In my third semester, there was a new elective called Indie Games. The focus of this class was to learn how to budget and plan an indie game, while also creating one of our own in the process. This was organized as a group project and my group consisted of four members:
|Alexander Schuster||3D Art|
|Alexander Epple||Programming Lead, UI|
The game is a mobile puzzle game, featuring dominos. It is set in a medival / fantasy world called “Dominia“, and the goal is to force the enemy king to fall. This is done by placing and upgrading dominos and adjusting cannons.
The game was designed with intuitive controls and easy-to-understand physics-based gameplay in mind. The ingame UI allows you to reload the level and undo domino placements and upgrades. Once the domino chain reaches the enemy king and knocks him over, the level is complete.
The way the player interacts with the world is by placing and upgrading dominos. This can only be done in edit mode, which disables the possibility to start the game.
Placing dominos works by drawing a line on a touchscreen, similar to the blade in Fruit Ninja. The line is then used to automatically place dominos at appropriate intervals (the gaps need to be small enough that the dominos fall onto each other, but wide enough so that they will actually fall). Normal dominos are unlimited and can be placed on most flat surfaces.
Placed stones can also be upgraded; this is done by touching any previously domino and selecting one of the upgrades. Currently there are three upgrades available:
- Explosive domino: explodes if it touches a wall
- Ice domino: can slide some distance when it falls
- Long domino: is double the size of a normal one
These upgrades are limited and necessary to reach certain parts of the level. There are levels where walls need to be destroyed with the explosive domino, staircases that can only be passed by using the ice domino to slide down and stones that can only be forced out of the way by the long domino. Players then need to figure out what is the correct domino chain.
There are also parts of world where dominos cannot be placed, these include lava and staircase elements. Here, cannons can be used to continue the chain reaction. Cannons can be turned and a line will show the cannon’s trajectory. To activate a cannon, a domino stone needs to fall on its activation pad.
Because players may place or upgrade stones they didn’t intend to, there is an option to undo the latest actions. It is also possible to reload the level.
Once the setup is complete, the game can be started by touching the first stone, your own king. This sets the chain reaction in motion, editing is not possible anymore after that, the player can only watch.
The game turned out well and is a functional prototype. Although there are only three fully playable levels, the game could easily be extended to add additional ones. The core mechanics work very well, although the performance could be optimized for mobile devices.
The final presentation also featured a one minute madness trailer, which is linked below. If you want to try out the game, there is a build for both touch-enabled Windows devices as well as Android available to download. If you are interested in implementation details, the project is also available on GitHub.