Game Design Document: AngCity
- Summary. Four ghost homies stay in Ang City. Enter the scary door to find each ghost homie and throw them a bone to release them from their suffering.
- Genre. An uncomfortable puzzle platformer.
- Target audience. Skilled platform gamers or players unopposed to trial and error. Rated T for teen; includes dark themes and anxiety simulation. (Some graphics might be too spooky for small children.)
- Computer and internet access, (ability to read [maybe])
- Also a keyboard with arrow keys and space bar are required
- Mouse to click start
- Computer and internet access, (ability to read [maybe])
Mechanics: Rules of the game world
- Character goals. Release at least 3 ghost friends and one ghost boss from their suffering, by collecting the four bones hidden throughout the two levels and throwing them at the ghosts.
- Abilities. Moving, jumping, double-jumping, collecting bones, throwing bones, releasing homies, collecting homies, crouching.
- Obstacles. Platforms, spinning wheels, toxic water, trick spinning wheels.
- No health, the player is either alive or dead.
- No harmful enemies in the game other than the player herself.
- Items. There are only two bones in each of the two levels, however the bones will reset when the player dies and choses “yes” to continue. There is one blue ghost to save in the first level. In the second level there is three ghosts to save total: one red, one green, and one boss ghost.
- Resources. Bones are collected and exchanged for the suffering souls of the homies. Homies are collected.
Dynamics: Interaction between player and the game
- User interaction. There is a button labeled “Ready player one” that the player must click on to be taken to the tutorial page. Being dropped into a flat plane, the player is left to figure out the following arrow key controls.
- Up: jump
- Down: crouch
- Up-Up: double jump
- Right: move right
- Left: move left
- The anxiety of not knowing what to do is part of the games charm. Once the player figures out the right arrow there is a sign telling them to press space to throw a bone. Upon pressing space the player will find that it doesn’t work. That is because you have to collect the ammunition. The last sign on the tutorial page finishes cryptically “press space to throw a bone… to release them from their suffering.”
- Proficiency. Basic platforming skills are required to achieve proficiency, the first being when to jump once versus when to double jump. Also revealing the traps and hidden bones is important for survival.
- Gameplay data. Only the bone count is displayed on the first level through text. On the second level the number of homies the player has helped is shown through another text box.
- Controlling the game. The player starts her adventure through AngCity through clicking the button labeled “Ready player one” with the left mouse button on the splash page.
- Overall. A busy surreal landscape resembling the outskirts of an almost dead city with many dark neutral tones. Aside from the contrasting bright colored ghosts, the game feels very dull and empty.
- Game art. The colors are fairly dark, dull, and monochromatic; most are some variation of grey, blue, or black. The game is composed of mostly pixel art.
- Sound. The song playing in the background of my game is Karma Police by Radiohead. There also is a sound effect of a door opening anytime the scary door is opened. When the boss ghost homie is created there is a monster growl that is looped in the background, so the player will hear the ghost before they see it. When the player gets in view of the final ghost the growling increases in volume.
- Plot. The skelehero adventures through the scary door to seek friendship. While in AngCity he collects bones to throw at his homies in an attempt to release them from their troubles.
- Emotional state. AngCity attempts to simulate anxiety, angst, and discomfort. This game is not supposed to be fun.
- Fun. AngCity provides the gratification of compassion as you save everyone you come across instead of harm them. Also the gratification of overcoming challenges, as there is no health, only life or death and then you go back to the beginning.
Most of my sprites were found on OpenGameArt and designed by individual artists for other games. First, my skeleton player sprites were created by Mike Miller. My boss ghost sprite was created by Cookiez. The other ghosts were created by Agustín Balmer. The bone was created by Bart Kelsey.
The background ruined buildings and sky were made by an artist called TokyoGeisha. The front lit up buildings were from an artist called Alucard. Clouds are old ancient pixel art and the the original artist is unknown. The tilemap was created by Carl Olsson. Finally the cobblestone textures were made by OgreofWart. The fog was made my a group called LFA. All other graphics were created for this game by myself.
Thanks to all of these content creators for letting me use their assets for my game.
The biggest problem I had for this project was getting all of the pieces onto the appropriate layers as each one moved at a different speed due to the parallax effect I employed. Labeling everything clearly helped eliminate some confusion however sometimes a sprite would be created on the wrong layer and would move at a different speed or just not show up altogether. On this game I would like to implement more sounds and possibly more songs. Additionally I would like to display the deathCount on the continue page. I could also even generate the amount of bodies used in the dirt each time the player dies. I really enjoyed the aspect where all of the NPCs always face the character, I might end up doing a spooky Tempest tunnel game, with little creatures running toward the player. I would like to learn about particles as objects.