Dark Ascension

My contribution to this project: • Camera/Character Controller • Main Avatar Animation • UI

Developed during Global Game Jam 2016, Dark Ascension far veered the creative direction of its competition. The theme was ritual, and our team decided early on that we would take a risk and just try to create something interesting without bounding ourselves to a theme. 

A frequent game jam ally, Jared, and I insisted upon the idea of being able to create something more memorable by not doing what the rest of the teams were doing. With that, our team set out to win the 'Overall Best Game' title. We felt no remorse, due to completely ignoring the theme, because we were among 5 other winners from various categories.

We had 7 members on our team: 4 programmers with a spectrum of experience and skill, and 3 audio engineers.

For me, Dark Ascension was a test of endurance and fortitude. Endurance, because I was sick with the flu, which later became pneumonia. Fortitude, because I was learning how to animate using Unity3D's animation engine, Mecanim for the first time. I ran into many issues with sub-state machines and blend trees - I'm talking about weird issues; issues where a running animation would cause the avatar's right leg to begin slowly rotating on it's own axis.

Yet, through all of the peculiar challenges, our team pulled together all of their work and fit it nicely into a short gameplay sequence you can view below.

Our GGJ 2016 Presentation

We had bigger ideas than we could readily tackle in 48 hours. Our 7 member squad agreed early on that the game would have something to do with a main hero conquering stealth-oriented missions, but we spent a large amount of time debating the environment. My vision for the game's environment did not come to fruition. The reason for that is because I realized debating something such as an environment was fairly irrelevant for a game jam. I have participated in 5 game jams, and I've realized that the one thing that makes a game stand out above all the rest is a half-way thought out user interface.

Although the majority of my time was spent getting the avatar animations to work properly, I knew it would benefit us to show at least a few seconds of a level-up style UI. In fact, the user interface that I created is virtually useless to actual gameplay. The level up menu that you see in the video functions visually, but we thought it best not to spend time on taking that any further.