Travel back to a time of adventure, heroism and mystery as Edwin Albert Taylor Bragg, the British captain of the HMS E18 - on a secret mission to obliterate the Germans and win the war for the allies. When a secret weapon misfires, you and your crew are warped into space. Struggling for survival, you venture out into the asteroid field to scavenge resources and fight off hostile aliens. Food is scarce, air supply is low and time is running out. Can you escape the void and find a way home?

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 Tales From The Void is a low-poly atmospheric real-time tactics game, about a crew of a WW1 submarine in deep-dive suits..on a near zero gravity asteroid complex! .. And as you can guess, its main feature, is that is it's a physics based system, where the units you command have to use their own character-based logic to try and stick to the path you determine for them by drawing it on this alien terrain. Your units have to complete various tasks crucial to their survival as awkwardly move around the rocky terrain of various asteroids using the air pressure of their suits, while they deal with the competing physics of their weaponry and their collisions momentum, constantly trying to not “fall” outside of the asteroid complex...into the void !

Role : Level Designer - 3D Artist               Developer : PortaPlay         Publisher: BlackDog          Release date: 2016       Platforms: PC, Apple

 Development & Experience

Tales from the Void marked my first tiny design role in a commercially published game, but most importantly built my understanding and confidence on game development thanks to a very inclusive, helpful and agile team. Working with Portaplay taught me a great deal in terms of prototyping and real time feedback in design, as well as realizing the great impact of versatile pipelines and teamwork. The team had also established various level design pipelines, but was generous in allowing the designers to use a variety of methods that could empowered them to achieve their set goals.

During this project I developed the following skills:

  • Working iteratively towards establishing player objectives in an intuitive manner, using space and environment as a canvas.

  • Receiving and implementing feedback from fellow designers and other team members.

  • Internalizing the subtle difference of empowering teammates to lean on their strengths, by open communication and free questioning. 

  • Using open documentation and presenting ideas.

  • Creating modular in-game assets to be shared across the project

  • Using version control for artists and designers.

 

 Level Design

When I joined the project, the team had already developed the core gameplay system, to an extended that allowed me to play around and experiment with its gameplay applications from a purely level design aspect, by greyboxing various scenarios and player flow movement, making it not only an easy and fun process, but also highlighting the impact spacial architecture on player behavior. During the span of my role i have contributed the following :

  • Designed & greyboxed two main mission levels for the game's campaign.

  • Designed & prototyped modular level mechanics to be used across the game.

  • Prototyped & modified a small number of gameplay assets in the forms of physics based interactions.

 

 3D Art

Because the team was quite flexible with the level creation pipeline, whereas other level designers would use their prototype Objs as scale references to recreate them as levels in blender, i would take my raw greyboxed assortment of Objs, put it in Zbrush, and directly transform it into an organic mesh with the same scale and dimensions, and i would start sculpting and carving on the meteor level. That was i would use as much geometry i would like to form whatever complex formations i needed, and then would use a couple of the program’s functions of smart retopology and dynamesh features, to adjust the level back to playable low-poly geometry, allowing me for a robust relationship between fast prototyping and finalizing a level :

  • Sculpted and finalized gameplay ready geometry in Zbrush

  • Additional 2d UI elements

 Personal Highlights

My favorite contribution on the project, would be the choice to use of the more robust zbrush, to directly mold the singular level geometry, which allowed me to create various interesting organic shapes and pathways by organically and intuitively carving into both of my in game levels, allowing for a extra layer of both an environmental storytelling :

  • In the rescue mission of one of the “star sailors”, the objective's rescue pod trajectory, could be tracked across the level, from the top all the way to the bottom as it cut through the level’s multiple layers, and as the team descents deeper and deeper, this type of visual ques allows both for little story details and a clear landmark indicator via the “labyrinth” of the level

  • In the “tutorial” mission, where the space submariners has to ascent towards a peak where there is a frozen whale (it teleported alongside the submarine, but froze in space), and one of the pathways is a spiraling tunnel that cuts along sides the slopes of the peak, this type of geometry was very easy to achieve by using Zbrush as opposed to the more rigid ( at the time ) Blender, hopefully giving the player and interesting experience of fighting and finding their way through that tunnel