Raccoon Riot is a role-playing game where you play as a raccoon who breaks in a supermarket at night, picks food up and leaves before security captures him. Makes no sense, right? Why would a raccoon enter a supermarket to rob it of food? Well the answer is simple. Our game was an iteration of a previous game prototype, Motor-Mania. Motor mania was a game of cars dashing into each other in destructible environments. We picked up the feature ‘destructible environments’ and thought of making a fun game with them. This is how we came up with Raccoon Riot! We replaced multiple fighting cars with one cart, as one of the requirements for our game was it should be single player. And to make it more fun, we added a raccoon as the protagonist in the game, and their infamous stealing habit was perfect for the game. The raccoon in his cart can pick up foodstuffs like apples, bananas and cereal boxes but not objects like paper cups. He can dash through the aisles, breaking them to pieces with enough momentum. The objective of the game is to pick up as many objects as you can in a minute. As 50 seconds are up, an alarm goes off which means the security is alerted. When that happens your speed boosts 10 times your original speed and you have to decide to pick up more objects in this period to score more points or get out in time to win. Exciting isn’t it?
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What went right?
- Team collaborative working
A new team, but we were aware of each other capabilities. Hence this time the team was decided by us. I had worked with Ameya and Ben previously on a different game, so we teamed up easily. Our team was good, working with them was great. This was one of my favorite teams in all the prototypes I worked on.
- Daily progress
We had our team charter set up before the start of development, which needed us to post EOD status on allocated jobs. So we had everyone posting their updates on work daily. This helped us to have a rough idea when our game will get done.
What went wrong?
- Brand association
Our game was about a raccoon trashing the supermarket, breaking everything up. But the brand we got to promote was ‘Walmart’. Yes you guessed it, we had a tough time thinking how to justify our game without giving it a pivot. We came up with an idea that this isn’t Walmart, and this is a competitor who asked for Walmart’s help to know who was trashing their store.
Raccoon Riot was a product of quick learning and rapid implementation, as mostly all of us were new to Unreal Engine. But we worked hard, together and completed the game before time. The game idea was loved by everyone on the team, and having a capable team helped a lot towards finishing the game. We worked together while deciding the game design, features and elements which would make the game more fun. We also scratched our heads when we ran into problems collectively.
My contribution to the project:
- Game Level Design:
The game level was fully set up by me, with aligning all the aisles and filling them up with pickup objects. The lighting in particular was a learning process, as our supermarket was quite big to have a couple of lights lit it up.
Hence I had an array of lights making sure the objects on the aisles are visible, and also keeping the floor and walls lit while giving a feel of night time. I also worked with Arpit on the destructible aisles and checkout counters, trying to get a perfect breaking illusion for the game. While doing that I also worked with a sliding glass door, which opens when you go near it. And if you are fast enough you can break it as well.
I worked on the pickup objects using a placeholder ‘donut’ on the ground. The donut rotated on the ground, with a glow on it. If the player moved over it would get ‘picked up’. To make them visible I created a HUD for the player on screen, with two bars – for health and energy. As you picked up objects, the energy bar would increase and as the time went by the heath bar decreases. This wasn’t the actual game, I was just tinkering and getting to know the working of blueprints. I created two blueprints, one for pickup objects and one for the HUD. For the pickup objects, I used collision as triggers for pickups, where only the player actor could pick them up. The HUD blueprints took input directly from the pickup objects and game timer to adjust their values accordingly at runtime.
Later with Ameya I put in the actual pickup objects, apples, bananas and cereal boxes. We created a template for them, so they could be easily shown in the inventory on the HUD. We took out the health and energy bars and replaced with thumbnails of the objects with the number of each you picked up right below them.
Rohan More, Ameya Gadkari and Arpit Chadha
Mitchell Eastwold, Rony Dubon, Benjamin Steele