A Game a Week #1: Goblin Grotto

Click here to download

Last week marked the start of the second term of my Games Theory and Design course. This term poses us with a new challenge: create a game a week based on a theme. Whilst the previous term taught us how to develop a hypothetical game, this is our first time putting together a – hopefully – fully-functioning game. In the interest of tracking my progress and learning from each game I will make, I decided that every week I will share the game I have created with the internet.

So, without further ado, allow me to present the first game I’ve ever made: Goblin Grotto! Please forgive the unimaginative title, I’ve never been great at coming up with names.

You can download Goblin Grotto for yourselves by clicking here (PC users only). Please let me know your high score in the comment section at the end of this post!

Game Summary

The purpose of Goblin Grotto is to keep your 16 heart crystals safe by taking out the goblins that will steal them if given the chance. The player must kill as many goblins as possible but, with every kill, the goblins become craftier and more difficult to exterminate (i.e. they speed up). Once all the heart crystals have been stolen, it’s game over.

Design Process

Goblin Grotto was based on the theme ‘click and a number goes up’. At first this seemed like a very broad theme and I found it difficult to narrow down my ideas. Eventually, I began to construct an idea for a game inspired by the shooting duck game found at carnivals. I liked the idea of the player’s score increasing when successfully clicking a moving target. When considering the winning and losing conditions of the game, I decided that giving the player a ‘protector’ role in some way was the direction I wanted to go in. I felt that this protector element would set my game apart from the original shooting duck game. In terms of visuals, for no reason other than that mining and caves were on my mind after a discussion with a classmate about Stardew Valley, crystals became the objects of protection. Then, making thieving goblins the game’s antagonists became the obvious choice.

Lessons for the Future

Unfortunately, I have been ill for most of the week, which meant I was unable to receive feedback from my classmates. It also prevented me from adding some of the improvements I had initially wanted to, such as refining the artwork (yes, the sparkly yellow stuff is meant to be treasure) and creating various power-ups that aid the player (e.g. slowing down the goblins or restoring a crystal). However, if I were to design this game again, I would probably scrap the goblin/crystal narrative entirely. Not much thought had gone into this when I actually believe a game’s story is extremely important. I think the mechanics of Goblin Grotto would be more relevant and would work better as part of the zombie apocalypse/survival genre. I won’t go into too much detail about my thoughts here, as I plan on developing this undead take on Goblin Grotto at some point and I don’t want to ruin the surprise (I’m secretly hoping an appropriate weekly theme will come up). I will say, however, that I envision it being something like a cross between House of the Dead and Haunt the House: Terrortown (which is super adorable and you should all play it if you haven’t already).


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