Slinging Swords is a top-down 2D wave survival game. The player uses an arsenal of flying swords to fight off waves of enemies. And complete challenges to acquire more swords.
Academic Solo Project
Designed core player moveset and sword-controlling system
Implemented AI state machine system for enemy creation
Developed four different enemies and one boss to challenge player skills
The core principle behind Slinging Swords was a low-complexity game that makes the player feel powerful. I wanted players to feel strong by using their swords and not have to think too deeply about their placement.
I knew enemies would be an important part of the game. The player has a very unrestrained moveset and how I challenged that would be highly important.
Because the player moveset does not evolve and only gets numerically stronger, I focused on challenging player skills. This way challenge could still increased and maintain player flow even without changes to the moveset.
One of the core skills challenged is information management. There are lots of enemies and the player must continually track them. Staying aware of which enemies are where, and what they are doing.
Imps are the earliest and simplest enemy. They are low health and run at the player. Their role is to feed into the player's feelings of strength. There are lots of them and they are easy to kill with the player's attacks.
Guards are the first example of challenging the player's move set. They have a shield that stops the player's swords. This forces the player to maneuver their swords around the shields. They also use a charge attack to force the player to dodge.
Mages are a ranged enemy. They will maintain a certain distance from the player and charge up a projectile. The projectile takes a long time to charge and moves slowly towards the player. Mages run away if the player is close.
Mages are meant to challenge player awareness and dodging. Because the range projectile is somewhat slow, it can block off player avenues. This game is all about the player's ability to move and weave through enemies. And the mage's add a second layer to that by creating independent projectiles that block off paths. The player can either target them or move close enough to make them flee.
Sword Stealers are melee enemies with a special power. If the player throws a sword at them at the wrong time. They will steal the swords and send them back at the player.
Sword Stealers were built to challenge players who were too reckless with their swords. I saw in many playtests that players would hit the left mouse button without thinking. And while I think some amount of that is okay. I wanted to add some tension to make sure they could not do it all the time. The Sword Stealer directly counters that, players must instead bait the sword stealer into capturing nothing and then kill it.
The King is the final boss of the sword slinger. A one-on-one duel with an enemy with a much bigger sword. The King uses the attacks of the previous enemies with slight changes to fight the player.
The King takes all of the attacks from previous enemies and uses enhanced versions of them to challenge the player. This creates a fight that feels like a proper payoff while not being too confusing. Many of my playtesters reported their enjoyment of the final fight. And it ends with the player striking the gong with the boss's converted sword. An ending scene that created some very intense emotional responses from players. With many stating how much they want to use the sword.