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Terracotta Canyon

PRIMARY ROLES

-Lead Game Designer
-Gameplay Designer
-Level Designer 
-Texture Artist

SECONDARY ROLES

-Systems Designer
-Game Balancer
-Environment Artist

DESCRIPTION

Terracotta Canyon is a class based Capture the Flag game with Power-ups. The map is set in a wild west like era as two rival bandit camps fight for control. There are a total of 7 unique classes with Minecraft feeling abilities and weapons to aid teams in capturing each other's flag. Located throughout the map are Power-ups that spawn and provide temporary buffs to aid players on both sides. Each team also has access to horses that respawn at stables. Players can use them to traverse the map for a limited time. This map and game was developed by the PONG Minecraft Build Team over a 5 month period.

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 "Terracotta Canyon," built both team bases, the farm side of the map, and the pathways.

Created all custom class weapons, abilities, and team symbol icons.

Worked collaboratively in a small scrum style team.

Led game balancing and user experience.

• Created all class designs, abilities, and the class system itself.

Documented my design and artistic processes.

Hosted numerous alpha, closed beta, and beta tests.

• Finished Terracotta Canyon for the September LAN.

YEAR

2022

GENRE

Team based capture the flag with classes and Power-ups

PLATFORM

Made in Java Minecraft for version 1.19 and will soon be published on Minecraft Realms

NOTICE

Due to the nature of active development renaming has occurred during the polish phase. The name of the game has since changed to "Terracotta Chasm" and classes' have been renamed to better fit the western theme.

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Game Design

Concept to Final Product

Challenges

The concept of Terracotta Canyon was pitched by me after creating the game Freeze Point on the Frozen Crag map. I pitched a capture the flag game with Classes and Power-ups that felt more Minecrafty.

The build team and I made a Capture the Flag game twice before based off of World of Warcraft's Warsong Gulch which featured more complicated classes to get as close as possible to the actual game. Feedback from that game showed us that there was a desire for a simpler class based capture the flag game and map. The next LAN event coming up was also Wild West themed and that led me to the idea of a Wild West theme.

From my pitch to final product the Capture the Flag mechanics stayed very true to our past game's mechanics. However, class design and class identity changed quite a bit. Some map elements were also adjusted later in development.





 

I love coming up with fun and unique classes as well as designing maps. However, there were numerous challenges with the limitations of Minecraft as well as conflicting design philosophies which led to this project getting extended. 

Minecraft has very limited room for combat expansion and ways of implementing classes. This led to multiple rewrites of class abilities and weapons due to them not being able to be implemented within the game. We also had a lot of conflicting design philosophies at the table which slowed development and led to a lot of imbalance early in Alpha testing. Unfortunately, multiple team members left and didn't complete their assigned jobs. This resulted in the project being pushed back to the summer. 

From my initial pitch the map design relatively stayed the same. However, my design sheets for classes were tabled up until summer when the game was reassessed and my designs were then brought to light. Since then my classes have been implemented and balanced accordingly to create the gameplay experience we all wanted for the game. 

Scope and Development Time

Challenges

The scope of Terracotta Canyon wasn't too large throughout development. It however suffered from internal issues within the team which delayed its launch and development. Development began during mid term season then spring break. Since we were all college students, this led to progress being slow. 

Design philosophy of making classes less complicated came harder to some of our designers than others. This in turn led to classes being more like our previous Capture the Flag game, so we returned to my class design sheets once we got into summer. Once classes were figured out development ramped up fairly quickly during the summer and after multiple closed and open betas Terracotta Canyon launched at our first LAN event of the 2022 school year.


 

During this project our build team shrank to the smallest I have ever seen it. Due to finals, a lot of map builders left the team. This left more work for me and the remaining 2 builders.

With the constant class changes I had to remake class ability icons numerous times. Our team leader and only coder also took it upon themselves to remove a majority of already completed art which drastically pushed the game back in development. After multiple tests and meetings the game got where it needed to be, but it was an uphill battle for a lot of things. This project was one of the hardest projects to keep on track.

Terracotta Canyon was a 3 month project that turned into a 6 month project. I stepped up during the summer to lead the team in order to complete the project after already completing my assigned jobs 3 months prior. I worked a lot to get the design team on the same page philosophy wise and picked up a lot of builds that needed work on the map to prepare it for open beta testing. All in all, it was a challenging project, but I learned a lot from it.