Duel Dice is a Multiplayer Online Turn Based Strategy Arena in which players fight to their death versus an opponent for their fate and glory. Gameplay consists of strategically rolling dice, predicting your opponents moves, and purchasing upgrades to rig the game in your favor.
Role and Intent:
Duel Dice was a project I made solely by myself with two goals: I wanted to do something I had never done before, and I wanted unique mechanics that could be balanced on a spreadsheet. After the initial concept of a competitive networked game had been pitched, I began rapid test driven design, implementation, and iteration. I designed and programmed the game, but later brought on an artist and UI designer to make the game more appealing as I transitioned into management and marketing roles.
I knew the game would need a theme that resonated with people. I began by conducting a few 'survey pitches' and found that demonic dice dueling, something akin to the popular TV show and card game Yu-Gi-Oh, interested a lot of people.
After the idea had been solidified, I began working with an online service using HTTP GET requests to implement the basic networking components, as well as the first iteration of the game. I got the game prototyped within two weeks and after that I was constantly organizing test sessions, and consulting with developers and players to make balance changes.
To better understand players, I conducted a mix of Usability Tests, as well as Think Aloud Protocol. This would help to find outliers who either extremely disliked or liked the game, and helped me focus on the players that saw potential in the game, but missed critical information, or ran into bugs.
As you can see in this early gameplay gif, the player feedback was incredibly unnoticeable, and it was hard to understand what exactly was going on. A few iterations later, I had solved the problem by adding sound effects, floating combat text, and a tutorial.
Overall, players really like the unique strategy element and high stakes gameplay that comes from the game. Players have strong opinions about the balance in the game, but I have worked tirelessly in spreadsheets when adding new mechanics to make sure that both players have equal opportunities for success.
Iterating and Problem Solving:
One of the defining factors of the gameplay that makes Duel Dice unique, is the games Off Turn gameplay. In other online strategy games, there is always a wait time between turns. With the networking solution I was using, there was going to be approximately one minute between turns and players were unable to do anything to pass the time. To solve this problem I created an Off Turn system that overall gave the game more interesting decisions for both players to make.
In this iteration, players have three free rolls, and three guesses to make on their off turn. Players can gamble with their dice by tossing their dice into the portal, allowing them to re-roll the dice if they know another icon would be more helpful in their current situation.
The guesses have to do with predicting where your opponents dice will land; for each dice you predict correctly, you will earn Fate (the currency to buy upgrades in the game.) This system allows even the most hardened of players to position their dice in different patterns to deny their opponent bonus Fate.
I was pretty happy with how this mind game mechanic turned out, as it gave the off turn a meaningful way to impact the gameplay on the actual board.
After finalizing the mechanics of the game, I brought on an artist and UI Designer to help give the game a clearer aesthetic. I had never made a networked game before this, and I am pretty happy with how it turned out. There are still some bugs to be tracked down, and ideas to be implemented, but overall the game is exactly the kind of online game I set out to build.
The team is currently updating the game bi-weekly, and has plans to publish it on other platforms.
The game currently has a small player base of active members.