Prototypes

Below you can find a selection of prototypes I have designed and built as an exploration into different systems, mechanics or concepts.

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Forlorn Deep

A card game dungeon crawler. The concept revolves around the player navigating procedurally generated dungeons filled with monsters while building up their deck with cards. The main hook is the player gains new cards by defeating monsters. When they defeat a monster, they receive a random card from the defeated monster’s card deck.

Player casting a fireball onto an Ooze monster while delving into a dungeon.

The more stronger monsters they defeat, the more powerful the player’s deck will become, the more dangerous dungeons they can conquer.

Basic card play in Forlorn Deep

Each turn the player has 2 action points they can use to play specific cards. Some cards cost 1 or 2 action points to play while others are free.

Alternatively, the player can flip the card for a generic use instead which cost no action points. These cards allow for a basic number of movement points or a weak attack.

Blue pips are action points. This card for example costs 1
Flipped card

Forlon Deep it’s gameplay loop completely revolves around making interesting decisions with your cards. The player’s deck will be shuffled each time the player has no more cards to draw. Since the player’s deck can grow large due to the monster cards being added, the player can choose to permanently sacrifice cards to gain short term benefits while also culling their deck from cards they no longer need.

Burning cards to cull the deck and gain short-term benefits

By burning cards, a meter will fill that unlocks extra actions the player can take in their turn. For example, the player can gain an additional action point to play an more powerful card or they can use the meter to heal themselves.

Player permanently sacrificing a card

During play, the player can also put cards in their reserve belt which locks cards into their hand. These cards can be played once each turn and will not get shuffled into the deck which allows the player to create quick play strategies while using the main deck as a source for additional power.

Reserving cards to re-use each new turn

The prototype was also a great exercise for me personally to delve more into concepts like procedural generation, Astar pathfinding and AI behaviour trees.

The prototype contains a fully procedurally generated dungeon, AI that can navigate the dungeon and play relevant cards from their deck, and a card generation system that generates cards based on data from CSV files.

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2D Brawler

Inspired by games like Towerfall and Duckgame, I wanted to make a 2D party game but with more depth in its systems much like a regular fighting game.

Capture the flag match

The concept of this particular prototype revolves around a super meter that can be used to power several actions.

The player’s base actions are:

  • Shoot (with autolock)
  • 360 degree melee
Reflecting rockets
  • Shield and Parry (The shield can block all incoming projectiles and when used at the correct timing it can parry melee attacks and even reflect rockets)
  • Rocket Fire
  • PowerUp

The player can fill the super meter by hitting the other players with the basic actions like Shooting and melee. Once they accumulate enough super power they can fire a rocket or PowerUp to enhance their basic actions with additional features.

Super Laser

For example, the basic Shoot can now fire through walls or the player can fire a massive laser that instantly kills all players within.

Using the super meter accomplishes a breath of different moment to moment tactics gives the game a refreshing layer of depth.

The game supports game modes like Capture the Flag, One Flag CTF and death match and can be played with up to 4 players.

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Zone Shifter

Because I have a deep love for arcade games and Shmups in particular, I have made several Shmup prototypes. One of them is called Zone Shifter.

Basic gameplay in Zone Shifter

In this prototype I wanted to shake up the genres mechanics slightly by pushing the player away from enemies instead of trying to point-blank shoot them. In addition I want to have the player try and have as much enemies on screen as they can handle instead of trying to continuously clear everything as soon as possible.

Its main gameplay loop is that the screen is divided into two equal halves and the player can shoot left and right.

The player is in the right half shooting left. Their bullets are coloured pink to highlight this.
The player now flies in the left half of the screen while shooting right. Their bullets are now coloured blue.

The player will want to shoot enemies that are in the opposite half. The catch is that enemies will fly into the screen from both sides.

To ensure the player will want to shift sides the scoring system as-well as their survivability is coupled tightly with this mechanic.

Shooting enemies on the other side will grant power ups that will make the player more powerful.

In addition, the enemies are worth more points when shot on the other side. The longer they are active, they will accumulate even more points so risk taking is awarded.

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Invader Labs

As a continuation of the basic systems from Arabilis, this prototype took a detour into the auto battle game realms.

In this roguelike tactical game concept the player grows monsters and uses them to invade a city and try to demolish the heavy fortified capitol building. In the concept the player will play through multiple levels and gain upgrades to their monsters to counter the ever evolving defending forces.

Basic gameplay of Invader Labs

The player is continuously receiving a random monster seed that needs to be planted into the procedurally generated “lab”. By matching the colors and connecting the dots (like in Arabilis) the monsters will grow until they are eventually big enough to be send to invade the city.

Matching up dots of the placed enemy will connect them with others to make them grow

Each city has a selection of different defending troops that attack and defend specific zones.

Defending troops and their statistics

Whenever there are no monsters in the city, they will attack the monster warp portal. When it gets destroyed, it is game over and the player will have to continuously send in monsters to defend the portal and clear the defending troops.

Player growing an army to get ready to invade the city

The battle itself is entirely automated and the player will have to make sure they send in the right monsters at the right time.

To destroy the capitol building and win the level, the player will have to invade the city with bomb monsters. They are extremely vulnerable monsters that can only attack the building. Timing is crucial to make sure they make it across the battlefield.

The prototype is still very work in progress and still lacks some of the planned systems. Monster upgrades and additional incentives for the player to be efficient with all monsters are planned to be implemented.