• Mike

MA Multiplayer Game Design: More Simple Level Designs & Our Character!


Well, since you are here, I got some updates for ya about the basic level designs I've been doing and what character we have chosen to be in our game...ooooo exciting, right?


More Simple Level Designs

In a previous post I showed a level design I had come across which featured pipes as the end game mechanic. Now, I've started to experiment with this idea and see how we could potentially make use of pipes to act as our finish lines:

View of 2 levels that have pipes as a connecting feature

So the premise is very simple: Runners will start from the boxed-out area (far-right in the top section) and need to get across and go into the pipes so that they fall down and land in the starting area for the next round. Bulldogs are meant to start from the middle of the level, but I still need to think about how best to do this so that they don't have some immediate advantage with where they are starting from.

I wanted to try making the pipes feel like a slide, but players might not fall out of the pipe once they get near the end - they could just sit in the pipe which would present some problems. So, just to keep it simple, they can only fall straight down once they are inside a pipe. When they fall out, they will be waiting in the starting area for the next round of the next level. The sequence then just repeats, with the contents of the level changing each time. So in the bottom level in the image, the bridge changes so that players could either go through or over the bridge. The bridge is transparent enough that Bulldogs would be able to see the Runners inside the tunnel, so players can't hide too easily from everyone else.

Although the levels are scaled to the size of a typical football pitch (120m x 90m) it doesn't feel large enough, so the size of the levels definitely requires upscaling. The football pitch was always going to be a point of reference for setting up the size of the levels, so its good to see early on that this scale needs to be much larger to have about 2-3 minutes of gameplay in each level.

Right now, the levels are contained inside a sphere that has its normals flipped. This is a similar effect to what I did in my Shader Worlds project, although the geometry is not as nice since its using a ProBuilder sphere instead of the custom one. The idea was to have the skybox and the level environments change every 2 rounds, but that presents a problem - the pipes go through the sphere. Even though I can use the boolean tool from ProBuilder to try to cut holes in the sphere that match the shape of the pipes, its not a safe method and runs the risk of crashing Unity. I can try to think of other solutions, but there is a reasonable chance that this feature might be dropped, especially since its not crucial to the project succeeding.

I've also been messing around with particle systems to try making the starting areas for both sides more interesting visually. I haven't had much luck with making the particles move around the edges of a box shape, but for more rounded shapes, I've had some better luck:

The two types shown are pretty much the same, except one particle system (the purple one) is taller and gives the impression of something like the ray shields from Star Wars. I think this one is much nicer to look at compared to the blue base one. I'll look some more into getting the particles to behave the way I want them to, but I may also drop this since it is, again, not that vital to the project. Its a "nice to have" feature.


The Character We Will Use Is...


The YouTube channel "Mix and Jam" created this character a little while ago to be their official mascot for their brand, and have made Jammo free to use in projects. Jammo also has a lot of things optimised already to make our lives easier: its been designed to work very easily with Mixamo for animations and comes with multiple textures for changing the colour of the character (easy to show the 2 sides with these) and the appearance of the eyes, so its perfect!

We got Jammo off of the Unity Asset Store and have begun to implement the character into the project. I'll help source the animations we should use for the character from Mixamo, which will be kept in our Trello board for easy access.


Closing Thoughts

Now that we got a character into the game, I can start having a think about what the name is going to be for the game. Before that though, I want to start getting our pregame lobby made. Rather than making it so that players need to wait at a screen for enough people to join a lobby and then begin the game, I think its a much more immersive experience if you can practice or mess around in a designated area before the main game starts. Very similar to Call of Duty's Warzone pregame lobby, where players can practice mechanics, go exploring, or just do nothing and do something else until the game begins.

So by next week, I hope to have this in so my programmer can set up the loading system needed with PUN 2!

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