Unlikely Heroes

Roles: Programmer & Technical Artist

Responsible for programming, game design, environment, lighting, story cinematics and all visual effects (particles, shaders, weather fx, etc)

Gameplay video:

You may play the game here.

Unlikely Heroes is a third-person tower defense, resource management game with exploration elements. The player controls Marmo, a friendly monster who has to defend himself from evil humans invading his land. Through exploration, you discover and summon allies to defend against increasingly tougher waves of humans. By gathering resources, you can upgrade your allies and rally animals to help you.

I love tower defense games and was inspired by flash game Bloons, GemCraft and Gragyriss: Catpor of Princesses. However, I wanted resource management/idle-genre aspects incorporated as well. The game was programmed from scratch. While I had a few 3D projects before this, this was my first large scale 3D game project and I wanted to push its visual fidelity to the maximum level. I built a day night cycle to add a level of immersion and various shaders & particle effects to splice up the game's juiciness. A penguin island was even added to the game purely from random inspiration for a snowy themed island.

 

The game went through several design and visual changes throughout production before arriving at its final look and gameplay. Earlier versions of the game looked and played very differently:

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The first version even had a story, for which I drew a colour script during its preproduction.

I wanted to design 4 unique and distinct worlds that the player would travel through as they progressed in the game.

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To pitch the idea, I created a 2 minute cinematic story trailer that can be thought of as a vertical slice of the game.

If you see the above video, and then look at the final game, you would never believe that this was how it started!

Even though the game evolved and changed so much that it became an entirely new game ultimately, the game always had an exploration-based vibe. This is evidenced by one of the first gameplay environments created for the prototype, the main character's home, which was removed from the final game:

Including preproduction, the game took 1.5 years to design and make. The game was developed as a final year University project where I worked with two artists who created the character assets and UI/UX.