Shepherd is an online multiplayer party game developed using Unity engine and Photon Unity Network. This game allows up to 4 players to play together. Each player will play as a shepherd, and a rope will link those two in the same team. The goal is to use the rope to pull more sheep to the sheep pen and surpass the other team.
I worked as a programmer and designer in this game, taking part in designing the core gameplay mechanic and level and realizing several functions in the engine, including some of the network parts.
More about the game
Something I wanna talk about the game:
First is the rope. We encountered lots of technical problems when trying to synchronize the ropes between different clients because of its soft physic character and the stimulation when players moving and pulling the ropes. The solution we figured out is that we used a Server-Client mode, which means all the physic stuff like collision, rope elasticity and character movements only process in the server and other players with the client is only sending commends to the server by inputs from the keyboards. Then the server synchronizes all the transform information with all clients to make every player looking at the same scene.
The second is about Level design.
We think just let players herd in an empty map is obviously not enough. That’s why we add some traps and obstacles in the map. Pushing your opponents into a trap or Twining the rope with the tree, we think these elements will make our game more fun.
Philosophy and the First Version
In the first version, we already set up our philosophy of level design:
● Leave the top part empty and it will be the sheep generate zone.
● Use the obstacle to let the most part of the activity areas of the two teams are overlapped. That ensures the frequency of encounters. Because we don’t want players to play separately, we want them to fight and it will be super fun.
● Provide limited routes to players. Two teams will share the longest route which is without any trap on it. And there will be a trap on any other shortcut. It provides strategy choices to players. They can choose the dangerous route with the trap but are far from opponents. Or they can choose the safe route but they have to fight with opponents.
And this is our first version of level design:
We found there were 3 problems in the first version:
● The map is not symmetric so it may be unfair for one team.
● The areas between sheepfolds and the walls seem useless.
● The third point of philosophy, route strategy choice, is not obvious to players.
So we came up with two plans. Final Version
We didn’t like the sheepfold has two doors so we give up the top one.
And we found in the bottom one, why not enlarge the sheepfold to let the sheepfold’s fence
replace the wall.
So, at last, we came up with the last version.