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DOTBLOCK

DOTBLOCK

2015
GameSalad
Platform: Browser

DotBlock is an arcade style paint-em-up where the player has to avoid getting hit by projectiles while catching them by painting all around the canvas.

Breakdown

This is the first serious game that I have made, at this point I still have yet to learn how to script and knew only basic programming concepts. I decided to use Game Salad as my development software because it was easy to learn and use, and could feasibly create what I had in mind for this game. I had already made a prototype using the educational programming website - Scratch (scratch.mit.edu), so my task was to simply port the design into the new engine while also balancing it more and updating graphics.

The game is designed specifically around verbs such as paint and protect that are the opposite of actions like shoot and kill. I didn't want to empower the player too much, instead I want them to feel vulnerable and have to protect themselves.

  • The goal of the game is to get as high of a score as possible without dying to the projectiles. Players move around using WASD and can paint on the canvas using the mouse.

  • Paint is limited by a paint meter that would decrease as the player paints, but the paint would recharge whenever the player stops painting.

  • Players gain points by using paint to block enemy projectiles and collecting red dots that would also increase the amount of paint that the player can hold.

Enemies would spawn as the player gains more and more points and begin attacking the player. I designed the point spawn system so that it would ease new players in and also keep old players happy by allowing each player to play at their own pace. New players would get points slower so they can get used to the game before getting more challenges, while old players can quickly blaze through the first few points to spawn more enemies.

  • Green Triangles fire normal projectiles at players.

  • Yellow Triangles projectiles bounce around when it hits the edges.

  • Blue Squares appear and charges towards the player.

Post Mortem

Despite the upgrade the engine still didn't provide everything I needed.

  • Cannot create a standalone game, and web version must be uploaded to the Game Salad website.

  • Players complained about the timing between enemies spawning where some would spawn too early and others spawn too late.

  • The point getting system was quite passive, so my enemy point-spawn design did not work as intended. However if I can design the game so it depends more on player skill then this kind of design should work.

  • The enemies themselves while giving the player a reference of where projectiles would be coming from, are actually quite distracting.

I am currently working on an updated version of this game in Unity. The new development software gives me more options and would allow me to create a smoother experience. Some changes that I am making include removing the enemies completely and just have projectiles come in from outside the game window, and also to balance the game better so I can adjust the pace for new and old players.