This previous weekend me and some friends went to compete it in the Dreamhack Hackathon in Globen, Stockholm. In short, it was a mad dash to create anything during 24 hours. We, as most other groups, made a game.
The initial idea was a frantic two player 2d (literally-) platform dueling game where each of the players would start on either side of the screen on their own platform. The players would then need to push the other player of their platform by throwing balls at them, with knockback only. The platform would consist of pillars which would be destroyed when hit by the other player.
There it is, our post-it note design! On paper it sounded lite it’d be great fun. Players would need to dodge incoming balls by moving about and jumping while not falling down from their ever narrower platform. At the same time trying to knock down the other player or destroy his/her platfrom.
10 hours into Hackathon, it turns out, it was boring as hell.
We spent the next 4 or so hours trying to figure out what to do to fix it, we tried basically anything we could think off.
- Adjust the rate of which you could throw balls (slower/faster).
- Adjust the speed of the balls.
- Adjust the maximum/minimum speed of the balls (if you held the fire button you charged it up).
- Adjust the charge time.
- Limit the number of balls, to encourage mind games.
- Put something blocking direct line of sight, so players would need to lob the balls
- Changed the platforms to a delicately balanced stack of boxes.
- … and more
The main problem was that the player really never needed to move, you could just stand in one place and spam balls which would block incoming ones (they collide mid-air) and eventually one of the players would slip up and someone would win.
We had more or less accepted defeat and was going to turn it into some sort of volleyball game when another friend of ours walked past our table and suggested we make the platforms scrolling instead. We were desperate and it sounded like a decent idea so we went for it.
And here’s the final result!
We’re all quite happy with how it turned out – especially considering how close we were to giving up halfway through. It’s not spectacular in anyway but turned out be quite a lot of fun in the end after all!