Inspiration Behind The Project
In late 2017, my portfolio consisted of small independent and team-based projects and saw an opportunity to work on larger projects in order to learn how to develop more robust game architectures and gameplay mechanics which would be sustainable in longer core loops. The VR wave shooter stood out as a genre that desperately called out for disruption, and in early January of 2018 production of Neon Bullet started.
While understanding the current competition in the market, I noticed the VR shooters of the time were becoming increasingly futuristic, and subsequently realized an opportunity to stand out with a more retro, 80s sci-fi setting. I also saw an opportunity to create focused core loops with a hard end to the game and implemented the idea of a hard stop to the experience after 10 rounds of play.
Development Process & Takeaways
Development for Neon Bullet has totaled ~2.5 months and began in early January 2018. While the project saw success from being nominated as Best Indie Game at the MassDigi Awards, unfortunately, development stopped in order to spend time looking for more professional career positions in the VR industry. Nevertheless, this development time taught me a lot about how to make a game.
Development heavily focused on understanding how to create and support a core loop that players will engage in through the experience. The loop was defined as 1. destroy enemies, 2. earn bullets from these destroyed enemies, and 3. purchase upgrades with these bullets. This cycle keeps players on their feet and allows them the strategic freedom to balance their resources with their ability to survive each round of play. Understanding how to tweak this core loop through user testing and cutting features that do not support this game loop where invaluable takeaways that advanced my ability to design better experiences.