Somewhere Out There
Made with unity 5
Primary Role: Creative Director | Secondary Role: 3D Artist
Project Duration: 03/01/2017 - 05/01/2017
Somewhere Out There is a puzzle platformer with stealth and hacking mechanics set in a futuristic, sci-fi world. The story follows two teenagers on an adventure through space to find their missing parents, who they learn didn’t die during their childhood, but actually went missing under mysterious circumstances. The player utilizes the unique mechanics of both characters to navigate the environment, disable hazards, and reach their objectives.
I threw together the pitch for Somewhere Out There in two nights between my shifts at work, and I was very fond of the concept. I’ve always loved sibling stories because they offer the ability to include touching moments and constant, ceaseless sarcasm simultaneously, and I took advantage of that with this project. Jet intended to be your typical sarcastic teenager, although he does have a proclivity for technology and computers. His sister, Ari, is more fun loving and free, and they often clash because of this. They were respectively voiced by our Sound Designer, Noah Sands, and the sister of one of our programmers. Due to our lack of proper facilities, we recorded all of our audio in my packed master closet, which we learned makes a decent quiet room in a pinch.
We didn’t have much time to concept anything, we had to jump right into production. I whipped up these quick concepts during one of our meetings to nail down the basic appearance of the characters so that everyone could have an image in their heads.
MECHANICS & LEVEL DESIGN
Early on, we decided that due to time limitations, we needed to pick simple mechanics to differentiate the two playable characters, so that the player would be required to use both. We settled on giving Ari the ability to climb and jump over obstacles, so she would handle the actual platforming part of the game. Jet, on the other hand, would handle hacking of any systems that got in their way. We designed all of the levels so that the characters would have to be used in alternating sequence to allow each other to progress further in the level.
Part of my responsibility as the Creative Director was to author all of the marketing materials, including posters, box art, and disc art. Fortunately, I had cheated and made the poster as part of my project pitch, so we had significantly less to worry about than most of the other teams.
It was an ambitious yet fun idea, and the six of us were all dedicated to seeing it done well. Unfortunately, none of us had built a full game in Unity before, and with only eight weeks until the end of the semester when RTM was due, the bomb was ticking from the second we were grouped. This project was a lesson in how to scope, how to plan, how to cut, and how to laugh your way through treacherous deadlines. It was trial by fire, and in spite of everything that happened, I’m actually thrilled with what we were able to accomplish.