Team Size

Team Role

Genre

Platform

Project year

Engine

~35

Lead Designer

Narrative Designer

System Designer

Action Adventure

PC

2017 - 2018

Unreal Engine 4

Project description

Arboreal is an open-world farming & adventuring game where you save the world and its ancient giants from a spreading corruption.

Main Responsibilities

Combat / System design: Combat systems

I directed my feature team comprised of artists, animators, and programmers whilst designing several rules and systems for combat, enemies and spawning. The combat had to fit the narrative theme of "clearing corruption" and ties back to the farming gameplay via loot drops and using the farming tools to get rid of enemy spawnpoints.

  • Lock-on system with an automated "soft lock" and an active "Hard lock"

  • Base combat rules for enemies and player character (E.g.: damage, knockback, momentum, range, movement, etc.)

  • Create proper timing for attacks using UE4 animtion notifications (notifies).

  • Dodge system that leavesenemies stunned with the right timing.

  • A "backstab" damage modifier to encourage positioning.

  • Placeholder feedback effects for windups, hits and deaths for both enemies and player. (later replaced by artists.)

  • "Corruption" areas around large mushrooms where enemies would spawn. Using the farming tools the player can remove mushrooms and prevent eneies from spawning for a short time as well as possibly getting rare loot.

Boss fights

I had to design four different boss fights, each fitting a dungeon with a certain element as theme. I had a hard constraint in scope as art and animation availability was extremely limited.

  • Created meaningful boss fights at low art and animation costs to fit scope.

  • Designed boss fights to challenge the player's skills and knowledge of base combat rules and dungeon items.

  • Each dungeon's boss has a different weakness and behaviour.

  • Increasingly difficult boss phases to increase player tension.

  • Set up boss intro using the UE4 Sequencer tool.

  • Set up boss attacks using UE4 Behaviour Tree.

Narrative Design: NPC backgrounds

The game has NPCs that the player can talk to, receive quests and barter with. I created several high level personalities and backgrounds. Afterwards I discussed them with the other narrative designers and made a choice. Below you will find one of these NPCs.

Name: 

Cydel Ceps

Occupation: 

Mayor

Social behaviour: 

  • Loves to talk, but does not like it when other people butt in during a conversation she’s having.

  • She can be patient, but does not tolerate people knowingly disrespecting her.

  • Can sometime be a bit overly analytical.

  • Likes to correct people.

  • Can be a bit dense when it comes to the more emotional side of things.

Daily habits

Walks around the village checking up on people, visits the tavern to talk and listen in to conversations, work in office. Will sometimes read books later in the day if she has time.

Awards & Recognition

Play the game

You can download the game for free on the steam page