Paralight
 

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Role: Level/System Designer

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Team Size: 12

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Engine: Unity 2020

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Development Time: 5 Months

Play as a magic-wielding academic or an avid, brutish adventurer who find themselves trapped on an alien world, bound on a perilous journey to find their find way home.

Working with your partner, explore the wonderous world of Aperscitus as you discover the tales of old left behind by those that once called Aperscitus "Home". Overcome the structures they left behind as you attempt to leave this place as they did.

Check out our final build here! 

Personal Contributions

Additional Contributions:

  • Version Control Management & Support (BitBucket)

  • Liaising with Programmers to polish and script new systems, with the inclusion of Network code

  • Primary point of contact for the Art team, working in cohesion to replace blockouts seamlessly

  • Arranged and conducted all playtesting sessions

Pre-production

Paralight, by definition - is an asymmetrical cooperative puzzle adventure game. As one of the two designers on the project, the element that stayed at the forefront of all decisions was experience. If said experience isn’t a shared one, the overall design becomes flawed - making it a tag-along adventure for the second player.

Whilst the most important point to consider, it also became the hardest to maintain throughout development. Through Prototyping, keeping that balance turned into a coin flip. In order to remedy this, I attempted to design future iterations of puzzles and areas with a multi-tiered approach; enabling each player to have their own input whilst directly affecting the other players’ experience.

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Puzzle idea generation

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Level Concept discussion

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Final layout of Level, post-rework. 

Refining the design through iterations, a lot of content was cut from the final release - favouring the aforementioned shared experience. Taking games like Trine as an example, quality over quantity became pivotal as playtesting showed an issue with lack of interactivity with the previously implemented 'open-world' spaces'. Mix-matching a linear, crafted experience with an open-world format proved to disrupt the overall flow, causing the balance of a shared experience to be lost.

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Coop Puzzle prototype

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'Maze Rotation' Prototype.

Beyond testing, all systems associated with puzzles fell underneath my ownership due to a lack of manpower and this meant I became responsible for both Prototyping and delivering the final products. With experience in mind, I ensured that every puzzle was as interactive with both players as possible - making their actions directly impact the experience of the other; delivering emergent and unexpected gameplay to help balance level linearity.

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Interactive 'Environmental Gating'

Scripting

Due to a lack of resources on this Project, I ended up working on a lot of ‘final’ systems instead of regular Prototypes. Whilst a trying process, my confidence with C# improved overall and I was able to develop intuitive, nice-feeling systems that were able to be embedded into Puzzle Design with ease.


The greatest hurdle with my scripting journey was implementation and testing. With Paralight being a cooperative game, each system had to be relentlessly tested with edge cases. Did it work on the host client? Did it work on the receiving client? Was the server receiving client input? With the implementation of Photon Networking further down the line, overall implementation became far easier.
 

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End-game Teleporter

Game Feel

Having cut a lot of content, emphasising the assets that remained was a priority in delivering the most polished product we could. Alongside my fellow designer, we worked to emphasise the underlying narrative as much as possible - playing on the Player’s immersion with the implementation of cinematic cutscenes. 

Designing in scope with the resources left at this point became our priority, so by making the decision to emphasise the scale of world surrounding the player, I aimed to immerse them with an illusion of being entrapped within this world - emphasising the macro-scale of the world to disguise the lack of micro present.