In 2020, I worked on Midnight Girl as a level design intern at Danish game studio Italic. The game is still in development.
“Midnight Girl is a 2D point-and-click adventure game for tablets and smartphones, which is currently in development. The game takes place in France during the Sixties. The story, mood, and style of the game are inspired by the city of Paris, Belgian comics and heist films from the Sixties. The game focuses on story, atmosphere and character development.” (Italic.dk)
Level setup in Unity
As the game is still in development I am unable to share further details for now.
Mutualism was made for my bachelor’s project at KADK in 2019. The context of it being a school project allowed me to experiment as much as I wanted, so I went all in with focus on using alternative controllers as an element for complimenting social gameplay. All design and development was made by myself. The music was made by Jonas Gustafson.
The game is a hack-n-slash for 2 players. It uses a combination of traditional controllers and alternative controllers, the latter being the action of physically holding holds with the other player. You play as 2 colorful blobs who just got married, and together you must protect your wedding cake from being eaten by hordes of hungry enemy blobs. Holding hands will combine your characters into one stronger, but slower, character, better equipped for defeating certain enemies.
The game will be available for free in the near future!
The project was very successful and resulted in top grades and submissions of the project to IEEE Conference on Games (CoG) 2020 and IndieCade 2020. The submission to CoG was accepted. It consisted of an academic article created by my project tutor Alessandro Canossa. For the submission to IndieCade I created a short game trailer, shortly presenting the game and its background. Watch the trailer below.
In 2018, I attended a game jam competition where the winners would get their game displayed for the audience at the Copenhell metal festival in Copenhagen. My group and I won with the game “Smadreland Simulator 2018”. The game was based on Copenhell’s own physical activity “DM i destruktion” (Championship in destruction) which is about smashing old cars and appliances with hammers, axes and other weapons.
You can watch a gameplay trailer below. You might want to turn down your volume.
Art and animation (half of characters and assets)
I continued working with Copenhell in 2019, where we built an arcarde with a lobby system, which included Smadreland Simulator and three additional games. I created the visuals for the lobby.
This game was made for my first year exam project on my bachelor at KADK. The game is a parody of Super Mario and Duck Hunt. It’s a 2-player game where one plays as “the plumber” and the other as the “hunter”. The plumber must escape by collecting keys and exiting though a door. Meanwhile, the hunter has to shoot and hit the plumber 3 times in order to win. The game was made by me and an artist.
This is a project I am quite proud of, as I did most of the work and the game turned out very successful and seemed very popular those who tried it.
Unity setup and programming
The background and the other assets were made by the artist.
I designed four levels for the game. I attempted to make each one have their own feel, which is why each layout is very different. The diffuculty is also mixed, as some levels are easier for the platformer, and others for the shooter.
Stage 1 Based on observations, the first level seems to be the most balanced, as it’s very different which player wins the match. One of my important observations is that it seems easier for the platformer, when he/she has the opportunity to progress through the level by jumping to multiple different platforms. In the first level, the platformer can choose to jump down at the bottom lane if he/she feels pressured. However, the level is a one-way only, making it easy for the shooter to anticipate the platformer’s moves. There is a slight delay between the shooter firing, to the shot landing, which makes anticipaition an important stategy. See the level above.
Stage 2 The second level was an attempt to give the platformer more opportunities to escape, by clustering platforms closer. However, the section with the key is very narrow, and makes it easy for the shooter to land successful shots. Because of this, the shooter has a higher success rate on this level. See below.
Stage 3 This was an attempt at something very different. As I mentioned, giving the platformer more options for where he/she can to go, makes it harder for the shooter to anticipate his/hers moves. The platformer has a lot of freedom for this in this level, which is why I made it harder by adding multiple keys – The platformer has to get all of them in order to escape through the door. This makes this level fairly balanced, though still a bit easier for the platformer, as he/she can move around very freely and fast. The marked area is where the shooter most often lands successful shots. It is slightly similar to the narrow section in stage 2.
Stage 4 Stage four is meant to be the pro-stage. It is aimed at gamers who are used to playing platformers, as it is much harder to land on the platforms. The shooter has a higher success rate in the level. The level also includes a walljump section along with two required keys.
The music was made to also fit the paroday, and is inspired by the original Super Mario soundtrack. The instruments all resemble the 8-bit sound. The track was made both in a high-tempo gameplay version and a slower lobby version, for selecting stage and breaks in between matches.
The game is a mulitplayer (up to four) speed-runner. The players plays as gooey alien creatures, which are fleeing the desctruction of their planet. They are running towards a spaceship, which has only one seat available. This means that there can be only one survivor/winner. The characters each has a “teleportation gun” that shoots beams which will swap the places of the character with whatever it hits – preferably other leading players, as they can take their place in the race.
I got to work with my main interests in this project, along with other smaller tasks.
Level design (modules for procedural generated level)
Music and sound effects
3D animation setup in Mixamo
Partly game design
The level design
The process started when we decided we wanted a procedural generated level to race through. I came up with a lot of sketches (one of them is seen above). I tried to incorporate the gameplay mechanics into the layout as much as possible. One example is how I placed holes in the environment, which are too small to run through, but big enough to shoot your teleportation beam through, allowing you to take a big shortcut, if you’re successful in hitting another player through the hole. Another thing I tried was to mix up open areas with Super Mario-like platforming, with narrow corridors and underground areas, allowing for intense gameplay as the teleportation beams can bounce off walls several times. As perhaps can be seen, I also suggested that all modules could be mirrored, in order to create a larger range of randomization and make the level feel less repetitive, if you are playing for a long time.
Some of the keywords for the music was spacey, exciting and silly. The track was made to increase excitement over time. To do this, layers are continuously added to the track and drums are changed to also increase the sense of pace. Additionally, the tempo is steadily increased over time in an attempt to further rush the players. Listen to the full track below.
I also made a “lobby version” of the track. In this, the tempo is significantly lowered and the instruments are changed to resemble elevator or lounge music, rather than techno and spacey music. Listen to the lobby version below.
I have participated in many games. Jamming has been an opportunity for me to try out different skills. I’ve worked with general game design, music and sound effects, 2D and animation and Unity setup. I have not been programming a lot since there often are a high number of highly skilled programmers at game jams, which have made me look to other tasks in order to get better results at the jams.
In 2019, I decided I wanted to try to be on the other side of the fence of a jam, and participated as volunteer in Nordic Game Jam. My tasks was mainly setting up and taking down jam areas along with technical tasks and supporting jammers at the help desk. I am not quitting jamming any time soon!
I have two of my game jam games available for download on my itch-site ( https://erikandersen.itch.io), which are “Seascraper”(Kaktus Jam 2018) and “Smadreland Simulator 2018″(Copenhell Game Jam 2018). They can also both be found on my portfolio here on this site.
On my second year of my batchelor, I worked on a project for Rigshospitalet (the main hospital of Copenhagen). We worked in groups to design games that could provide safe and social experiences for the patients and their guests. The hospital needed a way of improving the visiting experiences, so it would become more social and positive, since many people have negative emotions associated with the rooms and spaces in the hospital.
My group designed the game “Hyggesokker”. Hyggesokker was a collection of four couch multiplayer games, two of which got made. Our design aimed to bring “hygge” into the hospital’s visiting areas. The games are made to be playable for all ages and levels of gaming experience – Much like most family friendly board games, which we kept in mind during the design process. The game should be played using player’s personal devices (like phones), so no one would have to be forced to use conventional gaming controllers, if they weren’t comfortable to do so.
Setup in Unity
Content design (questions for prompts, words for Kakao Kop)
The two almost-finished games in Hyggesokker are called “Kakao Kop” and “Falsk Faktum”.
Kakao Kop is co-op game based on the classic hang-man game, where players have to guess a word within a category. As hang-man obviously have associations to death, the theme of the game was changed to keep a nice and calm mood. The narrative is, that players have to keep a cup of nice hot cocoa full, without spilling anything. Each wrong guess for a letter will spill the cocoa, so the goal is to have as much cocoa left at the end of the round.
Falsk Faktum is a quiz game about tricking other players. The game is divided into turns, each with a prompt/question within a selected category. The goal is for each player to get the highest amount of points. Before guessing, every player gets to come up with their own possible answer to the prompt. Then, everyone has to try to find the correct answer. You receive point if either you guess for the correct answer, or if someone guesses for your “fake” answer.
For more information and a downloadable prototype (for PC or Android), visit https://erikandersen.itch.io/hyggesokker. Please note that we didn’t have time to finish the intended controller system. Kakao Kop is playable, but Falsk Faktum is not playable as intended, however it works best on Android if you want to try.
Seascraper is a 2-player co-op game, made at Kaktus Jam 2018.
Two divers who are exploring a sunken skyscraper, looking for treasures. One player must dive down and looks for treasure, while the other has to provide oxygen and electricity and rail the diver back up, once he has found a treasure. They must both be quick and precise, as dangers lurks in the dark depths.
A prototype made on the second year of my bachelor. The game was made as an exercise in working with restrictions. The resctrictions for this was was to make a non-violent team based multiplayer game. My group also decided to mix together all of our ideas on the theme, which was dogs, dinosaurs and pirates. The result is as can be seen, a sea battle between a ship manned by dogs against a ship manned by dinosaurs. Whether it is violent or not is up to you to decide. There is no direct attacking or blood, but you do have to sink the other team’s ship (pretty much resulting in drowning them).
I worked with three artists and was the only programmer, meaning I did not do any art or animation but worked only with Unity.
Setup and programming in Unity
We have decided to go back to work on the game and hope to have a playable version by the end of 2020.