Dodgeball Damnation is a fast-paced top-down shooter game combining action and strategy elements. In this game, you play as world dodgeball champion recruited by the underdog demon team to defeat the cheating angels and finally take home the Underworld dodgeball trophy.
This was a group project for the Introduction to Game Design class. I was Lead Designer for our 6-man group.
After deciding on our game being a shooter where the player has to catch dodgeballs before they can throw them, we brainstormed various ways we could increase difficulty, ranging from new enemies to environmental challenges.
We developed a board game for our idea to decide "Will this game be fun?" We also began preliminary level design.
We wireframed the level select menu and the pause menu, holding the idea that the menus would look like sport scoreboards when rendered.
I made throwaway sprites for alpha to test what size characters would fit on screen while being easy for the player to follow while moving. I also iterated through several different backgrounds to see what colors would be most visually appealing while sticking with the dodgeball theme and not distracting from the moving characters.
We conducted playtesting sessions to fine tune mechanics such as ball speed and the control scheme (ultimately deciding on keyboard input).
During these testing sessions, there were some users who were very good at these sort of games (bullet hells), and also those who were more casual gamers. I suggested including a button that would slow down the dodgeball targetting and provide a sight line for aiming. This proved to be a successful solution, as hardcore games could opt not to use the button to keep difficulty very high, while more casual players could play the same level and still complete it.
For the player character Disco Thunder, as well as the enemy characters Basic, Summoner, Stationary, Fireball, and Bomber Angels, I made animations for their movement, dodgeball throwing, and death. This was so the player could get immediate feedback on their interactions with enemies and be able to react to enemy dodgeballs.
I created animations for the Victory and Failure screens in order to facilitate a stronger emotional response from the player.
I designed the control scheme for the level menu so that players could scroll through with arrow keys and enter button, as well as with mouse, since these are common and expected mappings in games. I also created a brightly-colored pixel art level menu to fit with the tone of the game.
After getting playtest feedback, we redesigned level progression when difficulty spiked in order to decrease frustratings moments without losing the challenging nature of our game. Our solution was to add more levels so players had more opportunity to practice while being able to win enough to want to keep playing.
Because many people don't read instructions when playing a new game, we drew short tutorial text onto the level backgrounds so people had the choice to read them or not. We also introduced new mechanics and obstacles after first reinforcing old ones for a couple of levels.
Our final game includes obstacles such as moving walls that reflect dodgeballs and Angels that summon other Angels rather than throwing dodgeballs.
I added bleachers and flags to the background to emphasize the tournament setting.
We added a countdown to the level starting so players could anticipate what they would be up against.
To help with aiming, we added the ability to slow the player's ball rotaton and have a sight line.
For the more competitive players, we added a stopwatch to track shortest completion times to put on the high score boards.