7 DEVELOPERS (3 DESIGNERS)
Super Mother Quackers (S.M.Q) is a competitive party game where players need to collect wild ducklings. The player with the highest score wins the match. This was my first game project at Future Games and the project where I explored the fascinating world of Level Design for the first time.
Sketched and blocked out the layout of the arena.
Scripted level events.
Designed the level beats.
Collaborated on the general gameplay design of the project.
Invest the player in a hectic and highly competitive experience.
Immerse the player in the gameplay by using the chain of ducklings as diegetic UI.
Simple controls and rules for a wider target audience.
As part of my workflow, I like to start projects by sketching and taking as many notes as possible. Once I feel that I have a robust idea, I jump into the engine or level editor and start blocking out.
After pitching to the team the different iterations of the blockout, we ran a playtesting session with around 12 schoolmates to see how they'd experience the levels. Fortunately, they reacted quite positively to the iteration that I was most pleased with.
The idea behind this layout is:
1. Give players a sense of balance by placing their base equidistant to the ducklings.
2. Enhance interaction players-hazards by making them surround the player's base.
3. State the competitive nature of our game by having a "boxing ring" shaped level.
After gathering vital feedback from play testers, we realized that our very first iteration of the level had issues that needed to be addressed.
Too many assets in the playable area, obstructing gameplay and lowering the level's readability.
The land mines were at first thought out to be static. The player would easily avoid them. Once triggered they needed to be spawned back in a narratively coherent way.
We decided to keep the level of detail to a minimum within the limits of the play-area. The land mines would become movable to increase unpredictability and encourage player's mobility.
Once we had settled on the land mine concept, I gladly agreed to script their behavior. After all, the hazards were an essential part of the level.
Our artists decided that the land mines would become beartraps to look more dangerous.
I used splines to add movement to the beartraps. The splines could be freely placed and moved around and the traps would "follow the water stream".
Closed to deadline, we still were searching for another type of hazard to add extra challenge to our game. Inspired by a childhood classic, Crash Bash, I pitched the idea of having submarines that would shoot bombs onto the arena. The team approved and I scripted some more.
Since we were short on time, I took on the challenge of prototyping the submarines in a maximum of 4 hours. The result would turned out to meet what we were looking for.
To deliver a more enjoyable experience to the player, I designed and scripted a pacing schedule (as I used to called it) for when the hazards would be spawned.
I divided the 90 seconds that the match would last into beats of low and high tension. During the low tension beats (Rest), the players would focus on challenging each other while during the high tension beats, different hazards would gradually be introduced. All the hazards would be thrown out to the players during the final 10 seconds, following a more traditional intensity curve.
The schedule written on my trusted white board.
A clean-up version of the "Pacing Schedule".