Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Ten Hours in -- Walking Dead Onslaught

I have arrived, folks! I got my 10 hours of play in Walking Dead Onslaught just like I predicted I would, and I feel pretty great about that. Even better, this game got me to start watching the Walking Dead series, of which I'm now solidly into Season 3. And now I really know who the heck Daryl Dixon is. Now I'm pretty happy to get scavenging missions from Michonne and also know how cool it is that I can wield her Katana. Now when I select Rick Grimes as my player avatar, I know who that is and not just "the male option." I get it.

Now if I just had two chained up, jawless and limbless zombies walking behind me

So there you go, can a game from a network series get you to watch the series? Yes. I'm that guy. Ok, so let's talk a bit more about this VR game, and why I think it's pretty great. 

First off, the weapon armory is pretty remarkable. They give you 18 weapons and a bucket full of makeshift stuff to slay zombies with.

Choose yer poison!

Each of these weapons has 4 upgrade options that make them all play a bit differently. At first you're thinking, really . . . a meat cleaver vs. a machete? how different can they really be? At first you'd be absolutely correct in that thinking. Insert blade into zombie skull, done. In reality the cleaver is more of a vampiric, health leeching weapon and the machete is more of a armor piercing and stun weapon. You just have to upgrade them to be that way.

A necromancer's favorite weapon

Personally, I think the best melee weapon in the game is your basic hammer. It literally knocks the heads right off of zombies without much effort, and each time you do it (and once you've upgraded the hammer) it also finds wood resources off of zombies when you kill them.

The easiest way to find ALL the weapons in the game is to simply get to chapter 7 and make sure you search all the upstairs areas. In one there is a weapons cache that has every weapon possible in the game. Once you equip a weapon and complete a mission (whether that's story or otherwise) you'll unlock that weapon in your weapons rack. Having 18+ weapons in a game like this almost seems excessive, but I'll take it. Messing around with various weapons is part of the fun.

There's also achievements (which I'm still hunting for) for using all the weapons and for upgrading all the weapons. 

Second, the embodied actions of the game were seamless and interesting. Pushing doors open felt great. Grabbing handles and pulling sliding doors open made sense. Slotting, pulling, and tugging . . . it was all there and at a couple points I even thought to myself, wow . . . this seems like a lot of work for a puzzle that's only used once in the game, but it made the game so much more fun that it was there.

A pull cord to start a generator! Awesome!

Third, it was really good game sense to have Daryl's story missions unlock based on the number of survivors you had discovered and brought into your town. You never actually eat food in the game, but you find a ton of it . . . and that's ok because food is actually what draws survivors to your camp. Not only do you need survivors to unlock missions, but you also need them to operate your town's buildings. It's just nice to see interesting game design choices like that. I was happy with it.

Alexandria has her fully upgraded windmill. Life is good!

It does feel like they left a lot of space for a DLC, and because of that, it feels like the game is missing a few things. Namely, you need a boss fight with the leader of the Gold 99 faction you're learning about in Daryl's missions. While the final chapter of the game does have some epic zombie herd killing action, you're left at a cliffhanger in the game, and that feels disappointing. A DLC would have answered that call.

The Gold 99's calling card . . . I want to fight their leader!

It also would have been nice to have one more synergistic game loop that involved all the buildings you have constructed in town. Special missions unlocked by the buildings would be a perfect addition to a DLC. Unfortunately since the game was released in 2020 and it's now 2023 . . . I don't think it's going to happen.

I still have 15 achievements left to earn. Most of those are to play through the story mode on Veteran as well as the two weapon achievements I listed earlier. A couple of them are very confusing and will require a bit more research to see how to complete them. I'm shooting to get them all though! 

I'm glad a random post in Blaugust got me to play this game and give it a shot. After earning my achievements, I'll probably hit the Saints and Sinners games next. (Come to find out, I already had them in my game library and didn't realize it)

Happy Dueling!

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Game Portfolio -- Battle Bows

Battle Bows

  • Release Date: July 2023
  • Current Availability: Oculus and Steam (Playstation in work)
  • Release Credit Category: Design Credit
  • Company: WIMO Games
  • Business Model: Paid Game
  • Category: VR 
  • Genre: Wave Shooter Defense
Personal Development Notes
  • Fun Fact: WIMO gifted all employees a fun plushy based on the Speedster character in Battle Bows. They handed us these really cool gifts as a part of a company-wide fun day at a nerf gun arena. Good times all around!

  • Job Highlights: I transitioned out of working on outsourced mobile games to strictly working on VR games in March 2022, and then full production hit in late 2022. Things went much faster with an entire dedicated team and some funding behind it. 

    Besides working on Pitch Deck Creation and presenting the pitch to both internal and external audiences, I was also responsible for GDD creation, level design, enemy design, game balance, and more including daily playtesting and feedback.

    I had a lot of fun being this game's internal cheerleader at our company All Hands Meetings where I was able to update the WIMO team on monthly status during development. 

    For more on Battle Bows level design, see here: Level Design

  • Best Memory: I had the honor to be part of the initial team that led the charge to experiment with WIMO's first VR game, and yeah, I absolutely look back to those days with fondness. There's nothing quite like shooting a white polygon noodle out of a controller like it's an arrow. 

  • Other Comments: The game turned out great and has been polished and optimized with a lot of care. The game also considers those that may get sick in VR with some built in accessibility features -- you won't have to move around much, further minimizing VR sickness. With its accessibility, multiplayer, and fun style, we're hoping it makes a great party game that the whole family can enjoy. Our first major update to the game is coming soon!

Sample Gameplay

As a part of the launch I was asked to make a developer video showing players some tips and tricks on how to do well in the game.