by vvpham56 on 1 Jun 2021 for Rookie Awards 2021

A 3d twist on an arcade genre, RotoGear is a perspective-shifting Shmup that keeps you geared for action.

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A project that combined nearly every aspect of the game making process, RotoGear was done independently within the guidance of SCAD's GameTech and GameArt classes my sophomore year. The game is an experimental alpha that showcases a traditional shoot-em-up (shmup) with a 3d twist: rotating perspectives. 

Design and Programming

The goal of the project was to create a short playable game within Unreal 4 that would last 2-5 minutes, and as a designer, I thought a game that has a malleable playtime and experience would suit the scope well: hence an arcade-like Shmup. However, to experiment more with the technical prowess and complexity of modern engines, while avoiding the feeling of a basic shmup, rotating the player's perspective served as a design solution to add flavour in an interesting and technical way. Things like automatic camera shifts and different bullet types were implemented to promote player engagement and create purposes for the different perspectives.

As the first game I programmed within Unreal 4, specifically using the blueprinting system, this game was a learning experience that immediately placed my game in an unusual perspective. I had to program and consider the game as if it were 2d but with implementation as if it were 3d; I made sure, however, that no design systems were compromised when programming to ensure the original technical and design goal.


The hangar seen in the game is actually part of a larger practice environment showcased in the video above. With the idea that assets would be used in both projects, this hangar and the game carry a very similar thematic direction of clockwork steampunk to ensure the game would have a larger cohesive feeling. The hangar specifically looks to highlight two major points within the scene for the game, the ship at the centre and the door that opens up to lead into the game. 

The ship in the centre serves as the hero asset of the scene, but also as the premiere player-controlled asset within the game. The ship was designed specifically with the game and the perspective shift in mind. Ensuring the ship's presence within the multiple perspectives within the game, the ship has very large gears aligned to the top and side view as well as having a universally forward pointed look the game push the perspective as a mechanic.

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