Design Process - Feedback
The first step in this project was to figure out what needed feedback in the game. We knew what our mechanics were and how the flame spirit was going to react, so I could figure out what feedback I needed to create.
Flame Spirit Health Feedback
The flame spirit loses health when they're hit by water. To show its health to the player I have a couple different feedback events happening. Because the flame is getting hit by water I have it shrinking as the health decreases.
The flame's face also reacts as it dies. His eyes go downward and his mouth turns to a frown.
These are small changes that might be misses, so to really sell the point I also have the light emitting from the flame change colors and fade.
Together the feedback is able to convey that the flame is loosing health, but some of the small details can get a little hard to read with how small the flame spirit is. Also if the flame is ever away from the player the player wouldn't have anything telling them the current state of the flame. To help mitigate these issues I added the flame to the HUD. It reacts the same way as the flame, except it doesn't shrink. That way it is always easy to understand the status of the flame.
Feedback with HUD
Other Necessary Feedback
The flame spirit has more to show than just it's health. The player needs to know what the AI is doing or wants so they can properly interact with them. In the story the flame can't actually speak, so we can't just have a dialogue appear. We needed something else to show the player what to do. What I came up with was to have thought bubbles appear from the flame that shows what they want/need/feel. Each thought bubble has a key event that makes it happen. Some thought bubbles go together, such as the flame might show that they want kindling and when they eat the kindling they show that they love the player with the heart thought.
Flame Spirit Thoughts Feedback
Thought Bubbles - Rain
When the flame gets hit by water a small thought bubble appears to let the player know the flame doesn't like water.
Thought Bubbles - Love
When something happens that the flame likes a thought bubble with a heart appears. It pops up when the flame is fed and intermittently while they're following the player.
Thought Bubbles - Kindling
If the flame's hungry, low health, or just wants food a thought bubble appears showing kindling.
Thought Bubbles - Burn
The flame can burn certain items when it has full health. To show when the flame is going to burn something it has a thought bubble with a burn icon.
Thought Bubbles - Scared