Dinozards

jacob-stenberg-emma-ekstrom-dinozards-po

Role: Game Designer & Gameplay Programmer

Development Time: 7 Weeks (2019)

Tools: Unity, Unreal Engine 4

Team: 12
 

Contributions:

  • Game Design

  • Prototyping

  • Game Play Programming

About

 

Dinozards is an arena based top-down multiplayer brawler where you play as a Magical Dino-baby having to fight for its survival against other Dino Babies for the affection of your Wizard Father

You can play 2-4 player Free for All or 2v2 Team Mode. 

Dinozards - In Game
Dinozards - In Game

Dinozards - Player Join Screen
Dinozards - Player Join Screen

Dinozards - Score Screen
Dinozards - Score Screen

Dinozards - In Game
Dinozards - In Game

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SGA Award - Black.png
SGA Gamers Choice Black.png
Winner Placks
Winner Placks

Swedish Game Awards
Swedish Game Awards

Winner Placks
Winner Placks

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Mechanics

Fire Ball

Cast Homing Seeking Fire Balls for Damage and Knock Back

Dinozards - FireMechanic
Dinozards - FireMechanic

Dinozards - FireMechanic
Dinozards - FireMechanic

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Reflect

Reflects Incoming Fire Balls back at Players but with greater Speed and Knockback

Dinozards - Reflect
Dinozards - Reflect

Dinozards - Reflect
Dinozards - Reflect

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Dash

Dash into Players to inflict lighting Damage or Evade incoming Fireballs

Dinozards - DashMechanic
Dinozards - DashMechanic

Dinozards - DashMechanic
Dinozards - DashMechanic

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Game Design

We decided early on that we wanted to Down Scope as much ...


as possible and have a fast-paced game targeted toward a large audience that would be easy to pick-up and play, but be flexible enough where if we had the time we could just Add things to it.

  • This effected the direction we went for which was a Fast-Paced, Top-Down Brawling game that was easy to extend with levels and characters etc.
  • The concept wasn't as clear in the beginning however since these types of games are made up of dozens of small things to the Mechanics, Dynamics and Aesthetics that make everything come together.





Ideation

The Main Inspirational Source came from a Warcraft 3 Mod that featured Spell Casting & Knocking Players into a Shrinking Threat
The Unreal Engine 4 Prototype
Dinozards - UE4Prototype - Fireball
Dinozards - UE4Prototype - Fireball

Dinozards - UE4Prototype - Dash
Dinozards - UE4Prototype - Dash

Dinozards - UE4Prototype - Reflect
Dinozards - UE4Prototype - Reflect

Dinozards - UE4Prototype - Fireball
Dinozards - UE4Prototype - Fireball

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Prototyping in Unreal Engine 4


  • We started with Prototyping in Unreal Engine 4 since we where more experienced in it and could find a satisfying core loop much quicker by using it.
  • This was highly valuable since we must've tested about 15+ variations of the Mechanics and Dynamics in 2 weeks time.




Exploratory Design Process


  • We tested the Prototype and got feedback, then re-iterated and tweaked, then tested again.
  • It was a very Exploratory Design Process but was necessary to find the MDA since the small changes could make big differences when there where so many dynamics of the mechanics.
  • For example should the player be able to turn when reflecting or be locked in place, should it surround the player, should player dash in direction of rotation or movement, should dash counter reflect etc. etc. There where so many of these small variations to each mechanic that made a big difference to the game play.





 

Game Play Programming

I made all the Spell Casting Abilities such as Casting Fire Balls, Reflecting and Dashing ...


as well as implemented the Animations and worked on the State Machine.

  • I also implemented the VFX that was made by Jacob Stenberg and we got into a good workflow where I would start working on an ability and he would get first drafts of the VFX ready so we could quickly implement them so we knew what tweaks needed to be made. I also acted as a bit of a Generalist where if something needed to be done, fixed or added I jumped in and did it.
  • When I write code I always try to keep it as clean as possible by utilizing Coroutines and Local Variables as much as possible and avoid unnecessary uses of Update.
  • I always strive towards making things as customizable as possible, especially in games like these where small changes to a mechanic can make a big difference.





Overview

2v2 Match
Animator used as State Machine
Dinozards - Animator
Dinozards - Animator

Dinozards - PlayerStates
Dinozards - PlayerStates

Dinozards - Animator
Dinozards - Animator

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Fire Ball

Fire Ball Ability & Fire Ball Projectile Prefab
Dinozards - Fireball
Dinozards - Fireball

Dinozards - FireBallAbilityInspector
Dinozards - FireBallAbilityInspector

Dinozards - ProjectileMergeInspector
Dinozards - ProjectileMergeInspector

Dinozards - Fireball
Dinozards - Fireball

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The Fireball does Damage and Knock Back to players and is ...


the primary form of attack.

  • The Fireball can slightly Home in on a Target which is within a distance and takes the one that has the closest angle in front of the player.
  • This is so it is slightly easier for the players to hit each other by just aiming toward the direction of the player they want to hit. Also encourages dodging by the other players which creates more movement and action.
  • Testing without it during the prototype showed that the players very rarely could Hit each other.
  • If two Fire Balls Hit they merge and create a big explosion.




Customization


In the inspector you can easily customize things like Knock back, Damage, Speed, Turning Speed and more.
Several of these set settings in the Fire Ball Prefab but some don't so they're available to be customized as well, such as Hit Radius, Height Above Ground, Reflect Speed Multiplier etc.





Fire Ball Ability C# Script
Fire Ball C# Script

Reflect

The Reflect Ability can Reflect an incoming Fireball ...


back to the Player that casted it and is the primary form of Defence.

  • It can also knock close players back but doesn't do any damage.
  • When Reflecting Fire Balls, time gets slowed down very briefly to give players time to react.




Customization


The Designer can set Duration, Radius From and To as it gets bigger over a small period of time, Angle Hit to the Sphere Cast so it matches the VFX, Knock Back, Slow Down Time Dilation, Duration and more.





Reflect Ability & Inspector
Dinozards - Reflect
Dinozards - Reflect

Dinozards - ReflectAbilityInspector
Dinozards - ReflectAbilityInspector

Dinozards - Reflect
Dinozards - Reflect

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Reflect Ability C# Script

Dash

Dash Ability & Inspector
Dinozards - DashAbility
Dinozards - DashAbility

Dinozards - DashAbilityInspector
Dinozards - DashAbilityInspector

Dinozards - DashAbility
Dinozards - DashAbility

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The Dash is the players primary form of Evasion and ...


does Damage and Knock back to players but not as much as the Fire Ball.

  • Does small Tick Damage afterwards since the players get the lighting on them.
  • Can be used to escape out of the Storm.




Customization


The Designer can set Hit Radius, Min/Max Length, Duration, Speed Curve (how fast in the start/middle/end), Knock Back, Damage etc.





Dash C# Script