top of page

Crash Landers
:Escape from earth

Tropical Leaves

Overview:

Pitch: Two aliens crash on the planet known as "Earth". This planet is too dangerous and alien to these crash landers. So, they have to make their way back to the escape pod get off the planet and return home. The way back to the pod will be perilous and the crash landers will have to work together to solve puzzles and get past obstacles to escape the planet safely.

Platform: PC

Engine: Unity

Language: C#

Development time: 4 weeks

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

What I did on the Project:

World Design:

I wanted to create a game without a specific age group, so it had to be fun, colorful, and warm. I knew I wouldn't be able to write an actual story so I wanted to tell the story through the world itself.  Therefore the beginning of the game was more happy tuned and easier while getting closer to the goal it became more hard and mysterious. The world design was to be mainly affected by the levels, the sounds, and the music.

Narrative Design:

While the game didn't have a fully fleshed-out story to it I needed to give the players a reason to play the game. That is where the crashing and wanting to escape came into play. It is a simple premise and a very simple goal. The narrative had to be told through visual cues and not through text to both make it more accessible and the team not have to put down time for dialog or monolog.

From there I just gather a couple of ideas of what the zones the players might pass would offer. The environment, game mechanics, and the interactions between players would tell the story.

Level Design:

I had not used Unity previously to this extent, so I wasn't sure where to begin level-wise. I did however know that I wanted the player to keep moving forward and not backtrack. So, with that in mind, I wanted to have a system that destroyed the level over time pushing players forward, and to avoid the confusion of where to head the levels had to be linear. 

I drew a path on paper to get into the headspace of how the level would work and where the players would encounter the puzzles. Thereafter I blocked it out in unity to get a sense of scale for it. And shortly after I started using assets to create the level. Once the level would be done, I would copy the player 1 path and paste it as the path for player 2. With minor rearrangements of blocks on the player 2 path. After that, it was a fully functional level.

I made various terrain blocks by kit-bashing asset packs that we had received from our school. These blocks would serve two purposes. One, it would make future-level making quick and modular. Two, it would allow a more organic crumbling of the level.

The plan was to create 3 levels in total, but we managed to only create levels 1 and 3.

Level 1 was where the player would be introduced to the game, so it had to be colorful and cheerful making the player excited for the upcoming journey. The music had to be happy too.

Level 3 had to be a little bit more mysterious and scarier. I made it slightly less colorful and used the terrain to make the players a little bit more cautious. The fog obstructed some of the paths so the players had to slow down and look where to go, trees could be used to obscure players' vision for brief moments making the narrow paths a bit scarier to traverse.

Mechanics Design:

Apart from basic movement we needed to have puzzles and cooperative elements to the game. 

Using tools:

I wanted the players to work together, but not be able to interact on the same pathway together. So, I came up with the idea that the players have obstacles in their way but the only way to pass the obstacle is to destroy it, however the tool needed for that is on the other players path, so players have to throw tools back and forth to one another to clear the path ahead.

Simon says:

A mini-game of color where the player has to repeat the color pattern on the floor to let the other person pass on their path. Simple but effective. The player has to match the colors a few times, to avoid it being too easy.


This puzzle had 2 flaws. First, the player detection range was too large, so the player might trigger a color pad by walking too close to it. The second one is that it is a color-based puzzle, therefor people with colorblindness might find it difficult.

We minimized the collision trigger so that players stop triggering the color pads on accident.

We chose to not add symbols to the color pads, but rather focus on the function of other puzzles.

Match pictures:

Each player has a set of stones on their side and each stone has a picture of an animal when flipped over. There are 2 of each animal and players have to match all the animals before they are allowed to pass. Only 2 stones can be flipped at the same time. So players have to communicate to match animals among their set of stones.

False Block:

Players have a limited amount of lives per level. If the players fall off the map too many times they have to restart the level. False block is 3x3 small platforms, so a total of 9 terrain blocks. There is a path through these blocks, while some of them players can fall through. Both player 1 and 2 have the same pathway through these blocks. By throwing items or jumping on the blocks the player can see if they are solid and then let the other player know which blocks are unsafe or safe.

Character Design:

We received the asset packs to use during this project. I had kit-bashed our terrain to make it more unique. However, it wasn't as easy to do it with the characters to make them fit in the world nor make them stand out.

 

The characters had to be familiar yet alien, with silly appeal yet lovable. The original thought was to take 2 penguins and make them more alien but I did not like the look of them.

After a couple of sketches, I decided to make my own characters using Blender. It was a gamble because I didn't really have prior experience using it to create a character. In the end, it paid off.

bottom of page