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GOOD BOY

Lead programmer, 2D/3D generalist
Unity
2.5D/3D
GENRE
Narrative adventure
FEATURES
Indirect character control
Scripted, linear story
Grounded, atmospheric environments
TEAM

Project lead: Yoel Simhovich

Lead animator: Yagel Chernia

Lead artist: Anita Kreppel

STATUS
Submitted in 2020

The game follows Loup, a loyal dog who finds himself alone in a derelict, post-disaster city. The main mechanic of Good Boy challenges the common conception of a player-character relationship — the player attempts to control Loup indirectly through his collar, making them codependent, rather than the player roleplaying through an avatar.

 

These themes of dependence and control are explored through an everchanging relationship between player and character, resulting in two journeys that unfold in parallel. As Loup lets go of the comforts of domestication, embracing the wild and his own independence, so does the player evolve from his role as a guardian angel, protecting Loup from new dangers escalated by his own innocence, to a hinderance and a vestige of Loup's past. Eventually, the player must learn to let go of the collar, in order for Loup to truly leave the world of humans behind.

Good Boy was conceptualized by the three other team members as an animation thesis project at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Israel. I joined the team in the early stages of production, taking on most of the game's programming and tool development, as well as shading, VFX, tech art, game design, some 2D and 3D asset creation, and a bit of animation. Among my larger technical contributions are the character controller, a custom root motion system, a custom animation state machine event system, and the majority of player-world interactions.

Loup insists on waiting for his family, resisting the player’s pull in the first moments of their interaction.

Intensifying rain leads Loup into one of his encounters with the non-friendly human presence occupying the city.

Loup struggles to leave his home, briefly managing to defy the player’s will.

Still a loyal pet, trusting of people and mistrusting of the player, Loup is pulled towards safety against his instincts.

An ominous murder of crows disperses when Loup approaches. The crows are implemented as a particle system, allowing them to be scattered easily across the city as a narrative tool.

Loup discovers the scope of the city, and of the disaster engulfing it.

Recent events unfold as memories, triggered by various smells in the world. The 2D animation is overlaid on the screen, for which a custom Unity tool was built, capable of recording a camera's position with its view of the world for the animator to use as a background, and of transitioning to it when reaching a memory sequence.

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