Spector Protectors is a cross-platform, multiplayer puzzle game made to capitalize on the booming casual party game market. One player acts as the fallen mayor of a once great town, its citizens now scattered to the winds. Brought back by the town medium, it's your job to bring them back. With the help of your new ghostly pals, you can travel to the different zany islands to rescue the villages lost citizens!
Full Gameplay Video
Spector Protectors requires at least two players but can be enjoyed by up to four. It was designed with ease of access in mind. Therefore, only one console is needed: all other players can connect and play with their mobile devices. The console player takes the role of the fallen mayor in ghost form. He has to power to possess the lost villagers and bring them back, as well as interact with objects like buttons and switches! The mobile players are his ghost pals, able to possess and move objects throughout the environment to solve puzzles, confuse enemies, and help the villager escape!
Role and Development
This game was developed in 10 weeks with a team of four and was completed May 29th, 2019. On this project, I acted as the project lead, game designer, and the sole systems designer. This project took place while all of our members were also working on their senior projects. As the lead, I had to make sure we scoped around that fact. We decided to make ten minutes of gameplay that showed off this game's design potential. As the systems designer, I made functional cross-platform multiplayer, all of the mechanics of the game, and have it successfully running on a mobile device.
This project required me to learn about networking, server travel, replication, and cross-platform connection all within about four weeks. This was major task in and of itself for me, but I had to do it while working on my senior project. On top of learning all of that, I was the only systems designer on the project, so I had to make the rest of the game work as well. This required a lot of scheduling and even more compromise.
Obstacles and Challenges
Spector Protectors was created from an idea to capitalize on a Jackbox Games style Dungeons and Dragons app that would allow players to connect their phones to the Dungeon Master's laptop for ease of use. We altered the idea, utilizing the capabilities of the Unreal Engine, to see if we could make one of the first cross-platform couch co-op party games. The gameplay is a modification and retrofitting of a basic system I created a few months earlier.
Spector Protectors was my first exposure to a multiplayer platform. It was an important step in my design career, both as a game and system's designer, requiring me to interpret the actions of multiple players. In addition, it required me to research different server types and their pros/cons, as well as utilization of replication and proper implementation. Ultimately, I utilized a Listen Server and cross-platform connection. Spector Protectors advanced my development skills with the use of these new techniques.
As a producer, this project was relatively straight forward with few issues during development. My team was comprised of all senior students, bringing their expertise and experience to this design. We met all deadlines while maintaining a positive morale throughout. Spector Protectors reinforced my time management skills, requiring me to create schedules and gauge proper expectations based on that scheduling.