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Featured Projects

Erie

University of Utah, EAE Master Games Studio

Position:
Creator, Lead Designer

Honors and Accolades:
• #1 Most Popular Game on Desura, Oct. 2012
• #2 Most Popular Game on Desura, Oct. 2013
• #5 Most Popular Game on IndieDB, Oct. 2013
Top Ten Indie Horror Games of 2012, IndieGames.com
Top Ten Best Free Horror Games, PewDiePie
• Over six million collective views on Youtube Play-through videos

Press Highlights:
Erie on Rock Paper Shotgun
Erie on PCGamer
Pewdiepie – Let’s Play!
MINX VS MUTANTS – Full Run

Description:
Erie drops you into a visually stunning, yet terrifying scenario where your goals are to investigate, survive, and finally escape. It’s first person horror meets intense dark-ride with hidden, rotting cats. Erie begins in October 1966, when the Fermi 1 Nuclear Power Generator suffers a partial meltdown, and locals begin disappearing from a sleepy Michigan town. Oliver Victor is a Red Cross Investigator sent to find missing locals, but quickly finds himself trapped underground and being hunted by a product of forced-mutation experiments. Oliver’s rescue mission quickly turns into a struggle to survive, escape and uncover what’s been happening under the nuclear plant on the shores of Lake Erie. Developed by the University of Utah’s EAE Master Games Studio Program.

Media:
Game for PC

Experience:
Erie was a project made by nine people over a year that served as our collective MFA thesis. It was a concept I pitched as a modern take on the very excellent 3D Monster Maze for the Sinclair ZX81, and it’s a simple premise: stick a player in a maze with a monster that is hunting her down, then give the player an exit and the means to find it. Scares will ensue. This pitch survived fierce competition and scrutiny by industry veterans from Electronic Arts, Disney, Chair, and Smart Bomb Entertainment. Because of its simplicity in design, we were able to implement many additional features that were not in the original spec, such as a spray painting mechanic and limited parkour movement.

Erie Game Trailer from Matt Anderson on Vimeo.

 

The game was built entirely in UDK, and as designer I had the opportunity to get fairly intimate with that engine. Early in development I implemented several white box levels from both BSP and test meshes. A critical part of the original pitch was the enormous amount of iterative revision the design allowed for, and on our path toward the final product we went through many, many revisions of both level designs and art assets. In addition to world building, I also dove headfirst into Kismet, setting up door systems, Left 4 Dead style safe rooms, and the post-processing vignetting effects on the sprint mechanic.

Erie Whitebox Example One
Erie Whitebox Example Two
Erie Kismet Example

In addition to working within the UDK GUI, I touched a lot of the raw programming on this project. In Unreal Script I wrote code for much of the parkour movement, as well as performing continual tweaking of play variables. Due to my previous experience with Action Script, I quickly became the team’s Flash and Scaleform expert as well, implementing the action script and design for the UI, as well as the Scaleform code to plug it in. As a designer on a small team, I’ve always found it incredibly useful to be able to join the programmers and artists in the guts of the project during production cycles where design work is lighter.

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