DESPOILER | Steam, Shipped 2018

Role: Game Designer, Gameplay Progammer
Engine:
UE4
Shipped:
2018

My contributions, tldr version;

  • Player control and vehicle simulation programming

  • Hud & UI design and implementation

  • Dynamic networked destruction system

  • Player networking

  • Resource harvesting system

  • Game design, level design

  • Art/Visual Direction


Despoiler is a Team Objective arena racer where players pilot hovercraft across the desolate wildlands, scavenging the valuable scrap they need to unlock utilities, upgrades, and win the game.

 

GAMEPLAY PROGRAMMING


Unreal Engine's C++ and Blueprint (visual scripting) are incredibly powerful and enabled code efficiency where required, and rapid prototyping throughout the project. My main contributions to the project were:

  • Physical simulation of hovercrafts

  • Network replication of gameplay (hybrid client-server authority) and physics

  • Developed a network replicated destruction system (pictured top right)

  • Hover engine>ground particle interaction systems

  • ‘Transparent’ weapon stabilization and auto aim

  • Scrap (resource) collection systems (pictured bottom right)

I wrote a networked destruction system to enable gameplay relevant physx destruction of objects such as the silos players must break down for scrap

All ‘currency’ (scrap) in despoiler is physically represented in game. It acts as armor and weighs vehicles down.

I wrote a scrap collection component in C++ that can be used by any actor to collect, carry and drop scrap, representing it visually and dynamically on the actor’s hull. Optimized through the use of Instanced static meshes and smoke and mirrors ;)

 

UI DEVELOPMENT


Spatial and Diegetic UI

Traditional UI has it's place, but for this project I wanted to better use the screenspace available and opted for spatial and Diegetic UI for the majority of our HUD.

I implemented our unique diegetic and spatial hud including a scrap radar, utility states, and other gameplay stats such as health, shield, and game time.

The radar, health, armour, and utilities are all displayed on the player's vehicle leaving the edges of the screen free from clutter, and immersing the player more in the game environment.  Inspired by other games that have done this in the past like Blur/Split-second which have lovely spatial implementations of their own.

I was also responsible for the creation of a modular and fluid menu systems

Menus

A small part of my work on the game overall but I'm proud of it. Modular layouts, pages, and elements, feels nice, and I implemented all of the functionality myself including the graphics settings and control remapping which are written to config files via c++ and cleanly exposed to UMG via a blueprint function library.

 

GAME DESIGN


Flight

 

Designed player input and control mechanics/systems for intuitive, fast, and exciting piloting that’s easy to learn with a higher skill ceiling that rewards practiced and experienced pilots.

 
 

Combat

Contributed heavily to weapon and unlockable utility design, devising unique asymmetrical gameplay opportunities for each. Balanced weapons for their intended tasks (eg. the harvester’s scatter-gun is extremely well suited to mining scrap but can outplayed in a fight by skilled combatants with the base vehicle’s machine gun).

 
 

3d Aim Assist

Designed and Implemented an intelligent aim assist to suit our unique 3d reticle system. Allows aiming to feel fluid, reliable, while remaining skill-based.

 
 


Gamemode

Designed the gamemode with a focus on accessible combat paired with strategic objective focused escalation.

Players harvest and scavenge scrap (which works as armour when carried on their hull and is spent to respawn), and deliver it to their base to unlock upgrades for the team. The fight over an ever depleting resource prompts a strategic race to scavenge as much as possible whilst not feeding it back to the enemy on death, and thwarting enemy efforts to scavenge this valuable, multi-use resource & currency.

 
 

The Team

Game Director, Designer, Gameplay Programmer - Elliot Gray
Producer, Level Designer - Danyon Fitzsimon
Programming - Peter Tran


Additional Development - Iain NicholasAndrew Clarke
Audio - Jonathan Peros
Art - John EyreFrancisco AlcaldePaolo BoisselHarrison Armitage-Bath
AI - Wilson Russel-Chung