Juan Uys

Week 2 — Let's make a deck-builder.


Week 2’s challenge activity is

Use the game design principles discussed this week to produce a proposal for the indie game prototype you would like to make in this module

The proposal is a living document, but I will reflect on the current at-the-time-of-writing-this version (Git commit hash 69b648a) of the document here:



This is the game I’m going to make over the next few months: Contumacious Commuter.

Please see the analysis I did of Slay The Spire, as this game will borrow heavily from it.

Unique enough?

Contumacious Commuter will play like like Slay The Spire, but instead of rogues in dungeons fighting monsters with might and magic, you’re a commuter on the metro bustling with other commuters trying to get to your destination.

This game idea is inspired by the daily commute. I find that a lot of card games take place in fantasy worlds, so hopefully the commuter setting will be a design innovation, however tiny.

Also, I hope to incorporate a novel idea into the game, and something which hasn’t been tried in a deck-building card game before. What that is, I don’t know yet.

In keeping with the commute theme, I’ve also recently been inspired by Mini Metro, which has a clean design and reminds one of modern subway maps.

This is a problem I’ve been struggling with for the last few days: how can I differentiate Contumacious Commuter from Slay The Spire from the “game design” perspective, instead of just - say - the art style? I’m reverting to the ideation techniques we covered in the previous module, which is something I committed to trying again in future for lack of doing so in the past.

I did think a lot about copying other artists in the previous module, and it’s something I still keep in the back of my mind.

What is the scope of this game?

The scope of this game is a very polished vertical slice, showing off at least 3 or 4 different cards, hand-drawn characters and locations, with UI and menu system, along with all necessary SFX and music.

If this game was to go into production, the majority of the work will be on:

  • designing all the cards (art, the attributes that affect gameplay like attack/block/effects)
  • designing all the characters (art, attributes)
  • designing all the unique locations (art)
  • game balance (running many simulations of random games)

…so best do a very small subset of the above.

How long will it take?

It should take around a hundred hours to make the tiny vertical slice I envisage. This is based on spending 10 hours per week on each of the 7 skills, and working on spill-over during week 6 (reading week), week 10 (playtesting), and week 11 (emerging technologies). I’ll try and stick to this regime, as I want to spend the requisite amount of time studying and applying each skill during each allotted week.

Get help?

I will try and use no premade assets whatsoever, and will push myself to deliver at least passable work product for each of the game development skills, which are:

  • Game design
  • Programming
  • Narrative design
  • Art
  • Animation
  • Level design
  • Sound design

I already have some proficiency with programming, and I will try and attain a level of proficiency with game design and art.

This post is part of my critical reflective journal and was written during week 2 of the module game development.

Unlabelled images are Copyright 2020 Juan M Uys, and are for decorative purposes only.

Copyright © 2002-2024 Juan Uys, (source code for this website). Updates via RSS, Mastodon or newsletter 💌.