Kaiju is a location-based IOS game we created with Legendary Entertainment as our client. Using the platform they developed, we were required to design a game that could expand through social media around CMU campus, meanwhile gave them feedback about the API. We brainstormed several games during the first half of the semester, and finished one prototype in the second half.
Kaiju is the Japanese word for ‘Monsters’. Making this game was a decision we made with our clients, because it fit well with their movie IPs, like King Kong, Pacific Rim and Godzilla.
In the game, you have an initial Kaiju, and you need to destroy buildings to get more eggs. The way you hatch them is to go to a specific location, and take a picture with it. You can also ask your friend to check in for you if they are at that location.
We made a pixelated map of the CMU campus, and randomly generated buildings outside of that range.
Because our scope was too big, we struggled a lot on our game design.
Problem solving: find the right amount of interaction
As the gameplay programmer, this is the problem that I focused on. We wanted to make the game fun, so we were trying to add complicated level design into the destory building gameplay. However, our gameplay was not fun nor satisfying while there was not much development time left. So I made 6 different interaction prototypes (tapping, holding and releasing, shaking the phone, swiping outward/inward and continuously tapping) and tested it with people, and got some interesting observation.
Destroy building gameplay was the main gameplay that people do in our game. Use Pokemon Go as reference, it was similar to throwing a poke-ball. Instead of making it complicated, the better way was to make it satisfying. Our original design was using tapping, but after playtesting we found people enjoy swiping so much, and they wanted to do so many different moves.
Based on this observation, we changed our game design to give more freedom to the player. The player can hold the building’s block and do whatever they want. Our final version was very satisfying.