Roboball is a CTF game made in UDK. 2 teams spawn on opposite sides of a map, fighting over a ball that spawns in the center. Players bring the ball to the enemy base to shoot through a goal to score. Players can choose to be a Defender or Forward after they spawn.
The Defender has more health, can lob grenades that explode in a large AOE, and use their alternate fire to push enemy players backwards.
The Forward moves fast, fires an automatic laser rifle, and can use their alternate fire to double jump.
It’s a fast paced game with environmental hazards all over the map, announcers with colored commentary, and special effects and animations on large screens whenever a team scores.
Most CTF games have players run deep into the enemy base to grab the flag, then traverse back all the way to their flag room to capture it. In Roboball, players only have to cross the map once to score. In order to balance this, we had to impose difficulties around scoring. The first was that carrying the ball meant you could not fire your normal weapon. Instead, you switched to a short-range projectile. The second was that teams spawned near their own goal, making it easier to defend.
We also wanted players to have incentive to switch classes depending on what was happening during the match, making the game more dynamic. Players can look out a window that overlooks the entire map to get a sense of the needs of their team before they pick their class.
As for ammo, because we wanted it to be a fast-paced game, we didn’t want players scrounging around or conserving ammo. Instead, we implemented an over-heating mechanic. Players had unlimited resources, but if they used too much too quickly, they wouldn’t be able to fire for a few seconds until their gun cooled down. This kept the fun going while still having consequences to playing poorly.
The map was designed to have different classes be stronger or weaker in specific parts. The Defender was strongest close to their own base and on the edges of the map, places where they could easily push players off into acid pits. The Forward moves faster and can double-jump, making the center of the map better for them since they could evade defenders easily out in the open.
We wanted each class to play and feel different, while still being useful in their own way.
As lead designer, I was involved with design decisions and assigning tasks to other designers. What I wanted most was to make sure that everyone was working on something that they enjoyed and they excelled at, and that their voices were heard during discussions.
Also as lead, I took on the tasks that no one else wanted to do. In this case, it was making the particles for the game. I spent a great deal of time learning Cascade and the material editor to create unique particles for the game. I was also responsible for doing texture work, lighting, post-processing, and placing meshes all over the map.
Re-Inventing the Game
During an early milestone, things were not looking good for the game. We got some negative feedback on the feel and look of our map. Instead of being discouraged, we used this opportunity to make important decisions. We honed our vision for the game, re-did the layout, and changed the aesthetic. In the end, we completely turned the game around. This was the result of co-operation, communication, and personal responsibility. Everyone had to pull their own weight to get this to work. It opened the door for people to express their concerns and suggestions. Instead of blaming others and sinking further into dysfunction, we rose to the challenge. This was a great experience and a lesson on how to work on/with a team.