Update #7: July 19th

Get ready, this is a long one! So we've been super busy over the last 5 days. As mentioned last week, we've been preparing our game for a submission to a Tencent indie game competition and have made a ton of progress. This will also probably be the last sprint we do before our team reconvenes next month.  

To start, we massively changed how players pick up items. Players previously had to look directly at an item with a 45 degree grace angle and stand at a distinct distance in order to pick up an item. Now players can pick up items without looking directly at them and the tolerable distance of pickup has been increased. We've also moved the pickup button from B to LT so players' thumbs spend less time off the right thumbstick. We have also made it so that items will never overlap when dropped, and instead maintain a certain distance away from any other item.

We also dramatically changed the mining system of our game. Whereas players used to drop an automatic drill on a hotspot, wait unarmed, and have to pick it back up after a couple seconds, we've now made the drills function on a manual system so that players never have to put them down, and are always armed. With this new system players use these manual drills to gather Ore from hotspots by repeatedly tapping the A button. 

We've also massively altered the deposit and reloading functions of our game. Similar to our previous mining system, players used to have to drop their weapons and wait unarmed when depositing or reloading on the Rover. Now, both of those abilities are tied to an AOE zone system where players only have to step into the correct zone in order to trigger a deposit or reload. This new system means that I can go gather Ore armed with the drill, come back to the Rover, and deposit my bounty by standing in the Deposit zone, all the while having the ability to fire my weapon and defend myself against enemies. Another small change is that we've also tied this AOE reload system to players holding drills so that they can sacrifice some of their tank to refill the guns of nearby allies. 

Another large change is our character orientation system. Now the direction that a character faces and aims is tied to the direction that character is moving (the direction the player is holding the left thumstick). Players can use the right thumbstick to gain greater control over aiming or if they want to move and shoot in separate directions - however their character will move slower. 

In addition to these three massive changes we've also done a ton of tweaking and balancing. Characters can now dash (clicking-in the left thumbstick) while holding weapons. Enemy health has been reduced and character health has been increased. Enemy respawn rates have greatly increased. Weapon ammo capacity has been greatly increased. The capacity of the Rover's tank has increased from 10K to 25K. Mineral hotspots now disappear when exhausted. We changed the Ore color to green for improved readability. WE MADE ICE SLIPPERY! We altered the lighting of both scenes. We increased overall weapon damage. We increased the rate of fire of the Chemical Rifle. We gave all items glowing outlines so they're easier to see. We fixed the Mine Launcher indicator. We altered the behavior of the Mine Launcher Projectiles. We altered enemy behavior so that the swarming enemies explode sooner and the crawler enemies only have a single, reliable attack. And we did a whole lot more. Check out the video below for visual representations of pretty much everything mentioned above. 

We made a massive amount of progress and the game now feels buttery smooth. But we still all look forward to tearing it apart again next month!