Mountain is a 3D side-scrolling platform adventure game that seeks to bring players through the growing pains of childhood. Difficult situations players may have dealt with as a child are the theme of the game and offer players a chance to reinterpret those times—and themselves—now. The game lets the player become a child again through the protagonist, an innocent kid that is trying to impress an absent father by climbing a mountain no one has climbed before. He writes poetic letters to his father in between each level to encourage reflection and give players some insight into the story. Players explore surreal worlds with characters that present the players with issues like deception, stereotypes, death and loneliness and interact with the branching narrative via items found in the environment. Mountain was my senior thesis attempt to introduce common platforming mechanics with an intellectual narrative overlay to an uncommon audience.

  • Role: Lead Game Designer / Engineer
  • Team Size: 10 Students
  • Duration: 8 Months
  • Platform: UDK
  • Released: May 2011; Demo

My Role

After originally conceptualizing the game, myself and 3 others were tasked with building a prototype in a semester to prove out our concept. Originally the Lead Engineer on Mountain, my main goal for the first 8 months was to modify the Unreal Development Kit to utilize a side-scrolling camera, implement a custom player character with animations, and determine all main pipelines. As part of my original duties, I collaborated on level design and built out 2 of our prototype levels from start to finish. Mountain became one of the 5 games chosen by faculty to continue forward into the second semester and receive additional teammates to complete the project. The team received an incredibly talented programmer to take over the Lead Engineer role, 2 additional artists, and 2 more level designers. Team positions changed, and I transitioned into the Lead Game Design position. Acting as a liaison between engineering, level design and narrative, I helped hone in on the execution of additional platforming mechanics, new narrative implementation strategies, and general engineering tasks. I became a Scaleform UI creator and teacher, and brought the rest of the team up to speed on its implementation into the engine. I also designed and built the Deception level of our game.