A 3D puzzle adventure game starring two siblings trying to find their way home they get caught up in a freak storm and find themselves shipwrecked in a whole new world. The game play is designed around both characters needing each other to advance and solve puzzles. The main story themes of the game are cooperation and exploration.
The story of the game is based on the epic poetry by Elias Lönnrot from Karelian on Finnish folklore.
The older sister is called Eden while the younger brother is called Aedan. They are from a tribe looking for a new home but their ship is attacked by a mysterious force and they're separated from the rest of the tribe.
Together Eden and Aedan will explore an island, a cave inhabited by members of a cult, a mountain containing portals, a city in the sky filled with giants, a raging desert being stalked by a dinosaur made of bones, climbing up harsh cold mountains and the underworld.
This game was made for my capstone project over a period of 4 months. I was the designer, programmer, 3D modeler, rigger and animator.
The game was made in Unity, models were created with Maya and Zbrush, textured in Substance Painter and Photoshop.
Control both characters in a fully 3D world with the ability to switch between one another at certain times to overcome obstacles
Both characters have unique abilities that you must utilize together to solve puzzles and navigate the world
Eden as the taller and older sibling, she has the ability to move larger objects, climb and hang from ledges to higher places and move around and more
Aedan the smaller and younger runs faster, can get into smaller places and more
Interact with fascinating characters that inhabit the world and choose how you interact with them
Homebound was my attempt to create a full 3D adventure puzzle game where you control a character and roam around a 3D world which you can interact with.
When I first joined the program and wanted to create a game like this, it was always my dream. First semester when he had our first group project, we had big dreams of creating a full 3D adventure but we were of course dreaming because we didn't know how difficult it could be. We spent weeks coming up with concepts and discussing how to create the game and after almost running out of time, we ended up with SHIFT.
SHIFT is a 3D adventure game where you control 2 characters who find themselves trapped in opposite sides of a book . They have to cooperate and help each other in order to escape the book and solve the mystery of the book.
I always liked the idea of a game where two characters work to help each other overcome obstacles because even in real life everyone needs a little help to keep up with the speed of the world. SHIFT had two characters helping each other to overcome obstacles. SHIFT was the background, you can say the playable demo, the concept for Homebound.
Making a game like Homebound during the semester while working on other school projects wasn't easy. This time, I knew I could do it because thanks to the experience from making a game like SHIFT, expect I didn't have a group and that wasn't going to stop me. Before I started the capstone, I had already spent months during the holiday planning, designing levels, characters, puzzles and the story/plot. I knew what I wanted to make and I knew it needed heavy planning and preparation. I looked at classic 3D games like Zelda, Kingdom Hearts for inspiration. I studied and analyzed them to see what they did and how they did it so well.
The first thing I did was design the features. The characters abilities and how they would affect the world around them. I knew I wanted 2 characters helping each other overcome the obstacles. I decided both characters would be on the screen at the same time. You would control one character while the other one would be controlled by AI. You would be able to switch to the other character at anytime and the character you're not controlling would be taken over by AI.
I designed the levels and puzzles around the characters abilities and left the door open to think outside the box when trying to solve puzzles that aren't so obvious. The earlier puzzles in the game where designed to also teach the player how to play the game. For example, one of the first puzzles in the game involves you controlling the older sibling to move a large cart blocking a log while the younger sibling crawls under the log to get to the other side and open a gate. This puzzle was designed to introduce two character abilities and also the ability to switch between characters to solve the puzzles.
I created both characters, Eden and Aedan in Maya and textured them in Substance Painter. I rigged and animated them in Maya. I wanted a toon based artstyle, trying to give off a studio ghibliesque feeling with the world. The assets, rocks, cliffs, mountains, grass, flowers were created in Maya, textured in both Photoshop and Substance Painter and the trees were created with the program SpeedTree. While I created over 80% of the assets, I did download some flowers and plants from the Unity asset store to add more variety to the forest level.
I wrote a C# script for the character and camera controller when working on SHIFT but for Homebound, I knew I needed something new and more robust. I ended using the unity default 3D controller script with my camera script. I however was able to edit the character controller to create abilities for the characters like crawling, climbing over obstacles like ledges and fallen logs.
I wanted the game to have a level of humanity and fun to it. After all, you're controlling two characters trying to find their way home but find themselves in a new land. I wanted to add intractability to the game and the world for example, petting a wild rabbit and feeding a bunch of ducks in the game world. This element emphasizes the characters personality and adds more humanity to them aiding in character development.
Homebound was made in 4 months and it was a great 4 months in which I learned a lot. I'm looking forward to where I can take it as I have big plans for the game.