Zoomageddon: combining a popular genre bullet-heaven with base-building

Co-founder, game design, art director, pixel artist
Duration & Timeline
3 months, Q4 2023
Product & Platform
Zoomageddon is a survival top down shooter game with animal characters and challenging combat gameplay combined with base-building. This is one of my project in Apple Developer Academy.
Project Type
Game Design
Game Art
Indie Game
Action Shooter
Project Background

Creating a game that’s unique and profitable

We’re a team of long time gamer and we wanted to create a game. But not just a game, the game has to be unique and can penetrate through competitive market. Our passion for games fuels our desire to create something truly unique and profitable. As long-time gamers ourselves, we understand the intricacies and nuances that make a game truly engaging and addictive. This deep understanding allows us to tap into the desires and motivations of players, crafting experiences that resonate with them on a personal level.

Beyond just understanding players, our own passion for games drives us to push boundaries and explore innovative concepts. We're not content with simply replicating existing formulas; we're driven to create something new and exciting that challenges the status quo. This dedication to innovation is crucial in today's competitive gaming market, where players are constantly seeking out fresh and engaging experiences.

Thinking Foundation

Using MDA Framework

The Mechanics-Dynamics-Aesthetics (MDA) framework is a tool used to analyze games. It formalizes the consumption of games by breaking them down into three components: Mechanics, Dynamics and Aesthetics. These three words have been used informally for many years to describe various aspects of games, but the MDA framework provides precise definitions for these terms and seeks to explain how they relate to each other and influence the player's experience.

Types of core aesthetics, including but not limited to the following eight stated:

  • Sensation (Game as sense-pleasure): Player enjoys memorable audio-visual effects.
  • Fantasy (Game as make-believe): Imaginary world.
  • Narrative (Game as drama): A story that drives the player to keep coming back
  • Challenge (Game as obstacle course): Urge to master something. Boosts a game's replayability.
  • Fellowship (Game as social framework): A community where the player is an active part of it. Almost exclusive for multiplayer games.
  • Discovery (Game as uncharted territory): Urge to explore game world.
  • Expression (Game as self-discovery): Own creativity. For example, creating character resembling player's own avatar.
  • Submission (Game as pastime): Connection to the game, as a whole, despite constraints.
Market Analysis

How do we create a game that’s unique in the market but also has profit opportunities?

We try to analyze some of the game in the market that’s really successfull and try to make decision based on that. The feasiblity scoring are rated from Profitability, Uniqueness, Design Difficulties, and Technical Difficulties. Since we also have limited human resources, we have to keep in mind of especially Design Difficulties, and Technical Difficulties. Here are the summaries of our analysis:

Main Inspiration & Genre

Source of inspiration and deciding on our main genre

Bullet-Heaven Genre

Reverse bullet hell, also known as "reverse shoot-'em-up" or "bullet heaven," flips the script on the traditional bullet hell genre. Instead of dodging a relentless onslaught of enemy projectiles, the player controls a character who fires those projectiles at enemies. The goal is to strategically weave through enemy formations and unleash devastating attacks while avoiding their counterattacks. Here are some key characteristics of reverse bullet hell:

Focus on offense

Unlike traditional bullet hell where dodging takes center stage, reverse bullet hell puts the emphasis on attacking strategically. Players actively control the flow of projectiles, requiring precise aiming and timing to maximize damage and defeat enemies.


Dynamic enemy formations

Enemies often move in complex patterns, creating intricate bullet formations that require careful maneuvering to navigate. Players need to adapt their attack patterns on the fly to exploit enemy weaknesses and avoid getting overwhelmed.

Unique power-ups and abilities

Reverse bullet hell games often feature power-ups and abilities that enhance the player's offensive capabilities. These can range from widening the spread of your shots to creating temporary bullet shields, offering players strategic choices to tackle different challenges.

Overall, reverse bullet hell offers a unique and exhilarating gaming experience by flipping the traditional bullet hell formula on its head. It's a genre that rewards strategic thinking, quick reflexes, and an aggressive playstyle.

Vampire Survivor, an addicting but challenging gameplay for casual players

Vampire Survivors is a gothic horror casual game with roguelike elements, developed and published by indie developer poncle. Released in late 2022, the game quickly gained popularity for its simple yet addictive gameplay and minimalistic graphics. Vampire survivors can be classified as bullet-heaven genre. We drew our main inspiration from this game.

Base-building as sub-genre that makes our games different from the rest of bullet-heaven games

The base-building genre, also known as "construction and management simulation" or "city-building games," refers to video games where the primary focus is on designing, constructing, and managing a base or settlement. Players typically start with limited resources and gradually expand their base, gathering resources, managing production chains, and fending off threats. In addition to Vampire Survivors, we also have several inspirations such as:

Determining our Unique Value Propositions

Bullet-heaven meets base-building with cute animals characters

After a lot of discussions, we decided to try to combine Vampire Survivor’s Bulllet Heaven aspect with Forager’s and/or Cult of the lamb Base-building aspect. Here are our core game design:

Core Aesthetics

The Game Aesthetics of our game are Challenge, because the player will need to be challenged to survive the unrelenting hordes of enemies and get better at recognizing each gameplay mechanics to progress through the game.


Core Dynamics

  • Kill enemies: Kill wave of enemies and evade their attacks
  • Get stronger: Survive the enemy wave by killing them and getting stronger
  • Build Base: Expand your base so you can get more chances to survive.

Game Pillars

  • Satisfying/Addicting Progression: Our games aims to deliver satisfaction from the sense of progression to the player.
  • Rich Possibility: Our game let the player explore upgrade combinations that allow them to customize their playstyles.
  • Relentless Chaos: Embrace the infinite waves of enemies and projectiles, where strategic maneuvering are crucial for survival.
Core Game Loop

Game loop that combines bullet-heaven with base-building

A core game loop is a series of actions that players repeat throughout a game. It's the central gameplay mechanic that players engage in to progress. Our game loop featured 2 cycle, bullet-heaven and base-building

Vertical Slice

Design Showcase

In game development, a vertical slice is a fully playable portion of a game that demonstrates the developer's intended player experience. It's a small but complete representation of what the game will be like. A vertical slice is meant to look and play as close to the final game as possible. Check our short demo here (only on TestFlight MacOS for now)

Title Screen UI
Main Stage & Game Interfaces
Mini Map UI
Build Base Screen UI
Building - Lab Screen UI
Game Over Screen UI
Weapon Showcase - Oyen Gun
Skill Showcase - Toxic Aura
Skill Showcase - Spooky Skull
Skill Showcase - Fireball
Tech & Design Stack

Tools used on this project

Wanna be starting something?

Are you searching for a designer who not only understands the importance of design but also its impact on your business? I'm currently seeking new opportunities and would love to discuss how my multidisciplinary approach can elevate your projects. Reach out to me and explore the possibilities.