Sacred Gems is a relaxing yet engaging bullet-hell like game for mobile. Its focused on strategy and maneuverability set in a mystical astro-universe.
Imagine that you are a small concentration of energy trapped in a crystal guarded by evil energy. You break out of this crystal and manage to escape. You channel this energy into cell which you can move around. Using this new cell, you defend yourself against other enemies. And when you eliminate enemy cells, you free up their energy to channel even more cells. This will continue until you can afford new and more advanced cells that allow you to win the battle against the Source.
Inspired by the Tower Defense genre, the game allows you to build compositions of turrets that will prevent hordes of enemies. Furthermore, the game will have a more of an open world to explore - with platformer elements from classics such as Metroid and Solar Jetman.
Variation and structure
The game will be able to scale with almost infinite variations of player builds, and parts of the maps and enemy spawn points will be generated procedurally to allow for variation and replayability. The game will be free of text and speech, but have an intuitive language based on symbols and characters playfully inspired by mysticism and theories of sacred geometry.
Sprite Shape Tool
Sacred Gems is still in an early stage of development. I am working on the tools necessary to build the game. As for designing levels I have tried different approaches like procedurally generated 3d-meshes. But what it comes down to is that designing levels by hand turns out best for the player's experience. Therefore I was pretty amazed by Unity’s new Sprite Shape Tool. A tool that gives me instantly access to fine tuning and adjust splines which automatically covers them with sprites that I have full control over. This was just the thing I needed to create organic and dynamic fun maps and I can’t wait for the fully featured Sprite Shape Tool to come out of preview.
ECS and 2D Physics
The game will rely on a lot of enemies chasing the player like liquid using 2D Physics. The enemy cells acts like a flock as they alert their neighbours when they spot the player. This is a simple AI which creates a sort of master/slave relationship with the cells that does not have line of sight to the player. Using Raycasts and 2D Physics can become performant heavy when dealing with thousands of enemies on a map at the same time. In this case the new Entity Component System along with the Job System will make sure performance runs well on mobile.
The way forward
There are just so many great new features coming to Unity soon and many of them already feels like this game wouldn't be possible without them. As soon as I have built the right foundation and found the right tools I will start involving more artists and developers to make this game happen.
Design and code by Egil Paulsen
Supported by Viken Filmsenter