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  • Writer's pictureMike

MA Multiplayer Game Design: Adding Character Customisation, Main Levels & Powerups

So, since the presentation, we've been trying to get a lot of stuff done to get ourselves back on track (even though we were told we are probably the group that is the furthest ahead, whoa). The main highlights have been working on how to do the character customisation and getting the levels added into the project.


Character Customisation

We're in a nice position where the game designs are starting to take shape, so I've been looking at Jammo's setup to see how best we can add in customisation options.

The first thing I looked into was how it would be easiest to add cosmetic assets to the model to make my programmer's life easier. This was seen in the previous post when we did our presentation.

The hierarchal structure for the character model, highlighting the cosmetic additions

Luckily, its super simple - they need to be added to the "Head" part of the model and positioned accordingly. So, all I need to do is add in various assets that seem suitable and then we pop them into the correct child! Then the script can find them easily enough and enable them accordingly.

The model also comes with 4 base texture colours, so its just a matter of swapping those out, which is pretty simple. Instead, I focused on expanding the available eyes options for the character so that we could offer players the chance to change their eyes:

The default eyes that come with Jammo, with room for more eyes

There's room for 4 more types of eyes and, after messing around with it, its been easy to figure out how it works. It boils down to simply offsetting the X and Y axis so that it shows the eyes that we want to show. I have a couple of ideas for what new eyes could be added, but nothing is confirmed yet.

Oh, we also added in 5 emotes so players can communicate with each other outside of the chatbox!


Implementing Some Powerups

Now for something a bit more interesting, powerups!

At the moment, there are about 6 powerups which I have designed in an Excel table - 2 for the Rogue Bots side, 2 for the Security Bots side, and 2 which are shared by both teams. Some of these are more complicated than others, so the ones which are less difficult have been implemented. These are:

  • Double Jump

  • Forcefield

  • Water Balloon

These are all custom icons I made in Photoshop and applied to a ProBuilder cube!

Designing powerups was a bit tricky since some of the games I analysed don't make use of them in favour of very simple gameplay. The full list of powerups is as follows:

My general philosophy here is that the Rogue Bots should have individual-based powerups while Security Bots should have environment-based ones, generally speaking. I think this will compliment the objectives for both sides much better, plus there are some which can be used by both sides to keep things balanced.


Implementing The Levels

Now for the big one - the levels are in the game!!

These took a fair bit of time to design and lay out, but I've tried to think about as many scenarios as possible (like the fact we might have 20 people playing at a given time, or even 3). Anyway to start off, the first level is dubbed "The Long Road":

"The Long Road" level

This is the introductory level, so I wanted it to only have a limited number of things for players to worry about - that being that there are different paths to take and only 1 moving obstacle, the yellow spinners. I also took some inspiration from the training barriers in bowling alleys, so I made the walls nice and tall to make it impossible to get out of the map (I hope!). The areas with the yellow walls are the safe zones that the Rogue Bots start at and aim to reach in each round, while the blue area in the middle is where Security Bots will begin the game from.

The intentions also involve making use of the water balloon and forcefield powerups here. There's a mixture of closed and open spaces which, I am hoping, will give players opportunities to make use of both powerups.

The second level that has been added is the "Treetop Kingdom":

"Treetop Kingdom" level

This is where things are getting harder for the players, since there are now additional dangers - platforming! There are less pathways to choose from here, but each one has different pros and cons as well as different obstacles to overcome. You may have guessed that this level is going to heavily feature the Double Jump powerup, and it does, along with the forcefield powerup!

Positions are the same, with Security Bots starting on the wooden platform at the base of the tree in the middle of the map. This level now introduces verticality into the mix, with the water plane acting as our out of bounds zone. So if Rogue Bots hit it, they are eliminated from the round, and Security Bots which hit it will have to wait to respawn after a few seconds before they can continue to hunt remaining Rogue Bots.

Each map is played on for 2 rounds before it changes. So, Rogue Bots will cross once and then cross back again, then the levels will change. I think this is the best way to do it; it gives players enough time to be able to learn and enjoy the levels without it becoming too boring too quickly.


Closing Thoughts

So I am pretty wiped from trying to make these levels, they took hours. As I mentioned, I was trying to imagine and cover all eventualities that might happen during a playthrough, like guessing how many players will have become Security Bots by this time or how many Rogue Bots have been able to avoid getting caught. Its been a real challenge, but I am hoping it pays off. They at least look nice!

Since I am coming up to the deadline, I think its a matter of doing lots of polishing now and prepping for a playtest. I was thinking about making a third level that was in a giant stadium that added new obstacles, but I think I am on the brink of burning out 😵 so I will leave it at this for now. I'm sure no one will mind, I think everyone is only doing one map anyway for their projects so it should be all good!

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