For this pass, I wanted to lay out some AI. I will do my best to make it interesting an appropriately challenging, but it will need to be heavily tweaked through many, many test play sessions from both myself and a few people I know who are willing to devote a few hours to repeatedly playing a single 15-minute map. But before that, I am just getting the basic feel of the combat down such as where enemies come from, what weapons they have, and what cover do they use.
This is the first bit of combat in the game, something very simple, but gets the player warmed up with some zombies, which lay still until the player approaches.
For this fight, some combine drop down at the top of the stairs and the player must fight through them. I’m guessing that this narrow environment will lead to the player becoming pinned in the open and frustrated, so I have created another alley that they can take cover in, the opening of which can be seen on the left.
The lot, as usual, proved to be a pretty fun challenge. It wasn’t until I began test playing that I found the space to be wide open with chest-high walls, which is awful for gun play. I added the walkway and a space under the stairs for the players to hide in. I also made sure to take advantage of all of this space by making combine shoot from the windows to the right, the door to the stairs open with more men, and had some man hacks come in from the street behind the camera. In the end it was all pretty fun.
This is an early play through of the first half of the combat. It still has some tweaking needed, but this is about what can be expected in the final product. Some of the problems include the AI not being responsive in the parking lot area, enemies spawning prematurely, and I’d like to have boots on the ground on the parking lot, so the player has more variety in that section.
Another run of the level, it’s playing pretty well now, and I have most of the pieces in place, all that’s left is fixing some of the problems that I’m having here and there in the level such as: alley shotgunner can’t exit door, walkway combine doesn’t aggro player, sprite isn’t correct on button, zombie behind door doesn’t animate properly, and fast zombies don’t enter room. Next, I’m going to get some people to playtest it.
After having some people test play it, I’ve compiled all of the feedback into a list and I will address these problems before moving forward with the polish and details.
1) Players will shoot explosives in ceiling instinctively, this either opens the door early, or traps the player inside to hospital.
2) Players couldn’t figure out the APC puzzle.
3) Fourth combine the in second section doesn’t run to the windows with the rest.
4) Players can loop around to the second level without triggering the elevator to lower, this exposes a leak in the map.
5) There is a headcrab that attacks the player right as the game autosaves, which is frustrating to reload into.
6) The electrical water in the surgery room isn’t well telegraphed and feels like a cheap kill when the player dies instantly on it.
1) I will move the barrel from sight. I’m worried this will harm the context of the level, but it’s better to have a functional level with less context as opposed to a broken level with context. I did my best, though, and added a hole that looks like it is made from an explosion and I added a ‘false’ barrel.
2) I realize that this is because the player can open the doors by touching them, I will remove that flag.
3) I will make the wheel locks an obvious color so they are more obvious.
4) While playing with different options for him, I disconnected him from the AI rally points, I will add him back to that system.
5) I will create a second set of elevator doors that close on the second level and make it so the elevator doesn’t reset as it doesn’t need to.
6) I’ve moved the autosave to a point just after the player kills the headcrab.
7) Instead of an instant kill I will make it do high damage instead. I will also add more sparks and an enemy entering the water and dying so the player really understands.