Showstopper is a light-hearted party game that takes place in a medieval theatre. Up to four players can take on the roles of actors all trying to “die” a dramatic death to win over the crowd’s favor—and with three unique plays comes three unique objectives for the actors to complete!
The major twist in Showstopper is the inverted fighting mechanic. As a player, your goal is to land on your enemy’s weapon while simultaneously moving your sword to avoid them at the same time. The game awards players that move dangerously close to their opponent’s weapon resulting in major crowd bonus points. Once there is only one actor standing, the round ends and the player with the most points takes the cake.
I created Showstopper with a creative and passionate team for my Capstone course at Champlain College. My development team, Action Cactus, included:
- Andrew Rimpici (Me!) gameplay and systems programmer.
- Jacob Biederman gameplay programmer and repository manager.
- Tim Carbone lead designer and associate programmer.
- Michelle Lee lead artist.
- Brett Schwartz lead producer.
Showstopper was the first project I’ve ever worked on in Unreal. I have a very efficient and comfortable workflow when it comes to Unity, but Unreal was a whole new beast to tackle. Being immersed in a totally new environment was paramount for my growth as a developer. I’ve become more open to trying new tool chains as well as discovering I can quickly adapt to different code bases when I fully commit to it. Unreal was tough to jump into, but I learned a lot in the short development time we had and I’ve come around to really enjoy it!
What I did
During the development of Showstopper, I worked on a bunch of different features including the lighting manager, the crowd movement and response system, player movement/dashing, and player particles. I also created an in depth technical document that describes game play systems and potential risks of the project. If you’re interested, check it out here.
Similar to last year’s Midmortems, discussed in my String Theory post, my team and I presented Showstopper in hopes of continuing development into next semester. Unfortunately, Showstopper wasn’t chosen to move forward, but I’m still incredibly proud of everyone on my team for all of our hard work and the experiences and memories I’ve gained from this project makes it all worth it.
If you would like to try Showstopper, here is a playable download for Windows computers. To play, make sure to extract the zip file before running the executable. The game is designed for Xbox/PlayStation controller input.
If Showstopper had been picked to continue through next semester, one of our plans was to completely revamp the crowd system and integrate a live audience through Twitch. Using Twitch would allow real people to control the audience and therefore affect events as they panned out in each play. It would have been an interesting mechanic for sure.
Although I won’t be able to implement networking for the crowd in Showstopper, I’ve been recruited onto another team as a full time network programmer in Unreal for next semester. I’m extremely excited to dive into my new team’s code base, learn the ins and outs of Unreal’s multiplayer features, and implement it into the game. I’ll be sure to write more details about all that once development revs up over the next few months.