I went through a lot of concepts for the avoid and collect game before settling on my idea to have asteroids rain from the sky that players would have to avoid. For the pickups, I decided to have crystals that spawn when the asteroid collides with the ground. The crystals decrease in value over time until their value becomes zero and they disappear.
I created the prototype in Unity and originally it was going to be 2D, however there were issues with getting the colliders to work. The issue was that the collision area didnt make sense when applied to a two dimensional plane, so I switched to 3D very early on. I then made the camera isometric to try and capture the 2D aesthetic. The player can freely move around the play area as the metors fall to avoid them and pickup crystals.
To solve the meteor spawning, I create two sets of grids. one for the ground and one for the meteor spawning. A random number generator spawns a meteor, and it randomly assigns a floor grid location for the meteor to travel to.
The gems are spawned when the meteor reaches its target floor location. This then starts a countdown where the gem slowly loses its value until it is destroyed.
The meteors themselve were not providing enough of a challenge. To counter this I added fire that could be spawned instead of a gem. This helped to create a more challenging play area.
One of the big problems I had was that the isometric view made depth perception incredibly difficult, so players were finding it hard to gauge where meteors were going to land. In an attempt to solve this I made the meteors cast shadows on the ground, however this didnt help the depth perception either. In the end I have drawn a line from the meteor to the ground to show its relative postion. I tried drawing a line its destination, but this only confused players.
THOUGHTS AND CONCLUSIONS
I have had a lot of difficulty finding the fun in this prototype. On paper it sounds like it should be play well, but the actual gameplay loop seems to be lacking. I also do not think that the isometric camera is a good fit, but could not find a decent way to use a perspective camera without meteors obscuring the players view of the play area.
If I were to continue on this project, I would strip it right back to the core concept, and then look at creating a completely different game from it.