Gurgamoth, a local-multiplayer game for PC

In late 2015 I co-founded Galvanic Games, an independent game studio in Seattle, WA. Our four-person team was fast and efficient; the early objective was to generate games with simple and easy to learn mechanics, quickly iterating to explore ideas that were fun for our team and hopefully fun for customers.

While participating in Playfab’s 48 hour game jam, we created a prototype for a local multiplayer game called Gurgamoth Lives, which won the Audience Choice award. The reaction along with our own love for the game mechanic lead us to pursue building out a full-fledged title, later renamed simply Gurgamoth.

In Gurgamoth, each player embodies as a flying death cultist who is competing against other players to be the last one left alive so that he/she may be the sacrifice that awakens the cosmic horror that is Gurgamoth. Players have the ability to choose from 6 different levels, each with their own unique environmental dangers, to compete for a last-man-standing style couch multiplayer experience.

My key roles were defining the animations, game experience, and overall design. Working alongside an illustrator, I created IK-based animations for the characters’ taunts and actions to play in realtime using the Unity and Spine engines.

In addition to the conceptualization, prototyping, and final build out of this game, I actively showed and sold Gurgamoth at PAX East and South, along with other PNW conventions.

We launched Gurgamoth on the digital distribution platform Steam on February 16, 2016.

ClientSelfServicesAnimation, Game DesignYear2016Linkstore.steampowered.com

Process


Early animation tests

This was the first animation pass for the player character during Playfab's 48 hour game jam. One of the strengths of our team was our ability to test game mechanics with high fidelity environments and worlds, which allowed us to create polished prototypes for early customer feedback.

Adding juice!

We wanted our game jam prototype to feel as rich and interactive as possible, so adding all of the player versus player feedback was tantamount to designing the gameplay mechanic in such a short period of time. By adding screenshake, particle effects, and classic visual effects to the interactions, our players felt like they were in a much more immersive world compared to simply "grey boxing" our prototype.

Guiding the user

One of the core principles of motion design is guiding the user, and while refining Gurgamoth, we faced a few challenges. Motion was used to distinguish characters from one another, identify which character was in control, and which character(s) had lost a battle. Visual effects, like the flashing player avatar when stunned or the light trail indicating player direction, were added to further guide users in the gameplay.

Showing the game at PAX

In today's gaming landscape, simply making and releasing a game on Steam doesn't translate directly to sales. A considerable chunk of effort in releasing a game is rallying the community to generate buzz for your game. Throughout 2015, we had the good fortune to be able to take Gurgamoth to the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) in San Antonio and Boston. These were both incredible opportunities for us as we were able to meet players, meet publishers, and get some real feedback from our players during the convention.