January 2017 - June 2017 (6 months)

Development Timeframe

Platform & Tools

Unreal Engine 4

Blender (3D modeling & animation) 

10-Person Team Project

Digital Prototype I made in Unity with Photon Networking

Final game we made in Unreal Engine 4

DragonCrash is a Battle Arena Treasure Hunt (BATH) game, where players enter a futuristic battle arena and play king-of-the-hill to be the last one standing.  Players control genetically modified dragons that treasure hunt for power ups, battle to survive, and defend the goal long enough to win!

This was my senior capstone project at UC Santa Cruz. Our team was the first in the Game Design B.S. program to try making a game in Amazon Lumberyard.  At the 2017 Sammy Awards, we received an honorable mention for "Most Guts awarded to a game team" for persevering to deliver a complete networked multiplayer game by the Sammy Showcase, despite having to  switch engines to Unreal Engine 4 after weeks of Lumberyard development. 

Project Description

  • Needed to figure out how to implement and design for
    MULTIPLAYER in a 3D space with flight, treasure hunting, and battle.

  • Needed to give artists creative freedom with their art.
  • Needed level design that would make the arena fun to navigate.

Design Challenges

Sammy Showcase

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I led 4 artists and 6 programmer-designers as lead designer and producer for this 6-month development timeframe.  I specifically also...
 

  • Designed the paper prototype to play like a playground game.

  • Made a digital prototype in Unity and prepared slides to pitch the game to a green-light committee 

  • Interviewed and recruited team members from the senior studio and an artist recruitment fair.

  • Directed the overall design by regularly maintaining design documentation & setting design priorities.

  • Used Scrum methodologies to organize design priorities and meet deadlines for 10 total 2-week sprints.

  • Collaborated with Michael Edmonds, head of Amazon Education Outreach, to be the experimental first of our senior studio program to use Amazon Lumberyard.

  • Drafted a detailed feedback report with the team when Lumberyard was not meeting our programmers' implementation needs, and sent it to the Lumberyard team.

  • Adjusted design priorities so we could recover lost productivity in Unreal Engine 4.

  • Regularly performed user testing to target and tune gameplay mechanics that were too difficult.

  • Adjusted level design so that the initial boring "football field" battle arena became a vertical arena that encouraged more flight.

  • Utilized player feedback to make the core loop more battle-focused when treasure hunting proved to be a chore for players.  The game now has King-of-the-Hill battle with treasure hunting as a side option to power up the players' dragons.

What I did

For​ persevering through an engine change, several design challenges, and successfully implementing multiplayer networking, our team received an Honorable Mention at the 2017 Sammy Awards.

"Most Guts!"

Honorable
Mention

Meet the four playable dragons & their artists!

Each artist was encouraged to make a genetically modified dragon with their own artistic flair.

Gina Nagel

Asia Barton

Cris Rosales Doi

Kai Nyame Drayton Yee

Meet the Dragon++ team! 
Not pictured: Artists Asia & Kai,
Sound Designers Fernando & Joey

Playtesting of Local Multiplayer

Sammy Showcase 2017: Public Release!