I still need to add a “high score” to each minigame, and different award tiers (bronze, silver, gold).
Here’s the initial list and my thoughts on each:
Floor Targets (Soccer)
This is one of my favorites. It teaches the player that the soccer player can shoot at different heights by holding the shoot button down for varying amounts of time. It teaches the player that balls have different weights. It also teaches the player how to aim. You want to get bull’s eyes if you can, and with the different ball weights, and re-positioning target, this is challenging to keep up.
This one may need some work, but the basic idea is there: Charge a slapshot and try to ricochet it off the dummies and into the goal. The more dummies you hit, the more points you git. The goal of this minigame is learning to use the ball as a weapon and discovering trick shots. Guiding the player through these steps is a bit of a challenge. I’m digesting what’s there at the moment, and hoping to make improvements to the steps and puzzles.
Tackling is fun! In this “cheeky” minigame, you must tackle streakers to learn this valuable offensive skill. Next, and I have to be careful here, you must tackle the streakers to gain possession of their sport balls. Accumulate points by throwing the balls into the goal. If you miss a tackle, the football player lays on the ground for a bit longer than if the attack lands, so this rewards accuracy both in attacking and in shooting goals.
Skate the ball into the end zone in this introduction to the touchdown. Getting past the goalie with turbo is one thing, but timing turbo to deflect attackers is the meat of this minigame. If you want to ricochet the ball off one opponent, then clobber another with a double shoulder check, catch your ball and skate it in that way, all the better! Get to the end zone fast for a higher bonus. This one is fun, but frustrating. I may want to play with the difficulty curve.
Free throw with the basketball player for points. Learn about field goals, and to finesse your baskets for maximum accuracy. It is pretty satisfying once you start sinking them reliably.
This was originally planned as a Soccer training game, but works just as well to learn the odd shot styles of the baseball player. Learn to pop fly with short presses of the A button, and to charge fast pitches by holding down A until fully charged. Hit targets for points. Hit them all quickly for bonus points. I think this needs a bit of love, but over all is a fun minigame.
You might have noticed in the above shots some variation in the scoreboard. If not, don’t worry, I have no way of knowing.
Some minigames have you racking up the points, and a 3 digit scoreboard is needed. Others have a bonus timer. These differ from the default scoreboard, which has been updated a bit as well. I’ve also created a six player free-for-all scoreboard I need to implement for all the actual “minigame” versions of these training modes. I haven’t decided which training modes will be repurposed, or how, but I want there to be more than just the free-for-all minigame outside of Season Mode.
While I want the tutorial to be intuitive and self-rewarding, there’s no escaping some text to explain basic concepts. Don’t worry, good ol’ Coach Clip is there to offer “supportive” coaching. In the training minigames, he’ll yammer tips in a context-sensitive way. I am still adding more context, but the idea is: if you are “not getting it”, the Coach will sense how you are “not getting it” and give you a relevant tip. If you are stuck, my goal is that Coach Cliphord will not be far behind with explaining the concept better. Ideally, I’d like on-screen visuals to go with this, but at this point I’m just roughing it all in.
I’m pretty much at the end stretch the story content, but it involves some cutscenes and ending work, and I imagine it will be no small feat to get there.
As projects reach the end of their development period, especially when their development period has been very, very long, it becomes necessary to make some painful decisions to leave out planned content, or simplify things to get the project done. Done is better than perfect.
Currently, there is a pile of features I would love the game to have, and the pile is getting bigger by the day. I simply don’t have the time or resources to do everything I would like. These decisions are usually not easy, but feel good afterwards when they are the right decision. For example, I’d rather have six well thought out training minigames than 12 rushed ones. The question is how to get Season Mode into a feature complete state that is compelling, has a smooth learning curve, and is fun to play with or without friends.
Nope. The fact is I am a ways off from Xbox certification, and getting through certification is an uncertain time frame as it is for me. Just know I am working on Season Mode full time again, and am making progress towards Xbox One release. Here is an extremely legitimate science-backed measurement of said progress:
I’m still truckin’, folks.
The 1st (and possibly last) commercial arcade cabinet is finally nearing completion. I am finishing bits of it as I can, with my main focus back on Season Mode. I need to finish getting the art on the arcade, install the marquee, and update the software with the last of the features.
If you want to play Super Slam Dunk Touchdown: Arcade Edition, you’ll be able to at California Extreme 2019. This is always an incredible show, and I urge everyone in the known universe to try to go!