4 Hugues Ross - Blog: Chainsaw Deathrace Design #1: The Characters
Hugues Ross


Chainsaw Deathrace Design #1: The Characters

Now that I'm back to regular development, I'm planning on writing several posts about designing the next version of Chainsaw Deathrace. Obviously, since the original version was the quick and dirty product of a game jam, the whole thing needs to be remade. However, beyond the code, thought must be put to the design to make sure it's well balanced and fun. During the jam it was about quantity; now it's about quality. Now that that's been said, on to the first topic: the characters.

The original concept behind the characters in Chainsaw Deathrace came from the jam's theme: "Disadvantage." After all, what's a bigger disadvantage than missing limbs? Unfortunately, I didn;t spend much time on balancing. In the end we had:

  • Billy, who was slow. Anyone who ran into the Chainsaw Killer was dead anyway, so he had no real downside.
  • Sammy, who could only carry one item at a time. Occasionally this turned into an issue, but blood bags could be used immediately anyway, and there was no "health" cap, making his disadvantage nothing more than a minor annoyance.
  • Fred, who couldn't see, couldn't use blood bags, didn't know what any items were, and couldn't know when the Chainsaw Killer was near. Also, he had far less health than everyone else. This was an enormous disadvantage.
In this remake/next version, I'd like to rebalance this. In the end, I'd like to see each disadvantage bring some sort of unique unforeseen advantage as well. On harder difficulties, these would be more pronounced, leading to a more careful and strategic game. At the moment, here's what I'm looking at as a more balanced way of doing things:

  • Billy who can't run. I'm adding a running mechanic to allow you to escape traps/the Chainsaw Killer. However, Billy won't be able to do so. His advantage is his(lack of) height: As I plan to add combat mechanics of some sort, Billy will be harder to hit, and may have some other combat-related perks.
  • Sammy, who(again) can only carry one item. This is similar to the first version, but he'll also have trouble climbing, if he can at all. As an advantage, he'll be faster at running and capable of breaking down doors easier.
  • Fred, who can't hear, can't really see, and dies quickly. However, he will have a sort of "Instinct" from what little brain is left. This means he can sense things, even through walls. Also, his random lashings out may grant him some advantages in combat. Also, I have another idea for him. Suppose he couldn't use most items correctly, but they had some alternate purpose only he could find? For instance, blood bags could change from healing to bait, leading enemies to a certain place while he went elsewhere. I'm still toying with that.
Obviously, none of this is final. I'm going to spend a long time testing their traits to make sure that none of them are too hard or easy. This does give me a nice guideline to go with, though. That ought to be a big help moving forward.

Next post: Walls, Floors, and Ceilings!

Also, I should mention this quickly: The album for my last game, A Wheelie Good Time, can be found here
I plan on posting more images as I go into Chainsaw Deathrace's album here.

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