I’ve decided to redo some of the old game jam games with better gameplay.
For the first round my choice is the Game which I made together with my Fiancee during HUUUGE Game Jam in December 2016.
More about the original game jam project in the postmortem HERE
My choice was to make it an mobile arcade game based on wacky physics, lot of screen shake nad explosions.
You swipe on screen to “throw” the Samurai and give him momentum and tap to make him stop. The challenge here is that since the stop is kind of radical it overheats your player sandals. You cannot stop again if the sandals are not cold enough. If samurai is moving he is automatically attacking the zombies. Zombies can only hurt the player if he is not moving. Zombies also leave a poison toxic pond after their death which deals a small damage if player touches it.
Since I’m a bit of self-improvement geek I do make new years resolutions as well as the others. On the contrary to most of the people, I tend to treat this seriously (fortunately not dead seriously) and I at least try to approach this process in more structural way. Somehow I managed to complete major milestones last year with new method (i.e. drop weight, publish a game, become debt free) so I guess I’ll continue the process this year as well.
I won’t bother you with my private life resolusions but let’s focus on the ones related with Game Development:
Make a full game with better gameplay.
Improve OOP C# coding in Unity +, learn more about shaders, 3D games in general, networking, maths and algorithms
Improve game theory skills
Learn more about game economy
Redo old Game Jam games to see if I could make the old concepts in a better way
As you can see all those goals are related with one another. This raises the chance of clearing out the list.
Colleague of mine who works with me in my current workplace as a Lead Designer noticed one thing missing in my Postmortem of Unholy Showdown – I need more analytical approach to design issues.
I’ll try to cover this topic in following post.
Here is the list of major issues that I managed to identify with testers at various stages of development:
Most of the testers played the game as a single player even though my primary design decision was to base the game on local multiplayer. This caused confusion and unclear feedback the game gave to players on many stages. The solution was either to redesign the game to single player only or implement an online turn based multiplayer. The problem here again was with getting the feedback too late. I consider this as the worst design “sin” of mine.
No time pressure
Paper / Rock / Scissors is based on time pressure and simultaneous players decisions. This game is turned based but each player can take as long as they want to make the choice and then pass the phone to another player. This made the gameplay simply boring. Again, it was too late to make a change with the resources and time I had to finish the project.
add a timer to each player rounds
redesign the game so players must make up their mind in the same time
No random or “Cheat” factor
The beauty of Paper / Rock / Scissors game is the art of bluff. The game was not giving that psychological super power of allowing players to “fake” their moves. This could give interesting results combined with the time pressure factor.
hide buttons during time pressured rounds while players make choices in the same time.
This was a great learning experience. I leveled up my technical skill but I must focus more on the design aspects during my next game making process and get feedback sooner. At some point I ventured into sort of a dead end, call it “the point of no return”. I strongly encourage anyone with gamedev aspiration to do such a task as well. The next project will be definitely better and more solid design-wise.
[EDIT Comment by Michał Rudziński]
“I would point out some other problems, from a pure design standpoint. I didn’t mentioned it before, because you said that Gameplay isn’t subject to change, and to be honest rock paper scissors in it’s simplest form (contrary to systems used in some RTS games where units follow rps philosophy) is deeply flawed even in it’s real time version, even so called psychological meta game is only a illusion built on randomness without any real choice or strategy”
I am approaching the last line of delivery phase. I am positive I can finish this before the end of this year. One may say: about damn time. I must admit this took way too long time but it is worth it. Don’t expect much about the gameplay. The game is strictly for educational purposes only. I just want to deliver something as less crappy as possible and then move on to something more fun with all the knowledge I managed to get throught the whole process.
So far I was able to implement:
whole game loop with finishers
all the menus, credits and end screens (Demon win screen is work in progress)
one obligatory in-app purchase (no need to pay anything, just for me to learn how to add those sort of things)
tweak some animations and remove certain pixel art graphics in favor to more hi-res versions
add the remaining achievement pictures
Here is the intro to Unholy Showdown with my not so professional voice over 🙂