Take control of a malware and infiltrate the most sophisticated networks!
Using your tracker, make your way through all kind of systems, but remember one thing : Don't get caught!
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In April 2017, we started our first year-end project. The group were designated at random. We were five Game Designers and three Game Programmers. The goal of the project was to make a stealth game, with a top-down camera. We had to make all the assets by ourselves as we didn’t work with any Game Artists. We had to make one level for every game designer plus the tutorial (so, six levels). Every level had a two-minute timer. Being spotted by enemies would instantly kill the player and reset the level.
The first thing we did was to make a one-page concept so we could pitch the game concept to our teachers (who managed our projects). I wanted to make a game based on the idea that the player would reveal the level by dispersing particles on the ground. The whole team was excited by the it, and we started working.
I experimented quickly with the unity particle system to see if something was achievable. I knew we would have to switch to a custom particle system (using compute shader).
During the alpha milestone, we showed the development progress of the game to our teachers. After a few particle shots, the game started lagging; reaching 10 to 15 FPS after only five shots. Our teachers gave us a negative review, saying that we had to focus on performances and how we, Game Designers, could make the game rely a lot less on this core feature.
After this, we convinced our programmers to work on a compute shaders to make the particle system we wanted, so it would work efficiently. I knew it was possible and not very hard to do (as there was some example projects available on github). We had one programmer working mainly on this, while another worked on the enemies and the last one worked on the UI.
When they implemented it, the game started looking and feeling a lot better!
The problem we encountered during the development was a lack a motivation and autonomy from the rest of the team. My classmate and friend Paul Muller and I started managing everyone so we could ship a finished game. In our school projects, to prevent people from taking over projects, there is no lead. This choice creates some problems, like taking way too long to decide something because one member of the team is not agreeing. We didn't wanted to take the lead but we had to. Every time we took a decision, the rest of the team agreed without really adding any arguments. Most of the time, it was just Paul and I debating over features of the game. Obviously, we tried to add other member of the team to the conversation, but people ended up agreeing with the last one to talk (it was a bit exhausting at the end of the project, especially because we weren't supposed to but had to).
In addition to making my level and co-managing the rest of the team, I had a lot of fun making the UI from the main menu and most of the ingame VFX. For the menues, we chosed to emulate the look of Apple II computers. This served our story well as it allowed more people to understand that everything was going on inside a PC (you play a malware looking for zero day bugs to exploit the system).
Being on a big Game Designer team allowed me to stay relativly away from writing documents and focusing more on developping the game, which was fine for me (having to write many Game Design Documents in addition to all the things I had to do would've been to much I think). Towards the end of the project, the whole team started getting more and more enthousiast and we stopped step by step to manage them (it was very nice to know that they already did some tasks before we had to tell them to, they acquired lots of autonomy through the project as they regained faith in it).
Looking back, we did a very nice project. I'm proud of the result and even though it was difficult to handle (I'm talking about the managing part), I like working with other people. Now, I still work with the other member of the team (like Valentin Serri on Replicant: The Search) or other school projects.