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 5thSemester. I applied and submitted a test for a Game Design & QA position which led me to havean interview with Ata Nowak, one of the Co-Founders of Torpor Games. After that, I got acceptedand worked with him to push the game to release and main it post-release.
One of the game design aspects that I tackled during this internship was game balancing. ForSuzerain, we had multiple google excel sheets for different statistics in the game such as PublicOpinion, Political Leanings, Family Opinions, and Economy.
Above is an example google excel sheet of the economy in the game. It was challenging for me in the beginning since there were a lot of data to process and not mentioning the act of altering these numbers such that it creates a "good experience" for the player.
However, I handled it by doing something I called "Balancing for the next event". In the game, there are choices and events as the player progress 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
The thing I learned about game balancing is that the word "balance" is a big lie. One needs to consider the experience that the player will have when adjusting these numbers. Even if, in principle, the weight of the choices is spread evenly, the numbers need to connect with the narrative aspect of the game (for the case of Suzerain). 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.
Above is the overview design I used to pitch the content of the scene. Long story short, after I
wrote the scene with countless help and review from Ata and Rachel, our writers. I've finally
managed to complete the scene and it will be out in the next patch.
The Moment That Made 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, which is 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.