- Pitched an endless runner wild west investing game from scratch and worked with a team of talented designers to flesh out a pitch per client request to create a game that teaches high schoolers about investing.
- Created and iterated on the main endless runner gameplay including coding the many unique obstacles such as pits, bandits, trains, birds, and swapping tile pieces of level design. Also created and balanced over 100 unique interchangeable handmade ground tiles that swap in and out.
- Led and organized a team of 10 talented developers through general weekly meetings, keeping an organized Trello board, discipline meetings, etc. in order to create a complete and cohesive product.
Investment Runner is a game that aims to make learning about the stock market and smart investment strategies fun! The game has the player running from town to town as a wild west stock broker that takes on the requests of client's investment needs. Then in order to move time forward and have your client's investments fluctuate, the player must endure an endless runner full of obstacles and bandits all trying to rob you of your own earnings. Succeed with your client's investments and increase your own net worth!
The aspect of this game I primarily put work into is the endless runner gameplay seen in the video above with the investing gameplay mostly handled by other team members. This area of the game is supposed to simulate the time between investment purchases and sales with a day counter and constantly shifting stock values seen on the top. The runner evolved several times throughout development up until what is seen now. It started out as the main character simply dodging randomly spawning obstacles but due to obvious reasons, many unfair situations would arise so we decided it would be best to swap in and out modular sets of hand-made level design to ensure a fulfilling and fair playing experience. We wanted the runner to take advantage of four different core abilities the player can perform being jumping, dodging, sliding, and attacking so the obstacles were all included to keep those four abilities in mind allowing for variety throughout the type of obstacles seen. It was also important that the way to avoid each obstacle should be very obvious to the player's so we developed metrics for the height of what can be jumped over or ducked under as well as a minimum distance between obstacles in order to allow the player's ample time to dodge. This gameplay in general was inspired by games such as Sonic Dash and Crash on the Run, specifically with how those games handled obstacle placement, movement abilities, and being able to "exit" the runner into a town.
Modular Tiles with Static Obstacles
Investment Runner's main gameplay is a Sonic Dash/Temple Run inspired 3-lane endless runner game that is built out of set of modular pieces of level design that spawn in a random order. There are roughly 100 pieces of unique level design built out that all follow a set of rules to ensure the game is fair and balanced. With these rules put in place, it became easy to start generating a bunch of different unique tiles using the art assets provided. I also developed several different types of static obstacles including the more standard rocks and cacti that will disappear upon the player running into them but also more grounded obstacles such as mud and water which drain player coins over time while the player is on them.
Creating tiles with only static obstacles would quickly become boring and repetitive, so many different moving obstacles were also created to break up the monotony and keep the player on their toes while running. These were all created using invisible level triggers and C# scripting. Some obstacles such as birds and trains will only appear on specific tiles while other obstacles such as tumble weeds will be set off randomly. I was also in charge of setting up the player's animations to play when the player did certain actions using the Unity Animator.
Production and Creating the Pitch
A big part of this game's production was the pitching period. A couple other designers and myself developed more than a couple different pitches for a "game that makes learning about investing fun". The pitching process happened over a period of 3 weeks where I was performing research on the stock market in general, researching popular mobile games, and looking into any games that already taught about investing. All of this research has been compiled into a 20+ page google document. From there several different pitches were created until we eventually landed on a Wild West Endless Runner game. My main goal for the pitch was to make a game that was fun first and foremost to keep them playing but will also teach the ins and outs of investing through gameplay rather than just having the game "tell" you about investing.
After the successful pitch, we began working on the game proper and I took on a producer-type role, working with everyone else on the team to keep them organized, on track, and to provide direction when needed. This included conducting weekly team meetings where everyone would provide updates on their progress and could ask any questions if needed as well as weekly discipline meetings where I would meet with the other designers, the programming team, and the art team to give direction, delegate tasks, and answer any questions about design decisions and direction if needed or would discuss anything that needed discussion related to the game. A Trello board was also created very early on in the project to further keep the project organized and to help keep me and the team informed of what everyone else would be working on at any time.
Try out the game on IOS, Android, and Itch when it releases soon!