Moove-It! is a quirky platformer where you play as the cow Moo trying to escape from an alien spacecraft intent on abducting you from your pleasant farm. Outrun the spaceship, naviagte the treacherous terrain of the strange alien affected farm and earn your freedom!
Moove-It is a short and sweet game I made together with a small team of about 7 people in 2 weeks of work. During this time, apart from collaborating on the initial design, I was responsible for prototyping, aided in the creation of the core mechanics and oversaw the majority of the internal testing, ensuring the gameplay was where we wanted it to be.
The game revolves around moving forward as quickly as possible, avoiding obstacles and collecting as many cowbells as you can. My primary focus during playtesting was to ensure that these three things worked as intended.
For example, the spaceship that constantly follows you did at one point move at a set speed, this however was very punishing for slower players and removed all tension from those who were able to get ahead quickly. In addition, it was very difficult to ensure that the spaceship’s speed was adequate throughout the entire level.
To combat this issue, I oversaw the implementation of a dynamic spaceship speed. Essentially, the spaceship will move either faster or slower relative to the players speed. So a player that moves quickly through the level will find that the spaceship keeps pace, as the spaceship is designed to always be at the edge of your screen. A slower player will instead find the spaceship slowly encroaching from the edge of the screen, but they now have more time to navigate the level instead of being overrun immediately.
Other things I paid special attention to was the placement of checkpoints, working together with the level designer to create natural and intuitive segments of the level and placing checkpoints accordingly. Throughout numerous testing, I also found the spots were people were most likely to get stuck and lose the game. We made sure to add checkpoints close to these places so the player could focus on overcoming that particular obstacle without worrying about losing too much progress.
Additionally, I worked alongside the level designer to place the glowing golden cowbells throughout the level to guide the player on where to go. As our game does not allow the player to dally too much (if they do, they get abducted by the spaceship!) we hade to make sure the player always knew where to go, and where to jump. I found that maneuvers that we found intuitive wasn’t as obvious to other players of our game.
One such example is during the beginning of the game where the player has to ascend a barn by temporarily jumping backwards towards the spaceship. This forced verticality is an intended part of the design, but most people did not realize they had to jump backwards, instead banging their head against the wall infront of them (literally). The changes I discussed earlier, the spaceship movement, the checkpoints and the cowbells finally allowed even novice players to overcome this obstacle quickly.
Finally, as the player gets some additional powerups during the later stages of the level, our primary goal was to make sure those stages of the level felt different enough to warrant to upgrade. This was not an overly difficult task. However, the final powerup, the dash, suddenly made all our usual obstacles trivial. We decided instead to embrace this and make the final segment make the player feel empowered, dashing through walls, breaking things spectacularly and finally being able to defeat the spaceship itself! This turned out to be one of the most beloved parts of the game, although quite silly!
For being such a short project, I still feel we accomplished and learned much together. This project marked one of my first forays into serious game design, and I believe this experience is still relevant today.