Game Design and QA Intern
Suzerain is a text-based role-playing political drama set in the 1950s, which asks the player the question of what they would do as the president of a conservative and deeply divided country that is yearning for changes. The game questions our reality and morale as we push for progressive changes or embrace and honor the conservative values in the country
How It Started
Suzerain is a game that I worked on for Torpor Games as a Game Designer Intern during my 5th Semester. I applied and submitted a test for the Game Design & QA position which led me to an interview with Ata Nowak, one of the Co-Founders of Torpor Games.
One of the game design aspects that I tackled during this internship was game balancing. For Suzerain, we had multiple google excel sheets for different statistics in the game such as Public Opinion, Political Leanings, Family Opinions, and Economy.
Above is an example google excel sheet of the economy in the game. It was challenging for me initially since there were a lot of data to process and not to mention the act of altering these numbers such that it creates a "good experience" for the player.
However, I handled it by doing "Balancing for the next event". There are choices and events in the game as the player progresses through it. I balanced the number such that the small choices and events, in combination, would have an impact on the next major event.
My Take on Game Balancing
I learned about game balancing that the word "balance" is a big lie. One needs to consider the player's experience when adjusting these numbers. Even if the values of the choices are spread evenly, the numbers need to coincide with the narrative.
Game Balancing should be done based on the core aspect of the game and not in isolation. That is one of the lessons that I learned after working on Suzerain.
First Dip Into Screen Writing
Another incredible job given to me was writing a whole scene. It was easily the most exciting work during my internship. The idea that I could write about these characters in Suzerain, which I've been working with for the past months, is just mind-blowing to me.
I first did pitch the flow and the content to my co-workers. The scene was about the war plan before the player enters the last act in the game, and the scene would decide whether the player wins the war or not. The scene needed to brief the player on the information about his country's current military and economic status and make decisions about the upcoming war.
Above is the overview design I used to pitch the scene's content. Long story short, after I wrote the scene with countless help and review from Ata and Rachel, our writer. I've finally managed to complete the scene, and it will be out in the next patch.
The Moment That Make It All Worth It
During the internship, I also supported the team by writing some tools to help speed up the process. One is to convert google documents, where we wrote most of our "news and reports" content in the game, to a JSON format. The other is to gather information from players' saves.
It was written in my spare time, so I didn't pay much thoughts to the user interface and long-term scale of the code, but if anyone wants to check it out:
Thank You Torpor Game
The internship helped me a lot in my development as a game designer, and you all have been great mentors and friends during my time there. I wish you guys the best of luck on Suzerain and any future games that you will make.