GAME DESIGN PORTFOLIO.

A picture of Sam, brooding

Current Position: Game Designer at Aurorian Studios working on One Lonely Outpost

My name is Samuel Mcarthur-Mclean. I am a game designer from Glasgow working at Aurorian Studios on a game called One Loney Outpost. I was awarded a First Class Honours degree in Computer Games Design from Glasgow Caledonian University in 2020.

In 2019 I was able to attend an event called Resonate to show off one of my games, Cyber Sphere allowing the public to play it. This experience was valuable in helping me grow as a designer.

Another game I worked on called Novoslavia was downloaded by a youtuber who did a let’s play, with it currently having over 487,000 views. The response from viewers was very positive towards the game and even led to a few hundred downloads of the it.

My influences come from a wide variety of genres, from cyberpunk to Korean cinema to Scottish novels, all coming together to make something interesting.

From 2014 – 2017 I worked as a journalist where I wrote news, reviews and previews from events such as EGX. Going to events like these and meeting developers made me realise I wanted to make games and not just write about them.

Skills

  • GML
  • Unity
  • GameMaker Studio 2
  • C#
  • MonoGame
  • Unreal Engine
  • Photoshop
  • GIMP
  • Aseprite
  • Creative Writing

Cyber Sphere

This is a game I that I worked as a designer on. Our Client, a company called We Throw Switches wanted an arcade game with a unique control scheme. I came up with the idea of a four-player game where the players would play using trackballs. This worked out well and the university even pushed the game at their showcase events, which led to us being given the chance to demo it as Scotland’s biggest gaming event, Resonate.

Link to games Itch.io page

Building Efficiency Together

I did everything from the design, art and programming for this project. This was created as a game to show how buildings can be used more efficiently to save energy. It was a tower management game that allows for upgrades to a building showing its stats before and after highlighting what needs improved and the money saved by making energy efficient. I tried to give it a vibrant look to draw people into the game.

Profile of a heed with a swirl

Approaches to Design

When designing games and mechanics I like to have the player learn subconsciously rather than being told through text what to do. The ability for games to teach complex systems to players in an intuitive way is something that interests me. For example, when it came to designing these elements in Cyber Sphere, symbols and colours were used rather than text to explain what the players were meant to do.

Showing Cyber Sphere at Resonate

The chance the show a game I had worked on at a convention was valuable experience for me. It felt I had come full circle from covering them as a journalist to now showing off a game there. The reception from people was great to see with groups of friends laughing and smiling as they played against each other. It gave me good experience in demoing and interacting with players.

Other Projects

Screenshot of Cyber Security game

Cyber Security.

As one of the things that interests me about design is teaching players information through mechanics. This game aims to teach people about cyber security. Games normally teach the players their systems whereas this game looks at teaching real life information. The game takes place in a virtual desktop that offers different challenges and puzzles talking the player through a story of cyber security.

Screenshot of River Kings game

River Kings.

This was project I started to try and experiment with different genres. It’s a 2D pixel art game about fishing that isn’t really about fishing. It starts off pretty simple but then progresses into over the top things like catching fish with a rhythm game and turning into a side scrolling shoot’em up.

Screenshot of Novoslavia game

Novoslavia.

A game that looks at the consequences from the choices of someone working in the government of an ex-communist country. After years of unrest and revolts against its sovereign the Communist Union, a fragile peace has finally graced the country.

This game also featured in a let’s play that currently has 487,000 views.

Screenshot of Follow Me to the Dark game

FOLLOW ME TO THE DARK.

Follow Me to the Dark game is a text-based spy thriller set in 1977 during the cold war. The player takes control of Phillip Coleman a disgraced spy who after being fired from his job at British Intelligence goes undercover to find the mole leaking information to the Russians.

Screenshot of Super Scrap Bot game

Super Scrap Bot.

This was a top-down game where the player takes control of a weak robot looking to collect scrap. They must make the other robots fights each other as you are not strong enough to take them on alone.

Screenshot of Mutiny Aboard the Exodus game

Mutiny Aboard the Exodus.

A story driven game set on a corporate ship full of colonists heading for a distant planet. On board, the First Mate looks to his crew to help him save the ship from the irrational and cruel Captain. The player recruits crew members through conversations and gaining info about each member.

Link to games Itch.io page

Level Design

The 3D city was inspired by modern day cities Asia. It was meant to be somewhere off the beaten path, down an alley somewhere. Wires that criss-cross from building to building give it a lived in, worn out feel. A hidden garden on the roof offers a place of relaxation from the street below. It was to be somewhere that the player could just explore and discover little details; a peaceful, solitary experience.

3D rendering exhibiting level design
3D rendering exhibiting level design
3D rendering exhibiting level design
3D rendering exhibiting level design
3D rendering exhibiting level design
3D rendering exhibiting level design