A full forest region has been populated with obstacles to be explored using echolocation mechanics. The obstacles populating the map are spread out in such a way that only 2-4 objects are within range of circular echo at a time. Any more than this causes circular echo to play too many sounds and starts to get confusing. In addition to the circular echo sounds have been added when the player gets within an interactable range of objects without the need for an echo input. These sounds inform the player of objects they are about to collide with as they walk. Between “circular echo” and “walking echo” players can explore an area and create a basic mental map of obstacles.
The map menu way-point placement feature was implemented this interval. This feature allows the user to toggle between a sequence of so-called “waypoint” markers, objects which can be placed on the 2D map as markers to help the player track the relative position of different map features. Once a way-point has been positioned, the user can snap the map cross-hair (the sliding cursor which allows the user to read the contents of the 2D map without seeing it) to that position regardless of where the cross-hair is currently located on the map interface. The player may also “snap” this cross-hair directly to the position of the player marker. In part, these features will simply (ideally) help the user better navigate and articulate the map menu interface. However, additional benefits will be realized when the 2D map menu is integrated with the 3D game-world. Game-world resource objects will have representation on the map interface as markers, as of course will the player. Positions in the 3D world will be mapped proportionately to corresponding positions on the 2D map plane. Way-points will also translate to the 3D game world as binaural positional audio markers in 3D space. Thus, the user will be able to identify the relative position of a way-point marker in the 3D game-world (as placed on the 2D map menu interface) via directional audio and intensity.
Some additional small changes to the 2D map menu interface were made whereby light haptic feedback is issued when one axis of the cross-hair aligns with the corresponding axis of a map marker. This seems to resolve a lack of situational awareness experienced when previously attempting to detect markers on the map.
It is difficult to convey to the player concepts such as walking speed and direction through sounds alone. Footsteps help with walking speed but with continuous 3d movement it is not an exact science. Additionally all of the navigation mechanics together are useful for gameplay, but if they are all used simultaneously it is difficult to limit the amount of sensory input to provide enough information to convey the scene but not enough to overload the player. As such circular echolocation will only be usable when standing still, however this may make other gameplay elements less dynamic. With only 2 types of obstacles it is difficult to create landmarks significant enough to remember clearly. This can be alleviated with more and unique objects but also possibly by arranging objects into unique patterns.
There has been a lot of experimentation in terms of object-oriented design with how and where to implement audio players, and where to store and supply audio stream data. The map menu was updated to rely on a queue which processes requests to issue audio feedback and does so in a linear manner. The queue implemented can be cleared and any audio currently playing can be stopped, and this object implementation has allowed for better organization of audio effects. Going forward an attempt will be made to implement these queue objects in every system in order to reverse the previous trend of assigning nearly every object which gives audio feedback its own player. Certain challenges will probably be encountered when the desire arises to deal with complex audio feedback relationships, such as when two separate audio streams should be stopped at the same time but a third audio stream should go uninterrupted. The general approach that will be taken to resolving such audio design problems will likely involve Godot’s rich audio bus system, the use of multiple queue objects, and possible additions to the logic of the audio queue objects.
In order to make movement easier to understand camera functionality was added. The player can turn the camera to the left or right, but up . . .
A significant amount of work was achieved this interval with regard to integrating the Map Menu with the game world context, building on the foundations . . .