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Team Size: 16

Role: Product Owner, Lead Designer (Combat Design Spec)

Software: Unreal Engine 4

Genre: First-Person Roguelike

Dev Time: 6 Months (Ongoing) 

Rewards: Greenlit by college for further development

Symbiotic is a first-person shooter in which an alien symbiote has attached itself to a prisoner of the evil Zertemic Corporation. Working together, the duo must fight their way deeper into the planet, evolving and growing stronger to combat the alien horde within. 

This game was developed for my college capstone. Starting with a team of myself and 6 other skilled teammates, the team has grown greatly in both size and skill over the course of development. My role in the team was both as the product owner, conveying the gameplay and working heavily on documentation, and as the systems designer, working on upgrades, enemies, and weapons. Through rigorous testing and QA sessions, I iterated on the primary weapon and upgrades until they were the most rewarding and (most importantly) fun for players. This project was greenlit by our college, being given an additional semester of development time and more developers added to the team.

Given our time constraints, we faced the challenge of having enemies being fun and enjoyable for players to fight against. To counteract this problem, we developed one enemy with a complex behavior tree that allowed them to have both melee and ranged attacks that behave differently depending on the player's distance and play style. From this fix, enemies proved to be a welcomed challenge for players to face instead of the same attack patterns they've seen before.

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The initial enemy was broken up into 4 different enemies after further development. These enemies were each designed with the purpose to change the player's gameplay experience.

  • Swiper: Attack the player in close range and force them to move around

  • Flier: Ranged enemy that makes the player have to be vigilant of their surroundings

  • Crawler: A small spider-like enemy that explodes when near the player, making the player have to be aware not just from the skies but from their feet

  • Final Boss: A combination of each of the previous purposes on one enemy. Forces the player to move around with threats coming from the sky and ground.

The Game Design Document (GDD) was reviewed by professional game designers and curated for the project. My co-designers, Llyn Printon, Joe Tecce, and Ben Voter, and I updated this document with every change made to the game throughout the semester. Any and all information the team needed for development can be found within its pages.