Portfolio

Tarantella

Grid-based defense game

— ENGINE & TOOLS

Unity, Perforce, Discord, Trello

— TEAM

3 Game Designers, 3 3D Artists

— MY ROLES

Level Design, Game Design, Programming (C#), Product Owner

— DEVELOPMENT TIME

7 weeks

— DESCRIPTION

Tarantella is a grid-based defense game with strategical elements set in the old wild west.


You take control of our heroine Ella and defend the towns bank from oncoming waves of enemies. You do this by manipulating the board and lining up big attack combos in an ever evolving playing field.


DOWNLOAD GAME HERE

More Info Below

My contributions & thoughts behind it

Tutorial (Level Design)

The first part of the tutorial I made to introduce the basic mechanics to the player in a safe environment. It is made to be played in 5 steps.


1. The player is introduced to the walking mechanic with only the walking UI showing. They move 3 steps ahead.

2. The player is out of walking moves for the turn and can't walk anymore. The push & pull UI is shown and the player gets to push a crate 3 squares.

3. The player can’t push the crate any further and is introduced to the attack mechanic and also to the importance of lining up objects. The player attacks the two lined up crates.

4. The player is told to pull a crate towards them with the last 2 push & pull moves they have left.

5. The player is now out of walk & push/pull moves. But has 4 crates lined up. They are told to attack them in order and that they can do this unlimited times each turn.

Main Level (Level Design)

The player can now be killed or fail the level. However I decided to guide the player on the first steps when entering this new dangerous zone. It is split up into 5 parts as well.


1. The player is informed on how to clear the level and how they can fail.

2. After walking three steps the player is told that two enemies are very close to the bank and has to be stopped this turn. They are also told to pull a specific enemy two squares close to them.

3. This lines up the first combo and the player can attack and kill two enemies.

4. One enemy is still left but covered behind a explosive TNT crate. The player learns that they can push this crate into enemies and create a big explosion around it.

5. Some final info about the player health and enemy movement is presented and after that the tutorial is complete and the player is on their own.

Early stage block-outs of tutorial and main level

Iterating on levels (Level Design)

These are some of the things i had in mind while iterating on all levels.


1. Don't let the player find any exploits. Solutions:

- Enemies spawn at a random spawn-spot and sometimes pretty close to the bank to prevent the player from guarding spawn-spots.

- Added unbreakable obstacles on each lane so the player can't stand still and just attack back and forth in one lane.

- Random spawning crates for evolving combo opportunities in combination with trying to make the attacks feel satisfying.


2. Time constraint. For this project we had a constraint that a player should be able to finish the game in 10 minutes. This was something that I had to have in mind when iterating on levels and amount of levels.


3. Not to hard. Not to easy. This was a difficult balance especially when it can differ from play-test to play-test depending on who is playing.

Prototyping mechanics and features (C#)

We did not have any dedicated programmers for this project. But we had a very skilled technical designer that made most of the mechanics and systems work.


I also did a lot of C# scripting throughout the project and I tried to make things work quick for fast testing. If it felt like something that would work and felt like a nice add to the game our technical designer refined or reworked it and implemented it into our final product.

Working with narrative designer and artists (C# & Game flow)

For this project we had a dedicated narrative designer who created a very deep and engaging story for this project. I worked on the technical parts of getting that story into the game and also the general flow and transitions of the game.


I made a modular dialogue script where the narrative designer could easily implement all dialogue without programming.


I implemented all scenes and did some simple set dressing, camera and lighting for them. I animated and implemented all the scene transitions between them as well. The 3D artists did a great job with the final set-dressing and lighting in all scenes.

Final thoughts

This is the biggest and longest game project i have been a part of yet. Since we were a mix of game designers and 3D artists on this project everyone had to take on roles they were new to or not super comfortable with outside of their specialized roles. However i think we tackled all obstacles and problems as a team and I am very proud of what we achieved together.