A third person systems driven sci-fi shooter where gameplay takes center stage.
My goal with Project Nova was to build a portfolio piece that pinpoints and showcases my skills as a game developer. Rather than building several smaller pieces I decided that the best way to accurately present Game Design, Scripting and Level Design was to build a more holistic experience. Everything from detailed scripts, levels, AI, shaders, UI, animation blueprints, particles and basic material and meshes was made by me during a 10 week period in order to create this vast portfolio piece. Seeing as design is all about iteration, I wanted to show an iterative design process which one big project would give me a greater possibility to do. Due to the eclectic nature of a one student project I have a lot to talk about.
So grab a cup of coffee and join me in this deep dive of Project Nova.
Game design is all about the hidden details, feedback to the player and everything feeling just right. The majority of Project Novas development was all about these core tenants. In this section I elaborate on my design process throughout Project Novas development cycle and how I made a 10 week student project feel like a vast universe.
To implement my ideas for the project I knew that I had to have a good technical base to stand on. I didn't want to present a list of ideas, but fully functioning systems. This meant setting up systems that are easy to read, understand and iterate upon.
To showcase the ideas and systems I built for Project Nova, I needed interesting and evocative levels. Each level started with an idea for what kind of gameplay I wanted the player to experience. Then I tried to design the level with either an assault or a stealth mindset, whilst still allowing the player to complete the level using either loadout.
A lot of Project Nova was focused on the three C's of Game Design; Camera, Controller. and Character. I want the player experience to be as fluent as possible so a lot of time went into iterating and tweaking these elements.
When using Unreals Blueprint system, I tried to keep everything very designer centric. My goal was to design each system as if I were working at a studio. This meant exposing certain variables, hiding others, keeping the code readable and making systems that could easily scale.
Whilst the focus of Project Nova was game design and scripting, I knew I needed levels to showcase what I created. This meant creating levels which challenges the player to use the many different tools in their arsenal while still maintaining clever space planning.
My goal with Project Nova was to build a portfolio piece that pinpoints and showcases my skills as a game developer. Ultimately, this project was created as a portfolio piece and only time will tell if it was successful in the end.
Project Nova is the greatest undertaking I have taken upon myself in terms of a game project.
During my pre production I planned subgoals for every week, made clear plans for what I wanted in the game, what I could possibly cut and how to manage my time. In the end I barely ended up cutting anything. If I would have had more time, I would have wanted to add an aim offset in the animation blueprint and made more complete missions to add to the starmap. However, for the scope of my project, I am extremely satisfied with the end result. I stuck to my plan when applicable, but still worked in an agile manner and adapted to any hindrance that stood my way. Project Nova started as a portfolio piece, but over the 10 weeks of production, it turned into a passion project and I am very proud of the result.
Thank you for joining me in this deep dive in Project Nova.
Did my breakdown wake any interest, wanna discuss game design, or maybe you just want to grab a fika?