ANDARA: RISE FOR REBELLION

Andara is a fast-paced third-person shooter inspired by Returnal and DOOM: Eternal, which combines narrative moments with frenetic combat against various types of enemies. 

I worked on designing all the systems and mechanics and was the design team coordinator.

Team Size | 24 

Role | Game designer, level designer, narrative designer, co-screenwriter, and design team coordinator

Dev Time | 10 months

Software | Unreal Engine 4

During the development, I worked on the following aspects: 

- Design the player and enemy mechanics.

- Balance all player and enemy values.

- Coordinate the design team.

- Communicate with the art and programming departments.

- Co-write the dialogues.

- Iterate the UI/UX of the game (HUD, camera, particles, and nearly every aspect of the game feel).

- Design the first level (from layout to blocking and QA). 

ACHIEVING FAST GAMEPLAY

Our main objective from the beginning was to create a game that offers a fast and aggressive combat experience. For that reason, we designed various mechanics that would create the dynamics we wanted, being the most important ones the dash and the finisher. 

The dash lets the player move rapidly through the levels and dodge enemy attacks very quickly, which helped enormously to create a more quick experience that relies on the player's reflexes to evade damage.

The finisher works like the one seen in DOOM: an enemy with low health enters a state of weakness, in which the player can get close to that enemy and press the finisher button to defeat them and recover their health. This forces the player to be risky and get close to enemies to be able to recover health consistently, which makes them adopt a more aggressive way of playing, in which doing damage continuously is the best way to maintain your health. 

To increase that dynamic we also added a health override mechanic, that lets the player recover more of their maximum health,  transforming the surplus of health obtained into a shield that protects them from a hit, but that is decreasing constantly until returning to the base health. This made the player want to recover health every time and also added a sense of urgency due to the constant decrease of the shield, which translates into a playstyle of continuous movement to get close and evade enemies.

Last but not least, we designed a not-so-usual weapon system in which switching between the two available weapons is done simply by aiming and un-aiming. This streamlined the weapon change process, making it faster and more intuitive. To switch to the long-range weapon that requires precision, you aim to enhance your accuracy. Conversely, to switch to the mid-range weapon, you simply un-aim to freely look around and move while shooting. 

ENEMIES FOR CONSTANT MOVEMENT

Another crucial aspect of achieving that combat experience was indeed the foes that the players would have to fight against. For them, we designed two types of enemies: the normal and the special ones. 

The normal ones did not have something special, they were just basic enemies with two variants: the melee and the ranged enemies, which differ in their shot type and in the distance they attack the player. Their purpose is to serve as the weakest enemies to introduce the player into the combat, but as the game progresses their role is to serve as potential ways of recovering health with the finisher and to bother them while they are fighting against the special ones.

Special enemies are the true challenges of the game, each with their own unique attacks and strategies to confront them, particularly exploiting their weak points, which are specific parts of their bodies that are susceptible to significant damage. This compels the players to learn the attack patterns and vulnerabilities of the different enemies in order to overcome them. Furthermore, as the game progresses, the player has to fight against various special enemies at a time, so the knowledge of their weaknesses and attacks becomes more and more crucial every time.

In addition, we designed an aggressivity system that makes the enemies change their behavior in order to become more or less aggressive depending on the number of adjacent enemies, making the fight against various enemies more approachable and the situations where there are only a couple of enemies left more fast and intense. 

During preproduction, all the design processes were documented in a GDD and a Miro board to let all the departments see the design of the game and its needs.

And throughout the development, we used Trello to organize and notify our work.

Excerpt of the Miro board used during preproduction 

Excerpt of the Trello board we used

Héctor González

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hectorgonzalez.vg@gmail.com