Measure up against your friends!
Find out who can master the downbeat in this upbeat twin-stick action game!
Beat 'Em is all about moving to the groove and competing for the most points!
Role: Lead Programmer/Designer/Composer
Development Time: Ongoing since April 2018
Development Team: 2 (Léo Melendez & Shawn Urban)
Platform: PC, compatible with console controllers
Made with Unity
Originally created as a final project for a Game Development class, we decided to take Beat 'Em to the next level. It has been showcased at Boston FIG Indie Fest of 2018 as well as RPI's GameFest of 2018 & 2019. The game is still in development and has plans for being released on Steam.
Competitions & Showcases
- BostonFIG Fest 2018
- RPI's GameFest 2018 & 2019
- Beat 'Em represented Quinnipiac University at the Intel University Games and Showcase 2020, receiving an Honorable Mention
As lead programmer, I handled the majority of gameplay, and back-end programming. I created the mechanisms for the game manager, player special abilities, training mode, and controller support. I also handled any programming bugs that came along the way.
One of my biggest accomplishments in Beat 'Em is the functionality of Training Mode. Beat 'Em is a 2-4 player game, and there were some players who wanted the option to play by themselves. So my solution was to create a training mode similar to Super Smash Brothers. The player is able to spawn up to 3 bots (depending on how many actual players are in training mode), and can cycle between 3 different behaviors: Idle, Move, and Attack. You're also able to change the mode between Easy and Pro mid-match.
Originally Beat 'Em used the Unity integrated controller support system, but we later invested in a plugin called Rewired, which allowed for easier controller mapping, as well as access to controller features we weren't able to get to before. After learning the plugin I added in controller vibrations as well as light bar color changes/flashes to match each players' theme (PS4).
The initial design process of Beat 'Em initially was quite simple. We already had a sense of the type of game we wanted to make, so we got right to work on designing the actual gameplay of it. Since the team was just 2 people, the design process was always a joint effort and it was always an exciting time brainstorming ideas.
Originally, we wanted the players to only move on the beat to emphasize the concept of rhythm. After the first round of play testing, we found that some players felt that the game was too hard this way. So we decided to create two game modes: Easy and Pro. In easy mode, you can hold the stick down in any direction, and the game would take care of moving the player on each beat. Pro mode was for those who wanted the challenge of having to move the joystick on each beat.
We spent an enormous amount of time designing the main menu and ready up menus. There were so many options in the ready up menu and we didn't know how to have them there without making the menu feel cramped. Between choosing your map, song, game mode, and modifier, we kept going back to the drawing board. Eventually we designed this layout that can display what needs to be seen and allow for the players to move around and get used to the controls.
While my main contributions to the art of the game were ideas and design, there were a couple of things I did to add polish to the game. I created the intro cut-scene by creating a simple animation that would allow for a smooth transition into the main menu. I also added 2D lighting on the players which made them pop off of the screen and gave the game more depth.
I also added scanlines and a vignette around the screen to give the feel of an old CRTV to go along with the 80's theme.
When creating Beat 'Em we decided to go with a retro aesthetic and feel. I did my research in 80's synthwave and started composing the first couple of tracks in the game. Using Ableton Live and FL Studio, I created the different tracks for each song. My goal is to compose a full album of music to choose from, and to add more music in the form of DLC in the future!
Throughout the development of Beat 'Em we've gone through a couple different management programs. I was always trying to find the most efficient way to collaborate on our game. Through this, I gained experience in Unity Cloud, Dropbox, Git, and Source Tree.
Another program I used for project management is Trello. Through this we have been able to log our progress through a process similar to scrum. Here we put cards for all of the tasks and ideas we had and labeled them according to Programming, Art, Audio, Polish, Bugs, etc. We also assigned members to the cards so we knew who was completing what task for the week.
We then would put these cards in a task backlog and move them accordingly once they were in progress or completed.