Shadowdancer Devblog Week 8 and beyond

With this post, I would like to show some progress we made on the 8th week and tell what are our plans after that. My name is Dotti, and my role in this project was creating visuals – environments, characters, mood, and a little bit of level design.

In the USC+Unity course, we had several milestones and deliverables over the 8 weeks. We had to upload documents, spreadsheets, and playable demo. We were able to create a vertical slice with all the gameplay features ready for the last week, and we were able to create a stylized level environment and characters with our resources. After the 8th week, we won’t be able to work on this game full-time anymore, but this doesn’t mean we abandon Shadowdancer. We will upload, and update the latest build and release it for playtesting purposes.

Let’s see what we get done this week!

Fixing Shadow Jump issues

I noticed while testing the shadow jump ability that sometimes the character bounces off from ledges during the dash. It seemed that wall detection was faulty when hitting a thin edge. Adam added an offset to the ground ray cast and replaced it with a Spere cast to find landing spots more accurate. Shadow dash landing is now more stable.

Refine UI: add dash info and help icons

There was insufficient information on the screen about the jump and shadow jump. I added a status marker and key hint to the UI. I wanted to keep it simple and readable for now.

I also updated the Help info panel with icons. Unfortunately, while fiddling with UI element positioning settings, I broke the Objective tracker and got it off the screen. I need to fix that with the next update.

The Help panel is now more readable and will help players distinguish between character modes

Decorating and the Puzzle Room

The Puzzle Room still felt a little empty, so I dressed it up with more crumbling walls, floating dust particles, and added hover beams instead of columns to the rotating puzzle tables. This way the columns won’t block the view and will not cast confusing shadows to the seal.

I also implemented the Light Entity to break free of his prison after Shadowdancer activates the seal. This will mark the end of the demo.

Setting up trigger zones and interactables in Unity

Checkpoint Issues

One of our friends sent us videos of the gameplay recently. It was interesting to see how she played the game – back then there were no shadow runes to show the right path, so she wandered around in the valley, and missed checkpoints.

I aimed to fix that, so I adjusted the checkpoints in a way that the player will always hit them, no matter which way he chooses. I marked the trail to the Shadow Gate with glowing runes. 

We also added enemy overhead awareness markers.

End of Week 8: taking a break

After we uploaded the Vertical slice to USC course’s site, we had to have a break. These 8 weeks were fairly intensive for us, we learned so much and achieved a playable demo for the game! Now we have to return to our usual schedule, to keep Runemark Studio fresh and updated.

Thanks for your attention, and I hope you enjoyed this article! In the next blog post, I will reveal a surprising event about the game mood and visuals! See you next time!

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