Roles: Technical Design, Systems Design, Gameplay Design
Duration: 8 weeks
Team Size: 6
Tools: Unity, Perforce
Tarantella is a puzzle strategy game set in the wild west. Take the role of Ella, the fastest knife in the west. Slice through waves of enemies trying to rob the town's bank, manipulate the board in order to build up brutal combo attacks and ultimately claim your revenge!
Balancing Player Actions
The player needs to think ahead before making a move. Random events make the player rethink their strategy.
The core gameplay should be applicable to fit as a board game.
Gory, over the top effects and excessive violence.
The player can move up to three squares each turn, and attack an enemy or a crate as long as they are in the same horizontal or vertical lane.
The player can continue their attack as long as an enemy or object is in their connecting lane.
The picture is from our paper prototype that I made in order to test the gameplay.
In our first prototype, the player had up to five actions every turn. Both attacks and moves counted as an action. This felt counterproductive as the satisfaction of clearing the whole board was not possible to achieve.
Instead, we made attacks unlimited and lowered the number of moves so that the player could only move up to three squares every turn.
Enemies walk towards the bank and shoot the player if they walk into the same lane as the player.
Green bandits take one step each turn
Red bandits take two steps and are not affected by the player's force ability.
The game is lost if the player has no lives left, or if an enemy reaches the bank.
MIXING UP THE GAMEPLAY
The gameplay felt repetitive since the player would only attack enemies, it was also hard to line up enemies for a satisfying combo attack.
I decided to add destructible crates that the player can attack in order to continue their combo.
I also added explosive crates as a counter mechanic, that damages the player and destroys everything in a radius around the explosive crate.
MANIPULATE THE BOARD
The gameplay had now opened up a lot more, however, the gameplay still felt static.
The player is now able to move crates and enemies, to line them up for a more rewarding combo attack.
The player can now push crates into enemies, or the other way around.
If the player pushes an explosive crate into an enemy it explodes in a radius around the crate.
Regular crates will stun enemies and their next turn will be skipped.
COMMUNICATING PLAYER ACTIONS
One of our biggest issues was communicating the player's action and how they work:
- How long is the attack range?
- Where can the player move?
- What ability is currently equipped?
My goal was to visually communicate to the player how mechanics work, without looking at the UI, allowing the player to stay immersed in the gameplay.
Green squares around the player communicates player movement, if the player has no moves left during their turn, the squares will turn red.
Hovering over an enemy in range will light up the attack path, displaying the attack range.
Hovering over an enemy or crate with the force ability equipped doesn't only show where the object or enemy will move but also communicates the currently equipped ability.
WHAT I LEARNED
I learned the importance of making modular scripts in C# and having scalability in mind.
I also learned how starting with a simple scope will give time for adding and testing different mechanics, allowing the game to shape itself, making the end product more enjoyable.