Thistle and Thorn Studios

6/30/2019 ~ Idea - Chamber Of Bullets



by Zach

What we started with

We came up with a couple of core tenets on the final day of IHD development.

  • “Continuous” time instead of “discrete”. Not a turn-based game.
  • Flow of time is malleable

We wanted to push ourselves into learning something new, and since we had only made turn-based games together, we felt it was time to move on into a more challenging space: real-time computation.

The goal of this second project is to start off on the right foot. We were going to focus on design and architecture first and foremost.

What it evolved into

Over the course of the video, you can see us shifting our gaze from aggressive, offense-focused games like Superhot to something more "relaxing" like Breath of the Wild (we mentioned it several times on Saturday). The goal is to get players into an "indirect" flow - they must run while something else handles the dirty work.

This was spawned by an idea I had over the course of the week. Patrick and I talked it over on Saturday and came up with a third and fourth core tenet:

  • The player is in control of a powerless avatar that controls another powerful being from the sidelines.
  • The player's actions could kill them through collateral damage.

These tenets formed the basis of our more "final" design.

  • You summon turrets to kill your enemies, but they only target you. You must hide behind your enemies in order to get them killed.


There are a few important trade-offs in the game that I'm quite proud of.

  • You can spawn as many turrets as you like.

    • Your enemies are unlikely to survive.
    • You will also die more easily.
  • You are shielded when enemies are between you and your turret.

    • Bullets won't hit you - your enemies will take the hits.
    • You might get pinned against a wall, letting the enemies surround you.
  • Some turrets can pierce through enemies.

    • More efficient slaughter.
    • Your best hiding place is a little weaker.

I think we'll develop these further as the game goes on, and there will be smaller, less important decisions that the players will have to make very frequently.


We came up with the following scope for our first and second milestones:

Version 0 (4 weekends)

  • 3D Environment
  • Mobs that follow the player
  • Turrets that track the player
  • Turrets with laser sight (for telegraphing aim)
  • Turrets that fire projectiles
  • Entities that take damage (enemies, player, turrets)
  • Player can drop turrets

If we're proud of this, and want to share the prototype with our friends, we'll continue with Version 1.

Version 1

  • Super basic visual effects (better models, particle effects, lighting)
  • Super basic audio effects (subtle music, sound effects for telegraphing and ambiance)
  • Adding turret types (grenade launcher, etc)
  • Adding enemy types

Once we share this with our friends, we'll move on to Version 2 if they enjoy playing.

Of course, we'll stop at any time if we get burnt out on the project or find that the fundamental game design is lacking. I want to learn how to be better at commiting and pushing through the drudgery too, so I hope we don't give up too easily.