'Người Lạ' is a single-player, cinematic, Visual Novel created for Game Studio 2 as a semester long project. You play as professional e-sports player Tien, who moves to Ho Chi Minh city with her brother Duc in preparation for an upcoming speed-runner tournament.
Team Size: 5
Role: Game Designer | 3D Artist
Dev Time: 4 months
Published: May 27, 2020
Early on it was decided that going 3D would be the most efficient medium for visual development. My extensive experience with low-poly organic modeling put me in charge of designing the main characters of the game. We needed a visual style that was simple but detailed enough to be consistent with the tone and narrative of the game. I researched 'Wide Ocean, Big Jacket' for their skillful implementation of shape, color, lighting, and framing to tell an impactful story with simple assets. After much refinement I ended up with a simple style that utilized flat color gradient shading to give the illusion of depth, paired up with hand drawn textures in areas such as the face to provide an additional layer of detail and personality to the characters.
Initially we planned for cinematic cut scenes with limited player involvement at key points in the story. Because player input was a factor, the boards needed to take into account the unpredictability of player action and present the scenes in a way that was still impactful while clearly communicating what needed to be done in order to progress. I then moved on to designing environmental layouts for all the areas predominately featured in the storyboards. Even though the idea of fully directed cut scenes was scrapped they still had a huge influence on the development of the game. Many of the ideas shown in the boards, such as Duc being a Twitch streamer observed in the game.
This was the first game I worked on that involved a large team and was met with public feedback. It was met with positive reception with many viewers doing Let's Plays and even giving us donations. My experience working on this game has better prepared me for future projects of this scope.