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Developing a Rogue-Lite Survival ARPG in Unity Using Spatial SDK

The developer of Crowgue, an indie rogue-lite survival action RPG, has shared with us how they worked on this project using Unity-powered Spatial SDK for the Wolves Den game jam, from production to preparing the pitch.


Hi! I’m the developer of Crowgue and a part of Shroudy Software. We’ve developed a variety of horror and game jam games, such as Thomas the Shank Engine, Executable Education, CROPPED, and more in our free time. I work full-time in indie game development, on For the King 2 for Iron Oak Games, and have worked on other projects like Lego (Lego Movie 2/Ninjago), and DC Super Pets.

The Decision to Join Wolves Den

Initially, I learned about it via videos and ads (Barji/Itch), but didn’t decide to pull the trigger until a coworker brought it up and I thought I’d give it a shot! I find game jams a good opportunity to think outside the box and provide a good constraint on practicing scope and delivering an MVP. 

Im very passionate about indie development and will jump at the opportunity to make a game. But meeting and talking with the judges, as well as getting funding to make a more flushed-out game is something I didnt want to pass up! I was sitting on this concept for a while as one of many crazy ideas, and the Wolves Den jam seemed like a great fit for the concept. Its a great opportunity to showcase a game, as well as get feedback. Ive been a fan of Barjis videos and was really excited that I was chosen by him to be a finalist. It was a lot of personal pressure as I wanted to deliver and theres a bit of competitive drive that helped fuel the developments and late nights grinding away in Unity.

First Use and Benefits of Spatial

This was my first opportunity to get my hands on Spatial’s SDK. I don’t have a lot of experience with building for WebGL. So, this was a good chance to get my hands wet. Spatial made it a lot easier to focus on development and let their platform handle the rest.

There are a ton of features that I didn’t get to try out due to time constraints, but there are plenty of tools and features that natively tie into the Spatial platform. The support is top-notch, and the updates are impressive and consistent which is always exciting from a developers point of view, as reliability and support of a platform helps keep development moving.

About the Crowgue Project

Crowgue is a rogue-lite survival action RPG with sword-building mechanics. We have a lot of crows where I live, and they tend to be pretty creative. One in particular — Canuck the Crow, ended up stealing a knife from a crime scene. Its a concept I found so bizarre that I wanted to take it a step further and think … “But then what?”

I also love games like the Katamari series, dungeon crawlers, and games that use procedural generation. So, I decided to incorporate a bit of each into the core gameplay, while using a light plot (since this is a game jam) to entice the dungeon delving. There are also some touches inspired by Delicious in Dungeon where the floors in dungeons can even be towns. Unfortunately, we had to cut some features by the jam deadline, such as shopping and cooking but left some of the core functionality in if I want to expand on that in the future. All we knew at the time was that we wanted it to be chaotic and crazy.

Production Procedure

Production was planned in a few phases. In the first round, I was trying to produce a playable prototype, demonstrating the core sword-building mechanic, as well as the dungeon generation for scalability. The idea was to demonstrate that I could scale up to a decent game jam prototype given the time and (ideally) funding. From there we started organizing ideas via Trello.

After we made it past the first round, I was able to bring in some talented artists and pals: a 2D Artist Sleepy Stardrops, music from Strawberry Shark, writing from Jaime, and modeling from Harry and Jess. We roughly planned what was needed early as implementation was the main concern.

As music/3D was delivered early, I worked closely with my 2D Artist to deliver as much as possible to align with what I promised in the first round — mainly chaos. The scope contracted and expanded as we hit various hurdles, and a lot hit the cutting floor. We focused on delivering the base game with the mechanics we needed, rather than trying to get every mechanic in with missing functionality.

Additionally, it was important that we got constant feedback through the builds and process. I think we probably built around 130 times with playtesting in nearly every build. It was a grind but a lot of fun!

Unity and Spatial

Unity and Spatial blend together really well. With Spatials SDK, most of the tools I needed were natively integrated, and there was either documentation or quick support via Discord that accelerated development and testing. I had to rebuild some parts of my game to support WebGL limitations within Spatials platform, but that was expected, and I was able to leverage some fun features before the deadline, such as badges (achievements) and currency.

I think for developers starting up, who want to get started in game development, or seasoned developers will have an easy time getting started with Spatial and Unity. One of the biggest features that Spatial has is auto-compliance tools and the ability to rectify the issue from their tool. Its really handy!

About the Pitch

I wrote out a pitch a few times and practiced with a couple of friends. It took more than a few recordings to get it right, and I decided to splice in some shots of gameplay to illustrate the game Im talking about, as well as demonstrate that its a functional game.

I think it’s important that creators and developers pitch their product with a plan on how they’re going to execute the finished product, as well as have clear and concise plans to hit milestones or deadlines along the way. Being confident in your product is really important, but as a base for that, you should be happy with what you’re working on as well!


My experience with UGC comes from a lot of time spent with GMod, CS (ZM, Surf, etc.), and various mods along the way and I love supporting that content. But personally, I don’t have a lot of experience with web-based gaming UGC. 

After dipping my toes in, I think that there’s a ton of potential with cross-game implementation, economy, and branding. A lot of games can benefit from using platforms like Spatial. Being able to develop simultaneously for web, phone, and VR takes a huge burden off of development teams, and the tools provided enable rapid development.

Shroudy Software

Interview conducted by Arti Sergeev

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