Alghrab

Alghrab is a one-of-a-kind alt.ctrl game, where you try to beat an arrogant animatronic crow at its own card game to earn a prophecy! Created with an entirely custom display table that doubles as storage, custom deck of playing cards, and over 200 voice lines, this animatronic crow comes alive to taunt, jeer, and poke fun at the player as they try to push through Alghrab’s web of tricks. With over 1700 combinations of fortunes, what will Alghrab see in your future?

Alghrab was created as an entirely solo project over the course of 8 months, with a voice actor hired later on in the development process to voice the crow.

I was inspired by the phrase “haunt an object”, where you take an ordinary object and breathe life into it as though a ghost was inhabiting the selected object. Alghrab started as a cheap halloween prop, that I stripped apart and augmented with brand new features and custom components.

The first version of Alghrab was a simple interactive fortune telling machince, since I knew that crows naturally played into mysticism and omens. However, I am extremely skeptical about any type of fortune telling or mysticism, so my solution was to create fortunes, but were fundamentally based off of facts about crows. This gave the fortunes a unique flavoring that can only be felt with this game, and inspired a lot of the bird’s personality and behavior.

From there, I took another look at the design, and constructed a simple card game based around detecting the crow’s lies, inspired by word games like Green Glass Door, while maintaining the fortunes and personality for the crow that had been developed.

Money Making Machine

Money Making Machine is a satirical card game where you manage the University of your dreams, rob your students of all their wealth, and steal your professors’ research for your own! Money Making Machine only requires a standard deck of cards to cheat your way to the #1 spot in the Princeton Review!

Print & Play Available Here!

Additionally, an digitally editable version of the University Sheet is available here!


If you don’t have a physical deck of cards or people to play with in person, you can also play this game using PlayingCards.io, or TableTopSimulator!

To play on PlayingCards.io, download this room template, then you should be able to play online!

The Trinketeer – 5e Homebrew Class

The Trinketeer is a custom homebrew class for Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition, allowing the player to create custom modular trinkets for a large variety of effects. Currently there is only one subclass – the Specialty of Traps – but is formatted for the possibility of expansion. Although the Trinketeer is not a spellcasting class, many of the trinkets can feel like spells or function similarly.

The Specialty of Traps is designed for more cunning individuals who want to add an extra level of strategy and planning to their D&D combats. With the possibility for the player to make custom bear traps, timer traps, wire traps, proximity mines, and small dimensional portals, a clever trap maker will always have a tool at their arsenal.

Although the class is similar in nature to the official artificer, this class is unique enough to warrent it’s own classification, similar to the difference between a wizard and a sorcerer.

The module was created using Homebrewery, and sources for images are in the document, with additional watercolor effect made by myself.

If you would like to download this class and play with it for yourself, click here to view a pdf!

Trapped!

You all have been living together for at least several weeks. Recently, people started picketing outside your house. More keep coming. They’re all angry. A Mob is forming. Words on the wind. “Kill them.” “Burn the whole thing down.” Survive against The Mob.

Trapped is a one-page tabletop RPG where your primary goal is to survive the ever growing mob. Trapped is an incredibly flexible system that fits into any level of fantasy or time period that uses a unique mechanic to decide the outcome of uncertain events. Instead of rolling dice, you draw cards from a standard deck of playing cards.

Click here to see the RPG for yourself!

This one-page tabletop RPG was designed for a tabletop RPG class, where we had to design an RPG based on a Grimm’s fairy tale. I selected The Owl, which tells a tale of an owl who rested in a barn, but was mistaken for a monster by the farmers. Many try to rid the barn of the foul beast, but none are brave enough to do so. Ultimately the angry mob decides to burn the barn down with the animal inside.

Trapped! plays out from the owl’s perspective, where the angry mob gets ever closer and closer to killing everyone inside. In order to capture the feeling of an uncontrollable angry mob, I created the deck system instead of rolling dice, in order to phisically represent how much time the players have left. The additional element of randomness also adds to the feeling of the angry mob, as they become further enraged for no apparent reason.

I’m particularly proud of the relationship mechanic I created for character creation, where each player determines their relationship with the player on the right. This leads to emergent gameplay, and informs the player how they should be interacting with other person, which is useful when a game shouldn’t last more than an hour or two.

Fool’s Errand

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Fool’s Errand is a card-based dungeon crawler with deckbuilding elements! Explore through multiple dungeons fighting off manical jesters as you continue on a fool’s errand.

This game was created over the course of 4 weeks in April 2020 with a team of 3 people.

For this project, I was both the lead designer of the project, and programmed any aspect of the game that involved the cards.

This prototype was created as an expirement in communication without using any form of text – numbers or letters. I was inspired by traditional playing cards and their design, and made a dungeon crawler with the intention of eventually building in more deck building elements. Additionally, we experimented with discretization, making the game real time rather than turn based as is genre convention for card based games.

This real-time factor made the game interesting and unique, but made the already difficult to understand game even more confusing, where players were getting frustrated.

This project was voted on by a class of 30 to continue development, where we gained another teammate. Over the next three weeks, we focused on refining the core of the game before expanding into new territory, emphasizing usability.

Now the game is at a state where the core gameloop is entertaining, and additional content can now be built out of this core system!

Click here if you would like to see a code sample, and Click here if you would like to play the game for yourself!

Magic: The Gathering Cube Articles

“A cube is a large collection of (often powerful) cards used for drafting and playing Limited. Drafting a cube is similar to drafting booster packs, but instead of drafting from three fifteen-card Magic booster packs, you draft from fifteen-card “packs” that you create from your cube.” – Melissa DeTora

I have maintained a cube of my own made up of only Commons and Uncommons for over four years now, and have come to a lot of thoughts about designing for an environment as unique as cube, which I have turned into articles!

In particular, The Ultimate Guide To Jumpstart Cubes was officially published on CubeCobra!


A Statistical Analysis to Help Balance a Cube

The Ultimate Guide To Jumpstart Cubes

HexiDecimal

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HexiDecimal is a fast paced action game, which is a new take on hacking, where you eliminate the floating packets of data while avoiding the firewalls looking to take you out! But be careful – you leave a trail of destruction in your wake and can’t move onto those hexes!

HexiDecimal was created as a prototype in March 2020 within a single week as a team of 2 people.

The project explored mixing discretization and continuous structures, both in the game’s movement and actions taken, where the actions and movement are all very discrete, while all enemy movement is completely continuous.

For this prototype, I came up with the original concept, as well as programmed the main player, camera movement, and all of the particle effects.

Click here for a code sample, and click here if you would like to play the game yourself!

Fouroh’s Tomb

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Fouroh’s Tomb is a tile-placement secret traitor game where you must construct the tomb for the Pharaoh before they die! Build enough good symbols to guide their spirit to the afterlife and not be trapped forever! However, one of you workers is a traitor and trying to sabotage the tomb! Find out who it is and prevent too much harm before it’s too late!

Fouroh’s Tomb was created for an introductory game design class in a team of 3. The game came from ideation to the final product in two weeks, and had 10 documented playtests. I was chiefly in charge of Ideation, Itteration, Playtesting, and Rules. Fouroh’s Tomb was designed with several constraints in mind. The game had to have: tile placement or building, involve a secret traitor, and have memory be an integral aspect of the game. This game achieved all of those constraints highly successfully.

All 40 square room tiles are double sided, half with bad, half with good. However, only the person placing the tiles knows what they constructed. Since the other players don’t know what is on the underside of each tile, the traitor then can lie about what they built in order to not be caught.

Furthermore, the rooms have a varying number of entrances, which leads to extremely interesting gameplay. This is because players can either quarenteen themselves or others in order to garentee safe tiles or guarentee bad ones.

Players also CANNOT replace tiles that they have placed themselves, which makes memory even more important, since you have to remember who placed what tiles as well as what they said they were.

Finally, players still are not without opportunity to figure out the traitor, using a special ability to look whether the tile they are on is either safe or bad, and then they can reveal that information to the other players verbally. This then allows the traitor to try and place the blame on another player.

Click here to read the rulebooklet.

The name came from balancing the game, where all numbers being four lead to a fun game.

TreeFall

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TreeFall is a dexterity based team game where you race another organization to grow your section of the Amazon Rainforest to the investor’s demands! Grow as fast as possible or take the time to Grow trees to withstand the elements, but your competitors will have ways to mess with your forest!

TreeFall was created as a solo project for an introductory game design class. The art, box, rules, materials, playtesting, documentation, and gameplay was all created within the span of three weeks. TreeFall went through 13 documented playtests. I created TreeFall with the goal of making the players feel stressed. I achieved this through a variety of factors, but primarily through the gameplay. Many games create a feeling of stress as the players get closer to the end of the game, so I knew I wanted to create a negative feedback loop to keep the players close together so one team doesn’t just pull ahead. In order to achieve this negative feedback loop, I first made the game a best-of-three so that a team that falls behind has a good chance to catch up. Furthermore, I created “Weather Cards”.

These “Weather Cards” allow one team to mess with the opponent’s forest to set them back a bit. These increase tension by themselves as they are hidden from the opponent with certain conditions that must be met. As such, not knowing when the opponent uses their Card increases the tension. Furthermore, the team that lost is given an additional Weather Card in the second round, making it more likely that they win the second round and bring it to a final game.

Additionally, the team-based competitiveness of the game also increases the tension, as actually manipulating the wooden blocks is awkward, and the players must use their non-dominant hand, leading to less stable trees.

TreeFall includes: 52 Stained wooden blocks, 2 Plots of land, 8 Weather Cards, 8 Ideal Forest Cards, and a Rule Booklet.

TreeFall would go on to become Tiny Trees.

Click here to read the rulebooklet.

Going Up

 

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Going Up is a single player puzzle platformer for the PC where you are a slime trying to escape a steampunk factory!

Gravity is all out of sorts in this factory though, so whenever you let go of a surface, you fall to what you concieve is “up”. However, there is no true up. Will you be able to escape the factory or will you get disoriented and never find your way out?

Click here to download the game to play it for yourself!

This game was selected to be developed as a final project in the University of Southern California’s Introduction to Game Development class.

I spearheaded a two-person team in the ideation and iteration of core mechanics and level design. The levels are designed to create interesting puzzles through a simple set of mechanics. As part of this level design, I also tested the levels to ensure functionality and that they were challanging the player.

I was responsible for over 80% of the programming within Unity, which you can see a code sample here. As part of the project, I designed the stages with usability tutorialization principles to make teaching learning the game’s mechanics fun and engaging while also being educational.

In addition, I created a press kit for this game, which you can see at goingupgame.github.io. The final level of the game has a large jump in difficulty, since it was intended to showcase the complexity possible with the game’s simple set of mechanics.