"Unfold Stories" is an asymmetric cooperative action and puzzle-solving game for 2 players.
I like to define it as "a Zelda game for two players", set in a pop-up book world where everything is made of paper.
In this particular vertical slice, the two players control two treasure hunters visiting a mysterious dungeon where they have to find a legendary secret weapon, protected by a powerful wizard.
The two players have to communicate and help each other the whole time to defeat the wizard. For example, since the boss is invulnerable, one player has to catch his attention while the other explores a secret library where some books contain the secret formula to make the boss invulnerable. Or, as another example, if the two players are close enough, they can heal each other.
The game is a vertical-slice created by 4 students for our Game Development class.
I was the Creative Director (which included several sub-roles, as you can see below) and secondary programmer.
As a designer my roles consisted in:
• Coming up with the main concept
The idea was to recreate the experience of an "epic battle" seen in several movies/cartoons where two or more characters manage to defeat their enemies thanks to the synchronization of different actions at the very last moment. I wanted the player to feel inside a real battle, where the only "time limits" are the health and the ability of your mate.
• Creating a design document and illustrating the vision to the rest of the team
Even if we had a design document, it was necessary to communicate a lot with the team. With the project manager I had to prioritize the tasks and throw out elements that were not strictly necessary. With the lead programmer I had to explain which features I needed and which parameters needed to be easily editable for the design. With the artist I had to bring different digital and physical examples that could inspire the pop-up book art style, but also explain and ask which props were necessary for the puzzle design.
• Prototyping and running the playtests
Since the game concept was pretty abstract to see if it could actually work, we wanted to create a simple paper prototype to see if the whole cooperation-mechanic had some potential.
• Designing the player's controls
I had to design controls for the player's movements and for the possible interactions necessary to create an interesting level. At the end there were four types of actions (jump, attack, interact with something and heal each other). In the final phase of the boss battle, the players control the secret weapon (a pair of scissors, since the boss is made of paper) that they have to use to give the final hit. The pair of scissors also had a completely different control system, where one player had to move while the other had to rotate to aim. They also had to hold and release one button together to charge the attack.
• Designing the boss AI
The battle consisted in three phases, and during each phase the boss had different skills.
• Designing the tutorial, the level and the puzzles
I had to design the planimetry of the level in a way that made sense for the puzzle design, the boss battle and the tutorial.
• Wrapping up as a completed product.
I had to put together all the assets created by the artist, the sound designer and the programmer.
This required me to work on a lot of smaller tasks like the title screen, the introduction, the game over screen and all the cinematics with a proper camera movement.
I was also the secondary programmer, so I had to take care of some minor technical aspects (i.e. a wall culling system) and some other bigger tasks that required design and programming knowledge (i.e. the creation of the tutorial, or the alternative control system for the final secret weapon).