Space Smack!

Sumo
Sumo

BlidgeBlitz
BlidgeBlitz

Title
Title

Sumo
Sumo

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Game Summary

Space Smack! is a 1 to 4 player controller only party game. Play with your friends locally or online with Steam Remote Play. Smack your friends and relish in your victories as you compete in a variety of chaotic minigames.

Development Info

  • Role: Game Designer

  • Engine: Unreal 4

  • Genre: Party Game

  • Team Size: 10 students

  • Development Time: 14 weeks

  • Released in 2021 Jan, Steam

Key Features

  • 15 exciting minigames to play and challenge.

  • Smack your friends or play alone!

  • Chaos, competitiveness, and sabotage.

  • Tournament and Freeplay mode.

  • Race, score points, and survive to become victorious!

Download

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Steam Page​

Trailer Video

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Owned the vision for the design, gameplay, and user experience of the entire game.

  • Set and presented all milestone planning and deliverables with team leads.

  • Designed, balanced, and refined all 5 minigames and variations of each game with the level design team.

  • Coordinated with both the onsite team and the offsite music team.

Design Goals

Provide a party game with chaotic fun

  • The most appealing part of a party game is how players interact with each other. When designing every minigame, we always focus on making players compete with each other and also make sure they are able to affect others by putting them together in the same area. 

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4 Players in Hot Potato Arena

  • The “SMACK” action is designed to create more chaotic moments. When a hand is smacked by others, it will be stunned for 1.5 seconds. By using these mechanics, a player can hinder others from picking up a high-value star or protecting their balls. Since the cool-down time of SMACK is 2.5 seconds, players also need to be careful about when to use it.

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"SMACK" in Sumo Slammers

  • Juicy elements are also a key to achieve more fun. I believe it’s important to give players visual or auditory feedback whenever they take any actions. And the BGM can effectively arouse players’ feelings in a certain level. By cooperating with the offsite music team and the VFX artist, we have 15 minigames full of juicy feedback and 9 pieces of music.

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VFXList

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SFXList

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VFXList

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VFX List & SFX List

Unique hand control schemes

  • I wanted the challenges to come from the mechanics and players’ interaction instead of the difficulty of controlling. So a unique but easy-to-easy control scheme was what we needed.  The playtesting process started at the early stage and according to the feedback, we iterated and refined the schemes again and again.

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Controller1

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Controller2

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Controller1

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2 Control Schemes

  • To create more gameplay possibilities, we changed the initial idea, chopsticks, to hands. I defined 4 basic gameplay actions and then started to develop minigame ideas. Finally, we made 5 basic unique games with 3 variants for each.

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ActionList

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BrainstormingSpreadSheet

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ActionList

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Action List & Brainstorming Sheet

  • We chose to use dynamic shadows to help players identify the relative positions of hands and interactive items. This experiment lasted for several milestones to fulfill both visual and gameplay requirements.

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Dynamic Shadows

Develop the game in a small team

  • I made three feature plans (basic, ideal, and extended) at the early stage and made sure every team member understands what the most important part was.  We created basic templates that could be used in all minigames to prevent repeated workload. We also set a shared space theme for all minigames and reused art assets as many as possible. 

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Template Requirement Doc

  • We made 5 basic minigames but by adding different modifiers, we also developed extra 2 variants for each one. This allowed us to develop the depth of every minigame as much as possible but in the meanwhile minimize the extra workload of artists and programmers.​​

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RiskyRollerVariants

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BridgeBlitzVariants

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RiskyRollerVariants

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Screenshots of Minigame Variants

  • Two game modes are provided in Space Smack. In tournament mode, all games are selected randomly by the system to increase the replayability. In Freeplay mode, players can choose all variants and practice their skills.

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Tournament

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FreetoPlay

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Tournament

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Screenshots of Two Modes

Postmortem

What Went Well

  • We made a fun game. When observing our playtesters, we heard lots of laughter and witnessed tons of great interactions. This is a precious experience for the whole team and encourages us a lot.

  • Our team owned a happy and honest developing atmosphere. We always gave our opinions directly and frankly without afraid of being offended. 

  • The game vision was settled down quite early and helped us on the right track.

What Went Wrong

  • The initial scope was too big considering the team size (2 level designers, 3 programmers, and 3 artists).

  • We spent some time doing research on AI. Considering the team size, it was impossible to have AIs for all minigames.

What I Learned

  • Lean on the leads and the team. Share concerns and finally we can always figure out a new way.

  • The importance of being frank and direct. It turned out all members weren't offended when hearing direct but reasonable feedback. It also enriched the trust among us.