Game Design

You will find on this page examples of my work as a game designer.


 

Released Game – Remember Me


http://www.dont-nod.com/

DONTNOD Entertainment (Paris)

PS3, Xbox 360, PC (Unreal Engine) – Action-adventure

December 2011 – Now

Game/Level designer

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Remix memories. Change the world.


Debut game of Parisian studio DONTNOD Entertainment, Remember Me is a Sci-Fi tale about Nilin, a former elite memory hunter with the ability to penetrate people’s mind and steal or change their memories, in a world where technology has allowed people to buy, sell and erase their memories… for better or for worse.
Unfolding in the contrasted city of Neo-Paris in 2084, Remember Me is a third-person action-adventure game introducing the ‘Memory Remix’ concept, with the ambition to tell a meaningful tale about where the rise of technology, authoritarian governments and social networks might lead our world.

How will you remix the world?



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Project overview

- Development time: 4 years

- Team: 90 people.

- Technology: Unreal Engine.


Features

- Memory remix. Enter key protagonists’ mind and alter their memories forever!

- Dynamic combo creation. Create your own combos and strategically switch from one style to another depending on the fight’s current state!


Comments

My main role was designing one whole level of the game, a heavy but stimulating responsibility. In addition to that, I was able to participate in discussions and decisions concerning game design on many features of the game, such as traversal, combat, and in-game narration. Both creative and technical, it was a wonderful experience, having had the ability to touch many areas of the game and learn so much about UDK and the process of creation!




Teaching – Fondation 93


http://www.f93.fr/

Fondation 93 and Collège Christine de Pisan (Secondary school / Junior high school)

PC (Game Maker) – Platform

December 2011 – June 2012

Teacher

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Can 12-year old kids create a videogame?


Well, after a great deal of kid craziness, I can tell you that, yes, they can. That is, if you are able to canalize their sheer energy, understand their way of thinking to use it as a basis for your teaching… and above all, show bulletproof patience. But the reward, for them and for the teacher, is worth the shot.
I was contacted by a Mathematics and a French teachers via the Foundation 93 cultural association to give a rather special set of lessons to a class of underprivileged kids: teach them the whole process of creating a videogame, while producing a game with the class to put the learning into practice. One more constraint : being presented to the Mathematic Games Contest, the game needed to include mathematic notions currently studied by the class as key gameplay elements.
Considering their skills and my time constraints, we obviously needed to follow the ‘Keep It Simple’ golden rule. So we aimed for a 2D Mario-like platformer, fighting triangles with different characteristics depending on their shape, and being able to tell bonuses from maluses by calculating simple fractions. Additional features like several different kinds of jump and sword-based fighting actually made it a pretty ambitious game given our resources. But we made it in time, and what joy to see the pride in their eyes when seeing people playing their games at the Mathematics Games Contest!


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Project overview

- Development time: 6 months (16 hours lessons, 80 hours programming)

- Team: Myself, two French/Mathematics teachers, and 25 crazy kids :p

- Technology: Game Maker.


Comments

I learned so much during this too short time with this bunch of crazy kids. First of all, how to teach something to someone, quite simply. Take what they know or even their mere intuition on things, and bring them to infer by themselves what you want to teach them via well-chosen questioning and giving directions to the conversation, rather than just telling them bluntly « It’s like that » without any clue to understand why. Trying to stimulate and steer their budding creativity, to give them a basic idea of the scope of work required for such a project, identifying the talents and wishes of each of them, were all key elements to allow them to create a good videogame. Along with a good bit of programming on my side, obviously, which made me revise my programming! In the end, it was an exhausting but fascinating human experience. Hope this sparked some vocations ;)




Released game – A Game of Thrones RPG


http://www.cyanide-studio.com

Cyanide Studio (Paris)

PS3, Xbox 360, PC (Unreal Engine) – RPG

April 2011 – September 2011

Game designer

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When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.


Cyanide Studio, proud developer of original takes on the fantasy genre such as Loki, Blood Bowl and Confrontation, is now going to the next level: conveying the epic and intricate world of George R. R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” literary saga, recently turned by HBO into the TV series “Game of Thrones”, into a highly ambitious role playing game!
Experience an original story unfolding in parallel of the book and the series, and uncover the shady conspiracy that threatens the very balance of the Seven Kingdoms. Play as a Sworn Brother of the Night’s Watch and as a red priest of R’hllor in two interwoven storylines, leading to the resolution of 15-year old grudges.

Are redemption and honor more than empty words in Westeros?



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Project overview

- Development time: 2 years and a half

- Team: 45 people.

- Technology: Unreal Engine.


Features

- Original story in parallel of the book and TV series. See old faces and familiar places again, and discover entirely new ones!

- Semi real-time strategic combat system combining depth and action, backed by many character customization options.


Comments

I am grateful for having been given the chance to perform multiple and varied tasks on such an ambitious production. My main focus was writing various kinds of background development elements, such as codex or dialogs; I was also able to provide help on features design, gameplay tweaking and level design improvement. Finally, I worked on the user experience side of production by organizing playtests and treating the data, and by managing the QA and localization processes. My most sincere thanks to the project managers for granting me their trust and the chance to work on so many aspects of the development!




Game Prototype – Heart of Paper


ENJMIN (The Graduate School of Games and Interactive Media)

Unity – Puzzle/Exploration

October 2010-March 2011

Game designer, Level designer

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Make the book come to life!


This is my current second-year project at ENJMIN. Based on the concept of pop-up books, Heart of Paper reinterprets the classical mechanics of pop-up books, such as pull tabs, disks, and “pop-up” elements. Inviting the player to explore the pages of a book on the theme of Illusions, the game takes the feeling of surprise and awe at the opening of a pop-up book even further!

Play with the mechanics, discover the various universes, expand the pages and make the book come to life in a poetic and bizarre experience!



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Project overview

- Development time: 6 months

- Team: 9 people (1 producer, 2 game designers including me, 2 developers, 1 graphic designer, 2 sound designers, 1 user experience specialist).

- Technology: Unity 3D.

- Platform: iPad, Android (game designed for tactile platforms to convene the experience of contact with the book, prototype developed on PC for technical reasons).

- Goal: Create a game prototype along with its business plan, destined to be pitched to editors to get funding to get into production.


Features

- Original pop-up book setting.

- Constantly renewed gameplay, context and narrative, thanks to the game being based on a theme explored in various ways rather than on a linear story.

- Manipulation of environment by the player.

- Impressive settings transcending physical limitations of pop-up books.


Comments

This project was extremely interesting since we needed to identify the core aspects of the pop-up experience, and to translate them into gameplay elements: we worked mainly on the sensation of contact with the book, which implied basing the gameplay both on tactile interaction with the interactive elements, and on the influence of the player over the setting.

We also wanted to target the game to an adult audience and to convene the feeling of diversity and surprise of pop-up books. This meant building both a complex enough gameplay and a deep enough universe to consistently appeal to adults. That is why we chose to base the book not on a linear story but on a general theme, Illusion, and to explore various subthemes linked to it with each level. That allows us to constantly face the player with new contexts, stories and backgrounds, and to reinterpret our gameplay and narration mechanics with each level.

 

You can also find below the full game documentation, including game design, artistic direction, technical overview and business plan.

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Heart of Paper – Game Document




Released game – Winter Voices


http://www.wintervoices.com

Beyond the Pillars (Paris)

PC (Adobe AIR) – Tactical-RPG

June 2010 – January 2011

Game designer, Level designer, Scriptwriter

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Uncover the secrets of your past without giving in to madness!


Beyond the Pillars, the French indie studio I’m working at, finally released its first game!
A Tactical-RPG in the tradition of the genre, Winter Voices lets you play as a fragile 24-year old woman. It features an original background in which the enemies she fights are not real, but are incarnations of the fears and neurosis that haunt her. Beginning with the death of her father, sparking an initiatory quest to take his ashes to the capital of their remote country, the adventure will take you to the bottom of despair and madness, with, perhaps, the hope to tear the veil hiding the dark secrets of your past.

Will you find loneliness or salvation beyond the cold mountains?


 
 

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Project overview

- Development time: 6 months

- Team: 20 people.

- Technology: Adobe AIR, Flex.

- Distribution: The project is composed of 7 downloadable episodes available on Steam and various other platforms.


Features

- Adult and subtle background aiming to deal with complex subjects such as mourning, introspection, sexuality, and family links.

- Original gameplay system inspired by the mechanisms of mind protection against a trauma.


Comments

As in many small studios, everyone must be versatile in order to be really useful to the production. Therefore I had the chance to deal with very various tasks: game design (battle mechanics concept), level design (creation of most of the battles and of some maps), programming (implementation of the battles via a script language derived from XML), scriptwriting and dialogs, playtest organization and analysis, translation, overall analysis of the universe and its coherence… This was a very enriching experience.
New episodes are to be released soon, so please stay tuned!




Global Game Jam – Burn, Comic, Burn


ENJMIN (The Graduate School of Games and Interactive Media)

Flash – Platformer/Action

January 2011

Game designer, Level designer, Programmer

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Soar through the comic’s pages and burn everything!


The project I did during the Global Game Jam 2011!
A kid’s reading a lame comic book and is growing bored. Why wouldn’t his favorite superhero, Action Man or GI Joe, soar through the pages and burn everything on his path? Now that’s some action!
You play as the superhero, and you need to blast the comic’s speech bubbles. Their explosion creates a path for you to follow from each picture to the other, but don’t get caught up by the fire!

Can you make it to the end of the page without being engulfed by your own explosions?


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Project overview

- Development time: 48 hours.

- Team: 5 people (myself as game/level designer & programmer, 2 game designers/graphic designers, 1 programmer, 1 sound designer).

- Technology: ActionScript 3, Flex.

- Goal: Create a fun game from scratch within 48 hours.


Features

- Comics-themed setting in homage to the Comics Festival taking place in Angoulême during the same week-end.

- Simple actions making for a fun and fast-paced game.


Comments

With games developed in 48 hours from pitching to submission, the Global Game Jam encourages players to get out of their usual domain: well that’s precisely what my team and I had to do, since there was no specialized graphic designer or developer! A team of 4 game designers and 1 sound designer, we all contributed to pretty much every part of the conception. My main contribution was helping with the game design, creating the whole level design, and helping with the code, debugging, and graphic design.

It was a fun and thrilling experience, even though code bugs at the end of the project brutally forced us to reduce the scope of the game, making the level design less interesting than it should have. But we’ll keep working on it and talks are on to show it at ENJMIN at Angoulême’s next Comics Festival!
Thanks to the organizers of the wonderful event, and see you at GGJ 2012!




Student project – Level Design


ENJMIN (The Graduate School of Games and Interactive Media)

Flash – RTS/Puzzle

April-June 2010

Team leader, Game designer, Programmer

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Play as a level designer and create a fun experience for the player!


This is my main first-year project at ENJMIN. A blend of RTS and puzzle game, Level Design stems from an original idea: let the player be a level designer by challenging him to design interesting levels for a fictitious player! His fictitious avatar progresses through the level as you build it, so beware! If the avatar sees you, the illusion will be broken and the fictitious player’s experience will be spoilt.

Keep the illusion of video game going, and above all… make it fun!


 
 

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Project overview

- Development time: 3 months

- Team: 5 people (myself as team leader / game designer / programmer, another game designer / programmer, 1 user experience specialist / QA tester, 1 graphic designer, 1 sound designer).

- Technology: ActionScript 3, Flex, Flixel library.

- Goal: Create an interactive experience playable and enjoyable in 10 minutes.


Features

- Light-toned setting centered on a parodic vision of the video game universe and its industry.

- 7 different items inspired from well-known game universes: Coin, Trampoline, Spider Web, Blaster Gun, Heart, Red Barrel, Iron Boots.

- 2 resources to manage: Money and Player Fun.

- Multiple ways to solve puzzles leading to different levels of reward.


Comments

I had multiple roles in the project: since I was at the origin of the idea, I acted as a game designer but also as a team leader, coordinating the production work of the team. Since we had no programmer, the other game designer and I also wrote the whole code.

Fulfilling those multiple tasks was obviously not easy since it was time-consuming and required great flexibility, but it was extremely instructive since it gave me more experience on several aspects of game development. It also confirmed my fondness for team leading, and made me much more comfortable with game programming.




 

Student project – Antimatière


ENJMIN (The Graduate School of Games and Interactive Media)

Unity – Adventure/Puzzle

April-June 2010

Level designer

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Take the textures of your environment and exchange them in order to progress!

 
 

A puzzle game seen in a first-person perspective, Antimatière is set in a world with strange physics properties: because of a failed experiment, all objects and people in the world are now flattened as textures on the walls. You are the only one still able to move, and you have the capacity to take a texture somewhere, store it, and exchange it with another texture elsewhere.

Furthermore, the world is now subject to spatial loops: the same pattern is repeated over and over again, so if you exit from a zone by its left side, you will enter it again by its right side. Use this to reach seemingly inaccessible locations!

Will you be able to make the most of your texture-changing ability and the spatial loops to solve the enigma of this distorted world?


 
 

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Project overview

- Development time: 3 months

- Team: 5 people (2 game/level designers including myself, 1 user experience specialist, 1 graphic designer, 1 sound designer).

- Development kit: Unity 3D.

- Goal: Create an interactive experience playable and enjoyable in 10 minutes.


Features

- Texture exchange: Take a texture somewhere and store it to exchange it with another texture elsewhere.

- Spatial loops: The world repeats itself vertically and horizontally. Use this to get a different point of view on things and reach inaccessible locations.

- Puzzle and exploration-based gameplay challenging the player with understanding the functioning of a world set in a new physical paradigm.


Comments

My role, in addition to helping with the game design, was essentially to create the whole level design of the project. This was very interesting since the game’s interest depends heavily on the puzzles, so I had to take in account the two original features (texture exchange and spatial loops) to create both innovative and understandable puzzles. I gained much experience in level design thanks to this project.




 

Student project – Promised Land


ENJMIN (The Graduate School of Games and Interactive Media)

Game Maker – Adventure/Strategy

November-December 2009

Game designer

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Lead your crew on a treacherous sea to the Promised Land!


This was my first project at ENJMIN. We were to create a game with GameMaker7, based on painting of the Pharos of Alexandria by Martin Heemskerck, 16th century. A blend of exploration and strategy game, Promised Land lets you play as the captain of an explorer’s ship searching for the New World. You will need to find the seven divine lighthouses scattered across the seas before finally being able to reach the New World.

Manage your resources, explore the vast seas, and confront its danger to finally reach the Promised Land!


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Project overview

- Development time: 4 weeks

- Team: 7 people (1 team leader, 1 game designer –me–, 1 graphic designer, 1 sound designer, 1 user experience specialist, 2 programmers).

- Technology: Game Maker 7.

- Goal: Organize ourselves as a team. Create a playable and enjoyable game within strict constraints: short development time, restrictive development environment.


Features

- 5 resources to manage: Food, Gold, Crew, Morale, Ship Hull.

- 6 unique items providing upgrades to your ship: Binoculars, World map, Good Luck Charm, Crystal Ball…

- Trading system.

- Scripted narrative events inspired by text-adventure games and Fighting Fantasy books, bringing life to the universe.

- Different zones with special effects on the gameplay: currents, reefs, storm, fishing zone.


Comments

My role in the project was to come up with the original idea, then create the game design, the level design, and the whole script. The main challenge for me was to create complex yet quickly understandable mechanics, along with interesting scripted events in order to immerse the player in a compelling atmosphere, all of this in a short timeframe. In the end, in addition to the game doc, 50 pages of scenario, dialog, and descriptions were delivered.

We chose to create a game based on relatively long playthroughs (2 to 3 hours), because we wanted to innovate compared to the previous projects we had seen: most Game Maker projects were short games, mainly based on an immediate gameplay but a short experience. We wanted to try and create a more compelling and complex experience, with an elaborated narrative. I am extremely interested in narrative mechanics in games, so I wanted to challenge myself in creating a game with a relatively strong story element in a short timeframe, and an open-world context.

In the end, the game enjoyed a very positive reception from the jury. They appreciated the polished graphics, the complex mechanics, the large game zone, and the numerous story events. You can have a look at the game design document below.

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Promised Land – Project report and Game Design document




Personal project: Sky Crusaders


This document is a condensed version of a game design document for original AAA action game Sky Crusaders, for PS3 and Xbox 360.

You can first download the document below in order to see my work at a glance and quickly understand this project.

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Condensed game design – Sky Crusaders

 
Page samples:

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You can find below a version including less graphics and diagrams, but more detailed, and including the whole story, character description, and mission progression. This version is currently under updating so there might be some minor inconsistencies with the condensed document – please bear with it :)

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Complete game design – Sky Crusaders




Level Design: Training with Unreal


Here is an exercise in Level Design, using Unreal Engine 3. The goal was simple: create a level composed of 10 stages, and increase difficulty through changing a few variables.

I chose to use a simple concept: there are a set number of lamps in the levels. Shoot them to light them. Once a lamp is lit, it will go out after a set amount of time. Only when all the lamps are lit at once will the teleporter to the following stage appear.

The change in variables leading to increasing difficulty resides in increasing the number of lamps (one more per level) and decreasing the time they remain lit.

However, the main interest of this exercise was the challenge of exploiting this simple concept in a varied number of ways. Depending on the stage, several gameplays were implemented: mainly platforming, orientation, shooting, and observation.

This exercise involved reflection about the notion of difficulty curve, creativity in level design and exploiting one sole concept in several different ways, and of course in-depth self-teaching on Unreal Editor.

You can download the map below, along with an in-depth explicative note about the conception of the whole level, and a basic help file if needed.

You can also download the Unreal Development Kit here.

UDK map file   Explicative note   Help file   

Level screenshots:

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Personal project: Light the UniVerse


This document has been developed for the admission competitive examination for ENJMIN (The Graduate School of Games and Interactive Media, a French videogame school). It has been received very positively, allowing me to be admitted to the school.

Its main focus is storytelling and atmosphere rather than pure game design: the goal was to create a deep yet accessible world and story, served by an enjoyable gameplay. The main interest of this project was to include philosophical and symbolic elements at every level of the game in order to tell a meaningful tale, while remaining accessible for a broad audience.

Game Design – Light the UniVerse
 

Page samples:

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Design analysis: Trackmania Nations


Here is a short design analysis document on the game Trackmania Nations.

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Design analysis – Trackmania Nations




 

Design analysis: Soul Calibur 4


Here is a 1-page design analysis document on the fighting system for the game Soul Calibur 4.

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Design analysis – Soul Calibur 4