Game Design

Hot Swapper – What if switching bodies was easy?

For World Building Course,  Aalto Arts, February 2018

Hot Swapper is a mimetic fictional world exploring current age with single difference: technology to swap minds and bodies has recently emerged as black swan -technology. Right now, body swapping is safe, convenient, entertaining, cheap and available everywhere.

It is a world providing humorous setting for exploring  what makes us us – our identities, how we act in society, aspects and bindings of the social fabric, dark moral dilemmas, situational comedy and detective mysteries.  The presentation through the language of an pulp-fashion-magazine a tonque-in-cheeck tone on surface level balances the twisted narratives getting grim, fast.

World of Hot Swapper was envisioned to be told through episodic drama-comedy show, inspired by Black Mirror, Dollhouse and Judge Dredd. There are handful of one-off episode-plots sketched out, and a longer narrative arch envisioned to bind a season together, with plenty of potential to expand.  The setting would also work for games, for example as detective-adventure told through Virtual Reality, where the enhanced immersion truly shines in support of the overall carrying theme of the embodiment.

Art assets for a location based mobile game OutBout

Art assets for a location based mobile game OutBout

What: Promotional poster cover for the upcoming iOS based casual, freemium, location based, mobile strategy game OutBout by Planetboard. Concept is presented to investors at Slush 2013.

Target audience: Investors, kids of all ages, teenagers.

Solution: Concept shows the technological backbone of a global gps-board, explains strategy elements of the game full of wild of outdoor action. Visually safe for children and hints of elements of the game-play (Mines). There is a heavy striking energetic logo. Napoleoninc- theme was decided after wide research for it offers a colorful and well known theme for cartoony approach: lots of fancy hats and other visual insignia to exaggerate and without being grim. Theme is also true to spiritual origin of the concept, Risk.

How: Characters and scene layers were 3D-modeled, textured and rigged in Blender and rendered with Cycles.

Results: Style of the poster and characters were very liked, with question of of them looking maybe too violent. Assets were used in pitch materials and convention roll-up.

Promo Assets for the game Outbout

Visual Identity for the mobile game Outcatch

What: Visual identity for IOS based mobile GPS treasure-hunt game Outcatch! by Planetboard. Inspired from the board-game “Afrikan Tähti”. Released on 07/2013, available in app-store. Try it out.

Target audience: (Console-) gamers of all ages at risk of spending too much time indoors by the monitor.

Solution: Adventurous safari-theme with a cat-mascot who imagines being a Tiger. Outcatch. Special attention paid to engaging icon.

Results: Internal reviews with the test group were positive, especially mascot was loved. The icon was acclaimed as clearly distinguishable. Game got 2nd Reward on Gesundheit 2013 health- game competition by Sitra and feedback of the art-style has been positive.

Mobile Game Assets

Mobile Game Assets

What: Preliminary assets and UI styling for mobile game [name of the game and developer redacted for now]. To be released in 2013/2014.
What: Early asset and design-work optimized for iPad.

Target Audience: Casual gamers (mainly female) expanded to teen boys.

Solution: Make a soft cartoony feel to not alienate core group of casual gamers and have cooler colours and effects for drawing in tween male audience.

Process: Gems went trough iterations towards more cartoony, as expressed in picture.

Results: Overall style was liked by testers, with noted disparency between the UI and the feel of the Gems.
After changes on the development team, the UI has been overhauled with focus on the core-audience.

Level Design for the mobile game Fatcat Rush

Pictures from Fatcat Rush

What: Level and Game-design for the mobile game Fatcat Rush by Tomodomo OY (2011, iOS). An Endless Runner Platformer with high replayability.

Solution: Mathemathically constructed levels offered a hockey-stick difficulty-curve based on required reaction times, an easy-to-learn hard-to-master design philosphy with multiple routes and secrets for varied skill levels. Innovative uses of game mechanics in holiday themed expansion levels.

Results: Game was very well received with high retention (4/5 appstore review). It succeeded in making high replayability for endless runner with static levels. “addictive”

Available in Appstore – give it go! Rumour is that the game might be debutting later on the Oculus Rift, for which it works ashtonishingly well and needing only minor visual adjustments.

Level Design for a Mobile Game

Level Design for a Mobile Game

What: Early level designs for a subcontracted mobile game project, 2013, Tomodomo Oy.
Design challenge was to find the competitive fun in a pre-developed mobile game set to one-button control mechanic.
Solution: Challenge-islands of varying difficulty designed to be combined with procedural level-generation for 30s-1min quick snacks.
How: Inhouse editor using logic gates.
Result: Initial feedback rounds praised the levels being the first ones actually finding the fun, while requireing balancing on difficulty curve.
Had to leave the the project during a parental-leave, while the development continued with expanded team. Currently on hold.

Here are quick impressions of the levels I made using the logic-gate editor. Assets and AI behaviour are from early stages of the in-house development.