The gaming industry is a rapidly growing market, totaling nearly 2.7 billion people worldwide (Nolibois, 2021). Being such a large source of entertainment, it should come as no surprise the amount of money and time companies are willing to put in to develop movie-level experiences. Triple-A games (also abbreviated as AAA games) are multimillion-dollar games developed by larger companies and are considered more “mainstream” than most other games (Juegostudio, 2020). Some great examples of recent AAA games are Santa Monica Studio’s “God of War” (2018) which received game of the year, and the long awaited “Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart” released by Insomniac Games. Another AAA game released by Insomniac to universal praise was “Marvel’s Spiderman” in 2018. After researching some design job opportunities for positions these companies have available, I found that both had large amounts of overlap in requiring combat design experience (Santa Monica Studio, 2021) (Insomniac Games, 2021).
Upon reflection on some of my own games I had designed, I found that I lacked this vital skill. I had competence in designing levels, game mechanics, user experience, etc. but had little to no combat design experience. Moreover, most of my gaming projects have been only associated with university assessments and as such I have yet to publish a finished game to the public. As such, I decided to look at a variety of different combat systems in games and decide what I could accomplish in the short 6 weeks available to complete the project. While it would be fun to work on a system with fully rigged/animated enemies with an advanced AI, the time and scope of the project simply doesn’t allow for something this complex. Therefore, I turned my attention towards games with simpler combat mechanics. The first game that came to mind was the often overlooked “Tanks!”.
“Tanks!” or “Wii Tanks” as it is more well known as, was the ninth mini-game in a collection of games for the Nintendo Wii known as “Wii Play”. It is usually seen as the best of the 9 games on the disc thanks to it’s simple yet addictive gameplay. The game is made from a variety of levels, each constructed using the same environmental blocks and enemies. Each enemy has a colour which indicates what capabilities that enemy can do, including placing bombs, bullet speed, to even turning invisible. It’s these unique enemy types and the different combinations of them you can have in a level that form the addictive gameplay of Wii Tanks. It is this form of simple combat with varying enemy types that will form the basis for my game project.
The game will be a cross between Wii Tanks and Super Mario Galaxy, utilizing the combat from Wii Tanks and taking inspiration from the platforming/level traversal of Super Mario Galaxy. A similar example of the type of gameplay I imagine appeared in the recently released, “Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart” in which the player controlled a small drone called Glitch and destroyed enemies across a level by clinging to different surfaces. I chose this because I believe it will be interesting to add a third dimension to the player vs enemy combat found in Tanks while also not being too complex to complete in the given time.
The player will be dropped into a given level and tasked with destroying all other enemies within that level by traversing across small planetary bodies, each with their own shifting gravity. Enemies will come in a few varying colours, though the amount will depend on how smoothly development goes. The primary form of attack will be a small rocket aimed by the player. The player can have upwards of 5 projectiles in the air at once, however if this number is reached the player will have to wait for one of the projectiles to be destroyed before being able to fire another one. Additionally, the player can plant small bombs which will detonate after being shot or after a certain period of time. Enemy forms of attack will differ based on their colour, however the different ways they could attack would be: rockets and bombs similar to the player’s, faster rockets, heavy explosive’s which detonate the planet they’re placed on, etc. The enemies would have a basic AI which would force the player to maneuver across different planets. To do so, the player will have a jump which can propel them into the air, allowing them to hop between planets and avoid enemy fire. From a visual standpoint, the game would take place in space with a lot of glowing particle effects and simple sci-fi designs for the player and enemies.
This project, upon completion, would help fill the gap in my skillset in two ways. For one, if finished in time it would allow my portfolio to contain a piece available, published work. Secondly and more importantly, it will demonstrate my ability to create balanced combat design from both a mechanic and level design standpoint. Both of these are missing from my current portfolio of work, as my previous projects have yet to require these aspects of game development. Furthermore, I believe this project would further demonstrate my ability to develop games for a variety of genres, given that each game project I have worked on has varied in genre and gameplay.
Fandom. (2006, December 2). Mission 18. Retrieved from Wii-Play-Tanks.fandom: https://wii-play-tanks.fandom.com/wiki/Mission_18
Insomniac Games. (2021, N/a N/a). Senior Designer. Retrieved from boards.greenhouse.io: https://boards.greenhouse.io/insomniacgames/jobs/3254926
Juegostudio. (2020, September 24). Everything you need to know about AAA game development costs. Retrieved from Juegostudio: https://www.juegostudio.com/blog/everything-you-need-to-know-about-aaa-game-development-costs
Nolibois, Q. (2021, April 29). Global Gaming Industry Value Now Exceeds $300 Billion, New Accenture Report Finds. Retrieved from Accenture: https://newsroom.accenture.com/news/global-gaming-industry-value-now-exceeds-300-billion-new-accenture-report-finds.htm
Santa Monica Studio. (2021, N/a N/a). Sr Combat Designer. Retrieved from sms.playstation: https://sms.playstation.com/careers/design/senior-combat-designer