Dev Blog Ep. 02: Gameplay Art Explorations
By Tore Blystad, Creative Director
This is Episode 02 of a series of Dev blogs documenting the development process of Nyan Heroes, a 3rd person PVP shooter developed on Unreal 5 for the Solana Blockchain.
Disclaimer — We want to add that developing a game is really complex and everything we discuss in these blogs are works in progress and may never end up in the game, even we at the time of writing may be convinced it is the best idea ever 😊
The theme of the day is gameplay objects! You know, all those interactive objects that are strewn across the map that players need to know (and love) in order to master the game.
Our Junior Concept Artist, Alessandro Rocco, has been hard at work creating a wealth of choices for us in a variety of categories. Since we are building the team as we are building the game, creating ways to collaborate across a cross-disciplinary team is key. Alessandro’s sketches have become a great meeting point for us — a group of artists, designers, producers, and engineers — to come together to discuss.
A variety of health packs, med kits, and stim guns
Alessandro drew a large variety of options, from stim guns to classic med kits. Health packs are a generally understood concept of game design, and they normally revolve around the “red cross” design. But when you’re piloting a mech, does that still apply? Should it rather be a toolbox, or repair kit? Technically, the cat piloting the mech could use a health kit, it depends on what we count as damage / health. So, for now our decision is to stick with a direction akin to the Med kits in this concept and expand it with some tech / mech details.
A variety of ammo crates
It’s very important that ammo boxes are easy to tell apart so that the player knows even from a distance what they are moving towards, hence they need different silhouettes. Color coding different ammo is common and almost an expectation in games, and a conclusion for us is that we need the design team creating a spec with color codes and importance of various ammo and weaponry.
Another conversation this spawned was how much inventory management we want in Nyan Heroes. As we envision the gameplay fast paced and very responsive, players should not be expected to spend a lot of time in the inventory during sessions.
A variety of gun racks and closets
These spawned conversations about weapon placement in the map — are the weapons strewn around or are they primarily mounted on gun racks throughout the map? There are great games out there with either answer, so it comes down to the requirements of the specific gameplay we’re looking for. We decided that our weapons should spawn more freely in the world without needing to be on a gun rack, so the racks will be set dressing unless we find reasons to change the design later.
Security cameras and devices
Should we have functional security cameras in Nyan heroes? If so, what would their gameplay functionality be? Could it be a collectible / PVE type asset, where smashing them or collecting tapes would help the players? This one left us with more questions and is still unresolved. But they look great, so if nothing else we will build some of them and add them as set dressing.
Portable desktops and computers
Computer terminals and field devices
Will these computer devices have any gameplay functionality? They look like they could, but we did not have any immediate answer. It did raise the question of whether they are scaled for the mechs or the cats. The mechs are in 4–5 times larger than the cats, and their fingers would be far too large to push any of the buttons, so if they were to have gameplay functionality, any interaction animation would have to be more of a “remote data transfer” than actual button pressing.
Crates.. all of the crates!
Alessandro went all in on crates — we have enough choices to last us into the next century lol
After the team came to terms with the abundance of crate designs, we discussed to what extent we need crate variety and rank — like bronze/silver/gold crates, for instance, or spawning crates from defeated players. Personally, when presented with such an enormous number of choices, I need to spend time to make the best-informed choice and not just go for the most different looking thing :-D
We’ll be narrowing down the selections next and start making choices of which ones to draw in high detail for 3D production needs.
So, there you have it! A little slice of game dev cross-disciplinary challenges! Lots of considerations, lots of voices that need to be heard, and this is just the first of many steps ahead of us in getting these concepts forged into the most player friendly and useful gameplay assets.
Until next time,