Post Mortem: Mechanical Melee

Mechanical melee was developed in the first week of incubator, we were all raring to go and wanted something light and fun that we could put together quickly to tighten up our pipelines and work through any issues with our nice new work computers before we started on something a little more serious.

We started by all pitching a few ideas and ended up with a very differnt version of mechanical melee, though the original game design focused more on customizing your robot out of parts and then fighting them. We were pretty set on using unity and due to the fact that our coding team weren't too keen on slaving over network code for such a quick prototype, we decided on a local multiplayer.

Deciding on local multiplayer ended up being quite pivotal to the game’s design, in our haste to get started we failed to do a proper amount of research on similar games that were available. A few days into production we found an existing game that was already online and did a lot of what we planned. With that in mind we had a quick meeting in which we discussed whether or not we could compete in the space and eventually came to the conclusion that because we were focussing on local multiplayer anyway, we might as well scrap the building aspects and focus more on multiplayer arcade style fun.

With the new focus we talked through some different robot designs, going for a bit of a paper scissors rock effect for their special moves and attributes, this decision ended up impacting negatively on the game as once all but two players have been eliminated, one would always have a distinct and almost overwhelming advantage.

The levels and characters were modelled and the game itself was created without any real problems, which was what we expected of such a simple game. We had a lot of fun making it, but unfortunately when the whole thing came together it seemed to be less than the sum of it’s parts. The arcade style fun was just not there, due in large part to the flawed design decisions we had made throughout the project. At this point we talked about spending longer on the game and attempting to balance the different robot’s abilities better and create some more levels to promote fun gameplay.

We eventually decided that with other games in the space doing a better job than we could do in the short time period we were willing to invest, we would remember the lessons we learned during the project, and move onto another prototype.