Genre: Narrative Platformer
Engine: Unity 2020.1.2f1
Development Time: Still in development
Role: Lead Designer in team of 4
- Conceptualisation – Creating and developing the core idea
- Gameplay Design – All mechanics and enemy behaviour
- Balancing and Optimisation
- Level Design – Enemy placement, hazards, breadcrumbing etc.
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- Telling a transgender story from the perspective of a transgender person.
- Traverse a mystical environment and help Ùna come to terms with her feelings.
- A short bite size adventure that explores the feeling of Gender Dysphoria.
Ùna is a game that is currently in development with aims to release on itch.io in 2022. This game is a short indie project based on my own personal life experiences.
Ùna is a short narrative platformer game that explores the feeling of Gender Dysphoria from the perspective of a binary trans woman. The player controls Ùna, a young woman preparing to leave her house and meet with friends. However, after staring into a mirror for a bit too long, she is absorbed into a mystical dimension where she must tackle her feelings and sense of self worth whilst avoiding detection from hordes of prying eyes.
- Gameplay Design – Platformer mechanics, jumping, crouching – Enemy behaviour.
- Level Design – Greyboxing the world, placement of enemies and hazards, tweaking positions based on player movement and difficulty.
- Play testing and balancing – Increasing/decreasing patrol speeds, cones of vision and player movement, implementing checkpoints.
As lead designer, it was my job to bring the initial concepts to the table and designing how the game was going to look like and how it would play. I used methods such as grey boxing to help map out the level based on initial paper prototyping and to assist in creating an oppressive and claustrophobic atmosphere. It was also important for me to work in tandem with the other members of the team (Narrative designer, Artist and Programmer) to ensure that the gameplay design and aesthetic design was able to be implemented. I spent a lot of time initially working with the programmer to iterate upon the enemy mechanics, settling on an ‘Oscillator’ component that would control the movement of the enemy eyes and their vision detection.
At the moment, the main issue that we have tackled in the design of Ùna was balancing the level. Playing through the first test runs, it was clear that the difficulty of the platforming was far too intense for the type of game we were wanting to make. To combat this, myself and the narrative designer sat in the engine and changed the speed at which the enemy eyes moved as well as added more spaces for the player to hide from the more difficult tracking enemies. We also added a checkpoint system that updated frequently behind the scenes, to ensure that the player wasn’t distracted from the narrative pace by having to restart the level frequently.
Ùna is currently still in development and we are currently working on balancing and optimising the gameplay further whilst our artist prepares the assets for implementation. Our next steps would be to implement the narrative beats and ensure that it flows well with the pacing of the gameplay.