Helios Saga


Carl Sommer: Game Designer

Project Highlights



Helios Saga features space combat in both a top-down and third person view as well as a leveling system that allows you to buy upgrades for your ship.

Design Goals




The game was designed to seamlessly incorporate space shooting mechanics in both a top down and third person view. This was intended to allow players to feel a great sense of variety in gameplay, while leaving the core combat mechanics essentially unchanged.

Successes


Carl Sommer: Game Designer


The mechanic of submerging your ship into the center of the sun provided an exciting diversity in the gameplay. Players needed to submerge in order to destroy the generators that help them beat the game. However, while submerged, players had to keep their timed shields up. This gave players appropriate motivation to play in both modes.

The upgrade system provided a satisfying payoff each time players killed enough enemies to level up.

Challenges


Carl Sommer: Game Designer


Because flying around the surface of a globe is an uncommon level design method, and players cannot stay submerged in the center of the sun indefinitely, we needed a way to hint to the players when they should attempt to submerge in order to find the generators. We decided to make the cluster of enemies on the outer surface of the sun noticeably more dense in the areas directly above the generators that players needed to destroy.

We were so excited about the music provided to us by our friends in the band “The Clutter” that we created a special “Clutter Edition” of the game for them to use for their own promotional purposes. However, because the target audience for the band was much broader than our initial audience, we had to make a few design changes to make the game more accessible. The biggest change was the decision to allow players to get every upgrade in the game, rather than forcing them to specialize their ship with only three upgrades per game. This made the game simpler, but more appropriate for the new demographic.

Project Details


Carl Sommer: Game Designer



Tools: Unity, C#, Illustrator, Photoshop, Maya.

Team: Jack Chang, David Liu, Tomas Posada, Carl Sommer.

My Role: Lead designer, Story/Narrative Designer, UI/UX Designer, Art Director, Project Manager.

Music: Rick Desutter and the Clutter.



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