Video Games

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Dinosaurs with Guns – Abridged Design Doc (so far)

I haven’t had much time to draw in the last couple weeks, as I have been working on the project management for the game. This week, I threw together our strongest and most-likely-to-reach-production ideas into one document. All of that is within the spoiler block. Here’s a brief summation of the content within those walls:
6 playable characters
7 bosses
9.5 stages
9 weapons
4 people on the team so far

Again, anything can change from here until release.
There is a ton of information in here, and most of it was copied directly from the document, so there are some formatting issues. Pictures are at the bottom. Enjoy!


Basic Story

A meteor made of guns impacts 65million BC Earth, raining weaponry down around the globe.

The natural order of life takes place and those with the biggest guns reign and affect the course of evolution.

The player is on a mission to kill the biggest things and acquire the biggest guns, even if that takes them through time.



A side-scrolling shooter, Dinosaurs with Guns hearkens back to games like Contra and Metal Slug, with numerous contemporary game features added into the mix such as a combo system, RPG elements, and
It will have a large focus on the combat system, and over-the-top boss fights. The game is largely a love letter to action games of yesteryear while maintaining a unique style of its own.

Local co-op is mandatory.

Online co-op will be considered.



These design pillars are referenced for every addition and change to the game.

Resonance – what moments can we give the player that will stay in their mind after they have stopped playing? “Wow” moments that defy player expectations.

Engagement – the game should be constantly moving. There is no slow down for cutscenes or dialog trees. Keep the player engaged and contributing to the action of the game. If something cool happens, the player should be in control.

Replayability – Keep the player coming back again and again, always working towards new experiences.



Playable characters are divided into two classes, based on their anatomy that affects the rig/animations. They both walk upright, but the digitigrade dinosaurs have shorter arms and different leg joints. They all play the same.













A raptor who runs the item shop. She is remarkably vapid, yet she is quite the looker, by dinosaur standards.



Doc Beige

He presses the buttons in the future.



Many enemies will be recycled models with different textures or accessories attached to keep the art workload reasonable.

Unarmed Dino

They often don’t want business with you. They can’t defend themselves and are easy gun fodder. Aesthetics vary.

Novice Dino

They have guns but are terrible shots. Aesthetics vary.


Saw Tooth

A dinosaur with chainsaws for teeth.




As the apocalypse approaches, desperation has led the Megalodon to attack on land and water.



A half-digested Spinosaurus inside the belly of the Megalodon. In pain, partially blind and confused, he attacks anything that gets close.



A gigantic Anklyosaurus decked out in heavy artillery. Held up by clusters of Pterodactyls, he is used as an airship for other, smaller, yet still very angry marauding dinosaurs.



Rift Beast

A dinosaur modified beyond recognition all in the name of science. Has regenerative health and controls localized time rifts. Can never truly die. Allows the player to travel through time upon its defeat.





A dinosaur using an experimental wing mechanism and a flame thrower attachment.


Rift Beast Redux

A fight through time with the Rift Beast defending its evolution. Each time period you are warped to correlates with a previous stage in the game and with each new time period, the Rift Beast emerges further from the ground, changing its attack pattern.


Rift Beast Complete

The final evolution of the Rift Beast. The climactic battle takes place in space, from Earth to the outside of the solar system.




Combo Gauge

When the player attacks an enemy, whether it be via projectile weaponry, inventory items, or melee strikes, a combo gauge is started. From the moment of initiation, the gauge drains towards zero. For each attack that finds its target after the combo has been started, the gauge continues to build. When the combo gauge reaches 100%, the value restarts and one multiplier digit is added to the score of the current combo. Continue attacking and the gauge will continue reach 100%, adding 1 to the multiplier each time. Allowing the gauge to drop to 0% will negate an multipliers and return the player to x1.

The multiplier effects the amount of EP the player earns for each kill.

Inventory items immediately boost the combo gauge 2x and leaves the enemy in a vulnerable state.

With the proper equipment, entire stages can be chained


EP (Evolution Points)

Evolution points function as experience points. The player performs certain feats throughout stages and is rewarded with EP to level up themselves and their weapons.

Ways to accumulate Evolution Points

  • defeating standard enemies
  • encountering bosses for the first time
  • defeating bosses
  • finding secrets
  • performing special per-level requirements

Evolution Points can buy:

  • accessories
  • character levels
  • weapon levels



All weapons have unlimited ammo and have three tiers. Each tier determines its overall effectiveness in areas of damage and rate of fire.

Every weapon also has a charge shot that deals extra damage, modifying the behavior of the gun, but takes time to fully charge.

The player chooses two weapons when they start a level or when they die. They can swap between these at any pint.

Assault Rifle

Fully Automatic weapon with average damage and high rate of fire

Charge shot – lobs a grenade



Medium damage but its spread helps build combos faster

Charge shot – heavy damage, less spread



A close proximity weapon that deals large amounts of damage but puts the user at risk.

Charge shot – fires off the drill bit.


Lightning gun

Weaker damage has a large spread

Charge shot – releases one strong arc of lightning that pierces multiple enemies.


Rocket Launcher

Heavy damage but slow rate of fire

Charge shot – cluster shot


Lava Gun

Fires a constant stream of lava in an arc for heavy damage at short distances.

Charge shot – exceedingly long charge time elicits a supremely powerful lava shot that burns through an entire line of standard enemies and deals very heavy damage to others.


Shield gun

Fires globs of protective substance that damages and slows enemies.

Charge shot – throws out a globular shelter to be used as a protective casing. Can withstand a set amount of damage or last 30 seconds, whichever comes first. Only one can be placed at a time.


Matter Gun

Fires matter-seeking lasers at enemies for medium damage

Charge shot – releases a miniature black hole, drawing matter towards it into a quantum singularity.


Compound Bow

More of a skill-based weapon, the compound bow fires arrows in an arc as fast as the player can press the button. Does not gain levels.

Charge shot – pierce multiple enemies



Carnivore – bite/headbutt

Herbivore – kick/tail


Inventory Items

Inventory items have limited quantity and give a 2x boost to your combo gauge.



Explosive weapon deals heavy damage.



Low, but lasting damage.


Bio-luminescent Goo

Doesn’t deal damage. Only illuminates where they are thrown.



Purely aesthetic items that the player can attach to their character between levels. They are unlocked by completing certain goals within stages or purchased with EP in the item shop.


Item Acquisition
Top Hat Item Shop
Monocle Item Shop
Mustache Item Shop
Unicorn horn Defeat the “Dragon”


Item Acquisition
Spike Shoulder Pads Defeat the Zeppelin


Item Acquisition
Flag Item Shop
Shark Fin Defeat the Megalodon
Essence of the Unicorn Clear Medieval without getting hit


Item Acquisition
Balloon Defeat Raptina
Bandage Item Shop


Stage 1 – Jungle

After the gun meteor collides with a volcano, weaponry is raining down in the planet and lava is flowing. Outrun the destruction while fighting off confused and unarmed dinosaurs and armed yet inept dinosaurs.

This stage functions as a tutorial stage, teaching the player the control and combat basics.

Careful control of scripted events will keep the level tense and action-packed for the player’s first exposure to the game.

Outrunning the devastation, the player traverses through the jungle towards a waterfall where the Megalodon or ATS (all-terrain shark) pursues the player down a slope to the bottom of the waterfall.

The slope leads into a cavern that was formed by the lava’s affect on the landscape.

Continue through the caverns to the light on the other side and the shoreline.

Boss: Megalodon


Stage 2 – Inside the Megalodon

Overly-confident in your own abilities to kill the Megalodon, you are eaten in a last-ditch effort by the Megalodon.

Light plays a large part in this level.

As the stage begins, the player immediately starts fighting the Megalodon from the inside. Avoid his teeth while shooting them out for cover. When the fight is over, the character is swallowed and enters the stomach. Here there is a lot of green light coming from a bio-luminescent organism that was previously eaten by the Megalodon. Use these organisms as a source of light deeper in the stage.

Boss: Indigestion


Stage 3 – Wastelands

The shark’s carcass protects you against the dinosaur apocalypse and the world is on fire in the aftermath of the meteor. Survive the Road Warrior-style marauding dinosaurs. They’re desperate for survival, but you have a bigger gun!

Boss: Zeppelin


Stage 4 – The Laboratory

A underground research facility that has seen better days. Introduction of various mutated dinosaur experiments and time rifts that show the facility at different time periods.

Boss: Rift Beast


Stage 5 – Ice Age

Put the mammals back in their place and ensure reptiles are the dominant species. Discover the frozen head of the Rift Beast.

Boss: ??


Stage6 – Medieval

Hop on the last unicorn and battle your way through the countryside and into the city hot on the heels of a “dragon”. Find that the populace has started to worship the Rift Beast head as a religious symbol. Tendrils have sprouted from the head and into the ground.

Boss: “Dragon”


Stage 7 – Victorian Steam Punk


Stage 8 – Modern Era (Shifting)

Time rifts are open all throughout the city as the Rift Beast continues to regain its power. Similar to the rifts in the laboratory, these are weak and only take the player to a different time period at the same location.

Hijack the dinosaur Statue of Liberty and tear through the city skyline.

Boss: ??


Stage 9 – Future

The Rift Beast has gained most of its strength back and has been quarantined. Break through the quarantine to make sure you kill the beast that cannot be killed. You clearly need more guns.

Boss: Rift beast Redux

Ride the Gun Meteor into space in pursuit of the escaping Rift Beast.

Boss: Rift Beast Complete



Gary Storkamp

Project Manager/Lead Designer/Concept Artist/3d Modeler/Texture Artist


Marc Balgobin

Concept Artist/3d Modeler/Texture Artist/Animator


Mark Müller

Level Designer


Fred Castonguay




And here are some concepts from Marc. He sketches out ideas, and I will go in and adapt them to the established style of the game.
An alternate take on Saw Tooth

Rift Beast Complete Concept 1

Rift Beast Complete Concept 2

Rift Beast Concept

Raptina Concept

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Update coming tomorrow night

Alicia and I decided to be social tonight and entertain some guests with a Mario Kart party/marathon. I’ll have the update ready for tomorrow night.

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