GatchaVerse Postmortem

Uchan
6 min readMay 7, 2021

This is a game demo at

Play the demo here: https://cheesetalk.itch.io/gatchaverse

Story Overview

I Want to make a Le Petit Prince style space exploration game. The player’s journey is driven by chaotic location systems (blind box vending machine: Gatcha), evolving in chaos and randomness.

The player will act as earth’s space agent 02, looking for Agent 01, who was lost on a previous mission. “Gatcha” is the alternative name for the chaotic positioning system, the core system for space travel: it uses chaotic algorithms to select valid targets among hundreds of millions of planets. Through the journey, 02 discovered that various Earth’s historical fragments appeared on different planets: once extinct animals and humans, historical figures, all reappeared in the universe. This is the result of human’s refractions of consciousness and technology through the Gatcha radiation into space, the history of the Earth has been re-disrupted and combined, re-staged on a larger stage.

About the Game

GatchaVerse is essentially a simulation-driven narrative game. By triggering “Blind boxes”of different levels and qualities, players can obtain a variety of objects, characters, environmental events, environmental changes, character attributes and state changes (buffs) and other factors to their planet, and the plants and animals of all the characters and objects on the planet will evolve autonomously according to the influence factors introduced by the players. At the same time, players can also get different initial states of the stars according to a certain probability through the egg twister, thus expanding their own galaxy.

Story design

The core goal of the story is to combine the “Blind box”with the “Space Exploration”. We want players to experience the fun of a open-world sandbox and the fun of creating a new scene. Here are some of the background stories I’ve come up with:

- Universe represents the converging of history. The truth of the universe is that after each big bang, it must shrink, not just on a physical level: the spiritual impact of previous civilizations is converging. There are also fragments of pre-big bang civilizations scattered across different planets (though there may be different explanations)

- the whole universe is a mirror image of the Solar System, and different planets are pieces of history, representing different times in history.

- the universe is a reflection of human consciousness? Earth is really lonely, because (at least within observation) there really is no other civilization, so the end of history will inevitable occur. Inspired by the film annihilation. An unusual zone known as the Shimmer will produce reactions from the human intruders, and it will influence themselves ultimately.

Gatcha is a target selector in flight, but somehow in space it becomes a generator, something that push the story forward.

- the main character: Agent 02, is an investigator from Earth. Gatcha makes it cheaper to travel alone than in groups, and the villains come out to explore the origins of the universe, and gradually discover the truth

In the end, I decided to focus on the historical fragment in the demo, focusing on Agent 02’s reunion with Agent 01, and using 02’s journey as a starting point for the story’s worldview.

What went wrong

Characters set. The left one is Napoleon.

Random events

I wanted every blind-box extraction to be completely random and have the results influence the story, which would make the game story more flexible, and each player can grow their own universe drama. But this will need to be done in the future with an AI agent algorithm, so it will only be possible to present a world view through a group of fully plotted for now. Another unsolved challenge is the sphere-surface navigation. This largely limited characters’ performance and movement.

More dramatic stories

Because at the core concept of the story is the historical fragment: Earth’s history is being replayed as it is being disrupted. So it was intended that historical figures from different eras, such as Napoléon and the Pharaohs, the medieval musketeers and the wildlings, would appear on the same planet and clash.

But because of time constraints and my limited historical knowledge, I was worried that such a scene would seem rough, so I focused on the clash of two generations of the same civilization: Tutankhamun and Cleopatra. This conflict should be much more extensive and emotional.

Pharrohs’ scene

Unfortunately, due to time constraints, there is no music and corresponding sound effects.

What went right

Vending machine + stories

It was hard, but I managed to combine the mechanics of vending-machine with fungus’s narrative function. Instead of choosing a branch as a traditional narrative game, players can push the game forward by triggering Gatcha. This is one of my most satisfying results.

Fungus localization file

Visual performance

Le Petit Prince
Le Petit Prince

Space exploration is generally a very big subject, so the games tend to be complex (the outer world, for example) but I think Le Petit Prince’s fairy tale style is more romantic. So we wanted the planet and the characters to be similar in size to the little prince’s planets. That would make planets like drama stages, which is correspond with Agent 01’s lines: Our history continues to loop on the cosmic stage, only to turn from serial drama into a one-man show.

As a designer with an artistic background, a good visual style is the core motivation for me to keep developing; meanwhile, as a game developer, I want to make sure that the scenarios I develop are consistent with the design. The visual style went through many iterations, and the final cartoon shading came up to my expectations. At least when my colleagues and I saw the final game, we were curious about what it would be like to explore between the planets: it match my concept.

VIsual development
Final style

The final reunion of Agent 01 and 02 is my favourite scene. They represent 2 different attitudes through history fragments: 01 thought it’s just a repetition of earth’s path, but 02 regard it as the start of new histories. That’s why 02 can start the after stories. The journey with Gatcha should be lonely but excited at the same time, and how it goes would depend on the player’s choices.

References

Alien Planet Pack 1.1 https://assetstore.unity.com/packages/3d/environments/sci-fi/alien-planet-pack-74011?locale=zh-CN

Low Poly Animated Animals 2.36

https://assetstore.unity.com/packages/3d/characters/animals/low-poly-animated-animals-93089?locale=zh-CN

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