Role: Game Designer, UI Design
Monster farming simulation game, inspired by Stardew Valley.
Monster Haven is a fantasy RPG and farming simulator set during medieval times in a world where humans hunt monsters. Drusilla, a former slave to a necromancer, awakens from the dead decades later to newfound freedom in the castle after the necromancer’s death. As humans threaten and seek to usurp the once-abandoned castle, she sets out to transform her home into a safe haven for monsters with the help of friends she makes along the way.
Genre: Farming Simulation RPG
Game Engine: Unity
Timeframe: 1 Year
My Work and Learnings:
Implemented tutorial series into Unity, and iterated it upon review feedback across the team.
Paper prototyped game systems, eg. farming system, dating system, event system, crafting system, and scavenge system.
Designed craftable items, crops, and cooking receipts.
Did level design in Unity engine.
As a game designer on the team, I tried my best to make the player experience match our design goal and to make the game cater to both genders. For example, conflicts between human and monsters need to be shown in game. At first, for the combat system, I designed and paper-prototyped a turn-based card game, in which the plants we harvest and villagers we befriend with are shown on cards. They have various skills that can help defeat human soldiers who invade the monster castle. Male players can enjoy the strategy planning and characters building, while female players can also get fun from forming close connection with characters to get their help. In addition, cards collecting with different rarity tends to be appealing to female players as well.
This idea sounds quite interesting, but some issues were found after initial playtests. If the players win, they feel unchallenged; if they lose, they simply restart the game. In such a way, the minority’s struggles of making their livings is not conveyed.
Thus, our design team brainstormed what could be an alternative system. With the help of my teammates, the idea of requiring players to constantly meet the community’s needs is introduced. Inspired by this proposal, I designed a random event system and its corresponding UI. Random bad things can happen, just like real life. A vicious dog might eat your crops. Humans might suddenly come to poison your water well. These events can all affect the important needs in game, like food storage and water quality, and they can further affect community happiness. Players must deal with these events and try to maintain the community’s happiness and well-being in such tragic circumstances. Managing resources, facing various random events, and learning the heart-touching story still make our game fun for both male and female players. This change proved to be successful by later playtests; more playtesters started experiencing just what we wanted them to experience.