Games Academy Spring 2018: Space Hen Hassle

Space Hen Hassle

Team Colbanum

Kimmo Heinonen: Project Lead, 3D Artist
Jerri Ahonen: Lead Programmer
Suvi Kemppainen: Programmer, Sound Designer
Piritta Vaarala: Lead Artist, UI Designer
Kalle Vikström: 3D Artist, Effect Designer

In an Eggshell

Space Hen Hassle is a multiplayer party game for two to four players. The goal of the game is simple – collect the most chickens within minute-long rounds and emerge as the winner by the end of them, but don’t forget to cause a little mayhem by sabotaging your opponents’ game!

Screenshot of gameplay

In Space Hen Hassle you play as tiny astronauts on a space farm. The core mechanics are picking up chickens and throwing them either at your opponents in order to stun them or into a wandering chicken collector that will keep them safe. But everything comes with a risk – the player with the most chickens is sure to attract the attention of their opponents, a missed throw equals a lost point and aiming for the chicken collector costs precious time.
Space Hen Hassle is easily approachable, entertaining and a completely non-violent party game for PC and it’s playable with Xbox controllers.

Core mechanics illustrated

Development

In the very beginning of the project the game idea and scope were completely different as we planned a more or less story-driven exploration game starring a child lost on the moon, annoying space chickens you could throw to break items and a quest to build a spaceship. After scrapping the first idea we turned our course towards party games and kept the baby astronauts and space chickens. Eventually we settled for what resembled a mixture of Bomberman and the chicken throwing mechanic from Zelda games.

With a party game at our hands we needed to concentrate on what would make the game fun to play and would keep the players engaged, and so we concentrated on making the mechanic as simple as possible but with a twist, which in this case is risking your own chicken count to try and drop the opponents out of the game. For that reason the movement and throw mechanics had to be perfected and took the most fine-tuning out of all aspects in the game. On the other hand, to keep the actual gameplay fun we needed to make sure that the end goal – most chickens out of all players – is present at all times, which meant we had to work hard on the balance.

Character selection scene where players can choose from four different coloured astronauts

Over time the project changed directions more than once – initial low poly look was exchanged for a soft cartoon-y look, realistic environment went through a neon dye and mechanics were changed to fit the gameplay – but each change tied the project better together into a solid entity. By the end of the actual project timetable we had made a product that we were already really satisfied with. However, after winning both first place and audience’s choice in Finland’s first student game development competition Bit1 ( link ), we are now determined to keep working on the game further to perfect it for its launch.

For now, you can download a playable demo from the link below!

Download link

Space Hen Hassle

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