Greetings from Warp Games team. In this article I would like to tell you about mini-games in Circulation.
Mini-games serve a simple purpose - to control game pace and bring players fun and different little gameplay experiences. They don't need to be super hard to beat or take too long. We use them with combination with environment puzzles. Together they make half of our core gameplay (other half is exploration). Also mini-games should make sense and fit into the gameplay naturally.
Mini-games, unlike puzzles need universal gameplay scheme. It goes like this - I design mini-game on paper, then I create rough prototype in flash. After I come up with gameplay mechanics and ideas I make few mini-game sets (or maps if you will). Basic gameplay is reused through these maps.
Common things about puzzles in Circulation are:
- They have little story component, although they need to be solved in order to progress in game and story
- Player always receives reward for beating mini-game. It may be cut-scene or some gameplay bonus.
- There is no penalty for failure, except progression delay.
- All mini-games have difficulty scaling - this means that you have to use your skills in more advanced way, remaining in same gameplay context.
Also when designing mini-games, we used learning curve concept and as we are on a budget we reused elements often.
Types of mini-games
In Circulation we have several types of puzzles. They are presented in different gameplay styles.
- Logical - in order to complete these mini-games the player has to think a little
- Arcade - these puzzles require quick response to mini-game events
- Action-oriented - player need to do some actions in particular order to complete mini-game
For our mini-games we use Flash integrated in Unreal via Scaleform. Scaleform solution doesn't supports all Flash features but it has all basic stuff you need. Flash workflow is very convenient because you can separate mini-game logic from your game. In Flash you setup all ActionScript code in classes or frames, you setup animations, bitmaps, effects. Then you can bring SWF file in engine and hook your mini-game events like Game Win or Game Exit in Kismet or in UnrealScript. All content goes with SWF into own separate mini-game folder (and separate package in engine).
Also you can use many ActionScript resources, code snippets or even libraries in your mini-games or UI.
Hope this article has shed some light on mini-games in Circulation. Next blog posts will be about puzzles and other gameplay stuff. You can subscribe to this blog if you want, see you soon!