Thomas Iu

Game Designer




Those Dam Beavers!

beavers_01 beavers_02


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Those Dam Beavers! Design Document

Those Dam Beavers! is an XNA game I made with a team during a Game Jam for UC Irvine Video Game Developers Club. My team had to make a game in one week based on the theme of "pressure."

This is an action game in which the player is a woodpecker that must avoid beaver attacks while trying to destroy their dam. The player can fly to escape beavers, but is vulnerable to attack when climbing on the dam to peck at it. Beavers will repair damaged parts of the dam and chase the player.

I was a game designer and producer on this game.

My Work On This Game:

  • Collaborated with design team to design game

  • Managed development team to create game in 1 week

  • Designed player's attack to create persistent hazards for both enemy and player, encouraging players to be mindful of making the level more difficult through their attacks

  • Designed different enemy types to support each other, motivating the player to learn their support relationships to defeat them

  • Wrote documentation specifying game design

  • Wrote player instruction text

  • Cooperated with programming, art, and audio teams to implement features


I was a designer and producer for this project and designed much of the gameplay. I co-authored the design document with designer Joshua Fulmer. I managed the team as a whole during development, delegating responsibility and keeping track of progress. I also specifically directed the work of the art and audio team while Lead Programmer Tony Huynh managed and trained the programming team.

My idea for this was as a skirmishing game, in which the player has to wisely choose when and where to hit and run. Much of the strategy lies in first understanding the reason for attack before deciding the target. The player woodpecker has the advantage of mobility, but is disadvantaged in direct combat since there is no direct way for the woodpecker to attack the beavers.

One concept I wanted to develop with this game was the idea that players would make the game harder for themselves through their own actions, rather than having some behind-the-scenes game mechanic to scale up the difficulty. The enemies do not stronger or more numerous as the player progresses. Instead, the player's attacks on the dam create hazards that impede the woodpecker's flight, reducing the player's mobility advantage.

This game also reflects my interest in RPG design. I wanted the beavers to support each other like members of a squad or adventuring party. The fast and aggressive security beaver keeps chasing the player away and buys time for the worker beaver to do massive healing to the dam. The overseer beavers buff all nearby beavers, increasing both move speed and repair ability.