Tuesday, February 19, 2019

UE4 Winter Jam 2019: Coup d'Amour

After having to miss the fall UE4 jam last year, we were determined to make something happen in the winter jam. School schedules still managed to get in the way, but in the end we found time for a fun little project.

I tend to wear a lot of hats for game jams; I primarily did gameplay programming, but also some UI stuff, sound, particles, and general tech art stuff. With school getting in the way I really only got to spend 3ish days out of the 5.

Andrew did sound and music, as usual, which turned out really well. He really only had the weekend (two days), and then had to take off back home. We had an emergency in the last 24 hours with music, and he had to compose something really fast using GarageBand on a  2011 iMac, which was quite impressive.

Barak did his usual amount of art, which is to say, "all of it". He also only had 2 or 3 days, because on top of school, he had to go attend a wedding in the middle of it all.

We also got Will in for this one. He did a lot of UI design and programming, and also did some great work with the trailer and submission. The trailer is mostly limited by my ability to supply him footage near the deadline. Like the rest of us, he only had around 3 days to pitch in.

The theme this time around was `All's Fair in Love and War`, and we decided to submit something in the `Friends and Foes` category (a shared-screen multiplayer game). Will came up with the game's name; It's a play on coup de' grĂ¢ce, which is "killing blow" or "blow of mercy" in French. Coup d'Amour is "blow of love", which is fun considering the jam's theme (He also checked it with a native French speaker to make sure the wordplay is valid, so hopefully we aren't making fools of ourselves there).

So there you have it. Coup d'Amour is a local multiplayer game for four players:

controls for the game
screenshot of the game

It's a twin-stick shooter, and you all play on the same screen. The rules are pretty simple:

  • You play in teams of two, as king and queen. You're attached to each other with a rope (it's a metaphor for your love, or something).
  • To win, use your crossbow to sever the other team's rope.
  • There are two colors of crossbow bolts; You shoot one, your teammate shoots the other.
  • You have a shield, but it only blocks one color. Use it to protect your partner, and hopefully they'll protect you too.
  • Your shield will break if it takes too much damage. That wouldn't be good.
  • Blocking damage makes your teammate's shots more powerful. If you charge them up enough, they could break right through an enemy shield.
  • You can shield bash the enemy if they get too close. This costs some shield durability, but will stun your enemy.
  • Grab powerups to give you a shield-ignoring fireball, or regenerate your own shield's durability.

These rules make for a pretty fun kind of rock/paper/scissors style gameplay. You want to block shots to charge up your partner, but not so many shots that you lose your own shield. To win, you can out-play, out-smart, or just out-shoot the enemy team. Since you're attached to your partner though, you'll have to coordinate where and when you move or attack. Play too timidly, and you'll find yourself with a broken shield. Too aggressively, and the enemy will do too much damage for you to block.

Here's a quick video to give you a sense of the gameplay, and I apologize that it has no sound (we were in a rush near the deadline, as you might imagine):

We had a ton of fun working on the project - the logic is pretty complex, with a lot of moving parts, and all of the art save for some sounds was done by hand (although the far-off camera angle doesn't really do it justice, sorry Barak).

If you'd like to download and play it, and you have four gamepads and a Windows computer, you can check it out on my Itch.io page here. Unfortunately it does require four gamepads for you to get past the lobby screen, a fact which I fear may have made it difficult to judge for the jam.