Dear Future (Team of 5)
Team Members: Kevin Wong, Allen Zhang, Sihao Zhou, and Ruonan Chen
Dear Future is a second-year thesis project that I volunteered to help with during my first year as a UCSC Games and PLayable media student. The concept was proposed by Kevin Wong in the spring of 2020, and I joined the team during fall 2020. The game is about exploration and photography in a post-apocalyptic world that was destroyed by its own corruption. Each player explores for one session before passing the camera on to the next player and then following the progress of the story through the game's community. I was particularly interested in helping with this project for its ambitious attempt to create social connections between players in a unique way and the importance that architectural design would play in its development.
Created concept sketches and mood boards
Created layout documents using AutoCAD to show needed placement of assets on procedural generation
Worked with procedural generation engineer to develop assets
3D modeled assets for procedurally generated and manually designed areas using Maya
Modeled landmark assets to provide unique areas for players to explore
These are some drawings I created towards the beginning of my time on the project as a proposal for what kind of shapes I could make. The intent was to create basic pieces that could be procedurally arranged into a variety of ways to help make exploring this world more interesting. Kevin Wong and Sihao Zhou developed a layout of roads and city blocks that works on top of these bases to create more interesting layouts that include more than just square city blocks.
These are some sketches and mood boards I created when I first joined the team based on goals and intentions for the game provided by Kevin Wong. These sketches were useful to help us all feel on the same page as we started out and start getting out ideas that we could continue to develop.
Procedural Generation Building Pieces
My main contribution to this project was in working with Ruonan, our procedural generation engineer, to create modular building pieces that could be assembled into a variety of building types to create a full world. I built the tilesets in Maya while she wrote the code that will assemble those pieces in-game.
AS we progressed with the game, I had the opportunity to work more closely with our level designers, Sihao and Kevin, to create the landmarks that appear throughout the procedurally generated cities. These locations are where players have to navigate through the area to discover story items. The three of us developed a workflow that allowed me to propose a basic initial design and then pass on the gray box model for them to add a critical path for the player to follow. After, I would be able to create the final asset. Throughout the process, we continually tested the metrics of the model to make sure gameplay was working as intended.
Top Left - Temple: This was the first landmark we developed before we had completely developed our process. It went through many iterations which helped us figure out what would be most important for our landmark development process
Top Right - Pantheon: This landmark was based on the Pantheon in Rome.
Bottom Left - Water Tower: In the story, water was an important resource to this society, and control of water was corrupted, making a water tower a natural inspiration for a landmark
Bottom Right - The Pillar: This is the last landmark that players will be able to explore. While they can visit at any point throughout the game, they will need to unlock all other story items before being able to explore The Pillar. It is intended to be other worldly and hostile as a symbol of all that was wrong with this society.