buzzwerd

Dandy Kickstarter Up!

DANDY KICKSTARTER IS LIVE!

Trapped in ancient alchemical ruins, the last remaining candy alchemist must find his way to freedom in this 2D shoot ‘em up.

We’ve been working on Dandy for a while now and we’re really excited about where it’s at.

CHECK OUT GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE

Or the start of our making of series:

DISSECTING DANDY

When I start thinking about designing a new game, usually the first thing I write down are the verbs of agency—what actions does the player take to interact within the game?

Dandy is a schmup. That means dodging and shooting. Defining the simplest means by which a player interacts with the game allows me to easily explore it’s design space.

Once I have these verbs defined, everything else is just an archeological dig guided by my themes and premises. The reason I do things this way is so that the interactivity in the game can express abstract ideas.

For example, a big problem I had with the original Dandy was that it didn’t really matter what you did. If you sat still and hit the shoot button over and over or you just weaved through the waves of enemies, you’d still make progress but be completely unattached from the experience.

For Dandy, I wanted to convey that all actions have consequences. When I sit down to design enemies, I can use this idea as a starting point. Sometimes I’ll come up with a solution that others have come up with before, but with an understanding for how and why they fit in Dandy.

Enemies now have to carry consequences for the player’s actions. Having those player actions defined opened the floodgate for enemy designs; Chargers only move when you shoot, Movelings shoot when you move, Idlelings shoot when you stop moving. With all these things defined, and an understanding of why they are there, I can just fill in the gaps and keep the most interesting “discoveries” in the game for players to experience.

It’s easy to view this design process as contrived or over complicating something simple. I think that by understanding every aspect of my game, and why I’m making the decisions I am, I can guide the project easily without questioning if something belongs. I can also avoid hodgepodging the works of the people that designed games before me.