GAME DESIGN PORTFOLIO
My game design portfolio.
Jumps from games, to design documents, to essays and Visio diagrams. I'm always striving to improve and challenge the way I make games, and I hope my portfolio shows off some of that!
A Rhythm-Action Game, Inspired by Improvisation
You are a session band - a group of musicians for hire. You're good... damn good. The only problem? The vocalist who hired you is missing...
Session is an attempt to break down some of the mechanical conceits of traditional music and rhythm-action games. A regular music game has you playing a song note for note, in Session you have to improvise and adapt to the fickle will of the audience.
Building off Caillois' ideas that games require 'uncertainty', alongside modern video game audio practices and jazz traditions, Session tries to tap into the musical freedoms of improvisation, and still retain the systemised boundaries that rhythm-action games thrive on... something of a challenge!
Check out the game and the theory below.
THE RIGHTS HERO
Charity Education Game in Service of Refugees
You are a superhero blessed with the power of resilience, recently arrived in Greece. Learn to fit in and stand up for your rights in your new society!
Created in collaboration with Brunel University and the Network for Childrens' Rights, based out of Athens, this is a mobile game that aims to teach refugee children arriving in Greece their rights - and what to do if those rights are violated. It also attempts to show ways in which refugees can look to integrate into their new society in a healthy and constructive manner.
My role in this project was as a game designer and lead audio designer.
This game is currently being prototyped and tested at the NCR headquarters in Athens.
Note: Prototype currently only available for mobile platforms
SPOTIFY: STATIC BEAT
An Urban-Fantasy RPG, Designed to Synergise with Spotify
On a day like any other, your voice is stolen by otherworldly creatures called The Static. Fight to reclaim your voice... and then the city.
Spotify: Static Beat is a concept design for a free-to-play mobile clicker-rhythm hybrid drawing on urban fantasy and rich musical culture. Designed to synergise with Spotify's amazing music library and connectivity, it will allow the player to dive right in and wield their own music to defeat The Static in style.
I was head of narrative for this project, but also had significant input into game mechanics, rules and general design. Furthermore, I composed the concept music, which can be found in my music portfolio.
The Design can be best explored through the Game Design Document, with further resources available via the Extended Design. A prototype battle scenario can be downloaded either via my itch.io page, or as a .exe in Extended Design.
NOTE: This is a concept, not a finished or Spotify-approved project.
Fantasy Active-Time Battle Dungeon Crawler, Set in Sandswept Ruins
Entombed for crimes best forgotten, you have two choices: sit there and rot, or become Duneborne - trading in your soul for a chance at freedom. Ever after you are tied to an hourglass that grants incredible powers, but cursed to die when the last grain of sand falls...
Duneborne is an attempt to design a game with a hard focus on numerical design. Numbers and their interactions were the key here, with everything tied to the flow of time visualised through the game's central image of an hourglass. As time flows, Hit Points fall from the top of the hourglass, becoming Action Points in the bottom half, forcing the player into continual assessment of their situation. Inverting the hourglass activates queued actions, and flips the HP and AP totals. The longer the wait, the more agency they have, but the lower their health total - risky business.
While not perfectly executed, I think the underlying numbers and mechanical ideas are really interesting in Duneborne, and I learnt a lot about implementing numerical interactions - and how to balance them!
THE AUTHORED LANDSCAPE
Architecture as Negotiated Authorship in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and Gone Home
An investigation into issues of authorship in video games, using MGS:V and Gone Home as case studies. I argue for architecture as an exceptional frame to explore the bounds and frictions of player and designer authorship over games. Traditional methods of determining authorship - and even ownership - over video games apply poorly to the medium, and it is important as game designers that we grapple with this subject if we want to take video games forward.
Relevant to discussions around authorship, ownership, modding, environmental storytelling, narrative and level design among many others. Draws on Dante, French cinema theory and cutting edge game design philosophy in equal measure.
'Game Design is dead. Long live the architecture of play.' - Miguel Sicart, 2014
(Image from Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (2015))
The Rise of Esports and Its Complications
A PROFESSION OF PLAY
My research and thoughts on Esports and how it affects the wider video game industry.
As the entertainment, sport and digital spheres become increasingly intertwined, being aware of the opportunities emerging and the changing landscape becomes ever more important. Streaming services, the divide between work and play for pros and the contentious debate over the validity of epsorts as a 'sport' and how to package it, are all issues that game designers need to stay abreast of. Just as critically, we must pay attention to the potential complications and dangers within this emerging scene, and consider strategies to deal with and avoid them, not least among them issues of player safe-guarding and a legal systems that have yet to truly catch up to this cutting-edge scene.