The Hand That Feeds Devlog: The Beginning!

The Hand That Feeds Dev Blog: The Beginning of a New Game

Hello everyone and welcome to The Hand That Feeds. So far we are in the beginning development stages so currently we are working on fleshing out a lot of the concepts for the game and what we are trying to build.

That being said we have had about a week of full development. But we have completed a lot in that time. The first task that was completed was the paper prototype of the game. The main thing that I wanted to test here was seeing if players used their health as a resource and I wanted to emulate the beat em up style we are going for.

We had players run through the dungeon above. The dungeon had three different types of enemies a light enemy, a heavy enemy, and a boss at the end of the stage. Players had a sword in front of them to show direction and would simply say attack to attack.

We also had a metronome in the background that indicated when the players could move. At the tick of each metronome the player and enemies could move. We set the movement up like this so we could mildy emulate a real time movement without the pace of the game being too fast. This allowed players to have a bit more time to think and plan out their actions.  

Above is a look at the abilities that we had in the game. Players could spend their health to do certain abilities. Each ability had a range, a health cost, and damage. We also played with utility over damage in the abilities to see how that would feel to players.

Playtest Results:

Forms response chart. Question title: How much did you enjoy the game?. Number of responses: 13 responses.

The overall response to the game was good but there is definite room for improvement

Forms response chart. Question title: How often did you use your health for abilities?. Number of responses: 13 responses.

Something that I was happy to see was that players weren’t afraid to use their abilities even with the health cost. Some people didn’t use them at all but an overall majority used them at least sometimes.

Forms response chart. Question title: How much damage did you take from enemies during the playtest?. Number of responses: 13 responses.

One thing that I do think could use improvement are the enemies within the paper prototype. We had a team member control the “AI” of the enemies so he could only control so many at one time. In a beat em up style of game more enemies usually means there is more challenge. I feel our playtest lacked the enemy management of normal beat em up games but emulated the style of beat em up well. A lot of players who understood the combat could successfully beat most enemies without taking damage.

Potential Suggestions and Improvements to the Game

  • Enemies that give health
  • Making sure players know health is used when they use an ability
  • Enemies that have a shield that break only if you use an ability
  • Make it so the boss can’t be stunned or knocked back
  • Start off the player with fewer abilities and gain more later
  • Small health return when defeating an enemy
  • Having a powerful ability that does a lot of damage but takes a large amount of health

As far as digital development we are in progress of starting the game currently and we have a lot of concept art being pushed out for environments, characters, enemies, etc.

Below is an initial concept sketch that is being done for the Cherry Blossom Courtyard level to give the environmental feel that we want.

Concept Art

Here is a look at a sketch for potential modular pieces for the courtyard level to help the modeling team in building the modular assets.

We also had concept done for the main sword for the main character in the game. We are continuing on with the left most color scheme. The idea of the sword is that it’s sentient and alive so we wanted a more organic lively feeling sword.

We have also started potential enemy concepts. Here is a look at the melee enemy that we are looking at creating. The idea is that if we have enemies without humanoid legs and make them more floating like, then we can move them without having to do animations. We currently only have one animator so having her focus on the main character’s animations is going to be our main priority.

Here is a look at the enemy concept in a sketch

We also have our main character concept. I wanted to go for a more mysterious main character with cloak and cloth elements. Hopefully when he is modeled and put in engine we can just use physics on the cloak instead of animating it.

Lastly for concept art we have some UI elements within the game such as the combo meter overhead healthbars and the main dock that shows you your health potentially a berserk meter and abilities.

Level Design

As well as working on the paper prototype level design is also working on some annotated maps for the game.

Here is a look an annotated map for the dungeon level of the game. This is the first version of this and I just got to take a look at it, so it is subject to change however it does give a good idea of the layout of the levels and what they could contain.

Here is a look at the annotated map for the Cherry Blossom courtyard as well. Much like I said before these aren’t final but gives a good idea of what the overall level can be.

We have also had some planning stages of the programming as well. Programming went through and started their pseudo code for the game loop to give an idea on how they were going to program aspects of the game.

Programming has also started the base character controller as well as creating interactable objects, and working on enemy pathing.

The cylinder in the pictures above is the “enemy” and using navmeshes we are able to make him path up and around things. The enemy will navigate around anything in his path. Currently we are working on him breaking from the path if the player alerts the enemy.


Our Modeler took these concepts and created a model based off of it. You can see the fully modeled sword below.

The modeling team is currently working on modular assets for both the dungeon and courtyard level so we can start building levels ASAP. Here is a look at some of them!


Lastly, Animation is gathering reference, conceptualizing animation sketches, and learning how to prep animations for unity.

Here as a look at some of the references we are looking at:

There are all the updates on The Hand That Feeds so far! I look forward to posting our progress further! 


The Hand That Feeds Team

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