Role | Lead Designer, Character Modeller Duration | 48 Hours Tools Used | Unity, C#, Maya
Simple Mistakes is an isometric puzzle game in which the player assumes to role of a guardian robot who must guide a group of simple minded baby bots through a treacherous junkyard in a gameplay experience akin to that of Pikmin, Lemmings, and Mario: Minis on the Move.
This project was a submission for the Rose Valley Game Jam 2020 with the design constraint and theme of "simplicity is key" and was the recipient of the Excellence in Art Award. Our team was made up of nine individuals covering disciplines involving design, programming, concept art, music composition.
INITIAL GAME CONCEPT
With the theme of "Simplicity is Key", simple minded and simple mistakes were the phrases thrown around that really stuck with us that we ultimately ended up gearing our project towards, with our core game concept being a Pikmin-esque puzzle game where the players would solve puzzles to clear hazards while also assigning orders for simple minded bots to follow in order to lead them through a level.
Guiding our simple minded robots through the junkyard began with clearing away junk and creating a walkable space for them. As the guardian robot, the player possesses a vacuum mechanic that would clear out the junk and debris obstructing our simple minded robots path. Aside from just the gameplay intention that this mechanic held, we also wanted the vacuum to simply be a satisfying action to carryout which we reinforced through the visual and audio feedback of the junk being removed.
After clearing a path for our simple minded robots with the aforementioned vacuum mechanic, the player would then have to guide them using the command ping. Using the command ping mechanic on walkable space would drop an indicator at that location in which all the existing simple minded robots would being moving to that space.
We wanted to integrate puzzle solving as an integral step of getting our simple minded robots to their end destination and opted for a simple interact action mechanic in this iteration of the project. Clearing out the junk would reveal hidden boxes that the guardian robot could pick up and interact with. Using and properly placing these boxes, the player could block the treacherous tentacle that would otherwise destroy our simple minded robots allowing them to pass and could create a bridge across the chasm that would allow both the player and their following robots to cross to the end destination.
Going forward with Simple Mistakes we would really want to flesh out and create additional puzzle mechanics and interactions to allow for more engaging and interesting puzzle design that would really allow for the other mechanics to shine.
ARTSTYLE AND MODELING WORK
Since we had the awesome opportunity of working alongside a group of talented concept artists for this project, we wanted to utilize their strengths and skillset in ways that would most benefit the game in the short 48 hour time period, and thus opted to employ an art style that would utilize hand drawn 2D sprites in an isometric view and 3D character models created by me, referencing techniques and styles seen in various Supergiant titles like Bastion, Transistor, and Hades. In the end we were able to hand create every asset seen in the game including the models, art, scripts, and music which was an accomplishment that our team was very proud of at the end!
TAKEAWAYS AND CHALLENGES
Prior to the event starting, our team had only been partially formed with only around half of the members being familiar with one another while the other half were brought on the day of which resulted unfortunately in some clashing team dynamics and creative disputes. Despite this however, many members of our team were willing to put in extra time and effort to bring the project across the finish line, resulting in Simple Mistakes being a project that our team holistically were all very happy with and as an experience as a whole that I was very fond of.