Febuary - March 2023
Junk Jester is a metroidvania inspired by the golden age of American comics. We took inspiration for tone from the 60's Batman show starring Adam West. You play as the Junk Jester, arch nemesis of Captain Handsome and Miss Miraculous. This was a submission for the Metroidvania Month 19 jam, which we completed in 30 days. We used Unreal Engine.
The theme of the jam was "You're the Monster". I had been wanting to make a superhero themed game for a long time, and everyone was on board with it. We kept the designs low poly, and I worked on a toon shader for the characters. We had a simple premise- you play as a supervillain who has to escape a prison.
I did all the scripting for this entry but did not build out the levels or do any art. I wanted to practice my skills with the unreal engine tools, particularly working with animations and notifies. I kept things very classic- press the attack button to swing a melee weapon, like Zero from Mega Man X or Alucard from Symphony of the Night. The player would navigate a sample-sized world and jump, grapple, cloak, and fight their way from room to room.
Enemies came in three shapes: A melee guard, a stronger melee guard, and a ranged guard. The melee guards behave similar to the player but move much slower. The player has to attack, then dodge the incoming attack. Rinse and repeat. For the ranged guard, the player must stay out of their laser sight. If in range, the guard will load the gun. The player has a moment they can escape line of sight before being fired upon.
You will see some bugs in this video- remember, I did all the scripting myself in 30 days!
We included a boss, the warden, as the final challenge for our game. I had originally designed a scenario that made use of the player's two unlocked abilities: the grappling hook and the cloak. A spotlight would move back and forth that the player would have to cloak through or take damage, as well as an occasional electrified floor effect that the player would have to grapple out of. Unfortunately time did not permit this, and I opted to make it just a buffed up standard enemy.
My big focus on the project was getting more practice with Animation Blueprints and Behavior Trees. I used a lot of notifies in the animations to control damage colliders, particle effects, death states and more.
With the behavior trees, I kept the logic very simple. The characters would move back and forth between path point, and engage the player if seen.
Lastly, I made a handful of useful tools for the level designer to use. We tried level instancing for the first time, so there are exit and entry triggers that teleport the player or respawn enemies. Other tools include path points for AI, a music player, and more.
Play the Game!
The voting period ended at the end of March, and we ranked 39th. We had a few soft-locking bugs, so the rank is justified. I'm still very proud of it, and had a lot of fun!