STEPHANE CUI
STRAIN.png
September 2016 - May 2017

Tuque Games 

ABOUT THE GAME

Welcome to the NovaGen Headquarters! You are Patient Zero, host to the world's deadliest parasite: the Symbioid. In Strain you don't pick up guns, you MUTATE into them! Feed yourself with power-ups called Strains and watch yourself become more powerful! Experience rogue-lite action with procedurally generated levels, combat and puzzles. Each run is different and so is your loadout! Loot, Mutate, and Adapt to each Floor by mix-n-matching devastating powers and turning Patient Zero into the sickest patient ever. PC

ABOUT MY CONTRIBUTION

I joined the project as the sole game designer, mandated with improving several aspects of the game as it had been in development for a year prior. This was both fun and challenging to work on as I had never worked on a procedural & roguelike game before, learned a lot both technically and creatively. I worked on the game's 3Cs (FPS control, feel, balancing), crafting and gun upgrading system, designed several hundred items, and produced the initial roster of AI to ship with. While this was being developped, I set up the game's UX loop, screens and panels, Unreal Engine made this really a fast iteration process.

On an off-note, I was also responsible for daily scrums, jira tasking the team and weekly build reviews.

Designed the weapon system for the game which allows the player to "feed" and evolve a basic archetype into various themed directions, each with unique properties and status effects. The system was designed to work with another mechanic called "Harvesting" which allows the extraction of upgrade material from defeated enemies. These materials empower the living gun, which opens up hundreds of different gameplay combinations. On another note, I took over the design of the game's 3Cs with fine-tuning character control properties and input behaviors.

Wrote the AI sheets for the initial roster of enemy archetypes based off the work of our concept artist M.Caya, and was responsible for the balancing of their gameplay values. These would later be used within the game's level and difficulty formulae I designed, in addition to 2 AI boss fights and a series of traps and props for the player to evade or use to his advantage.

The player embodies a patient who has a sock on his right hand; as he injects himself with strains he gradually becomes insane and starts talking to his sock "puppet" which has increasingly disturbing personas and visuals.

Wireframed, created art for and implemented the screens which were necessary to support the game's core loop of launching the game level (random seed), unlocking new items, evolving, dieing, achievements, in-menu item libraries and more. One of the novelty features we implemented was allowing the player to assign a custom written note to any discovered item as we did not reveal item descriptions unlike an RPG. This would become part of the loop as the player would try the item and witness the results. 

I also designed supporting utilities such as the in-game item wheel, world signs and feedback, prop interactions, reticle behaviors and more.