Dimmer is a captivating game that emerged from a two-week creative journey undertaken by a passionate team of four individuals. As the Game/Level Designer, I played a pivotal role in shaping this unique experience. Powered by Unity, Dimmer takes players on an immersive journey that pushes the boundaries of conventional gaming.
Duration: 2 Weeks
Team Size: 4
Role: Game / Level Designer
Dive into the world of Dimmer and explore the intersection of creativity and technology. Download the game now and embark on a captivating adventure.
1. Brainstorming for Alignment:
During the initial brainstorming session on day one of the game jam, our team embarked on an imaginative journey, generating ten random words each. This creative exercise was aimed at selecting words closely aligned with our intended theme, laying the foundation for the journey ahead.
From Ideation to Innovation: Crafting Dimmer's Gameplay
2. Fusion of Inspiration:
Drawing inspiration from contemporaries like Transistor and Cyberpunk 2077, our vision crystallized into a top-down shooter. Merging the allure of a cyberpunk setting with the tactical cover system reminiscent of Transistor, our goal was to create an engaging experience that would stand out in its own right.
3. Strategic Gameplay Dynamics:
Striking a delicate equilibrium, we introduced a limited cover system to amplify the tactical aspect of gameplay. By affording players the chance to strategically manage health and ammunition within cover, we engineered a dynamic that rewarded thoughtful decision-making in the heat of action.
4. Unveiling Challenges and Rewards:
The journey through Dimmer revealed escalating challenges that mirrored players' growing prowess. Our gameplay structure not only provided an adaptive difficulty curve but also granted players customization options through diverse firearms. Conquering more formidable obstacles was not just a test of skill, but a testament to our commitment to engaging gameplay.
5. Lessons in Unity:
Dimmer's development journey wasn't just about gameplay mechanics; it was about the art of scoping, level design, and fostering effective communication within a team. This project offered invaluable insights, teaching us the art of balancing ambition with reality, all within the tight confines of the game jam timeline.
Infused with the thematic essence of Dimmer, our innovative cover system emerged as the heart of the gameplay. Beyond setting itself apart, it introduced a layer of motivation that fueled engaging dynamics. Rooted in game design principles, this system transformed combat into a chessboard of strategic engagements and immersive decision-making.
6. Cover System Redefined:
Strategic Timeframe for Tactical Choices
Upon seeking shelter within the cover, players are granted a succinct yet decisive time frame of precisely 3 seconds. This temporal window empowers players with pivotal choices, ranging from reloading weaponry, and seamlessly transitioning between different weapon types, to applying med kit. This measured duration not only enhances the player experience but also highlights the delicate balance between strategic cover and the urgency of active combat.
Balanced Gameplay Fusion: Challenge and Gratification
The choice of a 3-second gap is underpinned by a thoughtful balance strategy. It stresses the significance of cover while guarding against extended periods of inactivity that could weaken the game's intrinsic challenge. By keeping it comfortably laid-back our intention is to provide players with a pleasant and balanced gameplay encounter, encouraging them to deftly navigate the interplay between tactical cover use and the adrenaline of dynamic combat scenarios. The result is an initiative that represents both a substantial challenge and the gratification of success a compelling addition to any portfolio, demonstrating the union of innovation and gameplay finesse.
E1. Enemy Encounters and Tactical Dynamics
In the realm of enemy design, E1 stands as an introductory adversary, primarily using melee attacks. It aligns with the main character's blade attack, featuring a slim window of opportunity for striking within a 0.3-0.5 second time frame. This intentional design grants players a pre-emptive advantage. E1 poses a moderate threat, capable of inflicting 2HP damage upon the player. However, its initial 1HP health pool renders it easy to one-shot eliminations via the Sting pistol or a well-executed knife attack. The underlying design explanation highlights the dynamic of facing multiple E1 foes together, thereby enabling situational awareness and strategic combat proficiency.
E2. Evolution of Foes: Tactical Diversity in Dimmer
As the player advances, the introduction of E2 presents a ranged combat dynamic. E2 wields the Sting weapon upgrade akin to the player's arsenal. The action of aiming for E2 requires a calculated 1-2 seconds, promoting tactical thinking for players as they determine when to engage. Notably, E2's aiming proficiency deteriorates at a certain distance, providing players with opportunities to evade incoming projectiles, which travel at 3/4 the speed of Sting's projectiles. With a matching health and damage model (2HP damage inflicted, 2HP health pool), E2 reinforces the principle of balance between challenge and player capability.
E3. Unveiling Advanced Adversaries: Strategic Combat in Dimmer
This progression culminates in the introduction of E3, which represents a challenging foe. E3 exhibits reduced mobility, moving at half the speed of the main character. This calculated control in mobility aligns with its ability to utilize the Spread weapon. Despite its power, the deliberate reduction in projectile speed to 3/4 standard offers players an inherent tactical advantage through dodging capabilities. The narrative of player empowerment gains a pivotal turn with the acquisition of the Spread weapon upgrade, similar to shotguns. This weapon presents players with a single-shot elimination potential against any adversary. However, this potency necessitates a tactical cost in the form of a 2.5-second cooldown, thereby investing a strategic rhythm within the combat loop.
Crafting an Immersive Experience and Strategic Interaction
We aimed to craft a vibrant gaming experience that not only immersed players in the gritty atmosphere of a cyberpunk city but also encouraged them to strategically exploit their surroundings. Drawing inspiration from the distinct elements of a cyberpunk metropolis, we aimed to create a symbiotic connection between the environment and gameplay mechanics.
Tactical Integration of Urban Elements
Incorporating the essence of a cyberpunk cityscape, we harnessed the concept of alleyways and vehicles as more than just visual props. These elements became essential to the player's tactical arsenal. Seeking refuge in alleyways and cars provided temporary cover. We introduced an element of urgency by implementing a time constraint of just 3 seconds for each utilization of these environmental aids. This encouraged a sense of resourcefulness and quick decision-making as players navigated the city streets.
Nonlinear Level Design and Hidden Exploration
Our level design was developed to transcend linearity, granting players the exciting freedom to unearth alternative routes. This deliberate choice was intended to produce a feeling of discovery, mirroring the importance of exploring. These hidden routes attracted players with valuable rewards such as Med kits for replenishing health or ammunition to support their attack.
GDD - Dimmer
Masterful Gameplay Progression: Crafting Engaging Challenges
In our game, we want to create a fun and engaging experience that helps players get better at combat naturally. We're making changes to how different enemies work and when players can pick up different weapon upgrades to make the game more interesting. This is all about making the game challenging but rewarding and letting players use their skills to succeed. We're weaving together different parts of the game like how it plays, what choices players can make, and how they can plan their moves to make it a really fun and immersive experience for players.