Beyond is a top-down, twin stick shooter where you play as a little girl trying to put her father's soul to rest. Help her defeat the possessed gems and find a final resting place for her father.
About This Project...
This game was created for our GAM200/GAM250 class using a custom engine for 7 months from September 2018 to April 2019.
This project was made with 14 people, the team breakdown being:
2 Designers (BAGD)
3 Designers/Programmers (BSGD)
3 Programmers (RTIS/BSCS)
5 Artists (BFA)
1 Sound Designer (BSCSDA)
Player Weapon Design
Create early ideas for different weapons
Develop progression using multiple weapons
Balance weapon strength to match game pacing
Concept enemies to be implemented by programmers
Balance enemies to match game pacing
Create levels to break-up gameplay
Test levels to ensure design quality
SFX Creation & Implementation
Locate legal SFX sources
Modify SFX to fit the game's context
Create hooks in C++ to attach SFX to
Working on Beyond
Beyond was my first successful large group project that I was able to work on. For me, this project was eye-opening to the group development process and taught me a lot about how to work with a team and collaborate well with my peers. Along with getting to learn about this process, I also got my first chance to work on my combat design, something I would love to focus more on. There were also other design roles that needed to be covered to make the game complete, which I ended up taking responsibility for, that included level design and SFX design.
Combat & Enemy Design in Beyond
Combat design for this game was simple since we knew we had to have a low scope for this project. This left us with having three different guns and then building the game around those three different playstyles. I was actively involved in selecting the type of weapons shipped in the final game, reasoning that the three selected weapons offered the most variety in use and gave players a set of tools that they could work with.
Since I was not able to be involved with the actual creation of the weapons, as I did not have the ability to at the time, I then needed to wait until they were implemented and tools for them were created, so I could go in and fine tune the strength and feel of the weapons. Since the tools to iterate on the weapons were not added until later, along with me getting other tasks I need to complete, the weapon balance is not as tuned as it should be. We were at least able to weaken them all a little, as before they were all too string and ruined the weapon composition and variety we tried to create.
Enemy design was again at the mercy of me getting the tools to make enemies and learning how to use said tools. After getting my bearing with the tools though, I dove straight into getting more ideas out and churning. My goal was to try and create enemies that force you to use different weapons to defeat the optimally. I concepted the rapid-fire enemy (second weapon), the medium shotgun gem (first weapon), and the charging orange gem (third weapon). Then I had to get these mechanics to our programmers quickly so they could create them, and I could work on fine tuning the details. Most of their implementations were robust, so I had a lot of room to play around with fire rates, bullet damage, etc. So, tweaking the AI to find the sweet spot was easy to achieve.
Level Design in Beyond
I was tasked with picking up some of the level design toward the end of the project, which consisted mainly of designing 2 different levels.
Zone 2 | Level 3
Goal: Create a level that feels different from the rest of the game.
Zone 2 | Level 6
Goal: Slow players down, have them think about their shots
Audio Design in Beyond
Having limited availability to full time audio majors, we had no one on our team that could spend the time working on SFX and music, so I had to step in to take this role. We managed to get a volunteer to make us a single music track to loop through the game, so I oversaw the making of all the SFX that you hear in the game. This ended up being a god job for me though, since I had spent so much time on AI and weapons and did some level design, I had a good feel for how everything worked in the game, which helped with making the sounds.
Having access to a large sound library, this is where my process started. I spent a few hours pulling potential audio samples out that I felt would fit in the game. I had a list of everything that needed a sound, so I went until I had a sound for each one. I would then edit/modify SFX to better fit the game using audacity. My familiarity with all the mechanics helped expedite this process. Once I had all the sounds, I then had to go into the C++ code to add the SFX hooks to the different actions. After that it was just down to tweaking and finding the right timings.