Pachinko Slaughterhouse is a game designed entirely by the Among Elusions team, which I founded with like-minded developers. The goal was to create an arcade puzzler the satirizes the food industry and the consumption of livestock. Thematically we hoped to encourage people to draw there own opinions about a difficult topic.
Game System Designer
As the lead designer for Pachinko Slaughterhouse, I worked with the team to develop the core gameplay system and authored design documentation for the various systems. My work included the general game flow which was designed for mobile and meant to be played 2~3-minute bite-sized sessions. Game controls primarily consisted of tapping context sensitive objects in the scene and swiping to give your animal a boost in any direction.
Each animal was designed to have an ability that would add some random elements to the game. It was essential to balance a sense of randomization against the puzzle like quality of each level. Eggs break chicken's flutter, and pigs will eat anything they get near. The core gameplay involved taking advantage of these mechanics to earn the highest score possible.
Pachinko Slaughterhouse also had a healthy amount of power-ups and obstacles. Each one had to be intuitive to use but also encourage the player to explore its possibilities. We also wanted to create the system to be flexible and fit into almost any level to maximize the amount of levels we could prototype.
ARt & Audio
I collaborated with our environment artist, character artist & sound designer/composer to tackle the task of making a difficult topic approachable and light-hearted. We wanted to balance cute animals against cold machinery which represented big business. I authored design documentation for them to work off of and organized feedback sessions to make sure we worked efficiently and created a quality product that stayed on accurate to our theme.
I also developed and implemented our sound effect system and particle system. Both systems had to be versatile and lightweight, keeping a minimum memory footprint.
Pachinko Slaughterhouse shipped with 48 stages but over a hundred were created through development. I built prototypes to test concepts and ideas and conducted play test events in which I would observe the player's behavior to look for frustration and points of friction. This information was utilized to iterate on designs and narrow down our levels to only the best. Each level had to contribute towards our player's journey by enforcing our theme. To teach the players about essential game mechanics or just being plain fun.
To complete a stage, players must make a successful number of deliveries through the ever-changing machine. I designed the goals to require a basic understanding to complete the level. 100% completion, however, was a finely tuned challenge encouraging replayability and mastery of the mechanics.
One of my favorite designs is shown on the left. Served to foreshadow the pig's ability before the player can use it. Here the pig serves as an obstacle eating anything the player didn't correctly time before firing. Doubling as a gate for the player to make sure their sense of timing was improving before graduating into the harder levels. When the player can finally utilize the pig to their advantage, they already understand half the mechanics involved.