Jan Karmański: Games Development Portfolio
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Jan Karmański: Games Development Portfolio

Jan Karmański
by yanomono on 28 May 2021 for Rookie Awards 2021

This entry is a compilation of various game development projects and prototypes that I have worked on during my second year of the BA Games Art and Design course at Norwich University of the Arts. All of the featured projects were created in Unreal Engine 4 as a part of an Indie Games Development specialism.

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Yomi: Unbroken

In my latest university project, I have worked in a seven-member team over the course of 7 weeks to create a game set in the Japanese underworld of Yomi. It is a combination of rougelite and puzzle genres in which you are a warrior escorting your newfound friend back to the surface.

I have worked primarily on gameplay design and code. I have created code for puzzle elements, level and puzzle managers, player abilities, and the dialogue and tutorial system. I have also been responsible for setting up and polishing the level geometry in the engine.
As the leader of the team, I have been responsible for managing tasks and team members, making sure the development followed our creative vision and fit the scope. I have made use of agile management techniques, maintaining a backlog and organising regular scrum sessions. I have also been responsible for leading and recording playtesting of our game.

The game can be downloaded here: https://yanomono.itch.io/yomi-unbroken

Team members:
> Jan Karmański (me!): team manager/product owner, game design, level design, coding
> Francis Perks: game design, coding, enemy AI [Itch]
> Bethany Stacey: 3D assets, props & terrain, character models, character animations, texturing [Rookies] [ArtStation]
> Anna Constable: scrum master, 3D assets, props, texturing [ArtStation]
> Jade Tubb: environment, prop & character concept art, UI artwork, skybox textures, prop textures, level design [ArtStation]
> Spencer Lancaster:  prop & character concept art, UI & logo artwork, splash arts [ArtStation]
> Megan Martin: prop concept art

Gameplay screenshot & level render.

Gameplay screenshots featuring puzzle elements.

Comparison between final polished level geometry and early blockout.

Blueprint code example - This Level Manager sets up the sequence of rooms which the player will traverse, ensuring that tutorial rooms will appear at the start of the game but randomising the order of the other rooms to balance controlled flow and replayability.

Monumentalis

The idea behind this two-week solo game project was to make a game about riddles, but with a twist. Rather than working towards an answer, you work backwards from it, trying to reconstruct a riddle that corresponds to it. The sculptures are meant to give you visual clues on the general theme of that answer so that it is not made immediately obvious to the player to introduce logic-based challenge.

The aim of this prototype was to create a mentally stimulating game experience that provides space for peaceful contemplation. I thought that the isolated environment of an art gallery would contribute nicely to it. The visual style of the sculpture models was inspired by modern surrealist and figurative sculptures, particularly by sculptors Philip Jackson, Carl Payne, and Michael James Talbot.

During this project, I have utilised my knowledge of iterative concept art techniques and 3D modelling to create assets tailored to what I needed to express my game design ideas.

The game can be downloaded here: https://yanomono.itch.io/monumentalis

Gameplay screenshots - Before and after solving a riddle.

Sculpture models made in Blender & concept silhouettes made in Photoshop.

Starturner

For my first Year 2 university game project, I have decided to create a puzzle game over the span of two weeks. The goal in it is to create constellations by rotating and connecting starts together.

At the time it was one of my most code-heavy game projects. The system which detects whether the stars have been arranged into one continuous constellation or not was particularly tricky to figure out, and so was one which made the arrangements and groupings of the stars fully randomised on each attempt. I have also created a feature that allows the player to name their constellations and save them to a main menu gallery.

The game can be downloaded here: https://yanomono.itch.io/starturner

Gameplay screenshots.

Blueprint code overview - Star control code & player input manager.

Starbound Bossfight Project

As a part of our course, we were given several art tests to help us prepare for work in the industry. One of them was sent by Chucklefish; their brief was to simply create a boss fight prototype that would fit within their game Starbound.

When designing the visual themes of the boss and the design of its battle, I have made extensive research into Starbound, closely analysing the design its existing bosses to make mine fit closely with the design direction of the game. I have also researched its lore, wanting to make my 'character' fit neatly in the existing universe of Starbound. While the player, background, UI sprites, and some of the sound effects have been taken from the target game, all of the 2D sprites for the boss, alongside its battle design and progression, have been made solely by myself.

All of the assets taken from Starbound have been used with permission from Chucklefish with the goal of reaching high similarity with the target game. The music used in the prototype is "Event Horizon" by Curtis Schweitzer and the sounds were sourced from zapsplat.com and Starbound.

Gameplay screenshots.

Pages from a Game Design Document made for the project.

Concept art silhouettes, iterations & final colours made in Photoshop.

Blueprint code overview - Boss attacks.

Squirrel Squabble

This year I have taken part in a cross-specialism 4-day game jam, in which the theme was "Honour Among Thieves". Together in a team of 6, we have created a western-themed adventure game in which you duel and trick your fellow bandits into giving you pieces of information on how to break into a safe full of riches. Also, you're all squirrels.

Being the sole designer and coder, I was in charge of creating all of the game systems, including gameplay and dialogue progression, the standoff duelling system, the safe code clues and inputs system, and level layout and design. I also needed to import and set up all of the assets made by my teammates into the game.
Similarly to Yomi: Unbroken, I took the leadership position in this project. I have made sure that the work was done in a timely and organised manner, allocated people and resources to specific tasks, and ensured that the quality of the game was held to the highest standard that we could have realistically achieved.

The game can be downloaded here: https://yanomono.itch.io/squirrel-squabble

Team members:
> Jan Karmański (me!): team manager, gameplay & level design, coding
> Jake Miller: concept art & UI artwork [Rookies] [ArtStation]
> Kay Lee: concept art & UI artwork [ArtStation]
> George Kee: 3D character models [ArtStation]
> Finlay Cleland: 3D props & environment models [ArtStation]
> Joshua Collin: 3D props & environment models [ArtStation]

Comparisons between stages of development, from final gameplay to early blockouts.


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