Planet Snatchers is...
A fast-paced, multiplayer, 3D-platforming racing game. It takes inspiration from classic 3D platformers like Mario 64, Banjo Kazooie, and many others. It also takes a lot of inspiration from the speedrunning community, who take these old classics and master them in a race against the clock and others. We wanted to capture that speedrunning mentality in our game, creating the first 3D platforming racing game on the market.
Planet Snatchers Development summary
Planet Snatchers was started as a project being developed by Robbie Wakefield, Lillian Vinson, and Luke Charland for Champlain College's Production II course. Our goal in creating Planet Snatchers was to create a competitive 3D platformer-racing game in an industry all but devoid of current 3D platformers. Planet Snatchers is being developed to fill a hole in the market aiming at speedrunners of classic 3D platformers such as Super Mario Sunshine, Banjo-Kazooie, and Sonic Adventure. We did not want the play style and movement of a single character to dictate whether players enjoyed the game, so we aimed for having multiple characters with unique movesets that could cater to players with different preferences.
We were tasked in creating a prototype for the class's "mid-mortem". The mid-mortem was an opportunity for our peers to see what we have been working on as well as for our staff to give us all feedback at the 5 week mark into our projects. Also during the event, half of the games being developed would be cut and developers of the cut teams would be redistributed to the remaining teams. In our mid-mortem build, we had polished movement for our first character (who would become Abu) with placeholder art, a full level to race through with win and lose states, this level also featured art and a skybox already in the game's style. We got through mid-mortem with very positive feedback. Because of this mid-mortem process, we were able to pick up Robby Mitchell as our 2nd designer. His focus in design was more systems and UI oriented, while I am more level design and quality-assurance testing oriented.
After the mid-mortem, my team and I decided on the scope of our project. We decided that by the end of the semester we would have two fully characters, three levels in one world theme, more polished win/lose states, character select and level select screens, multiple color variations for characters, and high-scores. With the smallest Production II team at Champlain that year, we got to work right away meeting weekly milestones set by our professor, Kate Bachus, and responding within two weeks to all feedback given to us by the class. Within a few weeks, it was clear to the team that we wanted to continue production after the class was over and release a version of the game at the end of summer. So, we worked hard on the game for the whole semester.
Quite a ways through the semester, our professor told us that we, juniors, would have the opportunity to enter a games competition hosted by RPI in Troy, New York called GameFest 2017. We were eager to enter, knowing that we had a very cool product that would show well at an event like that. For GameFest 2017, we made sure that we had 3 unique levels for players to race through in a first to 2 format, both characters fully implemented, high-scores for both that day and the all-time developer high-scores, and a ton of marketing to accompany the game so we would be a name to remember. Everything went very well and at GameFest 2017, the two judges, Dan Doptis and Kevin Todisco, from Velan Studios judged all of the games and awarded Planet Snatchers the second place prize.
We have taken a brief hiatus from development on Planet Snatchers since GameFest 2017. We hope to re-entering development after releasing Frog Snatchers in early 2019.