Bound is cooperative shoot’em up developped in 2018 in collaboration with Paul Barbier (game design), Damien Crechet and Darenn Keller (programming), Timothée Degli-Innocenti and Lisa Vigliola (2d art), Anaïtis De France (UX design), Emanuelle Gousset (project manager) and Robin Cugniet (sound design). The project was developped in Unity.
I was in charge of game design, asset lists, main game design document, level design and level integration.
In Bound, the player can eliminate waves of enemy not by shooting but with the laser beam linking the two players.
The game is downloadable here.
The game is 2D top-view and the screen is fixed, it doesn’t scroll.
That for a good reason : regarding the laser beam mechanics : there would be an boring optimal strategy to stay where the enemies come from to eleminate them all.
The players move freely accross the screen, we thought initially to limit their space in relation to the other player but it has proved to be really frustrating for the players.
They collide with the screen limits but not with each other. With enemies, the collider is really permissive to avoid a rigid feeling to the game.
Link/laser beam behavior
The laser beam eliminates instantly every enemy (boss excepted).
It has a distance limit : if the players goes too far from each other, it breaks (see Game feel).
The players have to be close to each other for several seconds to recreate a laser between them.
Life and defeat
Life system is also based on whether or not the players are bound : if they are, being hurt by an enemy will break the link, if they aren’t they lose one of their common lives.
The players have colors : the blue one isn’t hurt by blue bullets and the green one by the green bullets to have interesting behavior for both players regarding enemy patterns.
Ennemies and patterns
There were differents types of enemies :
|Fixed||Moving on a pattern|
|Shooting straight||Shooting straight|
|Shooting at the player’s position|
|Shooting with bullet patterns|
|Exploding if hit||Exploding if hit|
The global idea was to make enemis easy to predict to emphasize on a challenge of position strategy rather than unfair unpredictable movement that would lead the players frustrated or angry at each other.
Some enemies shoot at the player to break monotony in the player’s behavior and ask them to dodge bullets as well as good positionning.
To see use of those enemies see Level Design.
An enemy is worth 1 pt. Killing several in less than a second between each multiplies the points by enemies (killing 3 enemies is 3*3) to encourage combos.
A multiplier is incremented every 3 seconds the link is on, to encourage the players keeping it.
The laser needed to feel like an elastic band : the more the player pulls it, the more it slows them down but when it « breaks », the get their speed back to normal instantly.
It allowed the players to know where it was close to breaking or not.
It was hard to make the laser « feel good » since a lot of game feel work is done on the sensation of « shooting« , not so much on « cutting » and due to a lack of time for animations, the enemies -just like the killing of enemies- don’t feel as lively as we wanted them to be.
The score could also be a lot more juicy and clear on what gives you multiplier, such as bouncing waves on the laser beam or sounds and animation to make combos more pleasurables.
You can see a commented walkthrough (english) here :
I also integrated the whole level design thanks to tools developped by the programmers.