Local Multiplayer Stealth in No Ninja Left Unseen: A game jam postmortem

Jam Baby
Jam baby didn’t stay quiet for long

Last weekend I participated in the Game Zanga 6 game jam along with my wife Sam and our friend Torsten. Game Zanga is the biggest game jam event in the arab world with 83 games made at multiple sites across 8 countries this year. Since we’re all the way up here in Sweden, we jammed remotely from our apartment. Theoretically that was a great idea since we had the baby (4 months old woooo!) and we still had to take care of her. What happened is that over the whole weekend, Torsten and I probably managed to get in may be 12 hours of work each and Sam was only able to help out with design and testing. That being said, here’s what came out of it! (excuse the low framerate)

The game is called No Ninja Left Unseen and you can play it on itch.io if you have 2 xbox controllers. It’s a 2 player duel between ninjas where you can disappear in a puff of smoke for a few seconds and throw everything -including the kitchen sink- at your opponent. The game was built in Construct 2 which we had already decided to use ahead of the jam since it was very easy and fast to prototype with and build quick games.

The theme of the game jam was “Illusion” which quickly led us to talking about magic, smoke & mirrors and stealth. Since we enjoy local multiplayer games ourselves we decided to try tackling stealth in a local multiplayer duel. In most games, stealth or invisibility effects are represented with visual effects like light shimmering or simply displaying the character at a lower opacity. In our case these kinds of effects would defeat the purpose of invisibility. Given the restrictions of the play area, a player should be able to maneuver without being able to see themselves with only a bit of inaccuracy. This only works for a few seconds as the inaccuracy builds up overtime so a time limit was introduced. Complete invisibility was slowing down the pace of the game so we decided to let the running dust particles trail off for less than half a second before disappearing. This allowed the opponent to see which direction the invisible player was initially taking while also giving the invisible player a chance to engage in some deception.

throwables

The throwing mechanics are a result of me working on it on and off while trying to soothe a crying a baby. There is absolutely no constraint on how many things you can throw or how often (other than how fast you can push a button). What I enjoyed working on was getting throws to be slightly inaccurate at certain angles. All items you throw do the same damage though they have slightly different hit boxes and include shurikens, hatchets, sinks and more.

Overall I’m happy with the way the game turned out. We had to keep it simple, scrap a lot of ideas and features and focus on getting stealth and throwing right. The result was a hectic fast paced game that we enjoyed playing at the very least. I’m also quite happy with how neat and efficient my event sheets were (usually it gets really messy and redundant).

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You can check out all the other games made during the Game Zanga 6 here.

And here is a link to the game again (you need 2 xbox controllers to play)

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