Student Postmortem: DigiPenís Toblo [03.01.07]
- Steve Chiavelli
Going into junior year at DigiPen Institute of Technology, our team was looking to make a game that was both light-hearted and easy to pick up and play. Knowing we wouldn’t be working with any artists, we also wanted to craft a physics-based engine and keep our art asset requirements to a minimum. With these things in mind, the team sat down one night and hashed out our master plan over some burritos.
That original meeting spawned a game design which eventually turned into Toblo. Our game consists of two teams battling each other for control of a completely destructible world made of blocks. The game places a strong emphasis on destroying your opponent’s base in order to capture all three of their flags. Players are essentially limited to two ways of interacting with the world: picking up blocks and throwing them. In order to attack other players, the blocks which make up the world must be used as weapons. This concept of the world as your ammo leads to tearing apart the level’s structures, such as walls and trees. At the end of a match, the level is left in a state of complete disarray. Several large piles of rubble mark where the two bases used to be.
This destructive gameplay is completely different from our original design. Toblo was originally about two teams racing to build a tower to the heavens. Players would have to meticulously place individual blocks in their tower, growing it piece by piece. They would be responsible for venturing out to attack the other team’s tower and defending their own as well. Combining all of these things turned out to be too complex for us to maintain our original goals. During our play-tests we discovered that players couldn’t figure out the game within the first couple minutes. Even worse, we could tell they weren’t having much fun.
We decided to grasp onto the one aspect of our game which we knew was enjoyable: knocking things down. Our game design underwent a complete overhaul, and our tower building game turned into destructive CTF mayhem. This move made the game easier to understand, and also allowed us to showcase our physics engine.