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DR. BOUNCE

Role: Game/Level Designer
Engine: Unity
Team Size: 12
Studio: Jelly Brain 
Platforms: PC (Itch.io)
Development time: 8 months

A chaotic blend of FPS and pinball, Dr. Bounce is a fast paced shooter all about bouncing your gun. Play as Milo R.E Bound, a child scientist who must bounce his way through a slime infested lab to save his mother.

Dr. Bounce was featured at the Games Academy Expo in 2022. Our team Jelly brain won two awards:

 

  • "Best Game Design" award 

  • "Industry award"

 

The industry award was judged by industry guests from Mediatonic, Playstation London, Rocksteady, Splash Damage and more.


The project offered many design challenges with it's unique bouncing gameplay, but I'm proud of the end product! 

The final game features 3 levels filled with scripted events and intense combat encounters.

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 Contributions to the project
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  • Lead the design of all game mechanics and levels in collaboration with another designer with input from the whole team. (Systems, Bouncing mechanics, Movement).

  • Created detailed design documentation.

  • Scripted improvements to game features in C# (Game feel).

  • Balanced numerous variables in engine, such as player speed, damage values or bouncing trajectory.

  • Guided the direction of art and audio departments to enhance the experience for players.

  • Planned 3 levels and constructed 2 in engine. Including scripting events with C#.

  • Created the Main menu and intro cutscene.

  • Aided the organisation of playtest sessions.

  • Helped establish and maintain communication between programming, art and audio departments.

  • Assisted in bug fixing numerous features of the project, such as the player animations.

Project Overview
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An FPS where you bounce your weapon to pull off combo shots

Dr. Bounce encourages players to rethink FPS combat. Players can only damage enemies by charging their gun from bouncing their gun off of them and catching it. 

The game was designed to facilitate pinball-like multiple rebounds that gave players multiple charges to reward them for skilled bouncing play.

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Move fluidly to dodge enemies and easily catch your weapon

Players have access to powerful movement options such as a slide, air dash and momentum. It was necessary to give players a lot of movement freedom to assist with catching your gun easily. 

It's also a lot of fun to blaze through the laboratory at high speeds!

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Explore a messy laboratory infested with slimes belonging to a family of scientists

Dr. Bounce is set in a scientist families expansive underground lab. Milo R.E Bound (the player), has created a slime infestation after an experiment gone wrong. Milo has put his mother in danger, it's up to Milo to clean up the mess he's made and save his mother from the mischievous slimes!

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Design Intentions

Pull off satisfying combos and shoot powerful shots

The ultimate goal for Dr. Bounce was to make the player feel like a rebound master. To achieve this feeling, combo's are essential as they reward the player for engaging with the bouncing rules and mechanics of the game. 

The combo system provides an optional challenge and depth for players willing to seize multi-bouncing opportunities presented in levels. Combo's give the game a sense of player mastery, providing a goal outside of getting to the end.

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Creating a charming laboratory to explore with levels filled with surprises.

The slimes are full of personality, to communicate this personality, levels are filled with fun moments for players to discover. Slimes playing tennis with other slimes, traveling through pipes, or even slimes having a dance party! 

It was important to keep surprising players with fun moments to provide levity between intense combat encounters, and to set the tone of the experience.

Each Slime has their own bounce trajectory

Each slime enemy reacts differently when the gun is thrown at them. These enemies are separated by colour and shape. The yellow enemy is designed like an upwards arrow to communicate it's function of bouncing the gun directly up. The bounce trajectories of each enemy type facilitates the bounce combos players can discover. 

The purple enemy is a surprise for the player, as it chases the player and is immune to bouncing. Players have to adjust their strategy against this enemy compared to the bounce enemies who have calmer AI and can be stunned by a bounce.

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Game Mechanics 

Pluck your gun out of the air using your trusty magnet

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The magnet is a pickup found in the second level of the game. Players have already spent one level without the magnet, so when it's introduced players can really feel the impact it has on the bounce game loop.

When the player holds the assigned button, the magnet will pull the gun towards them, retaining any charge it gained while airborne. The purpose of the magnet was to assist with the  increasingly complex bounce angles which could be difficult for players to keep track of. The magnet helps alleviate this concern.

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Shoot enemies to stop them in their tracks

Another pickup is the shot upgrade, this allows players to shoot slimes and eventually stun them, stopping them in place.

 

The purpose of this upgrade is that is allows us to increase the intensity of combat encounters as players can stun troublesome enemies and create a layer of combat priority. 

 

Players can take control of encounters through the generous stun the shot creates. 

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Bouncing + Shooting stuns enemies

Stunning is integral to gaining an advantage in combat. Both shooting and bouncing will stun enemies.

 

Not only does this stop enemies from shooting you, but it also keeps enemies in place, which can line up enemies for new bounce combos. 

Additional mechanics
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Sliding

Sliding gives players multiple benefits:

  • Fast movement option slide under obstacles.

  • An escape option to run away from enemies

  • Opportunities to get into a better position to catch a bounced gun.

The slide is a hold input to allow for maximum control, ending when players let go.

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Air Dash

Air dashing opens up level design and enhances the bounce combat loop:

  • New platforming and level routes can be created

  • Escape option to run away from enemies both horizontally and vertically.

  • Opportunities to get into a better position to catch a bounced gun.

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Momentum

Momentum enhances the previous two mechanics.

Momentum also grants more level design opportunities that feel more organic as it can vary in distance required.

Momentum also provides solid game feel.

Documentation Examples

View the full Dr Bounce GDD. You can find all mechanics and project plans are documented here.

Level Showcase

I developed two levels for the game, for each I was responsible for planning, whitebox blockout, scripting events, and adjusting based on playtesting. Below are two full playthroughs of the levels I developed.

Level 1: Welcome to the Lab

Level 3: Bouncing 

Visit the Itch.io Page to play the game
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