Carolina Queiroz

(EN) Ritmo de Batalha

Jan 15, 2024


Game developed for the 4th semester of the Digital Games undergraduate program at the Catholic University of Pernambuco (UNICAP).

This was an ambitious project, featuring various mechanics and different gameplay styles within a single game.

 - Technical Information

Engine: Unity.
Available Platforms: Windows/PC.
Softwares I've used: Unity, FigJam (Figma), Miro, Adobe XD, Photoshop, Illustrator, Google Docs.

- The team: 5 developers

Carolina Queiroz - Game and Level Design,  UI/UX, Programming
Gleydson Tavares - Programming
Igor Gustavo -  3D Art
João Carlos Lacerda - Social Media, Game Design
Raquel Marreira - 2D and 3D Art

 - Project duration: 4 months

Game Design:

- Idea and synopsys

"Ritmo de Batalha" (which means Battle Rhythm in english) belongs to the rhythm and turn-based battle genres. Its storyline revolves around a synthwave band on tour through different cities, delivering unforgettable performances to their audience, and defeating enemies with music.

- Characters

The prototype released features three playable characters: Maya (guitarist - damage), Alex (drummer - defense), and Oliver (keyboardist - healing). In addition to them, we have Iron Arm as an enemy, a brutal drummer with high vitality. He is a boss character with unique special abilities and a specific environment for his face-off (the street of a cyberpunk city).

- Mechanics, levels and curiosities

The game is divided into four different moments, bringing dynamism and variety of challenges to the player. One of them is more focused on demonstrating the player's agility (rhythm minigame), and another aimed at demonstrating the player's strategy and organization (turn-based battle). These moments are divided equally in the game, that is, for each rhythm minigame, one battle per turn, and therefore there is no predominant one.

The other moments are the Garage and the Level Selection Map, which serve as a breather for the player to make improvements to their team, learn more about the narrative and better outline their strategies.

- Video of the game's development phases

1. The Garage

This is where the player has their first contact with the playable universe. In this scene, the player controls Maya, a member of the synthwave band, in a third-person view.

Exploring the scene, the player can interact with the following objects:

• Amplifier (to upgrade the abilities of playable characters)
• Tablet (to read news about the band in the newspaper and discover more about the game's storyline)
• Computer (to purchase different visuals for the instruments)
• Game Board (a replica of the game map that the player uses to navigate to the next scene)

2. Level selection map

As the game's story involves the band going on tour, it is part of the artists' daily life to travel to play in other cities.

In this top-down view scene, the map serves as a tool for the player to decide where to take the band: the roadside hotels (to learn more about the game's storyline and receive coins as a reward for curiosity, which can be used to buy upgrades for abilities or visuals for instruments); or to go to the Cities to do soundchecks and perform shows.

3. Rhythm minigame

The rhythm minigame represents the band's "soundcheck" moment before their big show. Therefore, the player needs to succeed in the minigame to gain access to the turn-based battle.

The minigame style follows the reference of some classic games in the genre, such as Stepmania and Guitar Hero.

4. Turn-based battle

Finally, the turn-based strategic battle mode takes place in a lateral view, and it is the moment when the player controls the entire band together to defeat a boss in a musical performance, signifying the climax of a "show."

I opted to follow the pattern of games like the old Final Fantasy, For the King, and Fire Emblem: each team attacks in turn until there are no living units left in one of the teams.

UI Design:

- Aesthetics

Something that has been clear to me from the very beginning was the desire to create a game inspired by the aesthetics of Hi-Fi Rush, which led us to use a stylized shader with well-defined shadows.

Therefore, to ensure that the visuals aligned with the synthwave soundtrack and the futuristic setting of the story, I took the central ideas for the visual development of characters and the game environment from the concepts of Techwear, Futurism, Urbanization, nighttime ambiance, and, of course, a neon palette (widely used not only in futuristic games but also in games with a musical theme).

- Interfaces and interactions

In this project, I took on the role of UI Designer for the first time. I highlight a challenge that became a source of pride for me: I animated various elements of the game interface using code to ensure greater optimization, and I implemented the interface myself within Unity.

I also considered it important to bring a variety of interfaces so that the player could interact with the game in different ways, switching between diegetic, non-diegetic, and spatial UIs.

Furthermore, in the context of Interaction Design, my goal was to incorporate interface elements aligned with Nielsen's heuristics.

I particularly emphasize, to optimize the player's experience, the prioritization of recognition over the need to remember, implementing tooltips to remind players of action keys or interaction with objects. I also highlight the inclusion of Help and Documentation elements, such as informative panels and onboarding screens at each new stage of the game. These choices aimed not only to ensure a smooth interaction but also to provide support to users throughout their journey in the system.