TEAM

Ernes Railey, Eunice Lim, Weikai Wu, Zhang Zijie

MY RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Designed and scripted movement and jump physics.

  • Level design.

  • Co-designed the game.

  • Created a tool to automatically creat prefabs from sprites.

  • Scripted player input, joyCon input, throwing physics.

Meow Brawler

This game is a 2D pixel PVP platformer, where two cats are trying to destroy each other by throwing different furnitures in the house. Using your unlimited cat power to throw EVERYTHING at your opponent!

I learned so much making this game. Designing a game for spectating was a very interesting and unique design challenge which pushed me to think differently.

GENRE

PvP, Action, 2D platformer

GAME ENGINE

Unity, C#

SPECTATOR-CENTRIC DESIGN PROCESS

Design Goal: A game that is fun for spectating


Changing my mindset to thinking in terms of an experience, instead of mechanics, really helped!

WHAT WENT RIGHT: EXPERT ADVISE

Got a HUGE amount of incredible advice from really amazing experts!!! I'm so grateful to Michael John and UCSC for giving us these opportunities! "Fake it!" was probably the biggest game-changer for me. I didn't think spectator input would be possible because implementing Twitch API was out of scope. Now, we have 'spectators' throwing bombs and creating chaos!

"Cheat! Just fake it with mouse input!"

- Curt Bererton (CEO, Roboto Games)

WHAT WENT RIGHT: JUMP PHYSICS

My biggest problem was scripting the jump. At all costs, I wanted to avoid the "floaty" jump which plagued my previous games. In a fast-paced action game, I felt a heavy jump was critical to maintain battle adrenaline. I spent way too many hours watching GDC talks, deriving the parabola projectile equation, researching laws of physics before finally rewriting Unity's gravity. Still, control felt terrible during the first playtest:​

"Really janky physics."​

- Curt Bererton
(CEO, Roboto Games)

I got advice from more experienced people (Thank you Aidan Kellen, Austin Kellar, Chris H, Zijie!) and didn't give up.

  • Clamped velocity.

  • Quadrupled base gravity.

  • Multiplied gravity when falling.

  • Reset all forces before a double jump.

  • Raycast grounded checks.

  • Set horizontal velocity to zero when no input.

These changes resolved a few jump bugs.​ HOWEVER, for the life of me I could not phantom the reason why players kept moving even through they weren't pressing any buttons.

15 jump permutations later, it suddenly clicked... the collider was a sphere. Of course a ball that's over the edge of the platform is going to ROLL AND FALL (so it felt like they were still moving). I designed a custom collider box shape just in time for the final playtest:

"Well done on the jump!"

- Kathy Astromoff
(Executive Producer, Apple Arcade)

WHAT WENT WRONG: LEGIBILITY

Upon reflection, our game’s main weakness was that players and spectators - especially those joining midway - wouldn't realize the win condition. I had designed player on-boarding assuming that players and spectators existed from the start of the game.

"PvP? Really!? I thought it was a building game!"

- Emily Grace Buck
(Narrative Lead, Gato Studio)


 I was so engrossed in tuning physics, I had neglected visual clarity. With the UI ignored, the affordances of collecting items and platformer doll-house environment led our experts to believe it was a building game instead of versus game. Following their feedback, we made some immediate changes to UI which improved the next playtest experience greatly.

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