Zolo.blog

I'm Zoltán Matók, a freelance iOS engineer.

Dogfight Unleashed

A zany, tactical card game about dogfighting dogs, flying WW I era biplanes

Dogfight is a unique game that mixes cards driven gameplay with a tactical map which makes it a fun light chaos management game that emulates the acrobatic nature of WW I era dogfights. Dogfight has a beautiful, vintage art style with a zany, light-hearted theme where it's dogs that are doing the dogfighting, using cats as decoys, balloon suspended anti-air batteries, pigeon grenades, doggy treats and more.

(very early version, board and models are placeholders)

Players use cards to maneuver around each other and try to line up shots. Turns are quick, consisting of moving your airplane, turning, firing, influencing the wind and using special moves (mentioned above), all activated by cards. The more damaged your airfract is, the more powerful special cards you can play. Clouds also play a role in combat as players can try and shake enemy fighters off their backs by flying into clouds (and neither they, nor their opponent can see one another). Won Best artwork and placed 2nd in the Wargame category on BGG in 2014.








Game Design Document

Overview

In Dogfight, players control their fighter craft on a 2D, hexagonal plain and deploy various things to try and down the enemy airplane(s). Players interact with the game exclusively using cards, of which the player has only 5 at any given time and they are dealt randomly (but from a pre-defined deck). Even movement is dictated by cards. In addition to playing the card for its effect, certain numbers of cards can be discarded to do a basic action (2 for turning, 3 for firing, 4 for changing wind direction).

There are situations where players don't have optimum hand and have to make do with what they have, manage the chaos to get on top, and make decisions about what maneuvers to take, what cards to combine and play and what cards to hold on to, for later.

It's a dog's life in the skies, so in addition to "standard" dogfighting, players can deploy various "surprises" like cats on kites as decoys, balloon suspended batteries, pigeon grenades and more to mess with their opponents.

Wind and clouds also play a role. Aircrafts drift an additional space in the current direction the wind is blowing at after moving and players can hide in clouds to shake opponents. Clouds can be deployed (along with lightning) and are also spawned randomly and float in from the edge of the map, according to wind direction.

Platforms

For iOS & Android. Switch, PC, Mac later. The game is built in UDK to make porting it to other platforms easier.

Game modes

Dogfight is for 2-4 players. Playable in either online multiplayer through invites and automatic, skill-matched matchmaking and in hotseat mode, on the same device. Game modes include:

Possible game modes, depending on funding:

Mechanics

Each player draws five cards from the deck and the game begins. Cards are used to control your plane and to some extent - the battlefield. Players can take actions by playing or discarding cards. Each airplane starts with 5 hit points. The first player to make their enemy’s hit points reach zero, wins.

In your turn:

The 5 types of actions

On the board

Art

Dogfight has a beautiful, clean, vintage art stlye with anthropomorphic dogs as pilots. The art invokes the years around the first World War and the birth of flight, and planes are bi- and triplanes.

The current footage depicts a very early version of the game.
While the game is in 2D, gameplay objects like the airplanes, clouds, the balloon artillery and so on will be rendered in 3D.

Visuals will be crafted in a way that the pieces of the game are emphasized nicely against both the backdrop of a dimmed countryside, sea shore or other landscapes beneath the action as well as the board itself.

Dogfight has a streamlined, highly accessible, gesture driven user interface, that makes it easy and pleasant for anyone to play the game. The UI also makes the artwork pop, foregoing obtrusive indicators, buttons and numbers. Status indicators like damage will be woven into the game world itself, opting to show an increasing amount of smoke coming from the airplane rather than showing it with numbers and labels.

Audience & marketing

Dogfight's customers are gamers who like tactical combat and/or card games, aviation fans interested in semi-casual games and people with a preference for artistic games. The quirky, humorous art appeals to a wide range of audiences, and helps spread the game.

I plan to use Discord to grow and nurture a fan base, with discussions about new builds as the development progresses, tactics discussios, brainstorming, organizing online events, bug reports (Bugs breed quickly, down there in the dark. But perhaps, we can slay them even faster.) or feature requests for the so inclined.

I'll chat up influencers in the topic, as influencer marketing seems to be the most cost-effective way (I realized that during XPO's development). Along with an active Twitter account with humorous tweets reacting to topics in aviation in between updates on the development of the gane. Apart from that, I'll be reaching out to online magazines, TheGamer.com is already set to publish a preview (coming soon)

Business model & funding

I have entered into a contract with the game's original designer, János Décsei to grant me a license to develop the digital version of the app and for János to get 20% of the total revenue for 5 years after release.

I plan to release the game for $10 with a free trial (I'm not a fan of the race to the bottom pricing on the App Store). I'm seeking $24,000 to make the base game and the first expansion - Look who's barking.

I estimate the development time to be about 12 months.
The game will be made in UDK which will make it easy to port it to different platforms (Android, Swithc, PC, Mac).

I have two additional funding targets in mind:

Challenge mode - $28,000
The Challenge mode would set players up in fixed scenarios with the task of taking down the enemy plane using specific cards and a limited amount of turns.

Story mode - $34,000
Shape your own story, defeat enemy aces, overcome dogged resistance. Players will be able to make important choices during an engaging story campaign and meet different canines. Dogfight will either feature one longer story or multiple shorter ones with differing mood and atmosphere.