Genre: 2D Platformer & Magic Puzzles.
July 2016 to July 2018.
Made with a team of 15 people.
Team: 8 Artists, 1 Programmer, 2 Technical Designers, 2 Musicians, 1 QA Tester.
Our character is a young girl who sets off on a journey to save her grandmother, who has been kidnapped by an evil creature. She will try to unravel the mystery about them with her magic umbrella.
Aura has to travel through different places until she reaches the castle where everything has started.
At first it was an idea we we working on with some friends, but then, as more people were interested in our project, we decide to professionalize the development.
We had to pitch our project in front of a jury, who would select the best among all the presented projects. After we were given the opportunity to be part of this special training and mentoring program, we started with four meeting per week: Production, Design, Art and Programming.
We were given two years to finish the project. We took the first one learning how to work together as if we were in a studio. We are currently in the second one, producing all the content of the game.
Role in the project
Producer: Team Communication, Task Assignment and Coordinate Meetings with teachers, press and team members.
Game Designer: Design Concept, Mechanics, Camera, Story, Music, Enemies and Level Design.
Technical Game Designer: Script Events and Camera, using Cinemachine 2D.
As a Game Designer I had to design magical puzzles while using umbrella related powers. The best choices were Water, Wind and Thunder.
There is no combat in the game, so the magic had to impact the environment to help Aura resolve puzzles. The Water makes plants grow, Wind help her to move things and Thunder got out of the game because it has a harmful inheritance.
We wanted to get a deep Narrative which were shown by watching what is going on. There is no dialogue and no written staff.
This was complicated, but we approach it by using Storyboards and Environmental Storytelling,
The Narrative theme is about Solitude and Horror, we encouraged this feelings by giving the character someone to be with and then make them leave. This gives the player strength to overcome obstacles and keep going with the adventure.
My role as a Level Designer was to design on paper the levels and implement them in Unity to test their entertainment. This process had to be very meticulous because once it got my approval it was sent to the art department to start the concepts. Once the levels are given to the Artists, I had to keep track of their work to keep intact the core of the level.
After the art is done, there is no going back, it is implemented on Unity and then the team move to other level.
There is no direct combat, the player has to overcome the obstacles by thinking outside the box while using her magic abilities.
Aura can open her umbrella to fall slower and get a better control while jumping over obstacles.
The player is able to use the mouse to draw symbols in the screen. These activate the umbrella´s power, as if it were a magic wand.
Water: This spell make some plants grow and turn into platforms for Aura to use.
Wind: A blow of wind appears where the player cast the spell, this can move objects which are far from Aura or help her levitate while she has the umbrella open.
As a Producer I had to keep track of all the tasks that I had appointed to each member. It is hard to keep a team of 15 students motivated and ready to invest their free time working on a non profit project. Since they are only giving the time that they can to work on Umbrella, it is complicated to get the most of everyone and work on a strict and shared schedule.
I also had to go to every single meeting that we had organized during these years, so that I could manage to delegate tasks and transfer information or feedback to every department and its team members. The hardest part was in Summer, while I was working at EA. I had to ask for a day off for every meeting we had to settle for Umbrella, sometimes it was just to receive negative feedback about the first steps of the development. Instead of demotivate myself, I tried harder to learn what was wrong and how to do better, so I went to every meeting with more strength. That was when I learnt more about Game Design and all that is needed to work on when developing a game.
In this project, we don´t have engineers. All the code has been done by Game Designers, because we wanted to prove ourselves we can be in charge of programming our ideas and mechanics.