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Team Size: 24

Role: Game Design

Dev. Time: 16 weeks

Bit Buster

Engine: Voxagine (Custom engine made by the team)

Releases: Itch

What is Bit Buster:

In Bit Buster, you (and ideally a friend) get thrown into steampunk-inspired japan, that got overrun by yokai - japanese spirits. By passing a deadly disk between each other, you can blaze through any enemy or obstacle that shows up in your way. Thanks to our entire world being sculpted with voxels in a custom engine, you can achieve mayhem the likes of which you've never seen before!

- The Bit Buster Page

Character & Projectile feel balancing

The movement

The balancing of the movement speed needed a lot of attention since we wanted a responsive character that felt fast and precise. The player needed to feel like they were in control. Being too fast would become frustrating and being too slow had the same effect. We noticed quickly that even if we were slightly too fast or slightly too slow the gameplay would suffer greatly. So by iteration on iteration and rapid-fire prototyping, we managed to get a speed that felt just fast enough without feeling uncontrollable.

The Dash

The dash was a mechanic that served to give the player escape options when they get into difficult positions. The range of the dash needed to be very precise, the player should be able to predict where they were going to end up after the dash. Since we made the decision that the player cannot move during the dash it should be fast too. The addition of invulnerability frames came later once we found out that dashing into creature was a common occurrence. From that moment on we knew that dashing would become a core part of our movement and we started balancing around that. 

The Throw

The big troublemaker of our game, the throw. In the initial design, the catching was supposed to be a reaction challenge as well. You had to catch the projectile at the right time and get bonuses from doing so. During playtests, we found out that the players missed too often, and fetching the projectile became more common than catching it.

Eventually, the mechanic got redesigned by me and another designer. We implemented an upgrade we called the 'magnetic catch' and added it to the default projectile. This would make our catching system just a mere button press and the projectile would fly towards you. This in term removed a lot of challenges from our game but added a lot of fun. This mechanic stopped the game pace from being disturbed by having to fetch the projectile and made it flow better.

This is also what playing the game alone during quarantine looks like

The Portal mechanic

The portal mechanic got implemented as a solution to a big problem; the player could rush through the game. Without coordinating with their teammate the player could keep throwing the projectile ahead and clear waves upon waves of enemies. I did research in similar games and found a form of this mechanic. I made it my own by changing up the design I found a little bit and tested it out. The portals made it much harder to rush the game and actually forced the players to think about positioning a bit instead of just mindlessly throwing the projectile forward.


The Trailer(s)

The left trailer is the released game and the right one was the unreal prototype for our game idea. I will go over the right (prototype trailer) one first.

In the prototype, we wanted to showcase to the teachers that our game should go on in the next block and be made into a complete product using the custom engine from the programmers. To do this we used the strengths of the programmers' engine (the destruction of the level) in our unreal blueprint to showcase how juicy this concept can be while at the same time proving that our core game idea is solid. We got greenlit and our project got continued in the next block.

The left trailer (Release trailer). In this trailer, I had to sell the game more than showcasing all of it. I wanted to showcase its fast and tight gameplay while also adding some humor into it. Making the viewer chuckle while watching the trailer makes a positive association in their mind when they see the gameplay. It makes them more likely to try it out (if done right). Next to that the humorous parts of the trailer also slowed down the trailer a bit making the viewer process the fast parts they have just watched.

Bit Buster - Release Trailer
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Bit Buster (SplodyMcSplodeface) - Prototype Trailer

Bit Buster (SplodyMcSplodeface) - Prototype Trailer

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