A major part of designing a game is working out the moment to moment gameplay and pinpointing what will be running through the player’s head at any time during the game. While a walkthrough is the most effective way to do this, it generally occurs at a later point in the design process. To give some level of structure to the game early on, user stories are the choice method to map out key elements of the gameplay. User stories assist the design process by giving structured sentences as to the types of goals that players will aim to accomplish, as well as the actions and objects required to complete these goals.
Last week the player experience goals for the game were developed and the decision was to focus on a slightly slower paced, enjoyable game rather than an intense, competitive SHMUP. Despite this, there is still an emphasis on ‘reflex-based actions’ which brings the combat part of the game into play.
The objects that were developed in the previous activity are the basis of these user stories. Each story pick an object, an action and a goal that are all connected through the player interaction and turns them into a functioning element of gameplay.
As a player, I will use my weapon to defeat enemies to finish the level.
This is a relatively straightforward user story that would exist at the core of a vast majority of games.
As a player, I will use my movement abilities to dodge enemies to avoid losing health.
A very specific user story that implies that players will have the time to dodge enemies while they strategise. While it doesn’t use objects and actions in the traditional sense of these stories, it still provides insight into an important gameplay mechanic.
As a player, I will collect singular powerups to boost my abilities.
Powerups are an iconic part of many games that come from the arcade era, allowing players to gain abilities far beyond their normal stats so that they stand a better chance at completing the game.
As a player, I will experiment by mixing different powerups to increase the boost to my abilities.
This is a far less common element of gameplay that has been developed specifically for this SHMUP. Players will have the opportunity to mix powerups and discover the potential pros and cons associated with each combination. This concept is designed to add a more creative element to the game, giving more depth to a normally straightforward genre.
As a player, I will collect health drops to increase my limited health.
The player will start the game with three lives of one hundred health each. When a life is lost they resume their current progress on their next life, however there is no way to regain lives. Throughout the level, health drops will randomly spawn that allow the player to heal some of their lost health, lessening the blow of permanently losing lives.
As a player, I will use my weapon to defeat bosses in order to destroy the smaller enemies.
An interesting element of gameplay in this SHMUP is that once the boss at the end of the level is defeated, any remaining ‘minions’ or smaller enemies will have a chain reaction that will cause them all to die. It opens up the opportunity for a variety of playstyles.
As a player, I will use my abilities to finish levels so that I can progress through the story.
Following the standard formula for most games, it is essential that levels are completed in order to discover more of the story. While the story is limited because of the genre, it still exists as part of the incentive to continually progress.
As a player, I will use my knowledge of enemies to defeat specific ones so that I can receive the specific drops that I need.
Different enemies provide a different chance of receiving powerup drops, as well as different health drops. Learning how this works will give the player an advantage that they can use to progress further in the game and to help get them out of sticky situations.
Playing as a teddy bear, I will use my uncanny agility and senses to analyse patterns so that I can successfully fight enemies.
A teddy bear with super powered agility, reflexes, senses and all round awesomeness provides the player with the abilities required to succeed in completing all the levels and fighting the range of enemies they will encounter.
Playing as a teddy bear, I will use my small legs to rapidly move forward in the world to avoid being obliterated by the darkness.
A slightly more colourful way of saying that the player must constantly move forwards or else they will be destroyed. This user story incorporates the player avatar, giving it a more personal description.
While the user stories are slightly repetitive, the lack of classes and weapons in the game reduce the variety of gameplay styles. Overall these stories capture the essence of the game and how it will function on both a moment to moment and a long term basis. Each of the major game mechanics is reflected in at least one of the stories, creating a more visual description of how the player will interact with the game.