Since the release of AER: Memories of Old in October 2018 me and the team at Forgotten Key have been hard at work on several game projects that haven’t made it to the general public eye until now. On this page I will show and talk about some of these projects and what my contributions have been. All gameplay shown below was created in the Unity game engine.
Having been the only level designer at Forgotten Key during my time there, I was responsible for all things level design related working on all projects mentioned on this reel. Both planning wise and when it came to building environments in engine. With most puzzles, if scripted mechanics were needed, I scripted the first implementation to a playable state and if needed a programmer made the final implementation.
Vind was an open world atmospheric game with focus on exploration, storytelling and fun flowing movement where the character you play as, Mila, could transform into a bird at any time. It was kind of a spiritual successor to AER but with a bigger scope. Mila also had other magical abilities for affecting and moving physics objects which were used for puzzle solving. A big part of the game would consist of the player helping the inhabitants of the game world come together and rebuild a common home, adding aspects of management gameplay to the game loop.
Early on in Vind’s development I was tasked with writing a document detailing Vind Overworld Level Design Guidelines which were used during prototyping and later when building demos. I was also early on involved in developing design concepts like player abilities, and animal behavour, being part of discussions with the design team and writing design documents.
The first demo we created was focused on showing off flight gameplay and how exploring islands could feel. A simple implementation of being able to gather resources and rebuild buildings was also included in the demo along with smaller puzzles.
Later on we buildt another demo more focused on storytelling with smaller questlines involving npcs and dialogue but also containing a rubuster building system and more fleshed out puzzles. The video below contains a full playtrough of this demo.
Environment dressing was primarily done by me in the Vind demos because of time restraints where the 3D artists had to work on props and characters. During development of AER Memories of Old it was more of a collaboration between me and the art team where I did the base dressing like using bigger island props, trees and rocks to construct playable islands or in case of interiors uning the tileable wall, floor, ceiling and pillar props to dress up environments with broad strokes. And then the art team applied the detailed dressing on top.
Down the Well
In Down The Well you played as a young child named Tay who had gotten trapped in a mysterious and magical underworld called the Well with the ultimate goal of getting out of the Well. The game was focused on narrative and exploration with simpler puzzles.
Same as with Vind i also was involved in designing gameplay concepts at the start of Down the Well’s development.
Early iterations of the game had a second character, a young faun also trapped in the Well, who followed the player around and could be commanded to do certain tasks like interact with objects in the environment. Most puzzles concepts was based on that you had two characters who could help each other.
Leading up to building a demo for GDC 2018 the Faun character was scraped, moving the narrative focus to having these powerful beings living in the Well each controlling their own domains. The thought was then that it was up to the player to choose who of these beings to align with, affecting their influence in the Well and therefore changing the outcome of the game.
One big mechanic that also was present in this demo was these magical wooden doors that would be recurring throughout the game which acted as the games fast travel nodes. These doors could be opened and used as a regular door just leading to the next room but if you instead used special keys to open the doors they would open up leading to a completely different location in the Well depending on the key used. A design document written by me explaining the door mechanic more in detail.
The level dressing process in the Down the Well demos worked more similar to Aer Memories of Old explained earlier with me doing a first pass and the artists doing a detail pass.