Hero Factory is a simple character creation game where players work at a protagonist factory that must craft characters to fulfill orders. Players must design a character’s outfit based on the stats that a customer wants, and they will receive wacky postcards from their creations depending on if the order is successful or not.
Role: Solo Developer
Development Cycle: April 2019
Team Size: 1
Purpose: Systems design course
Target Platform: PC
In my Systems Design course, I was tasked with rapidly prototyping 3 different game systems focused on physicality, strategy and logic, and altered states/immersion. For the third of those projects, I wanted to create a game fully focused on character creators in games, as there was a lot of fun to be had in the freedom of character creation, but it lacked a certain direction that I felt could be gamified.
Players begin by choosing an order from a customer and deciphering what traits they are looking for. From there, the player has a whole wardrobe of clothing to cycle through and make an outfit that fits those traits. Submitting a correct order will unlock more clothing for the player to use. The player is sent a postcard of their character succeeding or failing within their game world that corresponds to the order success, so that players can see how their creations fare.
The system ended up becoming a really fun balance between structure and freedom as players felt like the game definitely gave them direction but didn’t force their hand to create anything they wouldn’t care about. Players loved getting postcards of the characters they’d made, and would even pass or fail an order based on what postcard outcome they wanted.
The major lesson I picked up from this system was how much a lot of players love just to create. Most games I design are specifically tailored to create a certain experience for the player, but giving people a loose set of goals and lots of tools to play around with is just as valid of a strategy, especially with how many creative players there are.