Ziheng Xiao

©2019 by Ziheng Xiao.

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WATER TRUCKIN'

Mini-game designed for Jam-o-Drum

This game is an academic project made by 5 people in one week. I was the game designer and gameplay programmer on this project. This game is made for Jam-O-Drum and made with Unity.

 

Water Truckin' - Evil Hero:

Ziheng Xiao: Game Designer/Gameplay Programmer.

Stefani Taskas: Programmer.

Marieke Van Der Maelen: Artist.

Liangzheng Luo: Artist.

Ting-Sheng Lin: Sound Designer/Producer.

 

MY WORK

  • Designed the truck dash, water cannon spray, and the two vs two mechanisms.

  • Designed the shrinking playground to make the game more intense.

  • Designed pickable buffs that bring more diversity to the game.

  • Wrote C# code for the truck dash function, object spawner, zoom-in camera, and buffs.

  • Collaborated with the other programmer to combine the truck and water cannon together.

 

WHAT IS JAM-O-DRUM

Jam-o-Drum is a platform invented by CMU ETC. It has one projector and four drums. Each drum has a hit and a rotate function.

 

DESIGN PROCESS

I have never played Jam-O-Drum before I made this game. The only thing I know is that it can have four players play at the same time. Obviously multiplayer brings more fun in the game, either with PVE or PVP. However, a more complicated mechanism is to involve both competition and collaboration in the gameplay. So, the rotating wheel and hitting drum inspired me with tank battle, which has a driveable vehicle and a rotating and shooting cannon. But the mechanism of shooting bombs to each other doesn't encourage players to move around, so instead of killing the opponent, we did the different mechanism which is pushing the opposite team out of the playground. So we changed the setting to water trucks that spray water to knock back each other.

For the trucks mechanism, one player controls the truck, which the truck has an initial speed. The rotation input will be controlling the steering wheel, and the hitting input will be a dash function that the truck will dash forward. And the dash has 3 charges, so the dash power is determined by how many dash charges it has. And the dash power will regenerate every two seconds for one charge. The other player controls the water cannon. The rotation controls the spin of the cannon and the hit controls the spray. The spray function has the same charge mechanism as the dash function. Totally the game has two trucks that represent two teams, and the UI will show the roles of the team and the current charges.

Besides the truck mechanisms, the playground also needs design. For example, I added a shrinking mechanism that prevents the game goes on forever. Also, place a fire hydrant in the center of the playground also provide more uncertainty of the game, and it also prevents players to occupy the center of the playground, which balances the combat. Then I applied these mechanisms into the game. After we did some playtest, we realized although this game is very fun, players get bored very soon.

Then we introduced an extra mechanism that brings the game into a high-level play, which we generate power-up items on the playground for players to pick up. Including gas tanks, water tanks, and the shield. The gas tank is to charge the dash power into full, and the water tank is to charge the cannon power to full. The shield will make the truck invulnerable from water. These power-up items motivate players moving toward different points and fight for them, which switches the battleground constantly and brings more variations to each battle. And players are willing to come back and play again.

 
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The red line indicates the range and direction of the water cannon.

 

The land will fall apart when the playground shrinks. The ring will turn red three seconds before it falls apart.

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Finally, the camera will zoom into the losing team, which clarifies who is the losing team and gives this fun moment to players to see the truck sink to the bottom of the sea.