Grim is a free to play multiplayer first person shooter created by a team of six students as our graduation project. The team consisted of one programmer, one level designer, three modelers and one concept artist. The goal of the project was to attempt triple A quality vertical slice to land a job at a triple A studio.
The primary reference for our gameplay pacing and theme was Quake and Unreal Tournament. Simple high-paced gameplay that would fit well with our explosive theme.
Gameplay Theme: Heat
A returning theme in the game is Heat. This is introduced in multiple areas of the game, including an ammo mechanic where instead of bullets the weapons generate heat. Weapons have a maximum heat and this value dissipates over time. In the game the weapon will actively glow based on the current weapon heat (This is visible on both friendlies and enemies as well)
We use the theme of “heat” in other areas as well. All damage sources are explosive or fire based (Cluster mine, cluster grenade, explosive rounds in “Mateba”-resolver) and certain areas in our levels generated additional heat (radiator fumes cause the weapon to loose most of it’s dissipation) or add additional dissipation (leaking water pipes cool down the weapon) we used this to help steer the players through areas and make natural ‘camping’ spots less desirable.
In Breach two teams compete in 7 rounds, each lasting a maximum of 3 minutes. Every round the Insurgents (attackers) try to reach the objective with as many survivors as possible. The path is blocked by several sealed doors that must be breached in order to reach the final objective. Pressing a button will initiate the breach of a sealed door, but this process can be paused by the Persuasive Forces (defenders). Both teams will have to focus on defending the buttons, whether it’s to initiate the breach or to prevent it from being breached. The more Insurgents (attackers) reach the end, the more Credits the Insurgent (attacking) team will earn. Before each new round every player may buy upgrades and items to enhance themselves for the upcoming rounds.
Leap is one of our player abilities that allows you to leap great distances and thereby avoiding enemy fire or reaching an otherwise unreachable area. Using Leap costs Energy, which is one of the main player resources that regenerate over time.
The Mateba is the only weapon available in the vertical slice of Grim. It packs a great punch by adding the alternate fire mode that acts a a shotgun. firing multiple pellets with small splash damage and medium spread. Instead of regular ammunition we use “Heat”, a dissipating effect that provides infinite ammunition and requires some management from the player to be used most effective.
Credits & Upgrades
Whenever you do something beneficial to your team (such as killing an opponent or completing an objective) you are rewarded with Credits. Credits are used to buy upgrades, these upgrades can improve your statistics (such as Health), unlock new abilities or items. Abilities and items can be just as beneficial to your team, choosing upgrades that best suit you and your team’s play style will greatly improve the effectiveness of your entire team.
During the game players can choose from 3 types of clouds that are spawned through as a projectile and create a small area of effect at the first impact location. For the vertical slice we have a Healing, Cooling and Reveal cloud. All cloud types affect ANY player regardless of team – so they are best used with caution. Healing will regenerate any player within reach, Cooling adds additional dissipation to the weapon and finally the Reveal cloud will mark the player, making him visible through walls for a small period of time.
The Cluster Mine is a proximity mine with with a two-stage projectile. First stage shoots a single projectile a few meters into the air before exploding into an array of projectils firing down in an area around the mine itself. The cluster projectiles create a large area of effect while the small delay allows a player to react to the detonation and leap out before being hit by the cluster damaging effect.
The player is capable of carrying up to 2(?) grenades that spray the area with clustered explosions with a short delay after being thrown. The grenade leaves a visible trail revealing the origin of the throwing player.
Level Overview: Climb (Breach)
Climb is the primay level of Grim and was designed for the Breach game mode. Players fight their way upwards through three doors that each must be breached using a lever at each of the elevation levels. While fighting their way to the extraction point they can disable the forcefields to create shortcuts.
Climb features Forcefields that block the attacking players from reaching higher ground. During the progression of the game attackers are able to disable generators that power these forcefields. This provides shortcuts for attacking players. Defenders can always pass through these fields at will. In Climb there are 3 layers of forcefields with 3 matched generators.
Level Overview: Outpost (Team Deathmatch)
Outpost was created as an art focused level and designed for (Team) Deathmatch. This allowed the art team to immediately start working and experimenting with the style for the game while certain game design decisions (and game types) were not yet decided on.
During the development of Grim I built several tools (Launcher & Gameplay Metrics) The launcher was used for one-click hub for multiplayer playtesting, Subversion access, and other generally useful shortcuts.
The gameplay metrics tool was used to figure out how players were using our abilities and how they used Leap (and for example discover if they often failed to jump to specific locations on the map)