Crypto Pirates was an arcade-style game created in roughly 5 weeks for a college course using the Unity engine. The goal was to create a working game fitting the theme of “retro-futurism.”
– Mechanics Design
– Movement System Implementation
– Collision System Implementation
– Enemy AI Implementation
The initial concept for our game was Pac-Man with four Pac-men instead of ghosts. They’d duel over cryptocurrency using power-ups and the one with the most crypto at the end of the round would win. However, we soon figured out that we did not have the experience to create A.I. that could act like a believable human player.
We simplified it down to the core of the game: a mad dash for cryptocurrency where the player is trying to outwit enemies. We got rid of power-ups and made crashing the death condition. To make sure there would always be enough enemy vans, we made them spawn infinitely in the corners. I still wanted the player to feel like they were on equal footing with normal enemies, so enemy vans died if they crashed into each other. This also kept their numbers down.
One of the earliest design decisions was that the vans couldn’t reverse. This was partly to emulate the fact that a car normally can’t make a u-turn on a street, and partially because we were a little close to Pac-Man. I thought it would be fun to change that one rule and see what would happen. It turned out to make players plan ahead if they wanted to survive. However, people in the playtests didn’t like this mechanic. If I had more time on this project, I would probably allow the player to reverse direction, but with some kind of disadvantage, like reduced speed. This way they would still have to plan ahead, but they could get themselves out of some scrapes they otherwise wouldn’t be able to.
The purple van was introduced to fix a problem we found during playtesting. Players would sit at one point in the map and wait for enemies to come close, then move away and find somewhere else to sit. It wasn’t exciting, but it worked as a strategy. I implemented the purple van as a response. It kept players from staying in one spot and added an additional element of strategy to the game. The player would have to keep an eye in front of them to make sure they didn’t run into any enemies, but they would also have to keep an eye on the purple van behind them to make sure they didn’t get boxed in. I was reluctant to add an invincible enemy as it went against the idea that you were on equal footing with all of the enemies, but I think it was a smart change in the end. It did wonders for the frantic experience we were going for. Our playtesters got a lot more tense once it was introduced!
The initial Pac-man vs. three other Pac-men idea is one I might revisit in the future. It just wasn’t an idea that we could really pursue at the point that we worked on this. However, I think it’s good that we let our project change. We kept the experience of high-octane street chases in our project by designing around that rather than the mechanics we had in mind at the beginning.