Category Archives: Plot
Project Length: 5 Weeks (5/4/13 – 6/1/13)
Team: Loud Cat (4 Members)
My Roles: Concept art, Game Mechanics, Character Development, Artwork (Environment, Weapons, Interface)
End Product: Full Game (Android)
In late spring 2013, I became a member of Team Loud Cat, which to date has been my most successful team. With little more intent than the decision to make a mobile game, we centered on the idea of a chaotic top-down shooter that broke the mold of fighter jets and roaming tanks. After quickly agreeing that junk food vs. veggies could have mass appeal, we settled on a cat as the protagonist, at least partly to honor our team name. Zach Allen, our programmer, nicknamed the project Baker Cat vs. The Veggies.
Baker Cat vs. Hellthy Veggies is the most adorable bullet hell gamers have ever seen. Players take on the role of the Baker Cat, who’s had enough of this ridiculous health food craze and is determined to bring delicious baked goods back into the public spotlight! Employing the use of donuts, cookies, cupcakes, and frosting, Baker Cat progresses through either a farmer’s market or an organic farm to eliminate the veggies — and it’s just as well, because it seems like the vegetables are getting a little out of control…
Both adults and children enjoy this exciting cute-’em-up, which offers a refreshing mix of challenging gameplay, catchy music, and fun characters and environments. Baker Cat is available free for Android via the Google Play Store.
With Halloween right around the corner, it’s time to take a gander at some spooky elements to our favorite video games. Despite my desire to write about Batman: Arkham Origins, that game actually takes place during Christmas, so I figured I should expand my view beyond the game that’s currently sucking away every free moment of my existence. There are the usual suspects, such as Silent Hill or Amnesia: The Dark Descent, but I doubt there’s anything I could say about them that hasn’t already been written by players far more familiar than me — or in some cases, hilariously illustrated in a video.
If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably already accustomed to taking the road less traveled anyway, so today we’re going to take a closer look at one of the more notorious levels in Sonic & Knuckles: Sandopolis Zone. In addition to difficult terrain and a sharp increase in challenge difficulty, Sandopolis also introduces the Sonic canon to ghosts.
The ghosts (or “hyudoro” as they’re technically known) do a good job of spooking up the pyramid and making the level generally more annoying. For most of their screen time, they’re not even actually a threat, but the mere presence of one, two, or three extra sprites on the screen (no pun intended) can still prove distracting. Overall, they’re typically regarded by the Sonic community as a level gimmick that’s thankfully tucked away within a single act of a single game.
I, on the other hand, did what I do best and poured way too much thought into the topic, which has led me to a surprisingly dark conclusion.
When I first started creating this story, I decided that I wanted to go against the grain as far as what conventional protagonists tend to be like. Madame Dibi would typically be considered a villainous character by most standards, and yet she sees herself as one of the few people willing to stand up for what’s right. Her perception of ethics and incredibly low opinion of her peers makes her interesting to write, and as far as I’ve been told, she’s also fascinating to read.
In the spring of 2012, I began working on a fantasy story in which people develop supernatural-like powers relating in some way to the natural world. These abilities are called uurha (pronounced “oor-rah,” with a slight roll on the R), and while most people are predisposed to at least one kind of uurha naturally, others can be learned if hard work and study is applied. However, few people take the time to pursue anything other than the uurha that comes most naturally.
The story’s protagonist, Madame Dibi, has concluded that the society of Virdith has been poisoned with laziness, and most of its citizens are beyond redemption. She’s made it her mission to eradicate anyone that she deems unworthy of their life.
Project Length: 20 Weeks (10/16/12 – 3/12/13)
Team: Rotten Ideas (5 Members)
My Roles: Concept art, Story, Level Design, Character Development, Set Pieces, NPCs, Easter Eggs
End Product: Game Demo
In the winter of 2012/13, I was part of a game design team called Rotten Ideas. Over the course of 20 weeks, we developed Shape’Scape, a multi-character puzzle-platformer. I was responsible for the story, character designs, facial expressions, NPCs, set piece assets, and about 30-40% of the level design. I also participated in the overall concepting of the game, but that was a shared process amongst the entire team.
When it comes to gaming, the story isn’t always as important as it is in other forms of media, such as movies. There are some games that rely purely on the game mechanic and don’t have a story at all; others very clearly have the story written first and build the game around it afterward. The StH series has seesawed between both of these concepts over the last two decades. In some instances, there’s little to no story present, and in some there’s so much that the gameplay wasn’t given enough focus during development. As the gaming world has matured, StH has done so as well, and is only just starting to find more solid footing in terms of storytelling.