Project ISG: Adding Decisions

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After working out the basic mechanics of our game with the Gamesalad prototype we created, a problem was developing with the gameplay of "The Fleet". The action/battles were becoming a bit repetitive and simple, so when we went back to the drawing board and realized that we needed to give the player the ability to make some decisions that would considerably impact their strategy and therefore allow the player to be more connected with the game. Although it seems obvious now, it's odd how some things just don't come up in the early design process, especially if you don't have much game design experience :)

So we added the ability for players to 'buy' ships before the battle, each player would get a set amount of 'Prestige Points' to buy different ships based on each ship's point value. For example, they could either spend all their points on a large Cruiser or buy 3 smaller Frigate class ships for the same cost.

The second feature we added was the ability to customize what types of cannons (or turrets) the player would like to have on each ship. For example, a player may choose longer range weapons and try to keep their distance, or choose torpedos (which are shorter range and only fire in a very limited arc, but hit anything in their path) and place them on faster ships.

The third feature is 'Strategic Command Cards', which are powerups scattered across the map that allow the player to call in airstrikes, sabotage enemy ships or place naval minefields.

With the addition of these features, the possible game strategies increased exponentially (and so did the fun). But one thing to keep in mind when adding features is how much complexity are these new features adding? It's a delicate balance between loads of great features and a game so complex it requires advanced calculus to play. What we did to balance out the new features is add a Quick Play game mode that will auto select the ships and turrets for each player, so the player can easily skip the ship customizations and jump straight into the action.

Overall, a lot of great lessons that we hope to use in our future game designs. Stay tuned as we go into some of the steps that are required when creating a 2D game in the Unity game engine.

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