Deer Horse Bear was a small prototype made during my path of learning Unity and C#. I'm publishing this to show my approach, thought processes, and decision making during development. I try to keep these short and concise, if you have any further questions or feedback, I'd love to hear from you! Reach me on Twitter at @PhilipDrobar.

My goals going into this:

  • Simple space-invader like mechanics.
  • 1-screen-game, visually appealing, created as fast as possible.
  • Win state: None. Fail state: Letting an animal pass.
    Player goal: Getting a high score.

My approach on...

CONTROLS: I needed to make sure I didn't have to explain the controls, so the first step was making sure the Player character can always be controlled, even when game over. This way, if you just try the arrow keys on your keyboard, you will always have a reaction on screen, no matter what game state you're at.

The SPACEBAR is the biggest key on the keyboard, so the logical choice to use it for the main action. It's what most players would try next. This also starts the game, thus again always providing feedback to the player when they press it.

GRAPHICS: I knew it would be a one-screen-game, so I set up the player and the main plane representing the game area first, then positioned the camera until the view was set. This was then also tweaked to set the boundaries of player movement. Afterwards I used simple polygon prefabs to create a visually appealing environment, then set the main light to simulate sunset and did a quick lighting bake. Finally added Unity URP post-processing to give it more polish.

UI: I wanted it simple and clean and didn't want to waste time on buttons and extra scripts so I just made the game start with a title card that would disappear and start the actual gameplay as soon as you press SPACE. The only other information the player needs was showing them how to start over, thus the Reset screen tells you which key to press.
The player score number is always on screen, this also implies the goal of the game.

What I would do next to improve this prototype:

  • Randomize Spawn intervals (time between spawns)
  • Make Animals more distinct for better readability (shape is good, but the color is bad, they're all brown)
  • Increase difficulty over time by increasing the spawn rate.
  • Add particle effects for more polish, mostly on animal spawn and when animals vanish.
  • Introduce another animal type after some time to add variety. Discovering that there's actually another animal in the game adds to surprise, motivates the player to see if there's more, is rewarding.
  • Create a "Wave" system, 

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