This week’s focus for BurntOut was to get the point and click mechanics in the scenarios up to par by refining the system to make it fully functional and compatible with the overarching original gameplay elements – such as movement and character interaction.
Currently, the point and click system can be found in two of our scenes/levels: “Mr. Peterson’s Room (Patient Room)” and “ICU”. In the patient room, we wanted to integrate the system to work with the functionality of the patient just like we had earlier with the first person free-roam style. We wanted the ICU scene to mimic the selection mechanic that we had previously, but using the new point and click system.
We also touched on tweaking the lighting in scenes and making some modifications to the post-processing effects in order to strengthen our visuals.
Instead of using a complex system of nodes like in the selection mechanic implemented in the previous dev blog, the movement is now controlled by world space buttons that only communicate to the player. They transition the main camera to a different location in the scene, set its rotation, and enables/disables various intractable objects and buttons. It’s a lot more simple, less confusing, and makes adding more movement spots a whole lot easier.
We also added a feature where the player can examine objects closely. In this interface, the player can rotate the object freely and read the given description, which both adds more engagement in the scenario. Having this feature is important in an interactive visual novel because it allows the player to do something other than just clicking through dialogue.
Having this examine feature enables the ability to incorporate story elements in the description of the object which can enhance and strengthen player immersion. For example, the player creates emotional ties with the patient as the player is introduced to some brief background about previous interactions with Mr. Johnson. This can be handy in very emotional scenarios. Optimal descriptions can expose the player with what could be going on in the thoughts of a real medical student in a practical professional environment.
The player can also interact with the patient and play-through the patient scenario just like before. The completion of a room, whether win or a loss, is now stored in the global gameobject and is passed throughout all scenes so that progress of the player can be tracked at any time. The UI, such as the health bar and red/yellow stars, also reference this global gameobject so that the player can see the status of various game elements at any time. Since we are now working in multiple scenes in Unity, it is important to have some kind of data persistence.
Integrating Future Scenarios
We believe this mixture of the free roam 1st person camera and the stationary point and click mechanics will help enhance player’s engagement because it adds variation to the gameplay, and creates an opportunity to add more story elements.
When creating and implementing the future scenario(s) for the prototype, we need to consider and remember the following:
- Creating a depiction of a scenario that is realistic in a professional medical environment, but still emotionally engaging enough to spark player interest
- Using the most of the point and click mechanics by including various “Move To” spots in the scene and populating various objects that could be examined
- Incorporating some type of story element into the description when examining objects
- The player’s ability to navigate the entire scenario logically and preferably with ease
You can read more about the BurntOut game at its website and follow along with our development on the blogs.