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Psychohazard – Player Controls & Mind Controlled Enemies

Overview of Game:

Psychohazard is a top-down, turn-based strategy game where you assume the role of an alien monster imprisoned aboard a spaceship. Utilizing your unique ability to control the ship’s inhabitants, you must navigate through challenges and obstacles to secure your freedom.


  • Allow players to select from a diverse array of abilities.
  • Offer players three distinct abilities: melee combat, mind control infection, and consumption.
  • Provide designers with the flexibility to assign custom sets of abilities and weaponry to characters.
  • Enable players to assert control over enemies through a compelling mind control effect.
  • Grant players the unique ability to utilize enemy skills during their allies’ turns, adding depth to gameplay tactics.


  • Engage in collaborative brainstorming sessions with the team to generate innovative ideas.
  • Incorporate valuable insights from playtesting data and iterative cycles to refine the game mechanics.
  • Advance to the prototype stage, where concepts are transformed into tangible experiences.
  • Seamlessly integrate the polished features into the final version of the game.

1. Brainstorming with team.

In collaboration with the design team, we aim to integrate the player abilities seamlessly into the game’s UI, drawing inspiration from the immersive computer interface of “Alien: Isolation.” Our vision includes dynamic animations and ethereal overlays, and signaling moments when players can control enemies. The UI will serve as both a functional tool and a visual spectacle, enhancing immersion and player agency.

Below is an example of the initial ability system I devised, enabling seamless integration of any ability for player use.

2. Feedback from playtesting data and iteration.

Following the completion of the gray box stage, the design team conducted thorough playtests, uncovering several critical issues:

  • Inability for players to utilize enemy abilities during their turns. Solution: By deactivating the enemy’s AI and activating the player controller script on the mind-controlled enemy, we addressed this issue, ensuring smooth gameplay mechanics.
  • Lack of clarity regarding mind-controlled enemies.
    Solution: Collaborating with the designers and artists, we implemented a visual indicator by altering the token appearance of mind-controlled enemies, giving them a distinct red background to match the player’s token, enhancing player understanding and strategic decision-making.

3. Refinement to prototype stage.

Following iteration and playtesting, the movement mechanics were finished and the integration of finalized assets, including sounds and character assets. The addition of these exceptional elements truly breathed life into the game, elevating its immersive experience to new heights.

Below is a snapshot of the player’s active turn.

Here’s a snapshot of an enemy’s active turn.

4. Final integration into the game.

As we neared the end of our development journey, the final integration into the game marks the culmination of our hard work and dedication. We’ve poured our hearts into every aspect of the game, from coding to design, to create an immersive experience.

we’re excited to share our creation with the world. We hope players feel the same excitement and passion we’ve put into making the game as they embark on their adventure. To leave off here is a video of the finished combat system.

Psychohazard Combat Example

The Awesome Team!

Allora ScottLevel/Character Artist

Aria FulanComposer/SFX

Carolyn ClarksonUI Artist

Contessa RivailLevel/Weapons Designer

Dustin KeplingerTechnical Lead & Gameplay Programmer

Macie WhiteSystems Programmer

Thomas Brownlee AI Programmer

Will PritzProducer & UI/AI Programmer