Discarded is a 3D, roguelike, deck builder!
You play as a toy capable of swapping their own appendages for more powerful toy parts.
Each of these parts comes with a set of cards to empower your deck, allowing you to defeat difficult enemies.
Contributions to the Production
Acted as Lead Producer & Narrative Designer
Coordinated 11 people virtually via Teams, Perforce, and Hack-n-Plan
Completed production in 10 two-week sprints; Roughly 45 work days
Held at least 2 Scrum stand-ups a day
Held Plans, Reviews, and Retros at the beginning and end of each sprint
Presented video developer logs at the end of each sprint
Wrote & analyzed QA feedback surveys with each release
Conception & Prototype
Our pre-established team collectively decided to concept our idea based on our individual specializations and preferred types of game.
This resulted in a wide variety of genres and gameplay styles, but there were many commonalities that popped off the page.
The final, agreed-upon concept included these elements:
Dark atmosphere & narrative
We iterated on our concept for the first week, then set ourselves the task of creating a 'vertical slice' to present by the end of our Prototype milestone.
During this time, I conferred with the producers of other teams constantly. I wanted feedback on both my process and the game idea itself. I found their support and perspective invaluable.
The Player Character
The first big hurdle was how to handle the player character's rig. We had to ensure that our player model would function with our animations, no matter what kind of Toy Parts they were wearing.
This was one of many features that forced us to balance depth with production scope.
We discovered through testing and iteration that our best option was to create a singular rig skeleton to act as our 'standard'. All of our Toys, Toy Parts, and the player character itself would use this rig.
This allowed us to create single animations that worked for every Toy and Part.
We had decided early on that we wanted our game to have mechanics & synergies that would appeal to a wide variety of players.
We iterated through dozens of card mechanics and hundreds of individual card ideas to find a satisfactory balance. To this day, we're still striving to hone the fun of our card set.
With synergy as one of our core pillars, we looked for ways to ensure that even novice players would be able to create proper deck builds.
Our answer was give small card sets to players, instead of individual cards. We loaded each Toy Part with 2-5 cards that have a pre-established synergy with each other.
As iteration continued, we discovered something inherent and valuable: Card Identity.
We had always intended for each card's mechanics to be rooted in their source Toy's flavor, but the identity of our cards felt aimless.
We began using the five-color philosophy of Magic the Gathering to give guidance to our cards and how they synergized together. Though it was never 'player-facing', this method greatly strengthened our card interactions.
Our game concept came about by allowing everyone to describe their favorite games and game atmospheres, as well as their areas of expertise.
By treating every member of our team like a designer, we were able to entertain ideas outside the sphere of individual classrooms.
While most card games entertain very little narrative during play, the best roguelikes are often dripping with narrative flavor.
I sought to emulate the deep, yet subtle narratives of gems like Hades, Binding of Issac, and the Souls series.
I found ways to apply these techniques to our toys, cards, UI, final boss, and so much more.
In Hades, you choose 'powers' based on their strength, but also based on which of the Greek Gods you'd like to advance the story of.
In Discarded, when you collect a 'Toy Part' for the first time, you get a story blurb about that Part's source toy.
So collecting a single Part from the Toy Robot will reveal a piece of the Robot's backstory. Collecting all five of their parts will unveil the full tale of their demise in this harsh world.
The Souls series is ripe with narrative design to pick from, but the piece that felt most organic to the story we were crafting in Discarded was the concept almost every Souls game ends with: Linking the fire.
Each Souls game ends with a player decision:
Do you continue the world as it is?
Or do you sacrifice your soul to start a new era?
In Discarded, you play as a "Qin", a unique type of toy that can attach parts to themselves. The only other character that can attach parts to toys is the "Builder" at the top.
When you reach the "Builder", it's revealed to be another Qin. They've exploited other toys for their own benefit, but they've kept society in order too.
Upon completing the game, you're left to answer your own question:
Do you continue the world as it is?
Or do you sacrifice the society to start a new era?
Please check in again to see this page grow along with Discarded's development!