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A Location-Based Game


Design Context

My team and I were invited to design an entertaining experience for a location-based hardware called "Jam-O-Drum," where 4 players can play games together on a shared tabletop surface with drum pads embedded.



My Role

Game Designer, UX/UI Designer, 3D/VFX Artist


We designed a 2v2 top-down combat game, where two teams play as two giant robots float in the galaxy. They need to grab resources and try to defeat the other team.

Tool Used

Unity 3D, Maya, Blender, Adobe Illustrator

Demo Video

Scenario of playing with Jam-O-Drum

First Jam-O Drum in the world

We thought that, intuitively, developers would imagine a picture of 4 players playing against each other to achieve the best score. And we are not the ones who will accept the most common ideas. So we tried to make a decision between "1 vs 3" and "2 vs 2." Then after several rounds of brainstorming, we found that the form of "1 vs 3" would be much more difficult to achieve a balanced gaming system. And an unbalanced game would cause disappointment, Especially for a party game. So we finally decided on making a "2 vs 2" game.

Then it came to the game mechanism. We tried to focus on people's first thoughts when they see Jam-O-Drum's interaction. Speaking of "Spin something and then trigger it", what comes to your mind? For us, it was "fishing"! When fishing, you need to spin the wire wheel when catching something (probably not a fish) and then pull the rod at last. But fishing is too relaxing for a 2v2 combat game. Then a famous flash game came into our mind - <Gold Miner>. In this game, the players will control the character to shoot the hook and then spin the wheel to pull the golds up to get the point. When there is a way to earn points, there is a way to design combats! So we decided to use <Gold Miner> as our reference, and make a "Space & Robot" version of it (That's entirely personal preference, sorry.)

Our main mechanism reference - Gold Miner

Our main art & name reference - Gurren-Lagann

Game & UX Design

Small but important

As we were trying to make a Space & Robot game with the mechanism of "Grab things and collect them to get points." We decided to let the two allies play as two arms of a giant robot. And teams need to compete with each other to grab as much as planets as resources in space. As for the UI elements that will be shown on the drum. We added guiding icons to it, and they will switch to guide players on what operation they should do at the moment.

Our initial draft of the game layout

UI element on the Drum when

players need to hit the drum

UI element on the Drum when

players need to spin the drum

We put lots of thought into how to display the score. At first, we tried to put a scoreboard on the robot's head. Then we noticed that in this way, both players on the same side would have difficulty reading their score. So we, at last, changed the scoreboard above each player's drum. And the board will show the total score of the team. When a player successfully catches a planet, the points he earned will be shown on both sides of his team. In this way, players can be aware of their game process at a glance, while feeling accomplished when they contribute to their team.

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The sense of achievement comes from teamworking

 teams will share their scoring status

One of the key mechanisms we created is that players can steal resources from the other team. When your hand grabs a planet that is being held and pulled back by your opponent, the "Battle" will happen. At that time, you and the other player need to hit your drum as fast as possible. And after 2.5 seconds, the one who hits more times will win the battle and get the point, and that planet will be pulled back at maximum speed as a reward for your victory (because this will save some time for you.)

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Encountering in a "Battle"

Level Design

Design for the climax

We designed four stages for the game (They are too short to be regarded as "levels") plus a tutorial. And players in each level will probably get more points than the previous level (except stage 4.) This level design method ensures that no team can ensure their victory until the end of the game.

The level design sheets I wrote

To Be Continued!

I need to finish my shitty schoolwork first...

Design Process

What & Why

How did we begin this?

Jam-O-Drum was designed first in 1998 to support audiovisual collaboration by playing on 4 drum pads embedded in a shared tabletop surface. Players can pat and spin the drum pads to interact with other players. And we are invited by CMU ETC to design a fun gaming experience with it.

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