I am currently studying to become a level designer, learning how to model environments and put things together in ways to create interesting interactions. I have dabbled in various forms of digital media, and am interested in the various interactions different mediums afford, and how it affects our perception of meaning.
Game Design: Outside In
Outside In is a 3 to 4 player board game based on the concept of “together”. This is a cooperative art game where players work together against the board. It is an unidentified opponent that slowly covers the board in darkness. With every turn, the world (playing area) becomes smaller and smaller, and the available resources becomes more and more limited. When It takes over the entire board, all players lose. The players must work together to completely eradicate It from the board. They must work together to keep It at bay, before the problem becomes insurmountable.
Each player will randomly pick 1 role card, and work towards collecting the requirements stated on their chosen card. They face the dilemma of choosing between fulfilling their own requirements or helping the others for the long term benefit of everyone. There is nothing in the rules that explicitly prompts the player to help each other, but if they do not, they will not be able to keep up with the pace It moves at. They might find that It moves rather slowly at the start of the game, as It moves along the outer edges of the playing area. However, rings gets smaller closer to the center of the board, hence as It covers more and more area, play gets more and more difficult. Players will quickly find themselves using up all their resources just to keep themselves alive.
Outside In aims to bring across the message that even though we might have different goals, we all share the same responsibility of protecting our world. Cheesy as it might be, we literally are all on this world together, and if we focus too hard on our individual goals and ignore the world falling apart around us, nobody wins. It also highlights the importance of social cohesion, of putting aside our differences and working together in times of crisis. We all have our individual talents, and no matter how small, we can always help another in some way. We should also not be afraid to ask for help or offer help. If we know that we are in over our heads, we must not forget that there are others who can support us, and help us overcome the obstacles we face.
Outside In was a collaborative effort with 3 other people, over the course of 3 weeks. We were each assigned a role of either Producer, Designer, Tester or Assets developer. I was the game designer and was responsible for the game structure and mechanics, how it should be played, and how the theme emerges through play. I decided the aesthetic style of the game, and wrote and designed the rule book and role cards
Through this project, I learnt how some game rules can be open for interpretation, adding layers of meanings based on the variations in play it creates. The contrast between different play styles further highlights the diverse possibilities of the experience of play. Through rounds of play testing, we learnt firsthand how games work best with simple rules that can create complex play possibilities.
Game Design: PunkBot
Try the game. (Please open with Google Chrome)
PunkBot is a steampunk robot battle game I created with 3 others for a game design project. The goal of this top down shooter game is to defeat waves of enemies and survive as long as possible by shooting them down. However, the catch is that your bullets are also your health. In a typical bullet-hell game, when a massive horde is coming at you, the player’s first instinct is usually to shoot as fast as possible. PunkBot subverts that expectation by making every bullet a precious resource, forcing the player to be more careful and strategic about the shots they take.
Additionally, fallen enemies drop Robot Parts, which the player can pick up and use to trade for more bullets to sustain themselves. At the same time, Robot Parts are used to purchase upgrades, creating an additional layer of complexity. Players are constantly facing the dilemma of whether they should upgrade their weapons or trade for more Energy Cells.
We aimed to introduce a resource management aspect to the typical shooter game, imparting more weight to decision making as well as increasing variations in game play. We also emphasized the “hard fun” aspect of games, where it is easy to grasp, but hard to win, encouraging players to try different play patterns with each replay.
Click here to get a glimpse of what changed through each iteration of prototyping.
Environment Model of Non-Enterable Structure
Interactive Sequential Art
“Round is a Shape” is a project where I, together with 3 others, combined the worlds of Kungfu Panda and Inside out, two of our favorite Disney movies, to create the world inside Po’s head.
The project takes the form of an multi-linear interactive sequential art.The key focus was on interactivity and how the options and choices affected the experience of the reader. It also explores the feelings afforded by different forms of interaction such as clicking vs scrolling.