MC2 – The Story – Humble Beginnings

After the release of my first commercial indie game on Steam, OVO Smash! (October 10th 2017), I’ve been prototyping concepts rapidly to see if I could come up with something interesting enough to develop as a new full fledged project. So on February 16th, 2018 I came up with this idea:

I wanted to try and make a multiplayer game that would be:
Possible for me to complete with my minimal resources
Immediately fun to play
Incredibly easy to pick up
Somewhat harder to learn to master

So I began thinking: what are the multiplayer games I’ve had the most fun playing recently? The games in question would have be designed in such a way that there would be minimal need for numerous and complex (and expensive) assets.

Rocket League immediately came to mind. Amazingly intelligent gameplay with variations of the same car, in variations of the same stadium, with very few mechanics (drive, jump and boost). These few ingredients create an incredibly deep experience. I would love to recreate something similar, even if smaller in scale and scope. – Simple but deep

I’m also a big fan of the Street Fighter franchise, and while Street Fighter is a very complex game now, in its first iterations it was somewhat simpler. It had charge characters and quarter circle characters, who all had standard moves and some special moves. Usually the special moves were either horizontal (like the Hadouken or the Sonic Boom) or vertical (like the Shoryuken or the Flash Kick). – Spacial awareness

Hadouken – Horizontal
Shoryuken – Vertical

Lastly, I also recalled that when a was a much younger fella, I used to play an Xbox game called Fuzion Frenzy with my buddies in couch multiplayer. One of the minigames in this collection was called “Sumo”, and it was about balls knocking each other off of an ever-shrinking ring. – Spheres, simplicity

Special mentions also go to Dive Kick, Nidhogg and Towerfall Ascension. All of these games involve two or more opponents studying one another and trying to psyche each other out. I wanted to recreate something similar. – Mind games

So I got to work and within about a day I got to a pretty decent result. I quickly had some spheres that were capable of colliding with one another. Unfortunately, I wasn’t mindful enough to collect footage at different stages of development, so the only thing I can show you is a much more advanced build. Apologies.

Here were my basic ideas:
1. As the spheres collide with one another, the one with more momentum wins the collision confrontation and damages the other by an amount that depends on speed at moment of impact (collision.relativeVelocity) and weight of the sphere (rigidbody.mass).
2. The more damage the sphere takes, the lighter it becomes. Lighter spheres are easier to knock around.
3. Whoever is left alive last wins the match.
4. The spheres had to be able to jump, to dodge opponent spheres.
5. All of the locomotion in the game had to be largely based on semi-realistic physics (meaning using the Unity physics engine to a substantial degree).

Pretty soon, in a few days, I was able to test the game with my kids. While I expected success, I certainly hadn’t anticipated the degree of success. The kids were very excited and enthusiastic. They wanted to keep playing. And as we played a few emergent properties of gameplay became apparent:
1. Jumping near the edge of the arena was dangerous, because while in the air you’re like a sitting duck, very easy to hit.
2. It’s possible to jump onto your opponents, stomping them. This would also then allow you to jump again from a yet higher position and stomp them again.
3. It’s possible to jump into your opponents from underneath, executing an uppercut if you will. If done at the right time this can be a very effective way of damaging opponents.

And this is how MC2 started. At the time, I had no idea how to call it, so I dubbed it “project Bouncers”.

Stay tuned for more. 🙂

– Mike

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