Cold West

A single player, town builder game, that is meant to be learned and played under 10 minutes. You are the new governor in the midst of the Wild West frontier, in the North of North America, settling before the winter. Stock up on food and develop your settlement before winter strikes, hopefully you will have enough food to survive!

Game Info


Roles: General Design & Scrum Master                                       Time: 7 weeks

Genre: Single Player, Strategy, Town-Builder                              Engine: Unity                                   Team Size: 7 people (3 Designers)                                                Version Control: Perforce                 

My Contributions



Game Design


Core Design

Resource System

Worker/Population System

Game Concept

Balancing

Building Design


Sound design


Ambiences

Sound Effects

Sound Implementation



Scrum Master


Leading Meetings

Presentations

Task Organization

Scrum



Design Pillars

Build/Create

The game in its core is about creating a settlement and building buildings. The players' win or loss hang on the fact of how they build their town.

Managment

Managing your resources and order of which you build certain structures is important and will decide on whatever the player will have an easy game or an end game they will not survive.

Survival

In the end, the player has to hyperfocus on food, otherwise they won't survive. Different cues like timers and visuals will help remind the player of the incoming winter.

Core Loop

Find Placement

Gain Resources

Build

Spend Resources

Main Contributions

Resources & Population

There are 3 resources that are used for building(wood, planks & iron), 2 resources that limit your population and expansion(food & happiness) and finally the population itself.


Resources For Building

Wood, planks and iron follow the typical “tier 1, tier 2 and tier 3” resource logic. They are used for building and later in the game to exchange for food. They were designed to be easy to understand and quick to learn on how to use them in the limited play time.


Food

Food is the main resource that decides if the player wins or loses. If it reaches 0 the town starves but if the player keeps it above that number and the time runs out the player wins.

Happiness

To limit the player so that they don't expand too quickly, the happiness is introduced. It punishes the player if they expand too quickly to simulate lack of order, happiness or luxury in a settlement.

Max Population

Max population represents the max amount of workers the settlement can house, the pool can be increased by building houses.

Population and Workers

Every built house allows 3 more people to be used as workers in buildings. Whenever there is an available population the next build structure will take one population/worker to produce goods, happiness or food.

Lacking Resources

If the population reached its max value or you are missing any other resource, the required resource will flash as well as give you a sound cue, communicating what you are missing.

Resource Dependencies

The reason for resource dependency is to make certain resources feel like they are more advanced, so that their higher tier and cost is justified to the player. A sawmill will for example take some of the wood from a Logger to produce planks forcing the player to plan ahead their economy and balance their resource production.

Balancing

Throughout the project production I would lead playtests and balance the game values and mechanics. Most of the focus was on the general resource balancing like costs, production values and production time.


Balance Problems

The struggles at the end of the project was that the game was too easy. While trying different balancing options, like increasing the amount of Happiness resources being spent when the population grows, a lot of times the game would just become way too hard for fresh players.

Balance Solutions

Trying to find the sweet spot, I found the solution to our problem, during winter the players food production was normally halved. Instead of halving it, the food production hits 0 when winter arrives, simulating not being able to grow crops during the cold season. Seemingly simple solution, it helped with bringing a better balance to the Gold Master.

Sound Effects

To increase immersion I spent a great deal of effort designing and mixing different sounds for every building in the game. When implementing those sounds to the building prefabs I would make the sound effect into a 3D sound. Then balancing the sounds starting range and the volume values. These sound effects, while moving the camera through your settlement, added a great deal of immersion and joy of play.