Riding off into the sunset, this endless runner is about a journey that takes place right at the heart, right at home.

Djankies

Homebound

Overview

The goal of the project was to create a game that simplistic while matching the theme of "What does home mean to you?" 

Role

Game Designer Programmer    3D modeler

Team Size

5 People

Project Timeline

Tools Used

36 Hours
Unity
Maya
Photoshop

My Responsibilities 

The Team

Ideation

Quick Ideas

Design Pillars

Simplistic

Accessible controls and clear objectives/obstacles would make the game very easy to pick up.

Dynamic Gameplay

The game should have the player in constant movement, forcing them to make quick decisions on the fly.

Visually Appealing

A home is relaxing and we want to embrace that through how are game is presented visually. 

What Does Home Mean to Us?

We agreed that home is wherever you make it and whatever you want it to be. This cosmopolitan ideology drove us to the idea of inhabiting an RV home. Home  is exactly where you are throughout your journey.

Prototyping

Homebound is a game that simply requires the player to utilize one analog stick on a controller or the left & right arrow keys on a keyboard. Players maneuver away from obstacles and towards gasoline all while picking up souvenirs along the way.
Character Controller Prototype
Item Collection
With the character controller completed, we modeled  the obstacles, collectibles and terrain to establish the scene. The terrain instantiates and moves towards the player with the objects instantiating at random point within a range,  moving at the same speed as the terrain. This "treadmill" gives the illusion that the player is moving forward.
We constantly playtested to find ways in which we could iterate our design! This included tweaking the speed of our terrain movement and adding drag to the player so it felt more like a heavy RV was actually being driven. 

Making it Juicy

It was crucial to our design that the game was presented with a simple and cute style. 
I wanted to experiment with lighting manipulation within the game scene so I created a script for a day and night cycle that was a essentially two directional lights rotating around a pivot point. The lights were synced with two spheres that also rotated to look like the sun and the moon.  As the duration for the cycle progresses, the colour gradient transitions smoothly from dawn to dusk and loops back seamlessly. 
Day and Night Implementation
Finally, I added a post processing layer to the main camera, specifically bringing ambient occlusion and grain to the scene. These two attributes added some cartoon-esque depth to our visual design while still reinforcing the simplistic and toy-like artsyle.
Post Processing Adjustments

Reflection

We were proud of what we created considering the time we were given; and, despite being very tired, we learned a lot along our 36 hour journey! For me as a designer, nothing beats watching someone smile as they interact with something I created.

Test. Iterate. Test again!

Conducting play test sessions frequently was vital to the progress and success of our game. We began testing immediately from the prototype stages which helped us to make make informed gameplay adjustments from the game concept to the end product.
The process for the conception of our game idea revolved around a divergent and convergent thinking strategy for our group. During the game jam's  assignment briefing, we prepared ourselves with notebooks to scribble and jot down ideas independently as the theme became clear. This independent brainstorming technique facilitated a sense of imagination and originality when exploring various ideas. We then formed our chairs into a circle  and, one by one, we introduced our ideas to each other. I took note of all ideas, highlighting key similarities and characteristics that could work well in tandem with one another.    
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© Dean Elliott 2020