Captain Starshot and two squadmembers fighting Aliens
Captain Starshot started as a year-long project with the goal of experiencing long-term game development, working towards a public release and managing a community after release.
Captain Starshot is a rogue-lite shooter that switches between space battles and boarding raids. As the Captain of the ship, your main responsibility is to save human hostages and command your crew. The abilities of your crew can be modified using scavenged Alien Technology. Combine Technologies and adjust your playstyle to optimise your crew's impact. Expand your crew and their powers, until you have formed the ultimate alien-exterminating machine.
During the project I worked as a Game Designer with a focus on the Technical Implementation of systems and content. My responsibilities constantly fluctuated across the project to take on the priority tasks that fell through the cracks. In addition to that, I handled all the Quality Assurance tasks for the team.
A combination of my bullet behaviour system. The player shoots bullets that each split into multiple homing bullets, which target the closest enemy.
During the development of Captain Starshot I got to show off my skills as a flexible generalist, by taking responsibility for the implementation of various features. This includes Squad Behaviour, Squad Group Formations, Player Reload, Generated Crewmember names, Health Pickups, Parallax Space Background and Placeholder Feedback, among other things. This required a lot of teamwork and communication with other developers, which allowed me to learn from their expertise and knowledge within their respective fields.
One of the larger features that I worked on was a customisable bullet behaviour system, that enabled developers to create bullets with complex behaviours that can be used by all characters. I made various bullet behaviours, which can be combined or changed midway to create huge variety in gameplay options and power-ups.
During Project Starshot I got a chance to look into creating dynamic materials in Unreal Engine. These were required for the User Interface, In-game Information flow and the Environment. The biggest challenge was creating an omnidirectional Parallax Background for the space sectors.
The Parallax is created in a single dynamic material, which consists of 12 different layers, with different settings and features. One of the major features is the ability to gradually swap out one texture for another, to create the illusion of constant progression.
I enjoyed looking into the Technical Art and materials for a few weeks. My skillset has been expanded a lot by it, which allows me to be more effective within Unreal.
The Parallax Background in-game. Textures created by Jesper Abels.
JIRA Quality Assurance Dashboard
Throughout the year I have dedicated part of my time on keeping up the Quality Assurance for our game. I modified JIRA to have a set workflow and submission process for bugs, which made it easier for the team to track and fix their issues.
Over the course of the year I constantly iterated on the process, by notifying developers of each new issue through Discord, and keeping track of Engine warnings and errors as well. The Quality Assurance process taught me a lot about debugging, avoiding and preventing issues, and made me increase the standard to which I hold my blueprints.