Alex Williams - Game Designer

(includes the beating heart of an indie too.)

 -Yokai: Battle Ball -


Project Description

Yokai: Battle Ball is an updated re-creation of the classic NES game Penguin Wars (UPL, 1985) created at the NHTV University's IGAD (International Game Architecture and Design) program over the course of 14 weeks, working one full day per week. The goal of the project was to expand upon the established gameplay in a more meaningful modern way, and to create an engaging art treatment.

The objective of the game is simple, you must get as many balls as possible to your opponent’s side of the field. If you manage to get rid of all the balls, you win the round. There are three rounds to a match. On time-out, the player with the least balls on their side wins. It is possible to momentarily stun your opponent by hitting them directly with a ball. This means you cannot normally catch or block incoming balls. Additionally, balls bounce and ricochet off of one another, as well as the area boundaries.

 

-    Production // Game Design // Concept Design // 3D Modelling // Texturing   -   PC   -   2013-2014 // 14 Days // Team Project(16)   -


Project Role

My contribution to the project was centered around team leadership. This included managing leads, planning development time, and acting as a contact point for external parties and project stakeholders. (In this case, the staff at our school played that role, including high level meetings.)  

When not discussing development, or managing the team’s work, I produced extra art assets and collaborated with the design team, creating texture assets, extra models, and particle effects.

Challenges

On top of the challenge of updating a classic game, Yokai was an extended learning process for me as a team lead. As a first timer leading a team of 16 people, I dealt with emerging problems like desk positioning, communications standards between leads, project awareness among team members, detailed creative control versus project oversight, and many more.

Goals and Outcome

We implemented several changes to the old design. The original game had only a single square field, and one ball type. We created two new field shapes to change the ways in which the balls behave in the field: a hexagonal shape and an hourglass shape. Next, we overhauled some of the basic mechanics. The balls can now bounce at many more angles, and the angle of a ball throw is controlled by the player’s directional inertia at the moment of throwing.

We also implemented a charge up mechanic, to allow a player to choose rapid throwing over speed and power. These elements combine to make throwing balls a either fast or powerfully a more deliberate act. 

Different ball type powerups were introduced, ranging from a heatseeking ball to balls with curve or slime effects. Players trigger these powerups by throwing a ball over specially placed floor pads that swap out powerups in timed intervals.


Software Tools Used

 -   Adobe PhotoShop // Autodesk Maya   -  


-   AUDIO BY SJOERD LIMBERGER // WWW.SJOERDLIMBERGER.COm   -

 

Alex Williams ©. All rights reserved.