Black Hive was my graduation project, made in a team of 8 people on Unreal Engine 4.
It's an asymmetrical multiplayer confrontation game, with strong atmosphere and gameplay differentiations.
On one part, a lone soldier, playing a tense FPS with a macabre atmosphere, needs to find and destroy the hive of three unknown creatures, called Carnimorphs.
These creatures play a Third Person action/infiltration game, where they need to cooperate to track down, ambush and kill the soldier before he reaches the hive.
This was the third large project where I was a Technical Designer, but it was the first one with a AAA-quality ambition, and realistic visuals. Since working in AAA game studios is my career goal, I began exploring aspects of Game Design and Technical Design I had not yet discovered, such as in-depth User Analytics, Camera Design, and complex C++ code.
Since it is a multiplayer confrontation game, balancing, therefore data gathering, was very important. I designed and developed a custom User analytics framework in C++, in order to gather as much pertinent data as possible. It writes csv files that compile specific variables of the players during a game (such as inflicted damages, etc...). After a week of daily playtests I usually had around 130 csv files that I can group in Excel, and make dashboards with charts.
I was also in charge of the balancing of the game, something quite new for me. I wasn't necessarily aiming for a perfect balance, but one that favourizes the game experience above all. If the soldier players feel more angst and tension in game when they only have a 40% chance of winning, it's what I will aim for.
Intricate combat design
Since I was also a Game Designer in the team, I participated in the early conception of the game, especially in designing the creatures and their synergies. This led to a number of iterations and heavy prototyping, since testing without all the gameplay mechanics wouldn't show the potential of the creature gameplay.
Since the creatures can walk on walls and ceilings, and are played in a Third Person view, ensuring character movement is smooth and easy is an essential part of the game. We chose not to change the camera roll when on vertical surfaces, which caused a number of ergonomics problems. However, we feel it was the right thing to do to ensure smooth movement and keeping players from getting lost.
What I did
- Macro Game Design
- Writing design and technical documentation
- Prototyping gameplay features
- Providing technical advice to designers
- Integrating sounds with WWise
- Organizing playtests and analizing data
- Camera Design
What I learnt
- Coding on more backend tasks
- Using Unreal Engine 4 on a large project
- Developing backend features in C++
- Using Wwise for a large project
- Working with a complex character movement