Category Archives: World Building

Yoda’s Species Finally Revealed

For a series with as much lore as Star Wars, it always amazes me when certain details are left undefined. Don’t get me wrong, I do see the appeal in leaving bits of data blank; the imagination of writers often pales in comparison to the variety and scale of the fan theories that will arise in its absence. However, Star Wars is rarely the type of franchise that leaves stones unturned. There are entire encyclopedias of information about the Star Wars universe that never makes it into the movies, games, or other official media. The ridiculous extent to which the story takes its world building is part of what rocketed George Lucas into film and sci-fi history — and why it seems so odd to me that no official name for Yoda’s species has ever been established.

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Until now, that is.

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Portfolio Piece: Baker Cat vs. Hellthy Veggies

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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)

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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.

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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.

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Sandopolis’s Spooky Secret

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.

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Anyone that’s played this game probably recalls a neurotic fixation with keeping the lights on and a lot of cursing when Sonic Adventure 2 revived the use of ghosts in 1998.

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.

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Original Story: Uurha

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Part 3 of 3: The New World

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Original Story: Uurha

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Part 2 of 3: The Test

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Original Story: Uurha

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Part 1 of 3: Madame Dibi’s Resolution

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Original Story: Uurha

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This map depicts the setting of Part 1 of the story.

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Original Story: Uurha

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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.

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Original Game: Shape’Scape

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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.

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Relapse Game Design Document

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Project Length: 5 Weeks (10/19/12 – 11/16/12)
Team: HotKeys (6 Members)
My Roles: Public Relations, Writing & Documentation, Character Development
End Product: Game Design Document

Read document as PDF.

In the fall of 2012, I worked on a team of six to develop a mock-up FPS for the Xbox 360 over the course of five weeks. My team, known as HotKeys, developed a game called Relapse, revolving around a zombie-like virus having broken out in a military facility. It is up to Sgt. Jax, a soldier and engineer, and Dr. Mirez, a doctor and medical researcher, to put a stop to the outbreak before the infected make it outside of the base.

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