The journey continues

Today I’ll share the game design process and thoughts on a game concept I developed together with Roee Avramot and Benjamin Trigalou.
As I decided to take my game development skills to the next level, I’ve started to look for a passion project to work on.
As I mentioned before: Toddler-Games is one such path to consider.
I plan to continue and share my process with you, I hope that my journey will be helpful and interesting.

match 3 board

A start of a new project

My friend Roee Avramot and I talked about making a game together.
Out of a few ideas, we got interested in the concept of Match-3 RPG.
The first idea, as can be seen in this sketch, was to move a character on a grid. When the character moves, it switches it’s own tile with the tile next to it, in the movement direction.
The goal of the character is to reach the end while avoiding matching 3 tiles of the same color.

game design first draft
First skatch

New game design approach

This idea created cute little puzzle game.
But we felt that it misses the essence of match-3 games, it was too much “exact”, like a newspaper puzzle. It did not feel like a match-3 game, and honestly, neither like an RPG game.
So we decided to make things more chaotic.
First round of changes:

  • Random colors with simple rule set made it feel less of a math-puzzle
  • Added RPG elements: Enemy, Shield, Coin.
  • Matching colors is a good thing! Not a thing to avoid. Items on a match are taken, and enemies destroyed.
  • Several minor decisions. like: the color underneath you become the color of the last match you made.

We quickly made a small Unity prototype to get a feel for this idea.

Gameplay animation
Spoonful of fun

Making the next steps

After some toying with it, we found out the game was fun and exciting.
There was still one problem though, and that’s the fact that the player fell down every time when they matched blocks beneath them. This took away from the player control of his movement and created hard to predict situations.
To solve this we came with the solution to cascade the level always towards the player. This change feels better and gives a stronger level of character control which is required for an RPG game.

To make the project look great, Benjamin Trigalou joined the project. An amazing artist that took our concept and created this thing:

Finding my call

But than, something happened.
I felt that I’m working on the wrong project.
Going back to my list-of-goals, I felt that this project is too far from what I want to spend my time working on.
I have one short life, and since I make this game for me – not for a living. I should dedicate my time for something meaningful to me.
This left me conflicted. I love the concept, I love what we made with the mechanics, I love how the game looks and feels, and I love working with Roee and Benjamin and actually I don’t even have an alternative project. Also this project have a lot of professional benefits: be it in game design, programming, publishing, collaborating or just by being a cool concept to develop.

But I felt that if I will not work hard on finding my true call, I will not be satisfied with my work.
I hope I’m making the right choice here. This is still hard to say. Is the true project actually exist, or did I miss on this one for nothing?
I guess time will tell.

For the meanwhile Roee continues to work on this project (and many interesting others) and I’m sure it will turn out to be something wonderful. We are good friends, and probably we will collaborate on some other project in the future, perhaps even this one. That’s the thing – I don’t really feel like I’m loosing projects on my journey, I feel that I’m gaining experiences that will surface again in a surprising way when the time is right.