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ISVAK

Overview:

Pitch: A single-player adventure with survival elements. Another ice age has struck the planet. Most of humanity has fled or succumbed to the extreme climate, but those who were left behind live in an everyday struggle.

You play as a hunter of relics from the world prior to the ice age. These relics and other treasures lay deep in the water covered by a thick layer of ice. You will dive to search and collect the treasure from beneath the ice, trade whatever items you can find to improve your gear, ensure your survival, and maybe even escape the frozen ocean wasteland.

Platform: PC & Mobile

Engine: Unity

Language: C#

Development time: 6 weeks

Team Size: 3 Designers, 2 Programmers, 2 Project Managers.

My Role in ISVAK:

World, Narrative, Level, & Mechanics Designer.

What I did on the Project:

World Design:

After we had spoken about the core idea of the game we began to talk about the general look and feel of the game. During these talks, I made a quick sketch and then threw together a few mood boards. 

The categories that the mood boards covered were:

- Environment:

This included mainly frozen landscapes and different waters, and basic colors for the world.

- Structures:

Different housing options could be built from anything that the people would have access to.

- Clothing:

Both to play around with the idea of reusing materials as well as having slight color contrast to the blue color tones of the rest of the world.

- Transport:

This was the smallest of the mood boards, covering wind and sled transports, implying the vastness of the world and the possibility to cover the frozen wastes by more than walking or running.

This gave us a solid base of both the general look and feel we wanted to go for. This gave the basic idea of what we would like to do when it came to level design.

Narrative Design:

Around half a week into the project we needed more detailed information about both the world and what the main goal of the player was.

- General Description of the World:

First I wrote about the events that had led to the current state of the world, where the game took place geographically, and what were the main dangers. 

I followed up by describing how the civilization coped with this change and what everyday life looked like for a human living in this frozen waste. This made it easier to describe the settlements, the different roles within those settlements, and the tasks these settlers performed.

- Main Character and Desired Gameplay:
Then I moved on to the main character and their goals, what were their experiences, and what reasons they had for being here.

This in turn made it easier to come up with a basic gameplay narrative for the 10-minute vertical slice that we were tasked with, how we lead the player through this experience, what information the player would need to complete the given tasks, how we take the player from point A witch is the beginning and get them to point B the end of the vertical slice.

Level Design:

I made a few quick sketches for the levels based on the mood boards, narrative, and what we had discussed with the team. This would be the area in which the player would be shown all the main core mechanics of the game. A tutorial zone.

After the sketches, we made prototypes in unity to get more of a general feel for how the navigation of the level would feel. Then it was up to programmers to start adding different functions.

I made more visual prototypes than functional ones for the programmers to make sure we were on the same page about certain mechanics.

After that, it was mainly to repeat the same process. Remove or rethink if something didn't work, and keep what did work.

There were 3 layers to the level that made it slightly difficult.

They were above the ice, below the ice, and at the bottom of the body of water. I focused on what happened to the player above the ice and at the bottom of the body of water, both visually and mechanically.

The core idea of the level/world remained the same until the end, however, the look and approach of a few things had to be changed visually and mechanically.

Mechanics Design:

We talked at length about different mechanics. I fleshed them out by creating flowcharts to discover flaws prior to programming as well as making it visual for our programmers.

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