NOLAIKA is a puzzle game of combinations of colors and pixel art style, where the player must use a platform to move color balls that are actually DNA samples from one point to another, making them bounce on it in a similar way than Arkanoid, to create weird creatures. The game was created using Unity 2020 for the Spain Game Developers Jam III, and even if initially it shows a simple game mechanic adds a management component to chose how to use each sample.

The player takes the role of someone who has to create creatures using the correct DNA mixes to inhabit planets with extreme weather conditions. To be able to do that, it’s needed to use a special machine designed for this, with en entrance for the samples, the bouncy platform to send them to the destination point which also includes a switch to chose in what gestation tank the sample will be destinated or if it will be returned to the circuit. The point of view is mainly the inside of the machine, all of this without forgetting about humour.

Design objectives

  • To create an entertaining and funny game accomplishing the requisites of the Game Jam:
    • The theme was ‘Union’.
    • All the game content must be created for the game or being under Creative Commons license (public or reference).
    • It had to be finished and published before within the Game Jam development phase period (1 week).
  • To demonstrate skills designing a puzzle game with simple mechanics but also being entertaining and fun.
  • To balance the different types of samples with their stats in a way they behave differently when bouncing (more weight, more elasticity…), and also adding corrupted samples that must be discarded or else they can put the sample at risk. In a same way, using all of this to balance the different stages.
  • Adding some humour when creating the creatures, whether if they are a success or a complete failure, or even at the Game Over.
  • To design and create all the assets for the game, including FX sound and music.

Link of the page of the game:

The game can be downloaded both for Windows and Mac.

Detailed information

NOLAIKA was developed for a Game Jam and a little team was created for that, with the main goal of accepting the challenge, to learn and get experience with the creation of an original puzzle game. In this case all the content of the game was created for the occasion and while I focused mainly at Game Design and programming, the game conceptualization and level design was created together with all members of the team, however I also focused at the difficulty balancing between the different stages.

The rest of this page is destinated to show the tasks I was involved with and some images of the game to bring more detail.

Map of the level
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Game & Level Design
  • Narrative elements: descrition of the planets and their features, animated sequence showing the travel to the planet, monster appearing during Game Over…
  • Management and balancing of the difficulty of the stages.
  • Design and balancing of the different physic properties of the balls.
  • Design of the machine: Entrance of DNA, exit funnel, switch of the gestation tank, waste pool…
  • Design and structure of the menus and UI:
    • Main Menu.
    • In-Game menus:
      • Machine introducting interface of each stage.
        • Information of the planet.
        • Requirements.
    • Pause menu.
    • Game Over menu.
  • Design of the balls (DNA samples) and their properties.
  • Obtaining the creatures, both for success and failures.
  • General design of the machine.
  • Definition of the game mechanics.
  • Distribution of the input keys and buttons.
  • Input Manager:
    • Keyboard and Gamepad mapping using Unity’s new Input system.
  • Game events.
  • Interaction with menus:
    • Main menu.
    • Pause menu.
    • Tutorial.
  • Management of the queue of samples.
  • Using the 2D physics engine to apply the different properties of the samples and the way they bounce at the platform:
    • Physic materials for the bouncing and adherence properties.
    • Bouncing at the platform, both automatic and manual at some sections of the platform to help the player with a smooth gameplay.
  • GUI (Interface of the machine, information panels, introduction of every stage, menus…).
  • Player controller (control of the platform, management of the switch of the gestation tank…):
  • Adding FX sound and music.
  • Testing and bugs correction.
Sample of gameplay
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  1. Information of the planet and the requierements for the creation of the creatures, which they can be one of two.
  2. Once the stage begins a queue of random balls based in probabilities of appearance for each color depending on the stage is generated.
  3. Every few seconds a ball comes in and it must be taken to the funnel at the other side. The time between balls changes depending on the stage.
  4. Once a ball is introduced at the destination, it will be added to the corresponding counter of the selected gestation tank or it will return to the queue if there is no selected tank.
  5. Once all the requirements are fullfilled a creature can be created and the result may vary depending on the following cases:
    • Wrong balls are introduced.
    • More balls than needed are introduced.
    • Corrupted samples are introduced (gray balls).
  6. Once almost all the generated balls have been served (without considering the ones that had been reintroduced) more balls are generated and added to the queue.
  7. If a ball falls to the pool the level of contamination raises. Once it reaches the limit a monster appears and breaks the machine. Game Over.
  8. To finish a stage all the correct creatures must be created.

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