Monthly Archives: March 2011

Playtesting TowerOffense

While I don’t have the actual game up to playtest standards, I was able to sit down with a chess board and random game pieces and explain my game concept to people. I did this before I started actually building the game in order to ascertain a few things first; 1) whether the concept was simple enough to execute within my given time frame, and 2) whether people thought it would be sophisticated enough to keep them interested, given its needed simplicity in execution.

THE CONCEPT

The concept was thus: A Defense of the Ancients-style game approached form the Tower Defense angle instead of form the Real-Time Strategy angle. Instead of focusing on the hero units and controlling them RTS-style, you’d be focusing on the base and towers, micromanaging them Tower-Defense style.

WHAT PEOPLE THOUGHT

People were interested in this take on the MOBA genre, and thought it had merit. They were general intrigued to see how I handled it, and thought the idea neat. It was pointed out that there would probably be some issues in keeping the player interested in anything beyond their corner of the game map, and that if I wasn’t going to have heroes going out and farming I was going to need some other form of resource acquisition.

WHAT WAS SUGGESTED

Several things were suggested to solve these two problems.

  • Some form of territory acquisition, wherein the goal was not specifically to defeat the opponent’s base but instead take over the board via control points of some sort.
  • Gathering resources in a style similar to Plants Versus Zombies, where resources would randomly appear about the map and the player would need to actively keep an eye out for them and click on them to gather.
  • Having to manually build and maintain the towers, making you continually check all the lanes and perform routine upkeep on all your structures.
  • Having a type of unit, not a hero, that you could send out to explore the map, uncovering it fog-of-war style, revealing resource points and new lanes to send units down and build towers next to.

Of these ideas I decided the simplest to mock up would be the Plants vs Zombies style click-to-grab resources and have begun on implementing that at present time. If it doesn’t work out, or even if it does, I may look at some of the other suggestions and have a go at how they work out as well.

Playtesting Gathers No Moss ~ Maze Edition

For the next go, I got rid of the traditional controls and instead had you manipulate the pitch, roll, and yaw of the stage itself, leaving the movement of the boulder to gravity as you jostled about the level. I then added a 3d maze that you would manipulate to get the ball through. The coins were still present, but now just served as a signpost of how far you’d got, as if you fell out you restarted at the last checkpoint.

WHAT WAS LIKED

So, there was now more to the game. It still had that relaxed feel, but you were now actually doing something semi-challenging, with risk and reward and chance of failure. It was a more engaging game and with a little work could make a decent time-filler.

WHAT WASN’T LIKED

The art. Now that people weren’t complaining about lack of things to do, the fact that the game didn’t look as good as early Nintendo 64 games was beginning to be a detriment. While I was familiar with 3DSMax and Blender, they frustrate me and I couldn’t work well with them at the time. Add to that that, in addition to any advanced modeling I might have to do, I would also need to create nice-ish textures and bump maps, and I was looking at a problem.

WHAT WAS SUGGESTED

It was suggested that I move to a sprite-based game, as pixel art, if done right, was relatively easy to produce and could look rather nice if the appropriate amount of effort was afforded. At this point, I scrapped the rolling boulder and began brainstorming 2d sprite-based games.

Playtesting Gathers No Moss

The first new idea I started for a solo project was a Boulder with a smiling tiki face that you could roll around an island and collect gold coins. I booted up unity and had that concept more or less finished after a day, though it looked a bit rough around the edges, all the functionality was there; boulder, coins, island.

WHAT WAS LIKED

It was nice and simple. You rolled around the island, picking up coins which were layed out in a path. The music was light breezy and unity’s swaying trees and rippling grass really added to the feeling of the sandy secluded palm-tree island. The coins were nice and shiny and particle effects made nice touches when you grabbed them. The game gave off a nice relaxed feeling.

WHAT WAS DISLIKED

There wasn’t anything else to do. The game was too simple. After you’d gathered all the coins, that was it. There wasn’t much point in continuing to roll around the island.

WHAT WAS SUGGESTED

Add more to the game. At this point there wasn’t much to it.