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Corporate Salmon - Fish in Business Suits Climbing an Escalator.

AlexVsCoding

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Don your best suit and flop to the top of a fishy financial escalator in Corporate Salmon!


Here's the gist of Corporate Salmon...


Get ready for work...


Collect revenue...


Meet with colleagues...


Make profits...


Get fired...


Buy suits to feel better.


I've been working on the project for 2-3 months (As well as flitting between other projects), I expect this one will be in development for another month or so.

If you hadn't guessed from the format of the game (And my previous projects) this is a game for mobile, I'll be making it free with ads (With the option to pay to remove them). I'll probably also chuck up a version of the project on a flash portal as well!

Any thoughts on what you see so far would be greatly appreciated, as well as any questions you have. There should be more info coming soon in the next few weeks!

I will try and keep this page nice and up to date with what I'm up to, I find posting fixes/updates helps me keep track of where I'm at, particularly in the later stages of development where progress isn't measured in huge leaps and bounds. Twitter is my usual stomping grounds, for super up to date stuff check out what I'm posting on there.

Thanks!

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« Last Edit: September 14, 2017, 03:12:46 am by AlexVsCoding »

Bhoopalan

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Seems feature quality!! All the best.
If I helped you at anytime, help me back build my twitter followers :)
https://twitter.com/imbhoopalan

ohgem

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This game looks great! I love the art and animations. Looking forward to playing it!
Follow: Twitter | Instagram
My Games: Jump Jump Fruit IOS

AlexVsCoding

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Hey Folks,


So it's been over a month since I updated this devlog, for good reason; literally the day after posting it, I moved into a new flat. Finding, negotiating and moving in wiped me out for two weeks, where I just needed to focus on rebuilding my routines and resting. After that, I've been slowly tinkering on the project and doing other various events.


A lot has moved forwards!

These devlogs are quite useful for keeping track of lists, so going to try and keep this on track till the intended launch date, around the end of July.


Here's the major changes:
1. Rather than having the escalator restricted to the screen space, I've made amendments so that you can actually climb the escalator (Rather than just getting pushed back down). This was a big undertaking (And basically required gutting a lot of functions), but has definitely been worth it. Gameplay has a better flow now and a tangible end to the game rather than just a slow point grind.
2. Colour revamp: Whilst I am able to draw stuff, I am utterly incompetent with colour grading and theory. If you've seen some cohesive themes in my games, I do enjoy pink and green as a palette, but in the case of Corporate Salmon, there was a lot of colours that clashed in awful ways. So, I enlisted the help of the NES palette to remaster the game visuals with. Just having a palette to work with that just compliments across the board is super fun.
3. UI revamp: Like with Narcissus previously, one of the elements of my games that gets the most attention during development has to be the user interface. After 4 revamps, I decided to hack out all of the original gimmicks such as the line graph, profit/loss chart in the corner of the gameplay screen and in turn simplified the progress meter and final score listings. The setup is a lot cleaner now which I'm just about happy with (May still make some amendments yet!). As for the main menu, I replaced the text in there previously with the 3 main buttons of the restart screen.
4. More tangible progression in game: I've added an actual visual progression in game so as you move up levels, the colour of the escalator changes as well as the background to reflect moving between floors. The aggressiveness of your fishy colleagues as well as the frequency of money increases as you get higher and higher up. To level up in game as well, you can either reach the top of the escalator for that floor OR get the required amount of coins (Both is possible as well which is pretty cool!)
5. Staggering the gameplay: Upon loading up the game for the first time, all UI elements are cut except what you need to progress to gameplay (The play button), then slowly gameplay elements are introduced with each death. It's a much smoother transition into what's happening, particularly after watching a lot of people scratching their heads intitially to even start the game or even know what was happening.
6. Boss level at the end of the game with a floppy ragdoll bear. Was a stupid amount of fun to work on, still a lot of amendments to sort out.
7. A LOT of tiny refinements and fixes.


SO

What are the major things that I'm needing to tackle from this point?
A. Finish the end of game scene: Since updating the camera movement for the rest of the game (Allowing the player to advance at their own speed), I need to do the same for the Boss. I also want to do one final layer of polish and refinement on the level itself and finish the ending.
B. Shop Refinement: Whilst the majority of the functionality is there, I need to create at least 25 different suits of varying prices for the final game. I also have an itch to update the visuals of the store, as there's something still off in my eyes.
C. Font design: I've struggled up to this point to pin down the fonts I want for the game, and as I've updated the UI for the game I've changed the font to various designs. I need to pin down the specific sets for example the monitor screens versus the general gameplay UI, then update the rest of the game UI to match.
D. Refinements to currencies and scores in game: Whilst the coins in game are a good currency, the profit and loss function is consistently lost on people. I'm going to be figuring out whether cutting it back to purely coins works or whether I can save the multiplier function somehow.
E. Profit/Loss line positioning: One of the big complaints I've had so far is people being unable to jump past the loss lines when they're in a certain position. For this, I'll be experimenting with what collecting them means, whether there's a better way to do it and trying to make their positioning more uniform.
F. Streamlining the gameplay loop: Currently the player must wait for their coins to be counted before restarting the level. I recently played an App that forced you to watch these figures rise without offering the option to skip the "OOOH look how many points you scored" section. It kills the pacing and I'd like to be able to left people watch that if they want, but be able to skip it and still have their currency counted.
G. App functionality: Adding in stuff like the AD functionality, iAP to disable Ads, leaderboards, reward ads (And getting coins to buy suits).
H. Produce press materials and contact content producers
I. Produce App Store materials (Trailer, logo, banner).
J. Look into the possibility of localising the game.


I think as well on top of all this, I'll be looking at putting out a flash build in a couple of weeks to test the functionality and gauge interest. Keep an eye out for that!

Thanks for your patience, I'll be aiming to update this on a semi-daily basis; I'll be taking the game to an event this weekend so I'll hopefully get some more feedback from there!

squeeb

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I'll have a play when you put out the flash build

« Last Edit: June 24, 2017, 08:25:40 pm by squeeb »

damijin

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Looking super polished! Excited to see how it turns out in the final product

AlexVsCoding

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Hey Folks,

Here's some GIFs of Corporate Salmon showing 2 levels of gameplay!

Corporate Salmon is structured in an office building, where over the course of gameplay you rise up the floors to the CEO office at the top. Not only does the colour of the level change, but also a couple of subtle variables:
1. Initial speed of escalator
2. Frequency of rival employee fish spawn
3. Frequency of coins spawned (Timing remains the same, just the burst increased)
4. Rival fish jump power put also frequency of jump increased, meaning they can keep up with the accelerating escalator.









From the event I attended on the weekend, folks enjoyed the game but a couple of issues arose:
1. The play button is still not clear enough for first time players (Admittedly I need a tutorial reset function as many people played the App without the tutorial that removes other icons from the screen).
2. The green/red jump lines were mistaken several times for just markers/signs rather than something that could be interacted with, so I need to create some kind of visual indicator that you should jump on them, whether that's a little tutorial pop up or text above the objects for the first couple of rounds they are in the game. May also require more revising of the design - If any of you have any thoughts for an alternative or examples of jump bars done right, let me know.
3. Spamming - Currently some people who played the game just repeatedly pushed jump to launch the fish up the screen. To counter this, I'll be adding in some variables that will make the level harder if spamming occurs. Examples of this might be increasing the frequency of red lines on the screen (You don't want to jump on those), possibly look at a subtle additional increase of escalator speed or volume of fish launched at player. I was thinking about having a stamina function, but I'm wanting to keep clutter on the screen as minimal as possible and don't want to create scenarios that can't be beaten or escaped from.
4. One other thing I'll be looking into to control spamming is collision detection. For example, should a salmon be able to jump on the side of a step to climb it or just the flat top of the step? I'll be experimenting with that now.


I've also got another feedback session in 2 hours, so I'll gather some more feedback there.

Things to fix in the next 2 hours:
1. Add a simple factory reset function to make a clean test easier
2. Experiment with designs for pop up tutorial screens
3. Tinker with the collision detection for the escalator steps.

That's all for now, stay tuned for more soon! I'll likely be putting up a longer playthrough in the next couple of days, as most have just been quick excerpts. Thanks for all your comments by the way, always helps!

AlexVsCoding

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Hey Folks,

So I got a bunch of really useful feedback for Corporate Salmon yesterday, and in turn I've been spending some time developing the shop.


Here's what I fixed!
1. Because of complaints mentioning the suits being too small to see, I doubled the size of the salmon and the suits on display.
2. Added some wiggle to the suit hooks to make them feel more natural.
3. I had someone mention the suit bags looked like hunks of meat in a butchers freezer, so instead of having generic red bags for the suits I've let them keep their unique designs with a padlock imposed over the top to indicate whether they're unlocked or not. As you can see in the pricing on the right, I also indicate whether they've been purchased or not.
4. For an extra bit of flair, the suit origin points are the top corner, so they not only wobble from that location but also scale slightly as they exit the screen.
5. Have started experimenting with a better system of documenting each suit as I'll be adding at least another 10 for the initial release so want a smooth workflow of introducing more.
BONUS Fix: I made it so the jump/fall lines only spawn in the middle of the step now so that the player can always dodge them.

Here's the list of other feedback I received that I'll be adding/amending tomorrow:
1. Disable enemy fish spawn after death (As they continue spawning until the app literally crashes after 5 mins)
2. Put the stats sheet graphic in the main menu atlas since it is only in the gameplay area currently
3. Look into having some visual indicator other than the promotion/colour change to show switching floors.
4. Along with the profit and loss lines, I'm going to look into having a couple of different variations of jump booster in the form of Bubbles and Hoops (Financial bubbles and loopholes) to accompany financial margins.
5. A visual indicator of what to do with the profit and loss lines in game.

I'm going to do one or two amendments tonight then aim to update my app build, failing that I'll export a windows version and get some footage from OBS. Either way, there should be some extended gameplay footage up tonight!

Stay tuned for more soon!

AlexVsCoding

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Hey Folks, I've uploaded a video of gameplay if you fancy giving it a look!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGNDkFmVok4

It's not super swish quality but I'll upload a video from my tablet tomorrow (Once I've updated the build).

I'm also going to be updating the Gifs in the first thread which I'll be storing here for comparison against the current progress. Looking back it's comforting to see the change, as I've been doing a lot of remaking the same assets over and over again so from my perspective progress is unnoticeable.

Thanks again for giving this a read, I'm signing off for tonight once I've switched the gifs.

OLD / NEW














AlexVsCoding

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Hey Folks,

Had a weekend off from the project, which has given me some time to consolidate my thoughts on the project but also do some play testing!

Here's the list of amendments and improvements:
- Fix boss sequence
- Profit and loss line system still not clear
- Swipe to scroll within the shop
- Look into extending the level
- Finish the end cinematic
- Review the lose state underlay
- Add upward arrow at the top of the escalator
- Update logo and splash screen
- Possibly update font/colour for stats screen
- Set up Ads, rating system, iAP and leaderboards.
- Update Ad reward graphic
- Purchased rather than owned?
- Price window should scale to match length of string
- Redo backdrop for Suit Yourself
- Come up with list names and appropriate prices for the suits recently designed
- For the BUY button for Suit Yourself, have the alternative option of WEAR for purchased items
- Look into variations of stairs for the escalator (Wobbly/Tiny/Huge)
- Extra/bonus backdrop designs?
- Anti-Spamming mechanics
- Update bear portrait
- Finalise tie fastening animation for menu
- Possibly add accompanying animation graphic for the tutorial for "tapping the screen to jump"
- Switch metres for feet (Because 32m looks too much like million beneath the currency display)
- Add "Paused" text to pause screen.
- Disable display of pause icon when recording footage
- Hard reset function under settings
- Experiment with making jump angle and speed more consistent
- Figure out how to display a nicely animated score at game over whilst also recording the outcome if the player decides to skip that
- Dabble with opacity of escalator glass
- Update record button graphic
- Experiment with updating coin designs (Higher resolution since the current version is scaled up from a smaller resolution)
- Try designing lower resolution profit and loss bars then scale up instead.

Apologies if this appears somewhat rambling, just copied it from my notebook and in time I'll be elaborating on each point as I address them. At the very least, I'll try and group them into either priority or subject, as there is definitely some overlap on these fixes.

Stay tuned for more updates soon!

AlexVsCoding

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Hey Folks,

Managed to get a bunch sorted today, been chipping through the list, most of my focus today has been on getting the shop sorted.

Main thing I'm going to try to get to the bottom of tomorrow is how I want the suits to be selected and how the player transitions between suits (Whether they perform one swipe and it moves a set of the suits along in one swipe or a sustained swiping).

Here's a glorious gif of the Corporate Salmon wearing a hotdog bun for a suit.


Signing off for today, keep an eye out for more progress tomorrow.

AlexVsCoding

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Hey Folks,

Late night post here, but managed to get a bunch done on the project.

If you look at the previous post, I've managed to work through a bunch of the changes. I'll post a full list tomorrow but for now, here's a nice little gif of the final boss:





Somewhere I've got a full breakdown of how I built the bear, I'll upload that on here at some point.

Thanks! Got a full day of work on this tomorrow, so more updates soon!


AlexVsCoding

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Morning folks!

Here's the more conventional list of stuff that I've improved since the last build:


1. Shop layout: There was a bunch of different things that needed amending on this front, for most of the players I'd seen using it they were trying to swipe to scroll between the various suits, rather than using the coat hanger shaped arrows provided next to the buy button. I've been having some trouble getting the scroll functionality working, so for now I've assigned the two halves of the screens to either button (Left for left, right for right). I've also switched the position of the cost and wallet content with the scrolling buttons. As part of this, I addressed an earlier issue of the score bars not scaling to match the content inside them (Having the price of the one million dollar suit poking off the edge of the level). For that whilst calculating the position of the score displays I added the width of the score in the font used, so as the number grew in length, the position in turn would alter. This involves having a little bit of extra display off screen to expand into.
2. Lose State Underlay: At the end of every round in which you lose, the sections of UI pop in and the back layer darkens with an actor based underlay. Whilst this worked nicely for the original level, it looked awful on the later, brighter levels who had palettes that clashed with the original. So, I used the same colour modifiers that I altered the hue of the steps/escalator with to set the underlay with. Looks nice now. There's still an issue with the layering where certain bits of gameplay aren't ordered right, I'll be addressing that later as it isn't a major issue.
3. Arrow at top of Escalator: For this, I repurposed one of the signs from the CEO office which points the player upwards as they reach the top of each level. May add a fancy animation to it.


4. Purchased Rather than Owned? This was in reference to the suits bought from the shop. Whilst purchased is more appropriate, it is longer than owned and therefore doesn't fit the screen as nicely, so I'll be sticking with owned for now.
5. Background for Suit Yourself Revamp: This one is technically still work in progress, but I've already removed the middle row of suits in the background (To reduce noise) and added a subtle low opacity layer in between the salmon and the suits on sale to create a bit of depth and clear differentiation between layers.
6. Added multiple states for the buy button: Previously had just BUY as the option for the store, but this caused a lot of confusion for new users (Who thought they had to keep buying previously purchased suits). Now, you have BUY, WEAR and WORN, as well as the suit currently being worn having only a coat hanger left to indicate it's not available to pick.
7. Switching out metres for feet: My sister pointed out that 125m could be mistaken for 125 million instead of a measurement of height. So, I've opted for feet instead or FT. Nice easy fix, should hopefully make a subtle difference.


8. Add "Paused" to the pause screen: Prior the paused screen didn't have many indicators of the game being clearly paused, so I added a nice simple block of text to pop up when the button is pushed. I also tweaked the pause button to be available from the start and also altered the colour slightly. May add the underlay if needs be, but not sure yet.
9. Experiment with jump angle: This one is still going to need a bunch of work; I'm currently thinking of going back the earlier stamina system where spamming still gives you a decent jump but lacks the accuracy of more slow and precise tapping. I'll have to dabble to figure out if I can do that without putting some kind of bar on screen.
10. Increased opacity of escalator glass: This adds a lot more depth and because of the subtle overlap between escalator sections you also get a better idea of progress.
11. Fixed the boss sequence: because of some issues of trying to reference layer ID's that didn't exist in the boss level, the game consistently broke and crashed. I've updated the player code to fix this but have also introduced the smooth camera function so the player can actually run away at their own pace with the bear in hot pursuit.

There's also a bunch of other small refinements and changes I've made, some that are still up for refinement and change.

Here's my list of stuff to do today:

1. Refine the boss sequence:
A. Add some depth to the office with a subtle opacity layer.
B. Look into subtle parallax for the cityscape in the distance that can be seen through the office windows.
C. Add more animation detail to the bear.
D. End cinematic and a credits screen.
E. Refine existing cinematics.
F. The small monitors that are sat on the office tables have displays that look like total garbage - Fix.
G. Refinement of picture frame physics animation falling off.

2. Look into designing custom scanline font? (A lot of work but could be used for multiple games)
3. Revise scoring system since people still aren't noticing it/having trouble with it. Will be looking at hacking out the profit and loss multipliers.  
4. On the game over screen, allowing the player to skip the score tallying (Similar to skipping dialogue in RPGs)
5. Floor/Level marker to indicate more clearly that you've levelled up (A lot of dead space in the bottom right hand corner, so will be looking at using that space to display that but also tutorials, hints and offers/incentives).


Stay tuned for more info!

AlexVsCoding

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Hey Folks,


So I've got the latest build of Corporate Salmon done! A lot has changed:

1. Optimisation - When I compiled the latest build of Corporate Salmon, there were some pretty hefty load times between playthroughs (2 or 3 seconds compared to half a second) which despite being small can still hamper the flow of gameplay. Having looked at the atlases for the game, It became clear that I needed a clear out! A lot of the old UI before revamping the colours was still knocking around as well as iterations going back a while. This amounted to around 40mb of spare animations, backgrounds and other graphics (From 70mb down to 30mb). I not only gutted a lot of these animations, but spread the loading of those graphics across various atlases to spread the loading more evenly. Game now runs silky smooth (Although there’s still a bunch of optimisation yet to be done and still some more stuff to add in!)

2. Boss sequence/ending updated - Previously completely broken as a section of the game, due to a null point error, I've now fixed the boss sequence and added a smooth track camera that doesn't restrict the path of the player. I also added a subtle parallax effect for the window, so you can see the city move in the distance through the glass. I tweaked the movement of the player on this final level to fare better against the boss, tweaked further some of the assets in the level, altered the TVs to animate more like an active screen rather than a static powerpoint. I also added a thin opacity layer to create a slight depth to the environment, rather than just one flat colour. I've added the final end screen which includes the credits and a funny little ending sequence.

3. Updated the pause screen - Previously there was little UI wise on the pause menu, but now I've added an indicator of what level the player is currently on to try and give a sense of progress.


4. Score tally skip implemented - On the last build, you had your coins tallied on a scaling bar. If you didn’t wait till it had finished, you would lose those points. Now, when you change screen, it’ll shove all of your points through to avoid them being lost. I also ditched the physical visualisation of the coins falling into a piggy bank as it was causing a lot of heavy lag (Creating and uncreating hundreds of actors in very close proximity to one another). You originally saw them fall a large height, but by the time that I cut them out it was barely a flash of them being on screen (Such a narrow gap). The only remaining issue on this front that I need to fix is by skipping the counting up on the 9th level before the boss, you can actually get access to a secret placeholder level. Still deciding whether to fix that or not!


5. The purpose of the green/red lines - I’ve had the profit / loss lines from the beginning, but their functionality has changed throughout the process. First it just a boost, then the method of levelling up, then a multiplier, then just back to a booster. To finally pin down the mechanics for it:

a. Currency - I’ve merged the two currencies of the game (Previously money and profit and loss) into one. Jumping on a green line will reward the player with +$5 whilst jumping on a red line will punish with -$5. This was to make the numbers easier to process and give an immediate incentive to jump on the lines, rather than trying to calculate multiplications (Money x Profit = ? ? ? ? ?)
b. Launch Angle - As with the currency function, I had the launch angle on a system of opposites; green would launch you upwards whilst red would slam you downwards. A lot of players found the red line jarring and didn’t understand what had happened, so I’ve now just made it so you do a regular jump upwards but just less than the green lines.
c. Escalator Speed - The new function I’ve added to it is controlling the speed of the escalator. In the game generally, the escalator accelerates over time. If you jump on a green line now, it lowers the speed slightly, but if you jump on a red line, it increases the speed by slightly more, giving you a clear reason to avoid jumping on them. But, rather than an absolute death wish (As they were before) there’s still a way of pulling it back from the brink by hanging on and slowing the player down with jumping on green lines. Speeding up the escalator is actually a great way of clearing the escalator of other fish (As long as you can survive as well!)
d. Other stuff - To make it clear you can interact with them, I’ve added green and red arrows that flicker up when you overlap with the jump line, as well as highlighting it and slightly bloating its size. Their introduction is staggered currently (No lines, green lines, green and red lines), but I’ll also be adding a tutorial to explain how each element works.

I’ll post up the remaining changes a little later along with some updated footage and gifs of current gameplay!

AlexVsCoding

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Morning Folks!

So here's the list of improvements that I'll be making to Corporate Salmon, now that I've released the latest TestFlight Build:


1. End of level - There's an immediate bug that makes the player lose upon reaching the top of the escalator that made it onto the latest TestFlight build, which was annoying. Thankfully, I know how to fix it so can patch that in the short term.  BUT, testers have made it clear that the current set up isn't optimal - When the player reaches the top of the screen, the camera position shifts to a point that makes it harder for the player to see what they're doing, jump lines misalign and it generally isn't clear you have to leap off the top of the screen to finish the level. So, I'm going to build an actual tangible end of level the player can reach, be that a finish line, an actual flat surface to land on or a silly finish line banner. I'll figure that out. Either way, it needs fixing.


2. Costume Names/Variants - Now that I have the shop functionality built, I need to populate it with various suits with prices, names and an order that makes sense. I've also got to decide what route I want to take on it, for example do I the variety (And sensibleness/silliness) of suit designs.

3. Update Logo - The current logo has been around since the start of the project, and whilst I like the design the edges are unclean, some of the colours are unclear and I genuinely think there is a better design out there, for example possibly something closer to the game app logo (Fish on the dollar). Expect a post about logo design at some point.

4. Disabling Settings function temporarily for game over - When the player loses, all the buttons pop up for the game over screen. This works well currently, but almost too well. If the player has been spamming the screen or just happens to have picked a position on the screen that aligns with the settings bar, players could accidentally press the "More Games" button or the "Buy No Ads" function. So, I'll be adding a 0.5 second delay to their functions being active.


5. UI Design for the Speedometer - Whilst I am happy with the functionality of the speedometer in game, I am not set on the interface I've designed as the final pass. I had one player point out that by putting fast above rather than below slow, it makes it seem like something to aspire to. Also, in most racing games, going fast is something to aspire to whilst in this it's actually making it harder for you with little benefit. So, I'll be flipping the design so green is on top and red is on bottom, but also looking into a different terminology (Slow is usually negative in games, so something like Safe, Good or even use a smiley face instead).

6. Tutorials - With having that speedometer in the corner of the level, I can display tutorials hints and tips early on in the game. I'll be making sure players understand the green and red lines as they are introduced. If I can't fit it all on that one screen, I'll have a pop up that will explain it's functionality clearly to ensure it's getting processed.

7. Awesome Bullet time = Lag - Testers perceived the slow motion jump that randomly occurs on green lines as a lag spike, so instead of having it there, I'm going to be looking into pickups and power ups that will cascade down from the top. That way, I can extend the time period for bullet time longer and it's clear what it's doing in game (Without being mistaken for lag).


8. Record Functions - At the moment, recording footage can only be triggered by pushing the button in pause, dying and then restarting the level. Instead, I'll making it so you toggle it on and off using the record function. I'll also be adding some kind of indicator of currently recording.

9. Further obstacles - I'm currently looking into the possibility of having missing steps, trampolines and other in game hazards to mix up gameplay. This one is more of a stretch goal that I'll be investigating as time goes on.

Stay tuned for more, I'll try and post some updates on here today!