Starcats is 2-4 player local semi-cooperative and semi-competitive game. It stars cat astronauts stranded on an alien planet. Players will form alliances to complete objectives and betray each other to take the lead. This game was developed in Unreal Engine 4 as part of my senior project with a team of 17 by the end of the semester, although we only had about 13 people on the project at any given time.
On this project, I was the Lead Designer, but I also filled the role of a technical artist and an environment artist.
As the Lead Designer, I guided the vision of the project and filtered ideas from the other team member. This game is inspired by the Iterated Prisoners Dilemma, so we try to balance players forming temporary alliance until it becomes beneficial to turn on each other. Players by default try to play competitively and take each other out to win. To curb this we try to provide enough incentive for players to work together. Players primary objective is to activate generators to power their ship to escape the planet. But players also have a constantly dwindling energy supply. So the balance is to work together to activate the generators but to take the win you want to be the only player to board the ship and escape.
As a Technical Artist, I implemented art assets and worked with materials. Starcats has a unique art cartoony art style, so we had to make sure our shaders and models worked well with style defined by the lead artist.
As an Environmental Artist, I created the 3D models for much of the foliage present in the game. The art lead was inspired by succulents, so I developed plants that were these oversized succulents and I think that helped make the environment look alien, but still recognizable. Towards the end of our development, I also revisited the color palettes for the different biomes. We have textures that are divided into a grid, with different grid cells containing the colors for different elements, such as water, crystals, and various plants and accent colors. These palettes were concepted back when the project first started, and they didn't end up looking quite as good in-game as they did on paper. So, I redesigned some of them to have more focused color themes.