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© 2019 by  Karan Sahu

Scare Tactics

Scare Tactics is an Asymmetrical Action-Adventure Game developed as a Master's thesis project. The game is set in a haunted mansion where a group of 3 Explorers face off against 1 Ghost. The Explorers need to exorcise the Ghost from the mansion before the Ghost incapacitates every Explorer.

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Awarded Second prize at RPI Gamefest 2016

As the Game Designer for this project, I developed all the game mechanics, along with character classes in collaboration with another designer. Additionally, I am responsible for the Level Design and ensuring the level layout flows well with mechanics. I also directed a team of 10 artists to bring the concept to life in 3D.

My team built the game in our custom C++ game engine, developed from scratch by our programmers.We used Unity as our prototyping tool as well as our Level Editor. Due to a small team and a tight time constraint, we first built and tested the mechanics in Unity and ran it through playtests. Once the team approved a certain feature, it was ported over to our C++ engine. This allowed our programmers to continue developing the engine while me and another designer focused on what the game should be.

 

The Ghost and Explorer each have unique gameplay mechanics. The Ghost has a top-down view of the mansion and the gameplay has elements of Real-Time Strategy. They can spawn and manage units, as well as manipulate the house globally. The Explorers have a close up third-person view and the gameplay draws from the top down Action-Adventure genre. The Explorer can perform melee attacks, acquire power-ups and manipulate the environment around them. Both characters use their unique skills and mechanics to thwart each other. The Explorers must exorcise the haunted house in order to defeat the Ghost, and the Ghost must incapacitate every Explorer by diminishing their health.
 

Ghost

The player in control of the Ghost has a top-down view of the mansion, intended to provide a superior feeling to the player. They do not have a physical presence in the game. Instead, they use Minions to wreck havoc and destroy the explorers.

 

There are 3 AI minions in Scare Tactics:
Imp – Small and quick creature that viciously runs towards the explorers and attacks them
Bomber – Slow and sluggish creature that explodes on contact
Flytrap – Static plant that attacks when in close vicinity

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Additionally, the Ghost has an Imp Illusion ability that can be used on any one of the Explorers at a time. It transforms the selected Explorer into an Imp for the other two Explorers. This creates confusion between the Explorers, specially in the heat of an existing battle,  and causes them to attack the player that looks like an Imp. With friendly-fire enabled while the Imp Illusion ability is active, the transformed player ends up taking damage. It also forces the Explorers to communicate with each other more often.

In-Game Ghost View

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Imp Attack

Flytrap Attack

Imp Run

Explorers

Sprinter – She uses her gadgets and quick wit to run interference and scout the way ahead
Professor – He can heal others explorers
Trap Master – He can control space and big crowds by using different traps available to him and attack from a distance

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Sprinter

Support

Trap Master

In-Game Sprinter View

In-Game Support View

In-Game Trap Master View

The game has been designed in a way where the explorers and the ghost don’t interact with each other directly. They use the environment and force the other player to change their strategy.

Lanterns – Slows the minions down significantly. Can be turned on and off by the explorers. The ghost can only turn the lantern off.
Doors – Can be opened and closed by the explorers and the ghost. The minions can be blocked if the doors are                      closed, thus the ghost needs to be constantly aware.