A Game Developer's Diary

My experiments as a game developer
Orlando, Florida

The Draft

VR Combat Meets Real Time Strategy


Introduction

The Draft is a virtual reality, strategy sports, game where the units are also the ball. The idea behind The Draft is giving the player complete control of all aspects of the game. A traditional RTS game lets the player control the strategy and micro manage units but the actual combat itself is not under player’s control and they are a battle of stats and rules. In a full combat game, the player doesn’t have the control of unit movements like that of an RTS. The Draft is a unique blend of real time strategy, turn based action and first person combat.

Gameplay

The gameplay treats the combat more like a team sports comparable to soccer or football rather than bloody combat. Players control a team of 3 units to fight against an AI opponent team. Each team has a goal zone which the other team’s unit should make contact with resulting in a goal and a round reset. If units of opposite teams come within an attack distance, they enter combat and the VR player gets teleported into the shoes of the player’s unit under combat to fight the battle. Once a unit is defeated, the winner gets a chance to strike the defeated unit and launch him to a certain distance. There are zones in the map which act as penalty zones and if the winner strikes the defeated unit into a penalty zone, the panaltied unit goes out of the match for some time.

The map also features varying topography and spots of interests which activates various effects on the map to influencing map control including temporarily transforming to an archer giving control over a wider area.

Technology and my contribution

The game is built in Unreal Engine 4.15, using both C++ and blueprints extensively. The team has 16 memebers consisting of 5 programmers, 5 artists, 6 producers and the project is actively under development closing its beta milestone on July 1st 2017. The total time span of the project is 8 months. I worked as the lead programmer in the team, laying down foundations of gameplay systems like global event manager, flow control from start of the game, transitioning between strategic mode and combat mode etc. I have also implemented player unit control module using C++, which lets player’s specify single or multiple locations in the map which the active unit will navigate to. Beign the lead programmer, I have also helped design the animation state machine and AI behavior tree interactions to minimize coupling between the systems. My main focus for the final leg of the project is lot of playtesting and helping the team fix bugs as and when necessary. I have also been working with producers and artists, especially the other leads, to come up with granular tasks based on priority and help delegate them to the programmers.