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Ascent To Descent

Ascent to Descent

  • Genre: FPS, Space Flight

  • Duration: 2 weeks

  • Platform: PC

  • Engine: Unreal

  • Team Size: Solo Project

Description

Role

  • Game Design

  • Technical Design

  • Level Design

Responsibilities

Ascent to Descent is  a space shooter, played in first person as if you were in the cockpit. The game is inspired by the retro game of Descent.

An evil menace of corrupted AI has taken over multiple factories in our galaxy. The management wants to use the simplest solution to solve this issue, destroy all the facilities that have been taken over. 

You been tasked to pilot a small combat ship and destroy the reactor cores of the factories to ensure their destruction.

  • 3D Space Level Design
    Designed a level to be navigated in 3D space with a spaceship, thus having corriords that goes up and down, sideways and loops around. The player will have to decide for   themselves what is up and what is down. 

  • Visual scripting
    Implemented a custom player flight controller, created basic enemy and ability to take damage and destroy them. Using visual scripting I created several blueprints to create a complete game. 

  • Gameplay
    Just making a level felt like such a waste, so I thought about what would be fun. Flying around, shooting stuff and blowing things up always made me smile.

Development

On a level design course at Future Games, I was tasked with creating a level while applying newly acquired level design knowledge.

Inspired by a game I used to play in my younger days, Descent, I gave the attempt to create a 3D level that you would navigate with a spaceship while fighting enemies. Starting with making a 2D level map, after having an overall overview of the layout, I blocked it out with boxes and just flew around with the camera to see how it felt.


I could not know if the level was good enough to be an accepted level.. unless I made it playable with actually having a spaceship the player is traveling with and some enemies, a key to find and a reaktor to destroy. My strength as a technical designer helped, as I could create all the blueprints, visualscript everything that was needed to create a prototype game.

This is one of my best prototypes that actually became a complete game in the span of only 2 weeks.

Gallery

Game Design

The Player

The first time I ever tried to make a game where the player is flying and is the ship. Starting out with the Flying template Unreal Engine provides I started prototyping level design and testing flying around with the controls that were in the generic "flying pawn" blueprint.

While white boxing the level to find out the best size of the corridors and rooms should be, the clunky controls the default flying pawn had were horrendous.

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The Final Version

I found a free Spaceship model online and then stripped it. After adjusting and enlarging the cockpit area in blender, I imported the ship and materials to assemble it. 

After several iterations, the end result looked much better than anything I could have hoped for. I have always been for diegetic HUD in games, as such both the quest display and health bar, are actually on the ships front. The text is a 3D text component while health bar are just primitive cubes!

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The Prototype

The first iteration of the improved player blueprint was heavily focused on the visual scripting part. The movement felt wrong, clunky and the player had barely any control. Changed it so the default player has 0 velocity and the ability to both rotate the ship with Q & E but also break and travel backwards. 

When the controls felt alright, I started working on the visuals, iterating on how the player should look like.

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The Drone

The level felt empty flying around, so added some enemies.
Using a free Drone model, I visual scripted first an enemy of the turret kind and placed the blueprint around the level. A static enemy that shoots at yea when you get near it was alright, but not what I had imagined. 

Using scene components, I set our patrol points for the enemy pawn to fly between. It kinda worked, it's clunky and the enemy drone does quite some sharp turns moving between patrol points.

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The Prototype Final Version

After having the drone be able to patrol and shoot at the player if they get too close to it, I placed them out on the level expecting them to work as I wanted.

They did not. As the level is in 3D space, with corridors going up and down, the drone is limited in navigating up and down in a graceful way. As such I could only use the patrolling drones in corridors and larger areas. Placing out my old stationary turret drone together with the patrolling one gave the illusion that maybe all of them could move!

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Genre: First Person Platformer, Puzzle
Engine: Unreal
Team Size: 6
Duration: 4 weeks
Platform: PC

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Genre: First Person, Horror, Puzzle
Engine: Unreal Engine 4
Team Size: 9
Duration: 7 weeks
Platform: PC

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Arv - The Inheritance

Genre: First Person, Horror, Puzzle
Engine: Unity
Team Size: 3
Duration: 4 weeks
Platform: PC

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D.A.V.E's Odyssey

Genre: Isometric, Point & Click, Puzzle
Engine: Unity
Team Size: 9
Duration: 4 weeks
Platform: PC

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Ascent
To
Descent

Genre: FPS, Spaceflight 
Engine: Unreal Engine 4
Team Size: Solo Project
Duration: 2 weeks
Platform: PC