Untitled Android “Action” Game (Android)
Time-frame of project: Fall 2010 – Spring 2011
Project status: incomplete/cancelled
Video Footage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tz7aARQv2cU
Role: Lead Designer/Lead Programmer
About: This was not only my first solo side project but also my first foray into Android development. While I spent a ton of time learning about the intricacies of the Android SDK and how to get what I wanted out of it, I also learned a lot about asset creation and working on a single file for a prolonged period of time (and how to make sure I don’t make it harder on myself in the future through proper coding techniques).
I did a lot of work on this project via the Videogame Prototyping Lab at Georgia Tech, and much of my work was done as a rapid prototype over a few hours each week.
My main goal with this project was to push the limits of expression through simple game mechanics. Players control a “ship” via touching the screen (the ship moves toward wherever the player touches) and can drop up to 2 bombs that explode after a set time by pressing down the trackball/trackpad. Players could also “charge up” their bomb and create a bigger bomb that takes longer to explode but has a much bigger explosion radius.
I wanted to experiment with how many different gameplay styles and emotions I could create with a rather simple game mechanic set-list, and had implemented several different enemy types and environmental hazards before coming to a stop on development. By boiling a gameplay style down to its basics, I wanted to separate gameplay from narrative as much as possible while still feeling like the player is in a certain setting. For example by creating a large enemy that would only chase the player if the player got too close to him; I was able to involve feelings of stealth gameplay as the player could avoid these enemies with careful movement.
The game was very fun to create enemy designs for, even if most of them never were created by the time I stopped working on the project. My main inspiration for the gameplay came from Geometry Wars, but I wanted the game to be slower-paced and have many scripted sequences and puzzle elements. I settled on a system where the game was broken into stages on a single screen, and worked within those constraints for each level (with the goal of each level taking between 30 and 90 seconds to complete). Some levels were simple survival levels as seen in Geometry Wars, but others required puzzle-solving where a player had to find a non-obvious way to destroy an enemy or reach an area on the screen.
Ultimately however, I found that I did not have a good asset creation pipeline and it took an extremely long time to create each new asset and fully implement each one. By the end of spring semester I either had to restart the project from scratch in order to streamline the development process, or start a new game. Because each new level in the game required new assets and was a long process (and was essentially an entirely different gameplay model each level), I decided to put the project on hold and move to a new gameplay idea where I could focus on polishing up one specific gameplay model.