BOO! is a 3D arcade-style "spook-em-up" where the player is a mischievous ghost whose goal is to scare children on Halloween and steal their candy. BOO! is my Junior year project (although it was only a semester project for me). I was the lead designer for the team and handled designing the core game loop and mechanics. For the first few weeks of the project, I ended up having to fill the void left by our artists as I was the only one who could do any semblance of 3D art (I wrote more about this below, in "The Design of Boo The Ghost"). It took a while for the scripting engine to be relatively usable anyways, so I ended up doing more scripting in the latter half of the semester.
I joined the team Spring of 2014, before it was BOO! Shortly thereafter, due to team issues, we had a major shift in team architecture and game direction. Instead of an adjunct designer to help with scripting, now I was in the lead designer position. And after a long brainstorming session, it was unanimously decided that a game about scaring children on Halloween to steal their candy would be brilliant. Hence, BOO! was born.
The Design of Boo The Ghost
Character design isn't a big part of my job. I make sure my product's going to ship on time, first and foremost. This usually puts me in the position of putting out a lot of other fires - coordinating team members, putting game logic together, playtesting to make sure whatever we just put together isn't horrible. On this team, however, the particular fire I needed to put out involved me doing 3D art for my team (after the major team shift, we lost all of our artists). While I'm not great at 3D art, what I could do sufficed, and it gave me the opportunity to do something I rarely get to do: character design.
BOO! was a tremendous amount of fun to design. What does a ghost that scares children to steal their candy look like? We took the original art direction of Russian stacking dolls. What does a ghost Matryoshka doll look like? I tried several designs with several different shapes - none of the traditional Matryoshka doll shapes worked. Finally, I settled on a sphere design. Almost like a Pokeball, the ghost could float around looking normal until...suddenly it popped open to reveal those terrifying teeth!