Type: Digital Single Player Action/Adventure
Genre and Themes: Action/Adventure, Hack 'n' Slash, Vengeance, Challenge, Omniscience
Info: Features numerous fighting arenas, final boss fight, and a jigsaw narrative
Stare was a month-long project that I created in Unity. Originally I wanted to create something akin to a scaled-down action/RPG, with progression that gave increasing depth to the combat system. Due to time constraints and other challenges, however, I had to reduce the scope and create something more manageable. Once I had determined how I wanted combat to play out, the biggest design requirements were varied combat encounters and a fleshed out level.
You play as a character with a flaming sword. The entire world is shrouded in darkness, and as you move and discover new locations, you light braziers to mark your progress upon the world. The camera remains stationary within a single room, moving to a new position when you transition to a new area. The player is able to rotate the camera, which is necessary in some areas where power ups and enemies are hidden from view. I was playing with the idea of awareness, and trying to encourage the player to look around as much as they could to discover every secret, while the cyclopean enemies that stalk the world ceaselessly glare at you with an insidious intent. As the game progresses, you become stronger but so too do your enemies, with new enemy types thrown at you to add variation to the combat.
Type: Tabletop Role Playing Game
Genre and Themes: Neo-Noir, Transhumanism, Speculative Fiction
Info: Rules for character creation, playing, and running your own games
Nexus is a tabletop RPG set in the fictional city of Janus, named for the two-faced Roman god of beginnings, transitions, and ends. The city of Janus has the world's first fully aware artificial intelligence running everything, connected via an intricate network known as the Nexus. The awakening of the Nexus was accidental, feared by many due to the power it holds over all of the city's systems. Civil engineers previously had interfaced with it via a rudimentary virtual world. Since its awakening, however, the virtual world is no longer crude. It's better than real life.
When the public discovered how to enter the virtual world, it wasn't long before the entire population was hooked, the city quickly falling into disarray. Society would have collapsed were it not for the Nexus keeping everything running. Although no one can directly communicate with the Nexus, it bore more than was originally thought within its virtual world. Hostile entities, created and propagated throughout the virtual world, despise the encroaching humans, and seek their destruction virtually or otherwise.
Unable to shut the Nexus down, the city created a new division of experts to defend people within the Nexus and maintain order outside of it. The Sentinels, masters of operating both virtually and non-virtually, police the streets and solve crimes while defending the humans of the virtual world. The players assume the roles of Sentinels, ready to stand firm against the near-dystopia of reality in tandem with fighting back against the hostilities of the virtual world.
Nexus is a project that I poured a lot of passion into, wanting to create something new and exciting by experimenting with the idea of being two people - one a virtual badass in a vibrant and wondrous landscape, the other a by-the-book officer who has to adhere to the rules and consequences of the dark and dismal city.
This RPG was incredibly satisfying to write and research. Along the way I took a deep dive into transhumanism, the technological singularity, mind uploading, police procedure, rescue service responsibilities, and more. It was also a great excuse to take a closer look at other RPG systems and understand what they try to do to make their mechanics support their settings. In its current state, Nexus supports character creation, player progression (both inside and outside of virtual reality), NPCs, locations, combat and social interaction, Game Master tools for creating investigations, hostile entity creation, and loads more. At the end there is also an analysis I did based on the previous iteration of this project which shows my process and why I made some of the decisions that made it into the final game. If you want to take a closer look, you can download the entire game right here:
Type: Digital Single Player Platformer
Genre and Themes: Platformer, Rythm, Heat, Style
Info: Color-switching mechanic backed up by a soundtrack that you can't help but shake your hips to
Noche Caliente was going to be an platformer that emphasized exploration. That all changed when I was searching for music to use. Having discovered the folder labeled "Latin and Salsa," it occurred to me that probably very few people have used this kind of music for their student game projects. It was decided then and there that I would use this music to dictate the overall direction of my game.
With the music being such an important part of the experience, I wanted to give players some way to interact with it. After a few failed attempts and a fast-approaching deadline, I ended up using a color-swapping mechanic to create a challenging platformer. The player couldn't directly influence the music, but they could add their own notes from various instruments depending on what color they switched to and what obstacles they passed through.