Our Food Fight game is dependent on having a range of foods in order to continue game-play. Here, our programmer shares how he increased the variety of food choices available.
Food Fight needs enough food variety to span the breadth of healthy and unhealthy food choices that can be found in an American grocery store. Right now, our limited food options will not cut it, but with the number of models that have been worked on, the game’s food catalog is expanding rapidly. Food selection will not include specific brands. Instead, the game offers generic options in two categories:
This easily covers 100+ staple food items for diets. We’ll need to make some assumptions as we build Food Fight’s food catalog so it does not grow too large. For instance, assuming that most cereals are unhealthy choices based on sugar content, only one food item would need to be created. Two food items of a high fiber, whole wheat alternative was required. Regardless, having only 1-2 types of cereal and other food categories will keep the number of foods needed low while not detracting from the game’s goal of enhancing food selection and improving food choice.
Higher Quality Foods & Serving Size
Earlier in Food Fight’s beta, we were using low poly, cartoonish foods. While this serves a purpose of being simple to create and light on game performance, it can be hard to distinguish between foods, especially if there are dozens that you may see across a play-through. An example is the carrot we used previously, which looks like an orange blob with leaves. This could easily be mistaken for a parsnip, an orange, or a yam if you don’t pay attention to the leaves. It causes too much confusion for the player. We moved on to using high-quality textures and models for each food, and it helps.
Additionally, we need to be cautious about how food is presented. Keeping a food item close to their recommended serving size could prove to be beneficial. Most players don’t drink an entire bottle of juice in one sitting, but how would the juice be partitioned? A glass of juice would be too confusing. A balance needs to be struck to present food items near to their serving size. An example would be an onion. A few slices of an onion could easily indicate its serving size instead of a whole onion.
Variety & Gameplay
We don’t want to inundate the player with a wide array of choices from the beginning of the game. Players should get the opportunity to see recurring items so they are making the correct choice repeatedly, but not so much that it makes game-play boring. A solution would be to increase the variety of foods with difficulty. Another solution would be to have themes for levels. For example, a level could only feature sources of protein, where foods like peanut butter or milk could be deemed unhealthy (depending on diet choice).
Even if players synced their food selection from an app or built the diet themselves in-game, additional food could be added if they don’t have enough items added. Just like real life, players cannot be too restrictive on their diets and should have a large pool to choose from whether they custom build their diet in the game or not.
Although a large number of food items will be required for Food Fight, many food items can be templatized. For example, juice containers share a similar design and shape. All the modeler would need to do is change the juice color and the 2D texture logo to have a different flavor of juice, without creating the model from scratch. More templates can also easily be used for:
- Boxed foods (cereal, frozen dinners)
- Oils (Canola, Sunflower, Olive)
- Soft drinks, Alcohol
- Energy drinks, sports drinks
In conclusion, Food Fight will require many food items to achieve its goal. Gameplay can be adapted to meet the higher food counts by changing the difficulty or adding food-themed levels. Many foods can come from templates, decreasing modeling/texturing time, but we need to be cautious of how foods are designed so that they can resemble their serving sizes.