11 week Project with a Focus on Systemic Design and Implementation with Added Puzzling and Ai

1st Person, Action Survival, Solo Developer

Imperium Games Concept

Imperium Games is a first-person survival game featuring crafting, combat, and puzzle exploration, dropping the player into a dystopian world as the contestant of new entertainment. These games place willing contestants into a deadly arena where they must work from nothing to survive, using only what they can scavenge and craft to defend and feed themselves. The objective is to complete several major challenges unlocking a final boss that they must then defeat. 

My Role: Solo Developer

This project aimed to design several gameplay systems that could be implemented and used within a completed level. I created all systems myself apart from the dialogue which was taken directly from Hacktivist and scaled to fit this project's needs. Art was sourced as well as movement animations, whilst I created all attack and handheld animations myself, bar punching. 

The biggest challenge on this project was balancing the combat and crafting systems to make them feel enjoyable, whilst also presenting a challenge to the player. The only real solution to this was to playtest throughout development as new features were added, using other games students as well as external players to provide feedback. This has resulted in a system that requires the player to keep gathering resources throughout the game without it overpowering the overall flow of the level. 

When designing the inventory screen for the player I took inspiration from games such as Rust, Ark and DayZ Standalone. All survival games with similar mechanics. One thing my research on these games showed me is that most had multiple screens or tabs used that the user must cycle through when crafting. Whilst this allowed them more space it did not feel entirely efficient from a UX standpoint as they could only see specific information at one time and needed more clicks to traverse the screen. This leads me to go for an in one inventory screen where the player only needs to access tabs and hover over and click on crafting icons to see and craft items. Allowing for greater overall visibility of the player's assets.

Combat is a key mechanic within this game and had been built from the ground up, it uses polymorphism to set apart different held items determining their different actions. This was the easiest approach as it allowed me to, one, plan and see each weapon type and access one script to modify their actions and effects, whilst two, allowing me to create one system that would access items of any type when the player pressed to attack. The biggest issue with creating the combat system was the animations. With a lack of first-person survival animations for sale, I had to create my own, for this I used Autodesk Maya, exporting rig and animating using forward kinematics.  

Finally, my method for designing and creating puzzles was to first block them out using grey boxes, or directly with assets that I had sourced. This was to give me a good idea of what the initial strengths/weakness' with the design were and how I could change things before scripting. Once I was happy with the layout and method planned for completing each puzzle I began scripting them. Originally I had planned for 4 major challenges that would surround the area in cardinal directions, however, I later changed this to 3, replacing the 4th with several smaller secondary challenges such as a quid pro quo puzzle that helped to promote exploration of the map, they also provided rewards that the player would need to speed up their preparations to fight the final boss.  

For a full breakdown on the development of this game see the Post Mortem

Key Skills

  • Puzzle Design

  • Ai implementation

  • Balancing 

  • Gameplay Design 

  • Level Design and Iteration

  • Internal and External Playtesting 

  • UX/UI design

  • Audio sourcing

  • C# And Unity 

  • Dialogue Writing 

Features

  • Inventory and Crafting Systems

  • Resource gathering

  • Lootable inventories and objects 

  • Enemy Ai

  • Combat 

  • Puzzles and Challenges

  • Ai and Resource Spawnign and Replenishment

  • Sandbox open world environment