ROLES

PROJECT TYPE

DATE

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Gameplay Designer

Systems Designer

UX Designer

Creative Director

Team of 26

Unreal Engine 4

June 2020 - December 2021

Prototyping

Initial Prototype:

For this prototype, I created functionality for shooting three different projectile types, and an AoE region that slows the player and any projectiles within. This prototype was created to both practice using Unreal Engine, and to test early core functionality.

 
Pre-Production

Ethereal Form Prototype:

A player ability that makes the player disappear for a short duration or until the key is activated again, enemies are unaware of the player when they are performing this ability.

Tutorialization Implementation:

I built a fairly simple pop-up system where tooltips would pop-up on screen after the player entered specific "tooltip triggers", and once the player performed the action, then the tooltip would go away.

Accessibility Implementation:

I used http://gameaccessibilityguidelines.com/ as a reference for what types of accessibility options I could include. I didn't treat it as a checklist, but as more of a way to see common methods for accommodating for specific types of disabilities.

My main takeaways were:

  • Dynamic options for players with colorblindness, by allowing them to tint gameplay elements to better fit with their type of colorblindness.

  • Audio indicators for deaf players, allowing them to have access to the same audio signifiers as players who can hear the game.

  • Re-bindable and toggleable controls, allowing players with motor function disabilities or missing fingers to adjust the game's control scheme to better fit the way that plays best for them. Players without disabilities also benefit from this.


This video should show the outcome of that work:

(the tweaking of accessibility options occurs at 2:00)

 
Production

Gameplay changes:

Mobility Changes:

  • Dash

  • Double jump

Systems:

  • Ranged enemy behaviors 

  • Boss fight

Gameplay: Level Sequences

 
 
Pre-Polish

Gameplay & UX:

  • FoV Sliders

  • Soft Cinematics

  • Foliage Dithering

  • Melee Combat

 

I have recorded a video that showcases most of these changes.

The main reasoning behind our team considering melee combat was because we'd determined that the close range combat was not very engaging, it was just burning enemies with magic that behaved like a flamethrower, and it didn't require much thought. So I proposed we replace the flamethrower-like-magic with a melee weapon. Adding a melee weapon required animations and sound effects to go with it, so before coming to a decision, we discussed with our Art and Audio teams to determine whether that would be something they would be interested in helping create and if it would create scope concerns for them. I also spent the time before meeting with other disciplines, working on implementing a rough melee prototype.

All the prototype was, was that I replaced the flamethrower with an invisible melee attack (represented by smear VFX) that dealt damage to enemies with a delay similar to how the melee attacks themselves would theoretically function. I achieved this by using a Trigger  Box that when overlapping enemies and the player presses the attack input, a series of delays would run before dealing damage to all enemies overlapping with the Trigger Box, with a delay for the cooldown after the attack. I wanted the range to still be very much what one would consider "melee range", but I also wanted it to be fairly close to the range of the previous flamethrower-magic, which is how it ended up being what it was. This implementation was quite helpful for the Art Team in knowing the length that this weapon would roughly need to be, based on the range of the Trigger Box that I had set up.

For a week or two, I made small tweaks based on game feel and TTK(Time to kill), but after a design meeting in which we talked about a minor combo system I felt inspired to try and implement a launch attack, a drop attack, and mid-air light attacks (at least the functionality). I was definitely foolish to do this as I didn't fully realize the scope impact as well as how drastically it would push our game into the "melee realm", as we still wanted to keep the other ranged magic attacks as the primary way to dispatch enemies. So after discussing with some of the artists on the team, I realized that it was both a very drastic change and probably a bad decision, and removed that functionality, retaining only light attacks(three variations) and a strong attack.

Polish

I plan to outline our time polishing the game, and our push to get the game on Steam.