My role in the project was to build all the visual game assets, and work with the developers to achieve our intented mechanics, dynamics, and aesthetics.
Wozney the photography intern just arrived on a remote island for his first day of work at Camco. Unbeknownst to him, Camco is a sole proprietorship run by Pascal, who spends most of his waking hours lounging on the beach. Eager to return home, Woz heads off into the unknown to earn enough cash to purchase a one-way plane ticket off the island.
Camco island combines exploration, camera skills, and dramatic chase sequences to deliver a lively and comical experience to players. My main contribution to the project was building every visual asset from scratch, with the exception of several Mixamo animations and water particle effects. I also facilitated design discussions around the core loop, rewards, AI behaviour, and MDA framework.
Early on I realized that the team needed some inspiration to get excited about building the game. With some quick thumbnails sketches in Photoshop, the devs got a sense of the target end result. It really set the tone for how we would work together and established the humorous aesthetic of Camco Island.
Most of the early work in the project revolved around hypothesizing what constituted as "fun" gameplay experiences. Often the best way to describe each hypothesis was to create vector illustrations for them. After each design sprint, I would take the ideas and transform them into visuals to keep the team on track.
The primary use of these graphics was to balance the difficulty ramps of the game, and also provide incentive for players to thoroughly explore the island. Interestingly, we found that people were much more engaged with the photography missions than traversing an expansive world, so we opted for a single-route paradigm that allowed for open exploration but was actually linear in structure.
Although our original concept was to have one large island, we encountered framerate loss due to my overzealous number of objects and post-processing effects. We then opted to split the game across three increasingly challenging levels: a small tutorial zone, a grasslands island, and a forest island.
Look development was my favorite aspect of the whole process. As the dev team was putting the core mechanics together, I spent time working on mini scenes with varying levels of lighting, object hierarchy, and post-processing effects.
One of my goals was to have a good balance of large objects with small details clustered around them. I figured that the same concept of hierarchy used in 2D graphic design would apply to 3D, which resulted in a unique look & feel that I was quite happy with. Large scale objects were used for wayfinding, while close, human-scale objects were highly detailed to increase immersion.
Another technique that I think turned out quite well was creating variation. These scenes were assembled with only five rocks modelled in Maya and two hand-painted grass textures. Scaling, rotating, and translating these assets resulted in a scene that is visually consistent, yet still has a touch of variability often found in nature.