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Freeze Point: Frozen Crag

PRIMARY ROLES

-Lead Game Designer
-Gameplay Designer 
-Level Designer
-Environment Artist
-Resource Pack Artist

SECONDARY ROLES

-Systems Designer 
-Game Balancer

DESCRIPTION

Freeze Point is a mix between the classic Freeze Tag and Hard Point Game Modes with some twists. Teams fight for control over points on the map in order to accumulate score. To do this players must fight off players on the enemy team by freezing them and un-freezing teammates. Along with that, power-ups spawn in dedicated locations around the map and add strategic value to team play and coordination. Points can be contested by enemies which stop score accumulation on the point. Score gained while under a team's control also scales with the number of players on the point up to 3. This game went through a lot of iterations and changes to get where it is, but I'm extremely pleased with how it came out. This was a fun game to design and create. It has become a huge success at our PONG Winter LAN events with over 17 player teams each event.

RESPONSIBILITIES

Led the team from concept to final product.

Designed and planned out the core systems, gameplay features, and gameplay loop. 

Designed the map layout of "Frozen Crag" and built the middle of the map, both team bases, and point C.

Created all custom armor, weapon, and Power-Up textures in the game.

Worked collaboratively in a small scrum style team.

Led game balancing and user experience.

• Came up with the freeze mechanic, designed Power-ups, and determined their placement.

Documented my design and artistic processes.

• Hosted numerous alpha, closed beta, and beta tests.

• Finished Frozen Crag on time for launch at the winter LAN and it has been a fan favorite game ever since. 

Game Design

Concept to Final Product

Challenges

The concept of Freeze Point came from me and some of the other PONG Build Team members as we were planning for our winter LAN event. A lot of us wanted to make Freeze Tag, but each of us had a different idea on how to make it function inside of Minecraft as a main LAN event. 

I pitched a large scale class based Freeze Tag game where 5 control points were objectives both teams had to fight to control in order to accumulate points. This pitch had the control point and class ideas from one of my past pitches "Spire Fight." However, due to limited coders and time we had to scale the game back to 3 points with powerups instead of classes. My class ideas were later used in a future capture the flag game called "Terracotta Canyon."




 

Coming to consensus on how the main objective should work as well as classes and the freeze mechanic took a great deal of time to iron out. This set map design back since it needed to be designed around the gameplay loop and spawn timing. 

Eventually after many map iterations and freeze mechanic changes we ended with the game called Freeze Point on the map called Frozen Crag. It turned out beautifully and really tested our team's design skills.

We decided to reduce the number of capture points from 5 to 3 and make a 3 lane map to better suit the large team sizes. In addition, classes were removed and replaced with Power-ups that spawn around the map. This was done to add game diversity, give greater player agency, and help promote strategy since the freeze mechanic we came up with was a 1 hit freeze. This made fights fairly quick and fast paced. Freeze Point was a fun and challenging game to design, and it turned out amazing. It has been a LAN event favorite since its release.                   

 

Scope and Development Time

Challenges

At the start the scope was fairly small and simple, but it grew quickly as we brainstormed how to turn a simple version of Freeze Tag into a main event game. A lot of our time developing the game was spent on the freeze mechanic, core objective, and map itself. All 3 went through many different iterations and led to the game that we have today. 

During development we went back to the drawing board numerous times on many core aspects of the game. Before classes were removed, we already had a large map in development for the game which was scrapped due to time and class removal. 

There was a lot of back and forth with how the game should play out and how the map should look/feel. This was mainly due to alpha testing that changed our design philosophy because the mechanics were not engaging and the walking distances were too long.

Granted, there was a decent loss of time due to core mechanic alterations, but in the end the project was completed on time with multiple alpha and beta tests under its belt. I always prefer putting forth my best work to make something I am proud of. Sure, it can be a hassle for a team to go back to the drawing board a time or two, but if it makes for a better game then I'd do it every time.