Shoot 'em Up
- Patrik Nilsson (Level designer)
- Annette Wendel (Level Designer)
- Oscar Öhrn (Programmer)
- Pauliina K Heiskanen (Programmer)
- Gabriel Eriksson Cic (Programmer)
- Johan Anderdahl (Programmer)
- Sebastian Rydnemalm (Programmer)
- Anton Petersson (Graphics Artist)
- Petter Gunnarsson (Graphics Artist)
- Elinore Sander (Graphics Artist)
- Frida Åsling Sellius (Graphics Artist)
- Game Design
- Player Metrics
- Level Design
- First Level
- Third Level
- Boss Waves
- Organized Playtesting
SPECIFICATIONS & TOOLS
- Shoot 'em Up Game
- Created in 8 weeks, half-time
- Game Engine: TGA2D
- Level Editor: Tiled2D
In Laser Cats you play as Laser Cat, a feline pilot trying to save all the kittens captured by the rat king. Fly to the moon, to the cheese kingdom and resque the kittens that are trying to escape from working in the cheese mines! Enjoy the greatness of Schmups in this cute version of the great genre!
How to create a good schmup
Designing a schmup was a first for me, and it was difficult to get a grasp on what to focus on and how to iterate on the genres ideas to create someting new and fresh.
We knew that we had to scope low for this project, becuase compared to the games we looked at for references we didn't have very much time. This was also the first project we did with direct player control, which was something completely new for the programmers.
We decided to use Sky Force Anniversary as a reference game, as it had a lot of the features we were looking to do. It also had a sort of "rescue" feature, that we converted into the kittens you save in Laser Cat.
DESIGNING A LEVEL
The first step in creating a level for Laser Cat was playing a lot of the reference game, to get into the mood and the rhytm we wanted to create. Then we created a paper sketch of the most important areas on the level, and described them in text.
We then moved on to create the level. This workflow changed a few times during the development when we learnt the most effective way to work. We created enemy spawners and set the locations of the most important play-spaces.
After that we populated the world using our three tilesets, making every level feel unique. We wanted it to feel like the player was going deeper and deeper through the mines.
When we were getting closer to the end of the project we realized we needed something to break up the gameplay and offer some variety for the player. With our limited resources we knew that we weren't going to be able to make boss matches to populate the levels.
We instead created wave zones, where the camera would stop and wait for a certain amount of time while we increased the amounts of enemies that were coming from the top and sides of the screen, so that the player would have to survive and play a lot faster to survive. This also made it so that the player could earn extra points, due to the amounts of enemies.
This worked well, and I think it was a good way of mixing up the gameplay while at the same time not spending too much resources.
CONCLUSION / WHAT I LEARNED
During this project I learnt a lot about timing and pacing in level design. We managed to build a story with our surrounding, and it worked very well. Using colors and certain master props in the backgrounds helped us inform the player of coming waves, and also gave the game a place in a world. All around this was a good project, and the result was well recieved.
Something that I however think I failed at doing was balancing how many enemies we had on screen at once, and how difficult they were. We had a few areas where the game was empty, and a few areas in the end where there were too many enemies. This was due to bad planning that resulted in us now knowing what enemies we would have in the end.
Other than that, I think we made a good game with the time we had. i would love to revisit the schmup genre someday, but work more on rhytm and music integration into the levels. I had fun working on this project, and learnt a lot.