The Tower 3D
The Tower 3D is a first-person action game where the player possesses special disks that can bounce off the environment as a weapon or teleport as a means of transportation. The game has players work their way up a massive structure known only as “The Tower.” It is a mysterious structure that looms over the city, guarded by mysterious cloaked figures; none who enter have ever returned.
The Game Core
Dynamic Traversal Combat: Combat centered around the player’s movement designed to keep them teleporting and fighting towards their goal.
Pillar 1: Fast-Paced Movement
Wall running, Ledge grabs, and teleportation all exist to help the player keep moving as fluidly through the environment as possible.
Pillar 2: Traversal is the weapon
Your two disks allow the player to teleport to them at any given time but are also the player’s main weapon making the single tool your weapon and movement.
Pillar 3: Interactable Environment
From explosive boxes and lamps to disks that can pull and push objects, the combat forces players to consider how they’ll use it to win.
Being a small team of 4 and one of two systems designers, I had a lot to juggle on this project, with my main focuses being character movement and enemy AI. AI largely often included designing what the enemies themselves would do. We had four enemy types in the game: normal, sniper, shield, and non-lethal, as well as a Boss fight at the end of the level that I also worked on. While focusing on this aspect of the project, I was also in charge of characters with attack speeds, wall running, and other design aspects.
The inspiration for the main character's design stemmed from a Cerny method prompt, where we were tasked to create a character that would be fun to play in an empty room. Our idea for this was a character that could throw disks to teleport to them. We felt that this blend between movement and combat would make the two feel more connected and more engaging. From there, it was all about moving the character as fluidly and freely as possible with things like ledge grabs, wall runs, and vaults. The goal was to have it so the player never felt stiff when navigating through the 3D environment.
Our boss fight, which started as a stretch goal, was a challenge in how to make a drawn-out fight in a game that, up to this point, had been solely focused on quick movements and one-hit kills. Our inspiration came in the form of the game Brick Breaker, where the boss would be made up of layers of protective armor that the player would break into by knocking exploding boxes into it. This allowed us to maintain a one-hit kill once you break the barriers but still require time and strategy to beat. The boss's attack centered on moving the player to continue emphasizing movement above all else and keeping the fight dynamic. The attack would spawn circles randomly around the player, which would be struck by lightning if they weren’t careful. This attack helped keep the player on their toes while chipping away at the boss's armor.
The number one goal when it came to the design of the enemies in the game beyond that of the basic enemy was to encourage the utilization of our unique movement system. As a result, the sniper will fire if you’re still for too long, the shielded enemy will try to face you, and the non-lethal fires large projectiles that will knock you away. All of these encourage the player to act or react in ways that they might feel clever for discovering, with their immense movement capabilities helping them achieve those goals.