Robits (previously known as Circuit Breakers) is my Senior group capstone project. It is a student game created by 11 team members. The game is about Zoe, a character in a futuristic cyberpunk universe who has the smarts to reprogram robots!
My role on the team was the level designer. I had to create a corrupt and conglomerate corporate facility that manufactures robots. I mainly worked on layout, working with the design lead to create a layout that made sense with the game's combat encounters. I also worked with the team's other level designer and 3D artist, John Khaw on creating an asset list as well as environmental design to fill up empty spaces with those assets. I worked with Luke Mason, our VFX artist on incorporating a lot of the special effects such as fog lighting, decals, and other things that gave the level the artistic juice. Last and not least, I worked with Tristan Burnside, our UI and Lead artist who gave me pointers on lighting as well as how to give the level the proper aesthetic we wanted.
The game is a top-down isometric single-player puzzle game where you face enemy robots and you must program your own correctly to get through the facility. The game's goal is to teach simple programming concepts to players who have zero coding experience!
Robits has been awarded the Innovation Award at UC Santa Cruz's 2019 Games Showcase!
You can check out the Robits website here where you can meet the rest of the team and play the game yourself!
Before I go into the design process I want to briefly cover some of the more collaborated parts of the level. Of course, the entire level in general had work contributed by all departments but here are two areas, the office and the final arena, where other team members have put in a significant amount of work than I was able to which definitely worth mentioning.
Here is the office space in the level that was used as sort of a "break" from the combat. I had the idea of converting this blockmeshed layout into an office room for the player to explore. John worked diligently with his adept 3D modeling expertise to quickly create office equipment assets to bring the idea to life. Luke helped create the decals such as the paper on the floor, the whiteboard drawings, the computer UI (that is animated but isn't shown in the image) as well as the sticky notes on the corkscrew board.
My favorite part of this room is the swivel chairs that moves/spins around when the player interacts with it as well as the gallon jugs of water that has physics applied and can soak objects in the game world (namely the floor). John worked with our producer and programmer, Damen Birtola, to bring this nice little polish into the game.
Here is the final boss arena encounter. My job in this part of the game was layout. I helped assist with lighting.
John and Luke worked together to bring concept images from various different sources; They created sketches, placed elements, and placed decals. I was tasked with lighting from Tristan so I researched what smaller finer detailing I could do to give it the extra polish.
The Design Process
My team didn't have a concept artist so I had to be a visual designer as well. To begin my level design workflow, I looked at inspiration from other games. One of my favorite games that properly conveyed a futuristic universe is Mirror's Edge: Catalyst. Being set in the future, it gave off the perfect aesthetic.