Great Plains Drifter - First Person Shooter

What is Great Plains Drifter?

Great Plains Drifter is a first person shooter game inspired by games like Call of Juarez and Blood. You play as the titualar drifter as you stumble in a town taking over by robotic bandits.

Great Plains Drifter was made in Unity 2020.1 in my senior year at DigiPen Institute of Technology as a solo project for one of my design classes with a development time of about 2.5 months.

What Did I Work On For Great Plains Drifter?

As the sole designer on Great Plains Drifter, I was responsible for everything from creating the functionality of the gameplay, to the level design, to creating and sourcing the art assets used for the project.

My original goal for the project was to create a short, but complete experience that mirrored some of the gameplay and pacing from older fps games such as Blood and Doom. My wants and needs for the project developed as it went on due to time contraints and also user feedback. In the end it became a more linear game that was similar to Call of Juarez and other fps games of the mid-to-late 2000s, while still trying to stay somewhat true to the original design intentions.

I created and designed many of the systems of the game including the AI, Weapons, and Encounters. I worked to try to pace the players through the game and designed the levels with faced-paced gameplay in mind while giving them the freedom to make choices on how they approach each encounter despite the game being linear and non-procedural.

What Did I Learn From Great Plains Drifter?

  1. ORGANIZE AND SCHEDULE – The months that I worked on this assignment were extremely busy for me having to maintain a team project as well as multiple other projects that were due near each of the projects milestones. Because of this I had to be alot more precise with my scheduling of work for the project and prioritizing features. This project taught me, more than any other project up to this point, the importance of prioritizing my work and planning out my projects from the start, which helped on more than one of my future projects as am sure it will continue doing.
  2. IMMERSION AND THEMING – No matter what, when playtesters played Great Plains Drifter I always received comments on the setting and theme. I put a lot of time and effort into trying to make players feel like they were in the wild west, from choosing the right assets, to the sounds, to organization of the level it was all meant to create the wild west setting and feeling. This project helped me further understand how much each element of a game effects the overall experience. And how much one gust of dusty wind and a few dead trees make a space feel alive (despite them being dead).
  3. DON’T GET CAUGHT UP IN THE IDEA – My original concept for Great Plains Drifter was to create a game that played a lot like games like Blood, Dusk, and Duke Nukem. However without a large amount of time to iterate on the weaponry, a limited runtime, and a dedicated AI person it was very hard to create that style of gameplay which relies, so heavily on a wide variety of enemies and weaponry. To this end I ended up needing to find a way to refactor my design and the gameplay of the gameplay to something that was much more feasible in the time I had, while not being so drastic that it would end up requiring more work in the long run. To this end I looked quite a bit at games like Call of Juarez, which did something very similar to what I wanted, while still staying relatively linear with limited weaponry. It helped me expand my ability to talk what exists and make it into something new and good.

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