In this series, we'll share some development insights for Into the Forest, action survival game.
High-level concept, check. Theme, check! Whilst the programmer was setting up a prototype, the designer's job is to define a simple core loop.
This high-level gameplay loop acts as a guide for both programming and design alike. If we are planning to go astray, we pretty much start from scratch. In the original prototype, players gained gold whenver an enemy was slain. We decided to have gold spawn on-stage for a couple of reasons:
On the micro level, there were some minute tweaks needed to make this work. To avoid lag, we grouped gold over values 10 and 50 to bigger coin models. The lifetimes for the coins were also adjusted by trial and error to provide a balance between gameplay and performance.
Furthermore, most arcade games of similar loop require the players to start from the beginning after each try, we wanted to give players an extra level of progression. We implemented this by letting players pick up where they left off (stage-wise), and also the ability to strengthen the players. These came in the form of Huntsman upgrades (weapons), to Red's own attributes (perks). This is a fairly straight forward progression / money sink mechanic seen in many arcade games that promote meaningful choices, especially when deciding what is more effective. This system could of been expanded on further into talent trees for different sessions of runs, which in-turn could drastically change the playstyle. However, we decided against over-complicating this simple mechanic, in fear of building an entry-barrier for less adept gamers.