Process of design for Coup Coons

Post Mortem and Process for the game ‘Coup Coons’. Designed by Connor Gilhuly, Maddi McDougall, Kyle Baartman and Matthew Murchison. 3D models from the ‘Double M Digital Low-Poly collection’ where used to build up the environment of the game.

This game is still in part-time development, this post covers the academic development of the project near the end of 2016.


A low-poly cartoon chicken shoots and falls over.
Our ‘heavy’ chicken shooting the game up.

Coup Coons is the final assignment in a series for game mechanics, we were given free reign to design and build whatever type of the game we wanted to. We chose to build a wave based, farm themed, top-down shooter, when Chickens and Raccoons could fight it out.

The design was so much fun for this game, we locked in several aspects from the getgo. These include it needing to be 3D, have chickens, and be cute/funny.

Initial designs used a two player system, where you co-operated to defend your farm. We had a gentleman spy chicken and a larger ‘heavy’ chicken. We eventually canceled these plans as we wanted to provide a comfortable keyboard control experience.

The next round of designs had keyboard controls for single player. We looked into having the player select between the two chickens. Giving an element of strategy/choice. We still may add this feature, but at this moment we only have art for one chicken.

Throughout the development a lot of other decisions were made, both planned and reactionary.

Oh, my… development.Early development went really well, the entire team seemed to balance their priorities leading up to the final crunch, but after that, things went a bit diagonally.

We cut our character selection earlier, which is for the best because we also ran out of time for our menus. Not all of our crunch time mishaps where bad. Our shooting mechanic became very buggy when we switched from a custom controller to the Unity Character Controler. Our fix involved pulling our impact particles/bullet destruction. Because of this, we got our unique spinning bullets which help define our gameplay.

We also had some pretty great features, our animations were all implemented, as well as the particle system and some of our sounds. They work together very well and were really easy last minute addition (especially the SFX)

A in-gmae raccoon is shpt by the player
A raccoon dies a bloody death.

In the future, we need to keep better track of time and consider it as a resource, as not all features have equal time allowance to implement. Because of some choices made in regards to time we had to trade out some features.

My Contributions
This project was a lot of fun for me, it might be the most excited I’ve been all semester. That might be why I dabbled in pretty much everything (except sound!) this time. Though I di program, I hardly did even 10% of that, so I will only list my ‘major’ contributions:
Level design – From day one I started sketching out layouts, I put many forwards and constantly iterate on the designs of my own and of the team. We gave equal value to all designs, and after taking bits from each we ended up with the design we have now.

Environment Design – Assets for the environment came from my company’s current project: the Double M Digital Low Poly collection. A collection of a game ready low poly assets that should launch sometime this spring/summer. Since I designed that collection I was able to keep a very consistent look and feel to the environments while playing to its strengths to build a fun raccoon killing world.

3D Modelling – I modeled all of the environment assets for the game, including the ground, water, house, and trees. This was the most fun and I was able to make the models all the time wherever I was.

Character Design – I designed the Raccoon (enemy) characters. I took into account their real world anatomy to inform my use of limited topology.

Animator – After hours of reviewing cute videos of raccoons stealing cat food (pure torture, definitely not hilarious) I animated the raccoons with several of their oddly near human mannerisms.

Implementation – My final and most important role would be the implementation of our assets. I took the scripts from Maddi, Particles from Connor and Sounds from Kyle and made them all work(ish) in the game by our deadline.

If there was one takeaway from this project it would be to consider the time, purpose and importance of each element you implement. We lost a lot of time and features on some missteps in the development process, hopefully, we can avoid that in the future. Beyond that, I was really impressed by the game we made, and everyone who has played it so far has loved it!

Going Forwards
I talked to the group and we are all in favor of finishing the game, I have a list from the dev night to bring it up to par with our project goals. After that, Maddi will hopefully go through our code and clean it all up. From there we’ll see where it goes, hopefully well find some fun ways to grow the game even more.

Leave a Reply