Star Dash Studios

Star Dash Studios LevelStar Dash Studios is an infinite runner designed to improve teenagers’ and young adults’ math skills. I worked on this project as part of my employment at Plug-in Media.

This was one of my first level design tasks for the company, I had great fun using Unity 3D to design challenging three-lane “Subway Surfer” style levels segments for the player to run down. These level segments are pulled in at random from a bank, and are interspersed with minigames to test the player’s math skills. The game becomes tricker as the player speeds up, and level segments are grouped into “easy” “medium” and “hard” difficulties – appropriate random segments are served to the player based on their performance.

Our senior artist designed the obstacles, and did a great job adding arrows to help the player read the level. I learned to leave lots of empty space to read the level ahead and to hint at possible paths by using groups of coin trails. I also added patterns and repetition inside each segment, as learning and copying patterns was part of the mathematics curriculum.

In my role as production assistant, I also covered the project manager during the QA and delivery phase of the project, working with an external team in a Jira database to resolve issues and deliver on schedule.

I also took the role of musician and sound designer on this project, writing a main theme that was transposed to spoof different film score styles including sci-fi, horror and film noire.

Download the game on Android or iOS and see for yourself!

Western Themed area in Star Dash Studios

Paw Patrol: Air and Sea Adventures

Paw Patrol Air and Sea Adventures Title Image

Paw Patrol Air and Sea Adventures PromoPaw Patrol Air and Sea Adventures is a trench running mobile game aimed at a preschool audience. This app reached #1 in the App Store in 94 countries. I worked on this game as part of my employment at Plug-in Media.

I was the level designer on this project and created over forty levels that run across four unique environments. My instructions were to make the designs easy to scale, so each level is comprised of reusable segments that can be arranged to create more levels quickly in the future. This approach also made it easy to identify and iterate on sections that were too difficult or not working.

Each level contains one ‘special object’ and up to five ‘badges’ that are required to progress through the game. Aside from the speed boost badge, which has a practical application, each badge and special object is framed in the environment to call attention to it and encourage children to collect it. This causes the pup to execute a special move and looks superb in this bespoke area of the level.

Likewise, the collectable ‘bones’ are laid out to show an easy path through the level. In some later levels this rule is broken in order to challenge older children to collect all of the bones!

I also project managed the Christmas Update that added underwater levels, dynamic lighting and a customer service SDK into the app.

 

Operation Ouch: The Snotapocalypse

The Start Game Screen from Operation Ouch The Snotapocalypse

The Snotapocalypse is an infinite runner interspersed with minigames, designed to teach kids body facts with gross, childish humour. The game won Broadcast Digital’s “Best Game” award in 2016. I worked on this project as part of my employment at Plug-in Media.

I created game design documentation and wireframes for all eighteen minigames in this web game. I worked on the game flow that combines the running and minigame segments smoothly. I tested all areas of the game and fed back to the development team with regard to difficulty and pacing.

When the game came to be updated in 2017, I designed new level layouts for implementation into the game using Excel. We were asked to add teleporting and invincibility to the game, which was an opportunity to create mini ‘maze’ sections and experiment more with the level design. I think there is still more that can be done with these layouts, I’d love the opportunity to work on more content for this game!

As Production Assistant on the team I took responsibility for managing the project through the QA and delivery phase. I was responsible for managing the Jira database and communications between the development team and external testers.

I was also the sound designer and composer on the project. I composed a chip tune arrangement of the TV Show’s theme tune and created comical sound effects to support the action.

You can play the game on the CBBC Website by following this link.

Invizimals Games

Invizimals The Resistance Title Page

The Invizimals Hacking Challenge is a suite of mini games developed in order to promote the PS Vita title Invizimals: The Resistance. I worked on this set of games as part of my employment at Plug-in Media.

The narrative of the game is set around counter-hacking your mainframe, which has been taken over by the villain, Mr. Black! To do this, you must complete six levels of mini game challenges to activate the nodes. I was part of the team that designed the puzzle mechanics, and I designed the final puzzles presented in the game.

The Puzzles

The first and second levels contain six plumbing-style minigames, where you must divert a current through pipes so that it reaches the nodes. Some pipes act as splitters, meaning you must split the current in order to light up all the nodes. I designed the starting and solution positions for these pipes, and learned to present paths that might lead the player one way when a pipe is connected, but occasionally lead them away from the solution. I apologise, I took this principle a little too far in the final level.

 

 

The third and fourth levels have a similar principle, the current must be led from the source to the node, but this time by bouncing it off of a series of mirrors. Again, I approached the design of these levels similarly, attempting to lead the player along a certain path. The great thing about this version of the game is that the beams can cross over each other, giving lots of opportunity for creative level design.

 

 

The final two levels feature an ‘untangling’ minigame – the currents connecting the nodes must be placed over their correct paths. The node float freely on the screen and must be skillfully placed in the correct slot so as all the paths light up. Here, I mostly had fun with intersecting and adjoining triangles, as I found having too many currents attached to one node made the level difficult for the player to ‘read’.

 

These games are still online and can be played on Sony’s Invizimals website.