Fragment is a surreal puzzle-platformer adventure game where you're led through the subconscious by a spirit-guide. This page documents the work I did on the project, and my design process.

My Role: Gameplay Design. Product Owner

Engine: Unity 3D

Team Size: 11 (3 Designers)

Time Frame: 8 Weeks

Genre: Third person Puzzle-Platformer

Content

What I did

FX

Project Lead

Gameplay Design/Scripting

Animation State-machine

Music & SFX

Shaders

Pitching & Presenting

Scrum / Agile

Backlog

Movement Design & Scripting

Puzzle Design & Scripting

Level Design

Game Overview

Pillars

Surrealism

Companionship

In Fragment, the player explores a surreal world, together with their spirit-companion. They complete challenging puzzles in dangerous terrain, to uncover forgotten memories. 

 

Player Movement

The main character had to feel weak and frail, as this was important in the game's narrative, and reinforced dependency on the spirit-companion. The design was therefore aimed towards players feeling nimble and light, but not acrobatic.

Yes

Good Handling

Intuitive Controls

Movement With Flow

Complexity Through Level-Design

No

Combat

Dashing

Combo's

Excessive air-control

Implementation

The player movement consists of several different scripts, with different functionality. They are all run through a main script, making it easier to manage.

Input Manager

Maps & Translates Input

Main Movement Script

Order of Execution

Stores Player States

Current State

Movement Logic

Player-State Transitions

Player Abilities

Special Case Events 

e.g. Jumping, staggering

Every frame, the Main Movement Script calls all necessary functions in the appropriate order, then applies movement to the player.

Get Input

Movement

Logic

Change State?

Additional Movement

Apply

Movement

Start

 

Grabbing & Climbing Ledges

The most technically challenging part of the movement was ledge-grabbing. It was a challenge to get it working consistently on different kinds of geometry.

How it works: when the player is in the air, while moving downwards, we run a series of checks, looking for something to grab:

Check For Wall

Check For Surface

Check For Edge

Check For Obstruction

Grab the Ledge

If any of the checks fail, we wait for the next frame, and run this again. If they all pass, we grab the ledge and switch to the hanging state. Once hanging, the player can press jump to climb up the ledge, following the same path as our "Check for Obstruction" traces.

 

Puzzle Design & Implementation

Puzzles in the game are based on directing a beam of light, using movable prisms. Light is used to power "receiversthat open gates and activate switches.

Puzzles are divided into three categories:

  • Onboarding puzzles, meant to introduce the player to concepts & mechanics.

  • Skill-check puzzles, that make sure the player understands the concepts.

  • Challenge puzzles, where players do actual puzzle-solving.

Onboarding

Skill-Check

Challenge

Level - "The Cake"

"The Cake" is the game's third and final level. Conceptual choices were made to serve the needs of our team and game:

  • Embrace Verticality

Vertical spaces separate the level from the rest of the game spatially. Climbing a tower embodies the final events of the narrative.

  • Unique Mechanic

The level features a unique mechanic, turning the center of the tower to unlock new rooms and paths. This adds mechanical complexity, when the player is comfortable with the game's main mechanics.

  • Make it a Challenge

This is the end of the game, and it should feel like it!

The level consists of a rotating center, with three floors, and surrounding rooms containing puzzle challenges

The player's goal is to power two receivers at the top of the tower, to open the exit. This requires thinking spatially, and planning ahead.

The player needs to set up the surrounding rooms, and the tower's rotation, to direct beams up from the lower floors.

To rotate the level, the player needs to keep solving the room's puzzles. Each puzzle contributes something to the main goal of powering the exit, giving the level a sense of progression.

The player is guided through the level using assumptions and catches. Initially, the player assumes that they need to climb the tower, the catch is; the exit is locked. They then assume that they need to keep rotating the tower, but find out there's more to it than that. 

This way, the player already has an understanding of the level's geometry, and the rooms layouts when they're introduced to the level's main challenge

 

Project Management

Covid-19 Challenges

This project was made during the covid-19 quarantine, which made planning challenging. To keep organized, we used a virtual office, Miro, and regular meetings to clear up questions and make sure everyone was in the loop.

Agile Workflows

Throughout production, I helped the team manage our weekly sprints, user story backlog, roadmaps and meetings. Keeping everything flexible, and pivoting based on feedback was key for the project.

Weekly Presentations & Pitching

 

Each week, I would present the game to a jury of industry professionals. It was important to make sure I spoke for the team as a whole, so I would make sure to write it together with members of my team.