Games. Levels. Design.
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Prototypes

Isolation

Warning: this is only a prototype.  Although I did turn it in for a grade, I don’t feel that it is “finished.” It has been released purely as a curiosity.

A controller is required to play.

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Smokestack Sheriff / “Thirty Flights of Logan”

Warning: this is a prototype that I abandoned halfway through a class. It has been released purely as a curiosity.

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Read about the development here

Fish Out of Water

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Fish Out of Water was made for the DigiPen game jam that I organized. You can find a collection of the games made for the jam here.

The Most Interesting Thing in the World

The Most Interesting Thing in the world was built for the Molyjam of 2013. The game can be found here:

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Snakes on a 2D Plane

Snakes on a 2D Plane is a colorful top-down shooter that I created for a class that adds shooter mechanics to the game of snake. Instead of the snake’s tail killing the player, it is used to defeat enemies, but the player dies if the head of the snake is hit by an enemy. As the player progresses, they will encounter new enemy types, including enemies that can only be killed by the tail. The flashy, colorful aesthetic enhances the high-intensity gameplay involving dodging and destroying your enemies.

My main difficulty in designing this game was deciding what the function of the tail was. When I started, I went with the concept that the tail is a danger to the player, just as it is in Snake. I quickly found that this didn’t work with the level design, since the level in Snake is small and is a constant danger to the player’s ever-growing tail. The level design in this game was much larger than Snake, so I had to design with that in mind. The other aspect that changed my mind was the quick-turn. When the tail was a danger to the player, the quick turn was impossible to do (as the snake would turn over onto it’s own tail), causing the controls to feel clunky. Once I made the switch to a friendly tail, the controls were much more intuitive, and the game became a lot more fluid.

If I continued with this project, I would have taken the best enemies and encounters, and focused the whole game on that, cutting everything else. The two enemies that were the most interesting were the Bouncers and the Expanders. The Bouncers were a simple enemy that were only able to travel up and down or left and right. They would change direction upon hitting a wall, and were only able to be killed by the player’s tail, and not his bullets. The Expanders were an obstacle type enemy. They consisted of a core and glass walls. At all times, the glass walls would expand from the core, until the core was destroyed by a player’s bullet.

These two enemies made for interesting encounters, since they worked together, and each one took one of the mechanics to destroy. The Expanders would constantly be growing, causing the Bouncer’s path to be shorter and shorter, making it more difficult for the player. So, during these encounters, the player is constantly making small choices about when to kill the Bouncers and when to kill the Expanders.

Super Crate Copter

Super Crate Copter is a calm, relaxed puzzle game that I also created for a class. The player controls an ancient helicopter machine, with the ability to turn HUD items into physics objects. This includes using a health bar to weigh down buttons, dropping an inventory slot onto a key, and dropping a timer on spikes to break and stop it.

This game was a perfect example of a time that I thought I had a great idea, but the prototype proved that it wasn’t fun. The problem with the mechanics involved was that I thought the mechanics were clever, but the actual puzzles turned out to be boring. The limited amount of info on my HUD meant that there weren’t many options for the player during puzzles, so it was pretty straightforward for the player to solve the puzzles. The other problem was that expanding on the concept is highly inefficient, since new puzzles required new HUD items. I spent most of the game teaching the player these strange mechanics, but I wasn’t actually able to create many full-fledged puzzles.

 

Tree House Tussle

Tree House Tussle is a turn-based strategy game created for a class that is viewed from the side, focusing on the control and defense of territory. The classes include a territory capturing unit, a ranged unit, a strong defensive unit, and a flying transport unit. Once a player reaches 60% territory control or $1000, they win.

My main difficulty with this game was in scripting. Even though I had worked with Game Maker before, this game involved many new programming challenges. I learned to plan ahead, and be aware of what certain features would involve on the tech end. Because I spent so much time hunting down bugs and trying to fix them, I didn’t have nearly enough time to work on balance and design issues. If I had more time to work on it, I would work on balancing the amount of territory and/or money required to win, as that was the primary balance issue I ran into near the end.

 

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