Technical Game Designer

Dragon Rage

Dragon Rage

 
 

Summary

Dragon Rage is a fast-paced shoot-em-up (shmup), with an emphasis on changing weapon based on the enemy you’re attacking. 
The best description of the game would probably be “Ikaruga but with a focus on offence”.
This means that instead of changing elements to defend against different shots, you change elements to attack different enemies.
Match the enemy’s element with your weapon!

The Team

Anton Pilmark - Level Designer
Sebastian Madsen - Level Designer

Jonathan Persson  - Graphical Artist
Johannes Bengston - Graphical Artist
Petter Gunnarsson - Graphical Artist

Hussein Taher - Programmer
Christian de Orleans - Programmer
Lukas Svensson - Programmer

Specifications

  • Single player platforming game
  • Created in 8 weeks -4 hours a day
  • Using custom in-house engine
  • Approximately 20 min of gameplay

My Contributions

  • Game Design
  • Level Design
  • Music and SFX

 


Designing a Shmup
- Tweaking reference mechanics-

When we began looking at shoot-em-ups I had played very few. We tried to explore the different kinds we could find and ended up on 'Ikaruga'.
'Ikaruga' was interesting to us in the sense that you always switched 'modes' depending on the situation. We wanted to explore what would happen if we turned it on it's head while keeping the same structure of the levels more or less.

We wanted to make the player dance, but be powerful and on the offensive. So instead of switching modes to protect yourself, dancing to avoid everything, we switched to have greater offensive power, to give the feeling of chasing down your enemies more. This also played nicely into us being a dragon.

dragonRage_1.png
dragonRage_2.png

First Steps in an Editor
-The power to directly influence the game-

In this, our second project, we had our first steps into working in an editor as a level designer. This meant that we had tools to directly influence the games shape and progression rather than only bringing the design and text documents. Most people in our year worked in the editor called 'Tiled' but our programmer, Hussein Taher, had built his very own editor over winter break. With it we had tools to place out splines and sprites to build everything we needed.

We chose not to have ownership of any one level which made our workflow easy and fun, always ping-ponging and building on each others ideas.

Early Cutting
- Mechanics Design and Scope-

We knew we wanted to place an emphasis on the 4 elements. In the beginning we thought to include all four. We philosophized about what each element would do  and how it would be used:

Red for fire – Single target attack
Green for nature – Close ranged melee attack
Blue for ice – Shotgun spread attack
Yellow for lightning – Ray attack

The initial idea was to have each element have a level where you'd gain it and then have a last level where you'd flex all your skills switching between them to defeat the final boss.
But after a couple of weeks we realized we had bitten off more than we could chew and decided to cut both the nature element and the a level from the game.
This was definitely the right choice, but left the elements in a bit awkward situation in how they'd take our each other. So we went with fire defeats fire and so on, which was a bit convoluted to the player, but we made the best out of the situation.

dragonRage_5.png
dragonRage_2.png
 

Closing Thoughts

Dragon Rage was a blast to work on and the team was had really good communication. Designing both bosses and levels where a lot of fun and really taught me a lot about working in a team when you could directly influence the flow and look of the game. Music for this game was a fun challenge as well since we wanted to try and mix bit-trip and orchestral music. 

I think the single thing I would have pushed more when looking back were the elemental affinities. Making them even more prominent that they already are now so they player would have to 'dance' a bit more. But all in all really enjoyed working on Dragon Rage and the end product is well something I can truly be proud of.