Game Designer Journey

I’m now going to write 3 one page GDDs a week.

The idea is to create artifacts to show that I can do Game Design. It was an idea Rick told me about during GameDev.tv Community Podcast episode 30.

The goal is to post them Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Update: I’m changing it up a little. I am going to be doing a Update on Tuesdays about the Game Design and Player Experience for the games I’m playing. I will talk about what I like and didn’t like. Right now I’m playing Death Stranding, Outer Worlds, Star Wars Battlefront 2 and Modern Warfare.

Be careful! There might be spoilers for any of these games! I’ll do my best to avoid it.

I will go in detail about the design choices and what impact it has. I will talk about Player Experience, gameplay mechanics, level design, UI designs, narrative and more.

Stay Tuned.

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GDD #1 - Metropolis Tycoon

A game with the love of the individual characters to the intricate management system of rollercoaster tycoon.

Genre: Third Person Simulation

Target Audience: Everyone

Controls: You can move around with the joystick. You use the buttons to select, create and destroy in the game.

Thematic Setting: In a time when people stop talking to each other. You have to bring people together

Goal is to build a city to a certain population by solving guest complaints.

You also have to manage expenses and manage the structure of the city. Make sure there are enough stores, even start your own store. You will need to ensure safety and manage crime.

Tech Stack: A Street builder

Platform(s): PS4

MVP Game Moment: You are walking around the city you built when you see a massive fire. The fire fighters are on their way but they won’t make it in time to save the day. You quickly run inside and save the kids. After saving the kid you run into a fire truck and start spraying the fire. More fire trucks arrive and help you put out the fire

Game Summary: A game where you build a city by managing all relationship in the city. While also maintaining the city by building service building and crew to control the city from fire, theft and thrash. Events will happen like riots and cults. Maybe even alien and cavemen will appear. You have to manage everything and build a city to a certain population. Once you reach your goal you will move into a new area and start a new city.

Core Player Experience: Manage, Build, City Heroes

Central Story Theme: To build a thriving city you need to build relationships with people

Design Pillar: To win you need to plan accordingly and be creative in how you build your city. You also need to manage multiple complaints and relationships.

Remarkability: Relationships are key

Feature Development Priorities:
• Management system like Rollercoaster Tycoon
• Take part in daily city events
• Build a city from the ground up
• Multiple personalities to interact with

Reference Games:
Roller Coaster Tycoon, Gta, Sims, Sim City and Metropolismania.

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GDD #2 - Avoid The Batman

Batman is hunting you down. You have to dodge his gadgets and tricks as you escape.

Genre: 3rd person action survival

Target Audience: Teens and up / Batman fans / fans of horror

Controls: PS4 joystick
Arkham Style combat but you have no abilities or gadgets

Thematic Setting: Batman themed settings
• Asylum
• Gotham streets
• Subway

Tech Stack: Unreal

Platform(s): PS4 , Xbox One, PC

MVP Game Moment: You are walking around and suddenly you see one of your goons disappear. You take cover and hear the other goons scream he is hear and their vanish. You start moving and you suddenly the wall blast and you roll out of the way and your scream shakes. More goons started dying and your heart rate increases. You try to escape through the hole in the wall at the end of the hall. But since your heart rate is high your start breathing heavy and batman hears you. You quickly make a run for it but he hits you with a Batarang. Since your screen is shaking you can’t see it and you get hit. You quickly get up and pick up a gun against the wall. You spray shots making batman move away and you run through the wall. You managed to escape the batman.

Game Summary: You are dodging and escaping from the batman. You have other goons with you but the more guys he takes down the higher your blood pressure increase and your fear making it harder for you to stay calm and quiet. You can’t kill the bat but you can hurt him to give you a chance to hide

Core Player Experience: Stealth, Survival, Desperation, Hunted

Central Story Theme: You are patrolling and area and you hear that the batman is here.

Design Pillar: Success involves anticipating Batman attack on goons and dodging his traps and sneak attacks.

Remarkability: Weak overcoming the powerful and scary

Feature Development Priorities:

  • Real Time Combat
  • Fear system
  • Dodging

Reference Games: Batman Arkham Games
Evolve

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GDD #3 - Undercover

Gta mixed with James Bond

Genre: 1st Person Stealth

Target Audience: Teens and up

Controls: Standard FPS

Thematic Setting: You are an enemy country and you have to pretend to be part of the system while participating in missions to trick the enemy you are working for him while also trying to kill the enemy and his army.

Tech Stack: Unreal, Blender

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC

MVP Game Moment: You are sneaking into the castle you take out the first few guards without being seen. You sneak by and manage to get in. You notice security cameras. You take out your watch and use it to shut off the cameras temporarily. You walk past the cameras and see two
guards walking. You quickly go into a locker and wait for them to pass. As they pass you get out and continue forward. A guard walks around the corner you quickly put a silenced bullet through him and put him in the nearest room. You make it to a area of a bunch of guards. Using the dead guard you take the costume and disguise yourself. You then use the disguise to find out where the confidential files are. You find out they are in a safe that is located in a secret tunnel in the wine cellar. You make you way down killing more guards and sneaking by. You find the safe and use your watch to laserbeam the safe. You get the files and make your way out of there. As you slowy make your way out the alarm goes off. They find the dead body. You quickly head to the roof and make your way to the getaway. Guards start running towards the roof. You quickly attach a rope to your body and you jump off the cliff. 007 music starts playing

Game Summary: You are undercover in an enemy controlled areaand you have to infiltrate it and take down the enemy.

Core Player Experience: Spy

Central Story Theme: Blending in requires taking part in evil crimes.

Design Pillar: A stealth gta

Remarkability: The act of playing evil is key

Feature Development Priorities:

  • Intelligent AI that keep you on your toes
  • Fun moments that makes you feel like a spy
  • Cool undercover gadgets
  • End levels you get to use cool vehicles

Reference Games: Hitman, Gta, James Bond

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GDD #4 - Marvel Ultimate Battle

All the Marvel Villains and their army take over the world and now the Avengers have to get all of the marvel heroes together for an ultimate alliance to take back Earth.

Genre: Action Adventure

Target Audience: Mature

The game will hold nothing back

Controls: Spider-man Combat plus Civilization Strategy like system.

Controller

Thematic Setting: Earth after the villains lead by Dr. Doom took it over

Tech Stack: Unreal, Blender, Motion Capture

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One and Stadia

MVP Game Moment: In your Hub you select the world map. You pick all the roles for your marvel heroes. You send a few marvel heroes on a mission to get more resources. You then pick New York and decide to attack New York.

Translations to a cutscene

Marvel heroes and shield are running around as the Helicarrier starts it’s engines. Crew is rushing and heroes are getting ready for a huge battle. The heli carrier take soft as nick fury and the other heroes watch from the bridge.

Another transition

The helicarrier makes it to New York and immediately middles are being shot at the helicarrier. The helicarrier shields protect the ship from the attacks. Immediately jets take off and heroes jump down into the action. Heroes and villains clash in a crazy spectacle. You the main character heads out of his quarters. You are Spider-man. You make it to the end of The helicarrier and see explosions everywhere and buildings collapsing. It’s time to enter the action.

You jump off the helicarrier with other marvel heroes into New York.

You swing at the last second and starting beating up venom and red skull. You pan out and look at New York Strategically.

You have to capture different key locations to overthrow the villains. You then realize one part of the map is losing. You send Dr. Strange and Hulk to help out.

The camera pans down to Hulk and you are running to the new location on the map. You hulk smash a building and drop it on top of enemies. Dr. strange uses his powers to bring up in the air and you dive straight into the enemy base. The structure collapses and most of the enemies are damaged. Moral is rising and your heroes are gaining the advantage. But your use of specula attacks has caused your marvel heroes to weaken. You won’t have the same advantage until it recharges. Central Park is being attacked. It’s one of the heroes command bases and if it gets taken you lose reinforcements and moral. You pan out move around your heroes and decide the only way to do this is have all your heroes hit strategic points and you will defend the base with just captain America. You control captain America and you fight wave after wave of villains and soldiers. Cap says he can do this all day and you keep fighting. Combo after combo you win. Victory doesn’t last. It looks like you almost have New York but the enemies are not leaving without a fight. A bunch of enemy jets and villains are breaching the helicarrier. The helicarrier cannot be destroyed.if destroyed it takes many resources to restore it. You pan out. You set every hero to defend and send falcon, iron man and Captain marvel to protect the helicarrier. You pan back down and you are controlling iron man. Now you are flying through the skies protecting the helicarrier and shooting down villains and jets. After fighting and defeating all the villains you win and the villains retreat. New York is back in control of the heroes. The marvel heroes regroup at avengers tower and celebrate.

Fireworks go off and everyone celebrates.

But this is not the only way this could have panned out. There are so many choices to makes. This game is all about strategy and skill. How will your outcome be?

Game Summary: The Avengers went their separate ways. All the marvel enemies took this opportunity to strike and took over the world. Alone the avengers were not a chance. The villains have an army and the avengers were separated and outnumbered. Years later the avengers get thrown together by unlikely circumstances and start a war to take back Earth. You have to strategize and beat the villains while gathering the earth’s mightiest heroes.

Core Player Experience: Heroic, Tactician, Badass

Central Story Theme: Heroes will rise

Design Pillar: Using strategy’s and key camera controls you can control different heroes at different times on the battlefield

Remarkability: All Marvel Heroes take back Earth

Feature Development Priorities:

  • A well-developed map system of the world that allows you to strategic take back earth from the villains
  • A fluid combat system that is well designed for each marvel character
  • Important story elements to have the players immersed in all the characters
  • A large cast of marvel heroes
  • An epic final battle

Reference Games: Marvel Ultimate Alliance, Civilization and Spider-Man Ps4

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GDD # 5 - Dragon Warrior

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The Dragon Warrior and the Furious Five have to figure out what the Serious Seven want and why they are attacking villages throughout the land.

Genre: Action Adventure / Semi-open world

Target Audience: Everyone and up

Lovers of Kung Fu Panda

Controls: A unique set of attacks that can be used with the left and right triggers.

Simple attack and power attacks.

Controller

Thematic Setting: The land of Kung Fu Panda

MVP Game Moment: You and the gang are in the safe house in one of the large villages. You choose flying mantis and you go out into the village. You take out enemies with your sneak attacks. You get in position to deploy explosives in the enemy fort. Because you are so small guards won’t be able to detect you. You sneak past all the guards and then. Deploy explosives in all the weak points. Once you get out you meet up with Po and Tigress. Everything is in place. Ok perfect. “Blow it up!” Says Po. Mantis blows it! “Stand ready.” Says Tigress. The fort collapses and alarms go off. Lots and lots of enemies come to help and to stop the furious five and the dragon warrior. But they are no match. Tigress and Po fight off the enemies. The combat system allows you to foresee attacks and block it while also blocking other enemies attacks and then countering other enemies all at once. Depending on what buttons you press and where you press it you can land nasty hits. You will master the art of martial combat and you will win the game. Po uses his super belly attack and defeats the last remaining enemies.

Game Summary: The Serious Seven are a group of seven evil martial artist who want to rule the lands. Po and the furious five have to defend their home and take back the fallen villages. Then they have to stop the leader of the serious seven and handle a conflict within the group. You get to control all of the furious five and Po.

Core Player Experience: A martial artist

Central Story Theme: There is no secret ingredient.

Design Pillar: Different worlds and unique combat system.

Remarkability: Real Time Martial Arts with the open-world levels and different playable characters.

Feature Development Priorities:

  • Unique open world levels
  • Each Character with their own unique combat
  • Unique abilities
  • Colorful assets

Reference Games: Sly Cooper and Absolver

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GDD # 6 - Rave Party

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The rave is not happening like it should be happening. You must use your dance moves to bring everyone into the rave. Be careful some don’t want the rave to happen so you will have to fight.

Genre: Dance Game

Target Audience: Everyone

Controls: Button smashing

Times reactions commands to rave and to fight. Combat mixed with for honor and Arkham.

Thematic Setting: At a Music Festival

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, Stadia, Switch, and PC

MVP Game Moment: Many people are joining the rave. The gang members keep trying to stop the rave but you keep defending them. It’s a party now! Racers are everyone. Suddenly a big guy comes in. You try to hit him but he doesn’t take any damage. You have to figure out a way to defeat him. You use one of the ravers to distract him but he just picks them up and throws them. You think of a solution and take the acid out of your inventory. You then you run up and dodge his attacks. You quickly punch him in his weak points and then drop the acid in his mouth while he is stunned. He gets back up and tries to hit you but he starts tripping. Suddenly the ravers start joining you and you guys knock the big gang member out. You win and the rave is a hit! You won!

Game Summary: You are at a music festival and Gand is out for this DJ and nobody is allowed to dance. You with your knowledge of martial arts heads to the front of the stage and start raving. This makes the gang members angry and they come after you. You must get everyone to rave while fighting off the gang members.

Core Player Experience: At a Rave

Central Story Theme: Fun

Design Pillar: A fighting, rave, dance game.

Remarkability: You are the life of the party

Feature Development Priorities:

  • A unique system that lets you rave and fight.
  • Amazing soundtracks to entertain the player
  • High FPS to allow a bunch of high detailed assets to fill the rave

Reference Games: Dance Revolution, Arkham City and For Honor.

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GDD - Social Media Tycoon

You have to manage and build your social media presence. You will use different tactics to become viral in today’s social media rules. Can you become a living meme or a leaf forgotten on the wind of social media.

Genre: Management Simulation

Target Audience: Everyone

Controls: Touchscreen or mouse and keyboard

Thematic Setting: Control the social media of your business.

MVP Game Moment: You are running a business. You are tasked with getting new students to join the business. You decide to build a podcast. You have to decide what topic the podcast will be about. You then need to set up your space do to it. On your room you go over to the computer and buy some equipment. The next in game day the equipment arrives while you are setting up social media. Your instagummy and linkedout skills are going up. With your podcast equipment your make your first episode. You make a title called “Where is all begins.” You post it on HeadBook and receive many likes and shares. Suddenly your followers on instagummy and linkedout start going up: you start creating ads ad put it on social media and the podcast! Sales are going up! Time to buy mor equipment!

Game Summary: You are in charge of social media marketing for your business or businesses.

Core Player Experience: A digital marketer

Central Story Theme: Providing Value is Key.

Design Pillar: You have to use what you think is right to make it in the social media world. Different choices will lead you to different routes. Can you successfully market your brand?

Remarkability: giving without expectation is why you will win

Feature Development Priorities:

  • An engaging management with beautiful assets to immersive the player.
  • Interesting outcomes for each choice.
  • The way to win is to create quality content. To ensure this is the case the game will be set with an unique algorithm.
  • Means of making money and growing a following happens in real time.

Reference Games: GameDev Tycoon, Dragonvale and RollerCoaster Tycoon

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GDD #7 - Death Race

You are Frankenstein a driver with amazing skills but the other prisoners want your head. They all want the prize of escaping. Can you escape or will you be one of the killed.

Genre: Race / Third Person

Target Audience: Mature

Controls: Racing controls mixed with Gta and God Of Way mechanics. Best with a controller.

Thematic Setting: A prison in the future where people pay to watch prisoners kill each other.

MVP Game Moment: The lights flash green and you are off! You zoom bast and maneuver through the cars. You smash a car against the wall and it goes flying backwards hitting another car. You get rammed by another car and damage the left side of your car. Your co-driver says that the left is jammed and she is going to fix it. While she gets out to fix it you have to dive bullets and hits to keep her alive. Commands will come up to help you keep her alive. Once she fixes it lap 2 starts. Now the attack/ defend beacons work. You go over an attack beacon and start lighting up the cars in front of you and cause a double takedown. One the ravers gets a trap beacon and tries to take you out you quickly dive it but it dames the right side of you car. The trap then hits the car behind you giving you boost. You boost towards second and hit the 1st place car and get. A knock out. You then pass the finish line and win the first race.

In the garage the rival prisoners come up to you and get mad at you for killing their leader. You player tells them that it’s not his fault he can’t race. They grab crowbars and come after you. You fight them off but other gang members start coming and it’s an un-winnable fight. Your car director comes out with a flamethrower and scares everyone away.

“Where the hell did you get that?” Says the main character.

“I built it out of broken car part!” Said the car director.

The cutscene ends and you end up in your garage.

Game Summary: Frankenstein is actually a prisoner who was wrongly accused. He is sent to jail. But this is no normal jail. He has to compete in races for the prison’s tv show. The grand prize is freedom or so they say. You have to win and get out of the god forsaken death hole. In this liner like open world game your will interact with different characters and be exposed the what is really going on. You will have to survive the multiple death traps and surprises coming your way while also keeping your crew alive.

Core Player Experience: Badass Driver / Fighter

Central Story Theme: Revenge / Freedom

Design Pillar: A game with Burnout like racing mixed with GTA / red dead combat system and god of war skill tree system

Remarkability: Doing what is right even when wronged.

Feature Development Priorities:

  • Immersive combat system
  • Spectacle racing with explosions and badass weapons
  • Well-written story that keeps you interested

Reference Games: Red Dead 2, Gta, God of War, and Burnout Paradise

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GDD #8 - Traffic Evasion

Evade traffic and collect license plates for extra points! Temple runner with cars!

Genre: Endless Runner / Racing

Target Audience: Everyone

Controls: Touchscreen

Thematic Setting: The Long Road

MVP Game Moment: You are on a streak! You have x4 for not hitting anything for awhile. You collected a lot of license plates and your distance is high. The game takes this into account and makes the game harder. You have to swipe and evade the cars as fast as you can. You upgraded your car and your brakes and steering are improved so it’s easy for you to get into tight spaces and avoid crashing. You are now at x6! Nobody can stop you! You get an achievement for getting to 1,000 miles.

Game Summary: This game takes place in situations with lots of traffic. Sine involve fixing a traffic, others include special missions and the majority of the game is endlessly dodging traffic and collecting license plates.

Core Player Experience: Badass Driver

Central Story Theme: Traffic Sucks

Design Pillar: Unique sounds and visuals mixed with a fun endless runner designed to make you feel like you are in are in need for speed movie

Remarkability: Timing is Key

Feature Development Priorities:

  • Beautiful Assets
  • Different vehicles
  • Endless mode and different levels
  • In-game radio

Reference Games: Temple Run, Subway Surfers and Burnout

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GDD #9 - Inner Peace

There is always a war raging inside. Can you realm calm or will you lose your mind.

Genre: Mobile Game

Target Audience: Everyone

Controls: Touchpad

Thematic Setting: The Mind

MVP Game Moment: There are negative thoughts everywhere! It’s becoming harder and harder to remain clam. Your stress levels are increasing. You continue to fight back but there are too many. Your special bar is full. You press the middle of your mind and it unleashed a blast that clears all negative thoughts. You then start lashing out at the negative thoughts that try to penetrate again. This time you are able to ward them all off. Your stress levels are decreasing and then you reach the end of the level. It was a close one but since you successfully collected enough positive thoughts you were able to use it to destroy all negative thoughts on the screen .

Game Summary: The game takes place in the mind of your player. The art design is representation of the mind. Think of Doctor Strange. It is meant to be a trippy experience. You are inside you very mind. You have to take control of your mind and banish all the negative and bad thoughts. The only way to do this is to attack back with inner peace. When the game starts the music is calm and will sound like you are in a yoga class. Then the sound will go from peace to chaos especially as the negative thoughts increase. You have to use the power of inner peace to win. Take control of your mind and use all that you have to prevent the negative thoughts from infiltrating your mind. You use the touch screen to throw peace bombs

Core Player Experience: Chaotic

Central Story Theme: Stay Calm

Design Pillar: Use colorful art to show the affect the outside world has on our mind

Remarkability: Meditation is a skill

Feature Development Priorities:

  • Colorful fun and wacky creative art work design.
  • Have music that is peaceful but turns chaotic as the level rages on
  • A touchscreen system that allows for intuitive gameplay

Reference Games:

Cookie Clicker

GDD #10 - Skyscraper Holdout

An entire army is out to get you. You enter the largest skyscraper in the world. Your intelligence informs you there is a super powered mini jet they will get you out of the country. They sent choppers, army, dogs and rigged the place with traps to stop you. Can you make it to the top?

Genre: VR / Shooter

Target Audience: Teens and up / Lovers of VR and Shooters

Controls: VR motion controls or Regular Controller

Thematic Setting: In a SkyScraper

MVP Game Moment: You are running through the stairs killing enemies left and right. The game uses a slow-no system except the enemies can read your attacks and will also dodge your attacks. Also you have the ability to run on walls but so do certain enemies and they will use it against you.

While you are running through the office spaces you notice a chopper. You I sat my jump for cover as the chopper shoots at you. You then get up through chairs for cover and start running through the office. You jump from the desk to the ceiling and then back down dodging the garage if machine gun fire.

Game Summary: You are a spy who has been de-compromised. You make it to the rendezvous point. The tallest skyscraper in the country. Intelligence left you a escape jet at the top. But the enemies are already one step ahead and are moving there way to the top to Destroy it and capture you. This game use the mechanics of SuperHot. In this game the enemies also have the ability and will be able to dodge and attack back. You will need to use your skills and wits to fight back. Also you have the ability to run on walls and use different weapons. Watch out though they have everything after you.

Core Player Experience: Badass

Central Story Theme: Patience

Design Pillar: Use unique slow time system

Remarkability: AI can be better but you have to become better

Feature Development Priorities:

•A intelligent AI that will slow down time to anticipate your attacks and try to catch you off guard.

•Quick time moments to have intense gameplay moments

•A intense and dark colored games with low poly elements

Reference Games:

Superhot VR

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