A co-op run and gun platformer where both players control the same character, each taking turns being in command of movement or shooting.
Role: Game Design, Level Design, Gameplay Balancing
Timeline: 16 Weeks
Meaningful cooperative gameplay
Fast-paced, combat chess
Core Design Challenges
Being the player that controls movement has to be as meaningful as shooting AND there needs to be incentive to swap roles often
Running and gunning has been done before, how can this game be different other than the co-op gimmick?
Enemies need to present different challenges AND need to double down on co-op mechanics
Plenty of traditional hazards:
(buzz saws, lasers etc.)
Player Specific Platforms that break up areas in interesting ways.
Each room has an objective type:
Run & Gun
King of the Hill
This One's Mine
There are enemy types:
Each have a variation that only one player can damage
The gunner has a magazine size.
To reload the players have to switcharoo!
Modifications that are picked up by the running player changes their dash and shooting attributes. Add fire, lighting, ice or explosives!
The team wanted to create a game with meaningful cooperative mechanics and fast pace action. One of the members pitched the idea of two players controlling a vehicle together and eventually the idea was turned into Switcharoo.
One of my major contributions to the co-op design was the reliance of each player for the other. I wanted players to be constantly swapping roles so that no one was locked into a single role.
I looked at the fun of taking on different roles in Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime and pitched the players should swap positions in order to reload, and there be specific enemy types per player.
One player can hurt robot enemies and the other aliens.
Additional to that, I wanted the movement player to be engaging in combat, so I designed the dash to have trail effects that hurt the enemies of that controlling player.
I designed each enemy to have a specific role that players can instantly recognize and adapt to that which when combined with other enemies in an encounter, create a interesting challenge each time.
Create new enemies, must be destroyed to continue most areas.
The enemies dive bomb towards players and ignore most obstacles. They can attack from any angle, therefore the best defense is to counter their attack with a dodge. They follow a patrol path that cover a large are of the room they are in.
Similar to Flyers, the Rusher's goal is to get in close and attack players though they are grounded and are therefore easier to dodge. Their movement behavior is similar to Goombas, bounce and turn off walls and drop off ledges.
The movement of Grunts are similar to the Rushers, only that when approaching a ledge, will turn around and continue the other way. When players enter the sights of Grunts, they stop their movement and linearly shoot a series of medium moving projectiles.
These enemies attack different than each other. The
Assault Robot linearly shoots three medium moving projects, while the Assault Alien shoots two slow moving projectiles in a spread that are effected by gravity. They both move between patrol points.
The Heavies are hard hitting enemies that have unique attacks. The Heavy Robot has slow moving homing and a spread of three medium moving projectiles. It moves slowly on the ground between patrol points. The Heavy Alien does not attack at all, rather it creates a swarm of smaller aliens that it sends toward the players, homing in on their position in waves. It flies in the air between patrol points.
Places to Improve
What I learned