Smeaton’s Tower Of Greed

Is your friendship stronger than your greed?

Smeaton’s Tower Of Greed is a multiplayer arcade game in which players must climb Smeaton’s Tower, helping eachother to collect as much treasure as possible, whilst also in direct competition. As my final year project at university, it had to link in with my dissertation, showcase some technical skills picked up from the course and serve as an exhibition piece in our final year show.

 

Prisoner’s dilemma

Each player is trying to collect the most treasure to get on the high scores leaderboard. The game ends when both players have died, but players can revive their partner by sacrificing half of their current treasure. Each time their partner dies, players are faced with a tough decision; keep playing and hope they can get a highscore, or revive their friend so they have a “safety net” if they die.

 

Real-time influences

An enjoyable module on my course was the Real Time module. I implemented some of the practices learned from this module in STOG to make sure the game is different every time it’s played. The infinite level that gets created as the players climb the tower is moulded by weather and foot-traffic data taken from the real Smeaton’s Tower located on Plymouth Hoe. The game also tracks how players are moving in the real-world as they play and in-game characters have a shared “energy” to the player. This means moving around whilst playing will drain your energy and make your character tired – causing them to run slower and jump lower.

 

Creating the cabinet

Due to this project being showcased in a physical space, I had to create a fitting display. Local multiplayer games in a public place always feel that little bit more fun in an arcade cabinet (in my opinion), and a classic SNES-style controller instead of a typical arcade cabinet control panel would make the game easily accessible for players of all heights. I honestly cannot stress enough how tough it was creating this cabinet on such a low budget and in such a short time-frame whilst working on other projects. Seeing it stood up in all its glory was an incredibly satisfying moment.

 

Result

Players were flocking around the cabinet. I watched a crowd of players waiting for over an hour to have a go on the game and they’d all return over the course of the show to play again. The energy when people played was excellent; a lot of laughing and friendly sabotage… which is something I hadn’t planned on! Once players discovered moving around would drain the character’s energy, they would start shoving their friends to sabotage them if they wouldn’t revive them – it was excellent! Overall I think the project went really well – although every aspect could have done with a lot more polish that I couldn’t achieve with the time and money constraints of university.