ROLE: GAME DIRECTOR, LEVEL DESIGNER, SYSTEMS DESIGNER
GOAL: CREATE A SUSPENSEFUL GAME WITH PUZZLE ELEMENTS AND A DARK SIMON-STALENHOG INSPIRED ART STYLE. IN A CUSTOM ENGINE.
DESCRIPTION: OUTLIER IS A SUSPENSEFUL FIRST-PERSON 3D PUZZLE GAME IN WHICH THE PLAYER USES TERMINALS TO TAP INTO A MACHINE-CONTROLLED WORLD TO ESCAPE FROM THE HIVE MIND AND ITS MINIONS.
Tasks: Help with INITIAL designs, COLLABORATING with artists and other teammates to find a fun system for our core game. Also creating prototypes in unreal during pre-production. Designing puzzles and levels during development.
During our first semester we struggled to find direction with only some art concepts to go off of. We came up with our pre-production build, (See Video) After constantly bringing the team together to BRAINSTORM ideas and find what people were PASSIONATE about working on.
The Prototype phase of our first semester looked like lego blocks being together. As the our two man design team (Ethan Tal and Me) Worked on our prototype of mechanics. the art team was already pumping out ASSETS and concepts for the game. THe tech team was working hard on the BACK-END of our hugely OVER SCOOPED custom engine game.
Story was a huge problem for us. How do we CONVEY a story with out dialog or without any text what so ever. We landed on telling the story through the world. Things like spray paint, signs, and mini set dressing scenes for the player to enjoy.
When we hit the second semester of development it was time to switch out of our unreal prototypes and into the custom engine. after a rocky start things started to go more smoothly, as I got the hang of the custom level editor and the art team finally got a handle on the custom asset importer. Through our milestones we noticed that we were always about one or two weeks away from our goals.
Being one or two weeks behind schedule for the MAJORITY of the second semester MEANT that we had some serious catching up to do.
Shipping Outlier was a great feeling and really came together in the last two months. We worked really hard to re-scope and take shortcuts when NECESSARY. I’m for the most part happy about our shipped product. My Biggest regret on the project is not realizing the importance of terrain elevation sooner. (But now I know!)