Skate & Grind
Production Time: 09/2018 - 12/2018
Skate And Grind On Itch.io
The second game where I was the lead, Skate and Grind is a 3D puzzle, platformer revolving around skate mechanics and collecting piles of scraps and unlocking new levels/ costumes. As I lead, I was in charge of 15 people, myself included, which consisted of coming up with tasks and plans for 6 sprints which each were 2 weeks long. My lead responsibility also included updating the itch.io blogs after each sprint, creating builds, quality assurance, and assisting each of the 5 sections of the team: programming, modelling, animation, level design, and 2D/ concept art.
This the game I am most proud of. This was a concept I had for years and always wanted to see it coming to life. Although rough around the edges, it was exactly what I envisioned, and with a few more months of development it would have been a short but fun platformer.
My vision was a cross between Banjo Kazooie and Tony Hawks Pro Skater. When I was young, the best part of the Tony Hawk games was exploring each map, trying to grind, jump, and glitch up parts of the map you weren't supposed to reach. I always hoped there would be an extra stat boost or secret video tape when you got there, and wondered what it would be like if the focus of skateboard games was exploration and platforming rather than tricks and combos.
I was lucky enough to have 5 level designers, 3 programmers, and 6 artists (2 animators, 3 modelers, and a 2D artist). Every member excelled at their role. The overworld is a simple warehouse with different ramps and rails to practice how to play, doubling as a tutorial for the player. Level 1 is a perfect introduction to the game. Inspired by the map Highrise from 2010's Call Of Duty Modern Warfare 2, the player traverses the top of two sky scrapers. There are two types of collectibles (piles of scraps): platform based ones and puzzle based ones. the platforming collectibles require the player to ride across ramps, beams, and air conditioning units to grab the collectible. The puzzle requires you to solves puzzles so the collectible will appear. The collectible spawn is represented by an empty cage. Funny story about these cages. Originally, there collectible was going to be in the cage, which would disappear when the puzzle was solved, allowing the player to grab the item. However, the modeller made the incorrect dimensions for the cage, making it near impossible to fit the collectible in the cage without making the cage comically large. We decided to turn the cage into a podium for the collectible to appear.
Each skyscraper area was developed by one of the two developers. The first skyscraper showcased the timing puzzle, where the player has X amount of time to interact with each object (either a light or button). The other puzzle is a color puzzle where the player has 3 buttons with 3 color options and have to make each one the correct color. What inspired the way we hint the players was Mirror's edge using red items to subtly guide the player towards the right direction. Instead of red objects, graffiti with matching colors was placed near the puzzle to show players the correct order.
This level feels very tight, fun, and the perfect size for a game like this.
Level 2 is the opposite, for better and worse. The player starts in a locked in area, where they have to solve a puzzle to unlock the rest of the level, a beautful city with varied sites. Once the rest of the level is unlocked, it clear this level is SIGNIFICANTLY larger that level 1. Twice as many collectibles in a space roughly 5 times larger than the first level. This was developed by 3 people and they went all out with what they could add. Each section has themed areas (garden, park, suburbia, city limits, food court which was salvaged from a scrapped mall level). The level is absolutely beautiful. With the models and artwork, the level designers blended them with the puzzle and platforming mechanics to create a fluid world. In hindsight, I should have had the level designers pulled back their fantastic imaginations to really tighten up what was there. As beautiful as the level is, the road can get a little bumpy, literally and figurately. Z-fighting, floors that shouldn't be spaced out created a hindrance to the player quickly moving down the road. If each designer cut their level in half, it would have been signifigantly more refined and felt like a more complete game. With that being said, the modelers, animators, and 2D artist did an INCREDIBLE job making this game look fantastic.
Fun little Easter Egg: When making the spinning collectible script and the moving platform script, I combined them to a bunch of random model's to make a hodgepodge helicopter. The team thought it was fun to hide one in each level. So if you look in the background, you can see it floating in the distance.
Even with its flaws, I love this game. This is why I got into game design, to take these goofy ideas, flesh it out with others, and create a fun experience.
My other role was a programmer. The Tasks Completed Include:
- Pause Menu UI
- Main Menu UI
- Collectible Count (On Pause Menu and Player UI)
- Text Attached To Objects (Both Static And Changing UI)
- Attachable Floating/ Rotating Object Script
Floating Object Code:
The UI tasks were fairly simple because this is the third project I was put in charge of the overall User-Interface. The most difficult was learning 3D Text that was attached to Game Objects. Learning to properly add it, size, and have it disappear when the object moves was definitely a challenge.
- The Grind Mechanic
- More Levels
- Wearing The Different Outfits Outside Of The Main Hub
- Different Unlockables
The grind mechanic is very flawed in the final version. Because of different issues continuously popping up, the grind is very flawed and therefore barely in the game. It would have been nice to have to have five levels with 20 collectibles each (equally to an even 100 collectibles total) with different themes. A few concepted themes that didn't make it in were a mall, aztec jungle, and the moon, but due to deadlines they had to be cut. On the bright side, most of the assets made for those levels did make it into the levels that were in the game (The food carts were meant for the mall, for example). Lastly, having another type of collectible could have made the game more rewarding. The scraps would have unlocked levels, and the other one would have unlocked outfits (so it would have most likely been a suitcase or department store bag).