This project was focused on creating a unique gaming experience in third-person Unity3D game. It was to make a game-feel game to create a realistic multidimensional experience for a player by testing the players senses.
Duration: 5 months (August 2016 - December 2016)
Role: Level Design, UI Design, Development, User Testing
Hell world is a third person science fiction horror game made to test a player's senses. Inspired by games such as Dead Space and Slender: The Eight Pages, it combines gripping audio and visual effects to create a terrifying experience. But Hell World takes it to a whole different dimension... Literally.
We studied existing games that we had played or had watched gameplays. We studied the environments, plot, special effects, character design, animations and the enemy AI.
2: Literature/Narrative Review
We took inspiration from movies, books, videos and fan fiction that explored narratives and storylines that could be gamified. We explored concepts that were different and would appeal to gamers.
3: Review of graphics, photographs, etc
We used sources such as Behance projects, Pinterest etc to come up with concepts for the game visuals, UI, Heads Up Display, etc.
Ideation and Brainstorming
1.Paradoxical architecture, like an infinite staircase or Escher’s painting. Textures which make it difficult to understand exactly what surface the player may be walking on.
2.A world which is tumbling (like the inside of a cylinder, in Inception). Player needs to climb around and manipulate the physics by controlling its movements.
3.Puppet-based control / Indirect control: Multi-player game where each player controls one or more limbs of a giant robot as you attempt to fight the opponent without blowing up the city.
4.Invisibility: Main character is invisible! Player needs to find himself. AIs are invisible! Finding ghosts or ghosts chasing the player.
We decided on the basic overall layout of the game, number of levels and plot keeping it minimalistic in order to focus on game-feel. We whiteboarded the levels and environment objects. We then developed the game win/lose scenarios as well as developed the environment switching logic.
Step 1:Character Design
Designed using Adobe Fuse and Mixamo. We gave the character a look and feel that players could connect with.
Step 2:Environment Design
We created the environment using unity assets as well as custom builds using ProBuilder. We had multiple iterations with several participants to add complexity to the environment.
Step 3:Interaction Design
Interactions included two types: input/output and object interaction. We tested through fast prototyping different input mechanisms: using the mouse and keyboard keys to find the optimum interaction methods for controlling the player, camera as well as interacting with the environment.
Step 4:Special Effects
We used custom particle effects as well as light and camera effects from the Asset Store. We included sound effects for the two different environments to give it the right game feel. We tested these in multiple iterations within subjects and between subjects to find the optimum effects.
Step 3:UI Design and HUD
We designed simple Main Menus and experimented with information architecture but after testing we decided to make the experience immersive and not have any distractions on the screen.
We used assets from the Unity Asset store for the NPC. We added the AI for the Non Player Character using Rain AI and additional logic for the Main Menu of the game. We added logic for the NPC to make it more complex and add "anxiety" to the game.
Alpha User Testing
"I was so fast! So fast! Also, how was I running for that long? I didn't get tired"
This was the most important step in our development process: Understanding how users felt about the game. We created an online survey with the game and asked players to fill out both a pre-game and post-game questionaire to understand both what gamers expect from a horror game as well as if Hell World satisfied their expectations. We then consolidated the results and worked out a plan to address specific areas of improvement. We found that most players felt that the difficulty level of the game was too low. Therefore, we worked on making the game harder, providing a more attractive game experience as well as creating a more appealing game feel.
Beta User Testing
After the user testing phase we modified the game to better appeal to gamers and then added the finishing touches to the game including menu options, game controls for keyboards as well as controllers, etc. We added game objects to create a scenario that acts like a tutorial on start up. We then conduted a second playtest session to see if it met the expectations of gamers.