Ochiiru is the resulting game that formed out of my graduation project. It's a competitive boardgame for two players consisting of a simple, limited ruleset yet one that contains competitive depth. The goal is to clear the other player of the board.
I set out to design a game that was to stand out due to it's ruleset rather than the easthetic quality or technical excellence behind the work. Everything else is functionally designed to not hinder but support the core game experience.
In the span of 48 hours during the 2012 Global Game Jam we made a game that made the players experience the feeling of infinity and expansion.
In Cluster Fobia, you completely surround yourself with unstoppable bullets. The only goal is to outlive your opponents while the universe around you keeps on expanding and exploding. As the universe expands, old threats and opportunities lose their significance in relation to a larger context.
My primary role was design and balancing of the game features. This was mostly done in collaboration with Fin and primarily on paper.
By average a man dreams about five times a night. Puur is a performance about those dreams, dreams about ambitions, dreams about desires, dreams about fears, dreams of the future and dreams of dreams.
Puur is a Community Art performance made by 'Het Spiegel Collectief', a team formed of 7 students of different disciplines, during a interdisciplinary project between different faculty's of the Utrecht School of the Arts for our client 'Stut Wijktheater'. Puur was a experimental documenting performance featuring live performances, audience participation and video projections.
Puur was made by and with civilians and old participants of Stut performances in the neighborhood of Utrecht Overvecht. It's content was a result of many meetings and interviews. Our goal was to offer a stage for people to fullfill one of their biggest desires. We held near to no rehearsels because we wanted their performance to be as pure and authentic as possible, due to this the performance was held only once.
Although I helped with many things during this project I'm mainly credited for designing the audience participation. The performance was held in a big theater hall in which the audience took a seat between 2 projections in the center on a stool. The stools were able to turn 360 degrees which allowed the audience to pick their own view. At the end of the performance they were asked to leave their own desires on the big black board.
Due to the many elements of the performance the audience participation was deliberately kept simple.
The Juicy Centre was a student project in the first half of the 3rd year. We worked on a game project for 13 weeks for an external client. We were instructed to design the next social game experience on a smartphone like an iPhone or Android device. Our deliverables were a working prototype with supporting design documentation.
This was an collaboration project between the HKU and the Utrecht University. Two of the 3 developers came from the UU. Having more experienced programmers in the team allowed us to use more complex coding in the project and allowed us to design something more daring then we usually could.
We worked with a team of 9 students. I was the projectlead. That meant I had to take care of the planning and make sure the team stayed on track. I was also responsible for the weekly reports to the client and supervisor of the project. In addition I was a gamedesigner and did the balancing of the prototype.
I learned a lot during the project. It was the longest project I had worked on. We got our own classroom that we could use as an office. As team lead I tried to make use of a sort of scrum method. I held "Juicy Morning & Closing Announcements" at the start and end of the day. During these announcements we checked up on the team's progress. This allowed us to spot problems as soon as possible.
What game we came up with
The game we came up with is called Bubbles. The player is given their own bubble that they can then fill with organisms by spending spirit points. If the player takes good care of the organisms they will leave more spiritpoints behind. This way the player can expand their spirit points to invest in more diverse organisms.
However the players bubble has a specific climate (that they set at the start of the game). This will influence the conditions of the organisms in the bubble. In order for the player to take better care of the organisms they can connect to other players and that way acquire some of the benefits of that climate for a short time. The players can also connect with other players for a longer period of time and share their organisms.
The above is a brief explanation. For a more eleborate explanation take a look at the concept video.
During the project we held playtests with external people. We also held a large amount of playtests during the open day of the HKU. We got a lot of feedback from these that helped us fix some important problems with the design. We learned a lot from this.
Astrobeat HD was the game that resulted from the “I want you” and “Here I am” project. This was the 4th project of the second year. At the start of 2010 the students formed groups and were instructed to pitch one concept at the end of the week. We then voted which projects were actually going to be build.
Astrobeat HD aimed for a better connection between gameplay and sound. One in which sound wasn’t merely supporting the gameplay but also guiding it. The first concept was a top down shooter in which the player was successful by shooting on the beat. All the actions the player took were rewarded when they were done on the right beat. The player was punished in several ways when acting off the beat.
Sadly XNA posed several restrictions that made it impossible for us to implement the core (acting on the beat) precise enough. So we went back to the original concept that was pitched a few months ago.
This was an abstract top down arena shooter in which the player fought off different waves of enemy’s. Each enemy that was defeated left a particular sound in the background loop. This way the player could create his/her own beat by playing the game.
My 3th project of the 2nd year was a serious game project titled: Drugs in the City. We were instructed to create a game that would inform the player about an aspect of drug use. My team focused on potential users, particularly high school students. We wanted to show the player that drug use is all about regulating your use. Intensive use can have bad effects, but regulated use can actually have positive results. To illustrate this we came up with “The Sixth Sensei”.
“The Sixth Sensei” gives the players their own bonsai tree. They are instructed to take good care of it by keeping its growth balanced. However they can give the bonsai different drug that can make the tree more pretty. They can, for example, choose to increase the amount of butterflies that fly around the tree or choose to change the tree’s color. Each drug that they give to the bonsai tree is loosely based on three different types of drugs: XTC, Alcohol and Weed.
If the player uses too much of a drug in a short time they start to see the side effects. For example adding too much color to your bonsai will result in a more desaturating bonsai. The use of too much XTC will speed up the growth rate of the bonsai three which makes it harder to keep the bonsai in balance. If it grows out of balance it breaks.
Only by decreasing and regulating the amount of use the bonsai will grow more stable again.
After the plant is fully grown the player can send a picture of their bonsai to friends. This way another player can analyse someone’s bonsai’s growth by looking at the progression of the branches. This way we hoped players would teach each other about good drug regulation.
The last project of the 1st year we were instructed to not make a game per se but an immersive themed experience ride. We went on a class trip to Disneyland Europe for inspiration.The ride was to be used as promotion for the education.
We wanted to address something that we felt was apparent in the school year and something the teachers would have to experience themselves. We experienced that criticism is not always as clear as the students would like and thus a rejected design is often misunderstood. “Persistence” lets the player experience the rejection, frustration, irritation and disappointment one must endure during the first year of school. Although, ultimately lets the player feel success, relief and pride when all the hard work pays off.
The player is instructed to build their own portfolio. This is not a puzzle assignment. All that matters is that the player submits it in the end. The teacher then passes judgment on it and sends the student away with a vague comment as: “not enough harmony in the design”. The player can then choose to redo the assignment (now with more options at their disposal, reflecting the growth a student goes through) or abandon the assignment all together. After each rejection the music and atmosphere changes to reflect the hit the student has just taken.
After the 2nd rejection the ambiance reflects a depressed state. Then, when the 3rd attempt shows all signs of another rejection, the player’s work is now actually approved and the music and ambiance changes for the better (playing I get knocked down by Chumbawamba). This is to reflect the joy and satisfaction one feels when a project after all hardship succeeds.
The project was dubbed “Persistence” for communication and promotional purposes but initially had no name. We felt any name would have given away too much of the story or would have made the game feel less personal.
This game was made on a quadcore. This was our first project in XNA and therefore the code is not as optimal as one would expect. Sadly the ride’s timing is only fully accurate on a quadcore computer. You can watch a playthrough of the ride here.
The team was inspired by games like Flower, by ThatGameCompany and the Graveyard, by Tale of Tales.
Made for the Global Game Jam 2010 in 48 hours. The assignment was to make a game based on the following theme , ”Deception”, and incorporate one of the following items: a key, a monkey or a donkey.
In “Stain” the player tries to defend the dream world from the invading nightmares by shooting at them with keys which open them up and thereby freeing the dreams of the Dreamworld. But the nightmares hide in the background and are the same colour as some of the background elements. The player can shoot ink to uncover their whereabouts.
Made for the Global Game Jam Dutch edition 2009 in 48 hours in co-operation with classmates from the IGAD education in Breda and one of the 1st place finishers.
The assignment was to create a game based on the following phrase: As long as we are together we will never be without problems.
Cardboard carnival is a defense game. The player defends their friend in the center by building walls using blocks. When their energy runs out they can switch to the aggressive friend, who burns the approaching enemies.
The only way both characters can charge their energy is by being together in the center but this also leaves them vulnerable to the enemy’s attack.
The game is about surviving the longest possible time you can and achieving the highest score.
Since it was made in 48 hours we had to cut a lot of corners. One was scanning cardboard boxes to use as textures for the environment.
The game runs in Ogre3d.
The 2nd project of the 2nd year was “Design for Space”. This was the first 3d focused project we had to do (even though Persistance, the last project of the 1st year was also in 3d).
The aim was to make a game that focuses on three ways of interaction with the environment/space.
My team came up with “Submerged” a puzzler in which the player has to move the amount of water in a room in order to open the correct doorways that lead to the next level. As the game progressed the challenges would grow more complex and the player would also have to take the life of an NPC into account, that couldn’t survive in a room filled with water.
The project was quite ambitious and didn’t fully turn out the way we intended too. However, it has been a big learning experience project management wise.
The game runs in XNA and makes use of an early version of the core engine. For more information about that take a look at Tom Looman's website.
Sell-It was the 1st project of the 2nd year. We weren’t instructed to create a game but instead we had to prepare a pitch for a real client (Codeglue) based on the information we were given at the briefing.
We were instructed to design an iPhone game that had to be fun and simple to play.
We came up with Jill & Bob: the Future of Science, a 1 player co-op platformer. The player tries to use the unique properties of Jill & Bob to reach the end of the level. Bob is a very heavy strong but slow character while Jill is skinny, agile and very light. In turn, Jill & Bob try to reach different switches that open the way for the other character.
The player tries to rescue all the different scientists from the machine era that threaten the old society. Each scientist will grant Jill and Bob new possibilities to traverse the terrain.
We didn’t build this game but instead worked towards one presentation. The presentation didn’t get the greenlight but after we handed in a mock-up we did pass the project. Both the files can be downloaded on the left.
I was the artist for this project.
Turtlebytes was the resulting game made during the summergamedev held by the Dutch Game Garden during the early summer of 2009.
This was an event for students and other game enthousiasts. Comparable to a camp but we got to go home at the end of each day. Every participant was placed in a team and then worked for 2 weeks on a game. Starting from scratch we designed the game and made a working prototype. The games we're then assesed by a jury and the favorite won a prize. Our game didn't win but we had a fun time.
During the two weeks we also visited several game company's and we're given interesting lectures by Ronimo Games and Guerilla. We also made a field trip to a game tools company close to the Dutch Game Garden that made the tech for the tomb raider series and a trip to w-games in Amsterdam. We we're shown around the office and got to do a playtest. A lot of fun.
So what is Turtlebyte about? Well the player goal is to reach the finish line. They play a turtle that is trying to swim away from the oil stain that is polluting the sea. But turtle's aren't very fast. So the player has to stick out their neck to grab on to nearby fish in order to out run the oil stain and avoid getting bitten by sharks or their heads chopped off by the passing speed boats.
My role was gamedesigner and I tried to find some sounds for the game. I did a lot of prototyping with the early prototype.
The 3rd project in the first year was a serious game for a Hospital. We chose to make a game for nurses in training.
“Plantastic” is designed to teach the players the skill of planning within a time limit. By filling in the right combinations and dragging a nurse on a task they are intended to learn how relevant and crucial it is to stick by the schedule,complete tasks on time and plan ahead. If the needle on the top touches one of the tasks the lose the game.
Since this was the first group game project we did, you can imagine we learned a lot about what factors come in to play when making a game.
We iterated through a lot of different puzzle ideas to get to this final design. To get their we made a lot of use of paper prototyping. Since we had only one programmer this was the fastest way to test ideas.
Our programmer had never done any extensive programming before this project. Through hard work and dedication he ended up building a matrix using arrays. Not long after this project he wrote his own divert rendering engine.