- Designed level layout, level pacing, and boss encounter
- Used BSP to create obstacles and background set pieces
- Organized live gameplay event at Salt Lake City Gaming Con 2019 and EAE Launch 2019
- Reported weekly to executive producers to discuss project progress, game design, marketing strategies, and prepared to apply for Alt-Ctrl-GDC 2020
- Worked to maintain vision of narrative, art, and design
- Defined core gameplay pillars with team
- Led design, art, narrative, and engineering meetings
- Analyzed similar games (Star Fox, Guitar Hero, Panzer Dragoon, Amplitude)
- Collected visual reference
- Created game pillars and game design doc
- Planned out three-act structure of level based on a song to figure out set pieces and pacing
- Collected visual reference for future-junk aesthetic (Star Wars, Cowboy Bebop)
- Created 2D layout
BLOCKOUT AND ITERATION
- Blocked out rough shapes of level to test scale
- Designed ending boss fight and worked with engineer to realize it
- Placed all props, environmental hazards, and level assets
- Tested and iterated throughout, collaborating with another designer on the beat mapping
Scroll down to see each of these steps in more detail in my DEEP DIVE
DESIGN DEEP DIVE
RESEARCH and PLANNING
We started this project with an idea for an alternative controller: a turntable, and it wasn't long before we settled on the idea of a "disco space cowboy" traveling through the galaxy, liberating music-less planets.
After playing a lot of rhythm and rail shooter games and understanding how they were constructed, the design team met to create gameplay pillars that could guide our future design decisions.
I also created a game design doc to decide our main gameplay verbs, how enemies would work. At this point, we were still thinking that we could create multiple levels, and we had ideas for different worlds based on different musical genres, but that proved to be out of scope.
Once we had picked a song for our level, I sketched out a level to match that song, with gameplay easing or intensifying based on certain moments in the song. I worked with one of our engineers to construct a beatmap for the song, using Osu's design tool to create the rhythm section, and then importing that .json file into our game. Unfortunately, I don't have documentation for much of this early process.
BLOCKOUT AND ITERATION
I constructed our level based on a three-act structure. This level is meant to give the feel of entering a recent space battle, which is shown by floating debris, waves of enemies, and floating, broken ships.
Act 1 - Approaching Destruction
Your ultimate goal is to reach a planet that has been attacked by the evil Ampire. To give the feeling of recent combat, the player encounters a few stray spaceships and floating debris. The beats that the player must fire on are far apart, and the amount of things that the player must dodge are few and far between.
Act 2 - Asteroids and Nebulas
The challenge increases. The player dodges asteroids and requires faster, more frequent inputs. A calm nebula section gives the player a break. An air of mystery and awe comes in with a beautiful nebula and a brief respite at the end of this act.
Act 3 - Asteroids and Nebulas
The player emerges from the nebula to see a fleet of broken ships and more debris. The player should wonder “Who did this?”
It's tight quarters as the player flies through the hull of a broken ship. This tight space emphasizes the openness of the next area, where the player encounters the final boss, who attacks with homing missiles that are much more difficult to dodge than the static objects the player has faced so far.