BzZap!

BzZap! is a 4-player PC game developed in 16 weeks by Team Condors for our client Visual Concepts (NBA 2K19). Players take advantage of teamwork and elevation to glide and dive to the net.

Showcases a unique movement type in gliding and flying, but lacks responsive camera and controls, both of which I championed throughout the semester. BzZap! could have used more iteration time on my end, but the experience of taking a game from concept to product with a Lead Game Designer on my team was a major milestone in my game design journey.

Role: Game Designer Team: 6 Members Engine: Unity


Two playtesters face off against both game designers on BzZap! The team was testing new strategic plays and movement, and the playtesters caught on to the tactics faster than we intended. This video is proof that defense wins championships.


Design Iterations:

  • To encourage passing and teamwork, players now lose possession of the charge when they touch the ground.

    • To avoid getting stunned, players must pass the charge before losing it.

  • Players are stunned for longer periods of time.

    • This decision was made to break up to confusing, rabid-dog fights that frustrated players.

  • The ranged “zap” lock-on mechanic can no longer be activated from across the map.

    • It was overpowered.

  • The charge’s speed when passing is now slower, allowing for more interceptions throughout.

    • Players felt powerful when they were able to intercept passes.

  • The overall speed of the game has been balanced to be more methodical.

    • At slower paces, players were able to take in more information at once.


Design Iterations:

  • Implemented a main menu, where players can see the control scheme for BzZap!.

    • The main menu also shows the computer tower where the game takes place, fleshing out the narrative.

  • The player’s stamina bar now visually “shakes” when it reaches 0.

    • Players were confused as to why they could no longer boost.

  • Fans now emit vertical particle effects.

    • Players wanted the fans’ purpose conveyed more clearly.


Design Iterations:

  • Toned visual language down, including player trail and environment ramps.

    • Players were processing so much information at once, they had trouble finding the important gameplay elements.

  • Minimap implementation with individual markers.

    • Players wanted to know where they were in relation to their teammate.

  • Camera system has been iterated.

    • Ball cam now sweeps to and from the charge, rather than a jarring jump cut.

  • Arena design has been iterated.

    • With less fans and elevated platforms, defenders have more opportunity to block dunks.


Design Iterations:

  • Players must be above their enemy to “dive bomb” them.

    • Before this decision was made, players were just holding the attack button and were able to keep attacking their target.

  • Strategy has been iterated to encourage couch conversation (one of the design pillars).

    • Players must now maintain a stamina for their attack.

  • Iterated visual feedback to players.

    • VFX to better convey direction of player movement, “charge arrow” to show players where the charge is at all times.


Design Iterations:

  • Ramps that line the edge of the arena now convey more movement to encourage players to glide more.

  • Players can attack players with a ranged “dive bomb.”


GDC 2019 Playtest Feedback:

  • Movement is new and different, and feels like a fun basis for gameplay.

  • Players found speeding up a ramp as a ball fun.

  • Players found hitting enemies fun.

  • Players found the camera controls frustrating.


 
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Team:

Omar Cheikh-Ali: Our team’s producer. He has design and production experience to contribute to the project.

Swapnil Mengade: Our team’s programmer, interested in learning more about the game development pipeline as an engineer.

Healthy Moeung: Our team’s artist, bringing experience in 3D modeling and character design.

Julian Ochoa: One of our team’s game designers, he’s interested in working closely with our programmers and learning more about prototyping with C#.

Xinyu (Mimi) Wang: Our team’s UI/UX designer, also bringing experience in 3D art and visual effects.

Xuejun (Sally) Wang: One of our team’s game designers/programmers. She brings experience in both of these areas to our project.