Initially developed during a game jam, Time Police is a first-person detective game where you are tasked with finding criminals disrupting the natural flow of time. Armed with just a time watch and a good eye, the player gathers intel on their target using a variety of resources to ultimately make their arrest. In this world, nowhere and nowhen are safe as the player must travel to different countries and time periods in order to hunt down their target.
The Game Core
Time-Based Deduction: Time is both an ally and enemy in your quest to distinguish your target in the crowd
Pillar 1: Time-Based Events
Time is a limiting factor that creates pressure to find your target, though the passage of time also gives way to opportunities to acquire more information and rule out more suspects.
Pillar 2: Information Gathering
The Time Watch allows the player to gather secret drops made by an informant and mark potential targets who might match the criteria.
Pillar 3: Randomization
Randomization ensures that the game is not only repayable but engaging each time it is played. The target is completely randomized within a sea of potential civilians, even within the same level.
Being a project developed by myself and one other developer, my largest roles on the project has been that of game designer and unreal developer. I had a hand in every technical feature of the game, from the AI to the Timewatch. All of it was driven by my passion for design, trying to find the right balance of distributing info to the player to keep them motivated and engaged in the hunt. The part of my role on Time police that I found most interesting was that of trying to manage anxiety in the player through design and visual choices
The Time Watch is the main tool in the player’s arsenal to capture their target. Along with this, though, the watch is also the main tool in my arsenal for driving anxiety and motivation in the player. The constant awareness of the time, incomplete data on the target, and inconsistent updates on the target all work together to drive two feelings in the player. Firstly that time was running out, and a decision needed to be made, and secondly, doubt in that decision being made. Doubt stems from having collected all of the info drops or not getting a recent update. Taking their time and tagging enemies certainly work to ease this doubt, but that's why having time as a limited resource is so crucial to the anticipation that builds when the player selects their target.