For Overgrown my role was Systems Programmer. While I realize the name is quite broad, the main areas I focused on was the control customization, creating the bug swarms, and adding in controller support.
This project was worked on for two full semesters, Fall of 2020 through Spring of 2021, and started off with a 5 person team before being increased to a 10 person team once being greenlit. The game itself was a fast paced resource management game where the player was plant sitting and had to make sure all the plants in a given level were taken care of.
For this particular game the largest chunk of my time was spent implementing a system for customizable controls for both mouse and keyboard and controller. The way I chose to accomplish this was by using input key selectors because they would automatically wait for an input after being pressed and would then read in whatever was pressed. From there I built two custom functions that would then check and make sure the control was for the proper input (no controller inputs for mouse and keyboard controls and vice-versa) and would print a message saying if it wasn’t for the proper input. The second function would then check and make sure that the input wasn’t already in use by any of the other controls. If it was it the game would display a message saying that the input was already in use and it would keep the previous mapping of the input.
On top of the control customization system, I also created a way for the player to use their controller to navigate through the menus, but that system was unfortunately cut due to it not being finished in time. However, it is definitely still a system I am proud of because it wasn’t an easy task to accomplish and it took me a good week or so to get something fully operational that would work on Windows, Linux, and Mac. While I was definitely sad to see this system cut, I think it was the right call because we had more important tasks to focus on such as fixing the bugs that were currently in the game if we wanted to be ready to release the game by our Senior Show.
Overall I would have to say that I really enjoyed working on this game both due to the people I worked with and because I genuinely enjoyed the work I was doing for the game. I think the system I enjoyed created the most was the control customization because it was both a challenge but it was also really fun and exciting to me!
- Players really liked the fast paced environment
- Players found the game more fun than stressful
- Players really liked that they could remap their controls however they pleased
- Players liked that completing achievements would decorate their greenhouse
- Menu navigation for controllers was cut
- Denied Nintendo Switch Dev-kit twice
- We should’ve gone to more QA sessions for more feedback
Would Do Differently
- Start with getting controller support in first
- Make sure the player can navigate the menus with any device that can be used to play the game
- Add in player data collection much sooner so we can gather information quicker and see the changes
- Spend more time optimizing the game