Play as Veles in this fast-paced VR action-adventure game, use your disk to destroy the clouds of enemy drones. Fight, climb, and zip line your way through this post-dystopian city to its main factory, in order to free the people of Block 36.
My contributions to C.L.O.U.D Hunters
Served as Lead Systems and Technical Designer, spearheading the design and execution of the game's mechanics and systems.
Collaborated closely with the art team and programmers to facilitate seamless integration between game design and technical aspects.
Played a pivotal role in shaping player flow and progression, working closely with the Narrative Designer.
Contributed to the game's immersive experience by collaborating with Audio Producers and taking charge of audio implementation
Administered and maintained the project repository, ensuring an organized and efficient workflow.
Documented and regularly updated the game's system designs, maintaining a clear record of development progress.
Conducted extensive user testing to identify areas for improvement and relayed valuable feedback to the team.
Optimized both game performance and 'feel', ensuring an engaging and fluid user experience.
Designed and implemented a user-friendly and intuitive User Interface, enhancing player engagement and ease of navigation.
In designing C.L.O.U.D Hunters, my primary objective was to create a complex, engaging VR experience for more seasoned players, and as such, the game's mechanics were crucial. I aimed to utilize the full potential of VR technology, enabling players to physically interact with the game world in ways not possible in traditional games. This resulted in a host of various innovative mechanics, from throwing the hunter disk with accuracy and tact to the dynamic use of a rechargeable shield for both offence and defence.
Creating an advanced VR game necessitated that the core mechanics be not only innovative but also challenging and rewarding. With this in mind, the hunter disk was designed as a recallable weapon, bouncing off the environment in a variety of manners, offering players a depth of strategic possibilities. Simultaneously, the energy shield mechanic was intended to break away from static combat, enabling fluid movement during confrontations. The implementation of AI states for drones, ranging from patrol to attack, was designed to provide dynamic combat scenarios, demanding players to adapt their strategies on the fly. Lastly, traversal mechanisms like climbing and zip-lining were conceived to make exploration exciting and physically engaging, enhancing immersion and heightening the sense of being in a dystopian world. In all, the intention was to craft a VR game that challenges players' skills and strategic thinking, providing an intense and satisfying gameplay experience.
Challenges & Solutions
Narrative Vs Gameplay
The genesis of C.L.O.U.D Hunters stemmed from a creative divide within our team, an equal division between those drawn to a mechanics-driven game and those who advocated for a narrative-focused approach. Rather than selecting one over the other, we saw an opportunity to amalgamate these perspectives, culminating in a rich blend of mechanics and narrative that set the tone for the project.
From the onset, my role as the Lead Systems and Technical Designer became inherently intertwined with the Narrative Designer's work. Despite our initial differences on where to place our primary focus - gameplay or narrative - we decided to undertake both simultaneously. I took on the challenge of building and testing game mechanics while my counterpart constructed the world and its narrative. This concurrent development process necessitated constant communication and collaboration, forming a vital feedback loop that allowed us to ensure that the gameplay was deeply integrated with the story, and vice versa.
This unique balancing act between gameplay and narrative yielded a game that neither camp could have achieved in isolation. The mechanics were designed to propel the narrative forward, and the narrative, in turn, infused the mechanics with greater purpose and urgency. Ultimately, our approach to merging gameplay with narrative resulted in an innovative VR experience that won the unanimous enthusiasm of our team, crafting a game that was as engaging to play as it was immersive to experience.
Overcoming Communication and Collaboration Challenges
In the course of C.L.O.U.D Hunters' development, our team encountered a significant challenge with respect to the role of the programming team. It became evident that the programmers were unable to dedicate the required time to the project, which resulted in a delay in the implementation of key mechanics. This situation stirred some tension within the team as it threatened to compromise our project timeline.
To overcome this, I proactively adapted my role from just being a Systems and Technical Designer to incorporating more hands-on programming tasks. I redesigned many of the game mechanics and systems to ensure they fell within our new, adjusted scope. A key example of this was the transition from the initial concept of grappling hook-based movement, which was not completed as promised by the programming team, to the introduction of the zip wire and lift systems. Working in tandem with the narrative and level designers, I took charge in creating these systems to fulfil the intended verticality within our game environment.
The lack of prior communication about these issues from the programmers certainly posed difficulties. However, these challenges ultimately led to a transformation of my role within the team and a profound learning experience in problem-solving, scope management, and proactive communication. Despite the initial setbacks, we succeeded in creating an engaging and immersive game, primarily due to the flexible and resilient approach we adopted during these hurdles.
Reflecting upon the journey of C.L.O.U.D Hunters' development, the overriding sentiment is one of immense pride and accomplishment. The smooth and mostly seamless progression of the project was made possible by leveraging our learnings from our prior VR game, Whitefall. Our previous experiences prepared us to meet the challenges head-on, allowing us to focus on enhancing creativity and pushing the boundaries of what we believed we could achieve.
Despite the occasional hurdles, notably the programming issues and the balancing act between narrative and mechanics, the project proved to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my career. The difficulties we faced were transformed into opportunities for growth, prompting innovation and a creative outpouring that became the backbone of our game. The sense of camaraderie within the team and the joy of seeing our collective vision come to life made every challenge worthwhile. C.L.O.U.D Hunters is not only a testament to our capabilities as game developers but also a symbol of our potential for future explorations in this exciting field.