The assignment for this project was to take a classic game from the 80's and recreate it as a modern playable demo. As such, our team chose the original Contra. We had to research and retain what made the original game work so well, and build upon that. The unique 8-directional shooting and high difficulty have been preserved whilst the visuals are upgraded to 3d.
To convert an old classic into a modern-day game whilst keeping it fun is quite the challenge. Multiple design questions arose, such as "How will we deal with layers and depth whilst still keeping gameplay intuitive?" and "How can we best retain the original feel of the game?".
Many of these questions could be answered by analyzing the original game and by testing and trying out several design choices. Prototyping was a key part of making the right decision.
To ensure fun gameplay at all times without any unexpected dynamic or technical hitches, I have been taking responsibility over the QA procress. I regularly playtested the game, looking for any issues that players might encounter. I set up a simple form that I (or others) could fill in to report a bug, which in turn got added to an online spreadsheet. Here I could keep track of every issue and assign them to team members.
Next to issue reporting, I have also been working closely together with one of the programmers so that we could set up an in-game log of all events, that we could later parse and analyze. I ended up making my own tool that created a heatmap of the log on top of the level layout.
You can find an online version here, with log files available here.