Welcome to the first post of my blog for my Production II class! The end-goal of this class is to develop a game within a team setting - working with designers, artists, programmers, and producers - by the end of the semester. The first three weeks of the class is to prototype three different ideas in order to crank out the best possible idea to go forth into the semester, especially because of Mid-Mortems, where teams will be cut!
So with that being said, let me introduce you to Dumpster Kings, a couch multiplayer game about rummaging through garbage to equip yourself for a fight against your friends!
In Dumpster Kings, you play as one of many garbage animals: a raccoon, possum, skunk, or rat. You move around a dumpster, searching for trash that is scattered all around. After digging up trash, you can then equip the various items you find onto your animal in one of three different slots: mouth slot, head slot, and body slot. Different items have different uses, and putting the items in different slots will also have different results. For instance, if you find a "tin can" item, equipping it to your body slot could give you higher defenses, but equipping it to your head slot could make your dash ability have more stun time on the opponent! Oh, and I should probably describe the dash and attack ability. Using a dash moves you forwards a short distance, and coming into contact with an enemy will stun them for a certain amount of time. If they were digging up trash while stunned, you will steal the trash from them. And the attack ability does damage to opponents in front of you, but that may change with equipped items. The winner is the last animal standing in the dumpster!
For Dumpster Kings, we decided to prove the concept of the game with a physical prototype and use a digital prototype to showcase how it would look and to better visualize the future of the game. We mainly wanted to go with a physical prototype because it makes the creation of items much faster; we would be spending too much time creating different items in a digital game and not enough time proving that the energy of the game is fun. So, the other designer and I created a literal box of trash (clean trash, don't worry) for players to dig through. The prototype we made was a die-rolling game where if players roll die that meet certain conditions, they can do certain actions. For example, rolling a 1 on any die would let them search the box to find extra die or an item, which can affect their attack (activated through another action roll), passive ability, or add another conditional roll known as a special. The other action was being able to steal dice from other players, which was our interpretation of the dash-stunning mechanic.
Along with the physical prototype, the two programmers on our team made a digital prototype that shows off the basics of the movement and how the game will appear to the player. We wanted this to show our class how we plan on implementing the idea of the game if we were to choose this to go forwards. The main purpose it serves is to bring it into perspective and show off about how much room the players will have to run around in.
The prototype was a success! Every tester across the board loved the theme, fantasy, and experience of Dumpster Kings, which was the main thing we wanted to test. Everything that was not received well was a part of the limitations of the physical prototype. One important note is that everyone really loved the action of actually digging through trash to find garbage. In our planned digital prototype, digging is a simple press of a button, so we may want to explore more interesting interactions when it comes to finding garbage. We are also thinking about changing how equipping trash works, because another important piece of feedback was that when learning what items do, there is too much information being put on the player while also being open to attacks, which is not fun. Either way, the game has a lot of potential, and I definitely consider it to be a strong contender for the game we go through with.
But, onward to another prototype! Let's hope this one is just as good as Dumpster Kings (or hopefully even better)!