Jack Zackowitz
Game guy and Designer

Paranormal Puzzle League was my first big developer contract. It draws its inspiration from the arcade puzzle games of old (specifically SNK's “Money Idol exchanger”) but included a cast of different fighters with different abilities to both support themselves and disrupt their opponent. The coins in PPL are matched together to be combined into the next denomination coin, creating the potential for long chain reactions.

I was initially given a design document containing the general gameplay rules, descriptions for characters and their abilities. I started out with constructing the base game, where i quickly found out that there wasn't nearly enough detail in the initial document. I followed the document as close as I could and used my game design knowledge to fill the gaps, and asked the client for clarification on the rest. I documented all of solutions I had made in the version notes, including the issues not known to the client.

What was almost absent from the design document was user interface details. Various resources, timers, and scores were all described in the document, but few wireframes were provided. Here, I also used my UX design intuition to create effective UI, transitions, and navigation which I would later document to my client.

The most difficult tasks in the project were the character's abilities. Some abilities served as minor distractions while others changed entire rules of the game, but the challenge lay in the interactions of these abilities. Some offensive abilities directly counteracted defensive abilities of others (such as preventing new rows on your own board vs. adding new rows to your opponent's board). In these situations I attempted to solve the problem both ways, just in case the client decided to change it one way or another through playtesting.

Currently PPL is finished, but unpolished and unreleased.