‘Lost and Found’: New Salvaged part 1

Posted 2015-04-02 10:54:00 by Daniel Dowsing

Hi, I’m Daniel. I’m a writer and game designer here at Opposable Games and I thought I’d kick off a series of blogs about the rebirth of Salvaged. Yep you read that right: rebirth. It’s been a bit quiet on the Salvaged front lately but we haven’t been sat around looking at pictures of cats on the internet (except on Tuesdays), we’ve been working hard rebuilding the Salvaged experience. In this little introduction I’m going to mention some of the changes we’ve made and why we made them.

As you may, or may not, know Salvaged can be played using a PC screen and a tablet at the same time (it can also be played on a single PC screen and … drum roll … in VR!). Some would say this is due to the amazing skills of our programming team here at OG, personally I still think it’s the work of magic and angels – hence why I write and make the tea. The dual screen system works by allowing the player to control the game – shown on the PC screen - via their tablet device rather than using the standard mouse/keyboard controls; the idea being to simulate the experience of being a commander giving orders from a command room.

Thanks to the ‘dual screen’ setup, Salvaged picked up a lot of positive attention but when we invited people to playtest the early alpha the response was a little mixed; not because the system was broken but because the gameplay was at odds with it. The fast-paced gameplay meeting the dual screen application caused confusion as the player was unsure of which screen to look at, resulting in panic and feeling overwhelmed by the experience. While to some extent this feeling of panic was very much the point of Salvaged, something wasn't quite right, so we decided to take Salvaged back to the drawing board. 

It was at this point that a plucky young designer joined OG – me! Working with the rest of the team we realised that the original run-and-gun gameplay of Salvaged contradicted the game’s experience of being a commander giving orders to a crew. As a designer I’m a strong proponent of the philosophy that the experience governs the design; from this we realised redesigning Salvaged to be a SWAT-style tactical shooter rather than an unrelenting first person shooter would enhance the desired experience.

Adding a tactical element to the gameplay gives rise to natural pauses in the game’s flow. With these natural pauses the player no longer feels overwhelmed by the dual screens they’re playing with; rather the system and the gameplay compliment each other. The player is naturally given time to use the control tablet without the worry that they’re being overwhelmed, and then time to observe the outcome of their decisions on the main screen. I shan’t go into deeper detail about the gameplay … yet but, overall, this redesign will breathe new life into Salvaged, giving the game its own exciting identity.

This is Salvaged. It’s pleased to meet you.

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