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  • Making An Among Us-Styled Game In 10 Days: Lessons Learned

    [01.21.21]
    - Bari Silvestre
  • What the Disc?

    Disc Room Game Jam is a game jam on Itch.io hosted by Devolver Digital and Disc Room developers Kitty Calis, Jan Willem Nijman, Terri Vellmann and Doseone. Early October I initially heard of this upcoming game jam but I missed the first day on October 17. It was only 3 days later when I saw it's ongoing and I immediately talked to my friend Mike, fellow game dev and an amazing pixel artist (Jack Axe) to ask if he's interested in joining. Knowing we're both fans of JW we're both excited to join.

    Not a Clone

    I want to address this issue first. Among Us is a great game, we have full respect for the developers. I am thankful for them in making the social deduction genre mainstream in digital form. I played a lot of tabletop games including social deduction games like BattleStar Galactica and The Resistance with my friends at our local game store but with Covid19 this won't be happening soon.

    In Disc Us, we have put a twist and a different formula that wouldn't work otherwise for both games. We have infinite lives, cell for suspects, always-on chat and Zelda-like room transitions.

    "Good design is a process, not a delivery." - Steven PONKIN

    If I told you the original design of the game, you'll have doubts about my plan and I can't blame you. We have a 3-day progression, and each day everyone gets their ration of oxygen based on votes and the amount of oxygen collected. This presented a lot of problems and it's also very complicated in both design and code so it got immediately scrapped during the first days. But honestly, I just don't want to deal with coding this system (perks of a game designer/coder).

    Instead of working more on game design on paper, we worked on the prototype. That's the best advice I can give to a new game developer. It's best to think of ideas when we have something that we can play with. I worked on the spawn and chat system, movement and room transitions while Mike drew the characters, oxygen tanks and rooms. I used Photon PUN for networking. I also used SmoothSync for interpolation to compensate for lag and reduce the networking costs.


    4 opened windows to test networking

    In the first iteration, the oxygen hub was at the center of the spawn room and it presented obvious problems. It makes the room too busy for first time players and it covers the other players.


    It's a good idea if developers can share sketches early


    The Oxygen Hub moved to the top of the spawn room

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