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Demoncratic Intervention Beyond Sol is a 2-player co-op arcade game, one player drives, one player shoots!

  • Two players work together to pilot an advanced transforming vehicle. They travel to a unique alien planet and mistakenly anger a giant creature made from the rock of the planet itself. The two heroes must battle their way through the creature's many minions, and eventually face the monster head-on.
  • The gameplay challenge of DIBS comes from cooperating with your team mate and surviving the intense, fast paced action.
  • D.I.B.S was developed in the Unity Engine by the eight-person team Pressure Cooked Games at Niagara College between October 2016 and April 2017.
  • The first 3 months were used for design concepts and prototypes, and the latter 4 were used for core game development. I served as the Lead Programmer and Designer.
  • The game won Niagara College's Game Development 3rd-Year Game of the Year award.

DIBS initially started development in October of 2016, where the PCG (Pressure Cooked Games) team got together to discuss the design of the gameplay, and of where the artstyle should be taken. Later the same month we pitched the DIBS project to our professors from Niagara College (in addition to several local industry veterans) for assorted tips and feedback.

Following our very successful game pitch, in November 2016 we produced a 102 page Game Design Document, and afterwards in December we set up a team development schedule in Hansoft for the soon-arriving following semester.

During the following January - April 2017 semester DIBS became our main focus from our other studies, and we powered hard on its development.

DIBS' cooperative arcade-like gameplay design takes inspiration from some similarly isometric arcade combat games like Assault Android Cactus, Meltdown, and GALAK-Z. The PCG team got together to play these games cooperatively to see what worked and what felt comfortable for some early design goals.

The final game contains: an opening cutscene supported with voice acting; a tutorial level teaching the players the basics of their gunplay, movement, and cooperation; a four-zone level containing three separate combat areas in which the player moves linearly through while destroying enough enemies in each, and finally the boss zone where the player faces off against the huge rock monster (in addition to waves of spawning enemies!).

  • Personally I programmed almost everything in the game, but of the scripts that I didn't initially create I would end up refining each through assorted bug fixing. This massive amount of work has at least allowed me to feel comfortable in most gameplay development sections.
    • I used XInput for the player controls; AStar for NPC pathfinding; I coded my own custom cutscenes with drag-and-drop prefabs for easy set up; I also built an audiomanager which we used for tracking volumes and pitches of tagged sounds separately for SFX or Music; custom camera effects for shaking, blurring, and dynamic pitch adjustments; an editor-friendly enemy group spawner prefab system for easily tweaking group numbers; custom healthbars; a score keeper; as well as custom NPC FSMs (finite state machines) to track NPC behavior.
  • Throughout development the gameplay speed steadily increased as we found that arcade games need to react quickly to player’s inputs to feel proper. Initially we supposed that the player action speeds could be slower to give a 'powerful' feeling, as if the players were operating a massive ship. But we soon realised that most players were only playing 2 minutes on average (during the showcase events), and so to balance play times we sped up the player action speed considerably.
  • Players understanding what they ought to be doing is pretty important. The player should always know what their goal is, and they should be able to check again in case they forgot. We achieved this by using some HUD counters to track necessary enemy kills-to-proceed, some minor in-game cutscenes to show important events, as well as using high-visibility healthbars and a radar to track enemies.

Gameplay footage from Version 0 (school submission), April 2017.