The Cure is an isometric twin-stick shooter set in a cartoon city plagued by an airborne zombie virus. An infected scientist dashes across the city looking for parts to a cure, picking up various scraps and MacGyvering them into weapons and defensive gear. The scientist’s health is a timer that ticks down when exposed to the infected air or by taken hits from zombies.
The Cure is a PC game developed by a team of 18 over a 16 week period in Unity. It can be downloaded here for free on Itch.io. An Xbox controller is recommended for play.
What I Did:
- Designed a modular gun-crafting system for different playstyles and increasingly difficult levels
- Designed enemy behavior, stats, and encounters
- Scripted enemy behavior and encounter spawning in C#
- Wrote art and design documentation that was referenced by all teams throughout development
Tasks in Detail:
The Gun Crafting System
My first goal was to design a modular gun crafting system that would provide a variety of solutions to different kinds of enemy waves. Each gun would be made up of 3 parts (a barrel, receiver, and stock) that could be mixed and matched at a workbench. Each part had 3 gameplay variables that when combined together made up the complete stat array for a weapon. Newer gun parts unlocked in later levels would have increased stats and more consistent firing rates to account for more difficult encounters. I designed the gun parts, their stats, when they would be introduced in-game, and how new parts would scale with the changing encounter types.
Throughout development, I designed combat gameplay alongside production sprints of playtesting and iteration. I designed the zombie types, their combat behavior, powerups, bosses, and encounter/spawn rates with the mindset of keeping the feeling of intense but lighthearted action. The zombie types were designed to have memorable behavior and appearances so players could make mental paths around mobs of varying threats. As levels progressed, I designed more aggressive behavior trees and ‘squad compositions’ of zombies that required more tactical approaches to wave management. The placement of powerups and new gun parts scattered through the city were inspired by milestone achievements in combat (fighting a boss or exceptionally tough enemy wave) and rewarding exploration (checking behind specific environment props or dead-end streets).
The Cure was my first serious game project, as well as my first time in a creative lead position. I ran multiple types of weekly meetings and always had to be prepared to understand new kinds of issues and collaborate with team leads on the best solution. While I was familiar with audio and art production, learning how to understand complicated technical and people-related challenges was uncharted territory that I learned a great deal from. Multiple project file losses, technical challenges with the modular gun crafting, and the forced influx of 8 new team members midway through development were major hurdles that I was in charge of resolving.