• Spark5 Gaming

Game-play Randomization

Randomization is a great way to improve game-play experience and bring variety to your game. For a relatively small indie game like Spark Five, randomization can play a crucial role in keeping players engaged and producing a lasting impression. Let us see below how and where in Spark Five do we get to experience randomization.

Mechanical Randomization

This kind of randomization affects the game-play mechanics in some way and can determine the end result of the game. Spark Five in its own right is a very simple game with very less room for mechanical randomization. There is a possibility that too many changes may lead to a blunt player experience and produce unfair circumstances.

1. Guards: The number of patrolling guards don't change for a particular level as there is no difficulty setting. However the guards have a certain degree of randomization that can affect game-play. They generally patrol between two set points and wait for 2 seconds once they reach one of these points. As they resume their patrol they rotate 180 degrees, either clockwise or anti-clockwise. This is not really set through script and is totally random with a 50-50 chance. Guards are mostly stationed near crucial objectives or elements that can help you reach a particular objective. Rotating differently can determine whether the player can simply evade the guard or be compelled to use explosives to terminate the guard. This affects the player's inventory and his future decisions are altered. You may find that a particular guard has changed his rotation style after restarting the same level.

2. Loot Boxes: Loot boxes are available only in the Mercenarium custom scenarios. They have a 50-50 chance to grant the player either a replica point or a bomb point. This has a heavy impact on game-play as certain levels may require a large number of bombs where as others may require more phantom replicas. Replicas are a great way to explore the map and locate objectives. If too many guards stand in your way bombs are definitely an advantage. Mercenarium levels don't impact the campaigns in any way but can be very helpful in training and learning new strategies.

3. Bullet Speed: Bullet speed is a minor randomization that was added way latter in the game development process. The speed of a bullet from a turret varies anywhere between 300 and 350. This doesn't really affect much as your primary purpose is to avoid them. However, this can change if you decide to lure a guard into turret firing range to eliminate it. Some turrets are placed in such a way that they are directly firing at a laser switch (computer) with a high firing interval (eg. 5 seconds).

Aesthetic Randomization

Aesthetic randomization is something that brings variety to game design in terms of audio-visual architecture and has no definite impact on game-play. Every time a player enters a particular level he/she sees a different version of a particular in-game element. This keeps the user engaged and produces a sense of curiosity. In Spark Five, certain levels are quite difficult and may require multiple attempts to complete, so the total lack of aesthetic randomization may produce dullness in player experience.

1. Turrets & Bullets: To add a little variety, I have created 3 types of turrets accompanied by their own respective bullets, explosion particles and sounds. The type of turret may change every time the player starts the level but has no impact on game-play. A bullet from any type of turret will most definitely kill the player and any guards if they come in between. In the Nemesis campaign one can use the shield ability to gain immunity from bullets.

2. Night Mode: The night mode is a relatively new addition to the game. In this mode the global ambient lighting is reduced and colorful night lights are turned on. This produces a very cool sci-fi ambience. There are four lights connected to each room with four random colors for each light. Playing in night mode doesn't provide the player with any bonuses or penalty but is entirely intended for aesthetics.

3. Audio Randomization: There are minor variations in audio and ambience for the game. Every level has over ten ambient music track that shuffle every 68 seconds. Every track is 64 seconds long and has a 4 seconds buffer time of silence. It is possible that the same track may continue playing after the buffer time concludes. Speech from alerted guards is also randomized, they may speak a different line every time the player comes under their detection box. Random pain screams are added which trigger when a character (both guards and the player) dies.

This concludes our post on randomization elements inside Spark Five and how they impact player experience and game-play. Randomization is one thing that can definitely breathe life into any game and make up for repetitive game-play.

Thank you very much reading. Good luck and have fun playing Spark Five. If you haven't downloaded the game yet you can download it using the link below.

Best regards,

Nishant Borthakur