Bye-Plane Dissertation Game
This was a University Project.
Bye-Plane was a game created for my final year dissertation.
Bye-Plane is an open world game about a pilot who goes through a portal into a strange world. He crash lands in a village and must re-build the village using resources that he can find around the game world.
The player must fly between the islands in their Plane to gather resources and collect mystical rocks for the trader, these rocks are scattered around the islands.
The main aim of the project was to create a game that players became immersed in to see how they're mood changed once they had completed the game.
The link below will take you to the Team's website where you can find the details of all the people who worked on the game.
I began by creating the level plans that would be used to build the whiteboxes and the final islands. The plans were given measurements so that it was clear how large they needed to be in Maya. On top of this they also outlined where paths would go and where points of interest would be such as camp fires and chest locations.
To demonstrate height colour gradients were used to show the height variations on the islands. The lighter shades of grey show higher points and darker shades lower areas.
Once the plans were completed, I began construction of the three islands in whitebox form. These whiteboxes were used as a play space for the programmer and myself to test out mechanics and begin implementing game play as well as giving the environment artist a base to begin building the Islands in Maya 2016.
The whiteboxes were built in Maya and were then imported into Unity. This method of building whiteboxes before fully constructing the levels is a very common process during development and the team thought it would be best to follow this practice.
Dressing the scene involved myself and the environment artist working together to position assets in a way that made the world look appealing and feel alive. This was the longest process as it involved lots of trial and error for placing objects to help guide the player and make them want to explore.
We decided early on that we wanted the player to get a massive sense of agency and reward playing Bye-Plane.
Because of this we took several simple mechanics and then combined them to try and create a complex system overall.
The main mechanics consisted of; resource gathering, village building, plane flying, plane activities and exploration. These were chosen because they were systems that could be used in tandem to create interesting and immersive gameplay.
Resource gathering was used to give players a need to explore the world. Their main objective was to re-build the village and to do this they would need resources, therefore this system tied in with the mechanic of village building. The player was given the chance to both build the village to complete the game and customise it the way they wanted. Not only did this system give the player greater agency, it also gave then a big sense of reward.
The plane was added to give the player a fun way to travel through the world. This mechanic also provided players with two different play styles to choose from. This is because by completing the hoop activities players were given a 100 gold reward. These hoops reset after time meaning that players who wanted to fly the plane can still gain enough money to buy resources and complete the game. Also the plane is upgradable and customisable so players are able to put their own personality into the world. The team felt that allowing two types of play styles was important because it meant that the game would appeal to a wider audience.
An essential mechanic to the core game loop was exploration. It was my job to outline the play space and make the player want to explore it by filling the world with interesting objects, putting characters in interesting places so that the player would encounter them and make the world feel alive and worth exploring. I worked very closely on this aspect of the game, making sure that there was a play space that rewarded curiosity. Surprise is the greatest reward for exploration and the world must pique the player’s curiosity.