Game Design is Serious


I have just finished the design of the first level of the zombie survival game.

You must ask what the hell that assignment is (and so do I)

But after putting my heart and soul (and holiday mf) now that it is finished, I feel like I could fly or jump in the field surrounded by butterflies and unicorns and stuff. #cuicui

No, seriously I have to explain what has happened because “c’est juste une immense blague” as I would say in French.

 In short: I took this game design class because it is been a while that I am interested in serious games as something that could heighten awareness among people about significant causes (such as environmental, feminist etc. 🙂 and I thought that serious games could bring something relevant to the party.

So I looked at the unit guide of the class to see if it could indeed teach me some fundamental concepts of game design such as challenge/risk/reward/flow and so on..

What an opportunity! This class seemed gather all I was hoping for: theory, practicals, projects and fun and everything. Except for one thing, indeed, in order to be allowed to attend this class, one must have done a prerequisite.  I looked at it and it seemed to be like an easy first year programming class. “Nah easy..” I thought, “I have done heaps of programming in the past” (at this point you might guess that life has punished me right after for my arrogance haha). Sooo, I asked for equivalence to the convenor who gives it to me without discussion (his bad) and that is how I started joyfully my game design class.

From the first week, I realize that the first-year-easy-class-requirement was in no way a programming class but it was “Introduction to video game”. Just my luck! In this class, students had to learn how to use Unity, which is a software that lots of game designers use to develop video games.

I should I have read the signs, but I haven’t. SOOO first obstacle: I had to catch up one semester of practicals in one week which was pretty stressful but at the same time quite fun because Unity is fairly well designed actually and the tasks were “cute” somehow. Like, I had to create small 2D game that reminds me doodle jump.

However, slowly but surely, I realized that the class that missed (Introduction to video game) had actually well prepared students to find and create the “fun” in a game which is what all it is about.

Nevermind” I thought “I can be funny sometimes


Soo after being exposed for 5 weeks of mountains of further knowledges about game and game design, the time has come for us to do the first assignment:

Your job is to design the introductory level for a zombie survival game set in the Australian outback.


The game starts with the player waking up in bed in the farmhouse where she lives. It is the middle of the night and zombies have invaded the house. The story requires the player to reach the shed outside the house where their truck is parked and drive off into the bush.

The game is a first person shooter. The main mechanics are moving and shooting.

The player moves at 4 m/s (metres per second) and can sprint at 8 m/s for 10s bursts with 30s cool-down time.

Zombies walk slowly at 2 m/s. If they see the player they will chase them.

The player starts at 100% health. They lose 10% per second while being attacked by a zombie. There are wall-mounted first-aid cabinets which heal 20% health when the player picks them up.

The player is initially unarmed. There are two weapons to introduce in the first level: a crowbar and a shotgun.

That was it. That was the moment I knew I was in trouble, especially when I read “First Person Shooter”; because I had a vague idea of what it was and because I had already known that in no way it way my area of interest.

Nonetheless, I persisted (obstination bonjour) and I decided to take on this assignment as much as as I can. Naturally, the beginning was horrible. After hours on unity, I couldn’t come up of an idea of a farm, of challenges, of fun. More important, I couldn’t understand where the fun was in all the violence of this kind of game. I was completely blocked so I asked my teacher how I could do, knowing that my fraudulent background of non-gamer. Among several good tips, he advises me to try to play a FPS game (that was also the advice that Papa gave me). So, on that note, I bought “Left 4 death” because, according to my classmates, “that’s the best mate”.

Holy Moly ! That game was horrible! I didn’t survive more than 11 minutes. XD. Physically in and emotionally, men, too much tension for me. Anyway, trying to play was a bad bad bad idea: not only I wasted 20 bucks for a game that I would never play again but I was still stagnating for my assignment and I couldn’t see how I could design a FPS game without playing it.

My tutor (cool guy) and my teacher (cool guy) rescued me and told me to think about the level as a story, and to think about the experience of the player before anything else.

remember that zombie movies are often about suspense. It doesn’t have to be constant fighting, room after room. Rather than adding more rooms, space things out. Make the player walk down a long dark empty corridor, uncertain of whether a zombie is going to appear from a door beside them. Or take them outside and make them walk through the trees in the moonlight. Think about your dramatic arc, it shouldn’t be all fighting all the time. 

These words unlocked the situation and I just did it. And when I say “I did it”, I did it well 😀

Nobody could stop me: I was experiencing “the flow” several time while doing it and feeling that while studying is just crazy! ( I am being weird, I know)

Overall I spent more than 50 hours (surely more but I stopped counting after that because it put me down haha) and all my holiday (just before the break I was like “yeaah, I might go to Tasmania or Urulu, you know.. we have so much time after all” HAHA). But despite that, and despite the fact that I still don’t like first person shooter game, I had fun doing it and I learnt heaps of things.

As I told my tutor: it is going to be the worse zombie level ever designed but at least I manage to explain why, I have done my best and I made pretty story boards. ♥

Happy ending!

(now I start to worry about the next assignment which is a group project where we have to create a multi-player game (like world of Warcraft but in 1000 times crappier of course) but one thing at the time, let me celebrate my victory of the day).

I hope you will enjoy some elements of my work (I didn’t put the screen shot of the “real” farm that I made in Unity, but I can tell that the final render was almost scary) (actually I scared myself while playtesting my own game) (And I almost cried when I reached the truck for the first time) (that is the thing: I designed a game too hard for me to achieve haha. My teacher says that that often happens in this industry but usually it is the other way around: like.. people design game too hard for the average person)

Let’s start with my kick ass map ! You can’t see on this scan but for the lights I put Glitter stickers. That was my personal touch. The corrector is going to be sooo blasé. xD


Map_Level - Copie

And here are the famous story boards: Fruits of My Labour.


Antechamber 1




Corridor 1


Dining Room


Interior Courtyard






Antechamber 2

Part one


Part two


Part three




Antechamber 3 13

Barn or the final battle14

The Shed (the end) :’)15

You can guess that the design of my player (especially when he or she is relieved) is inspired by “Leveinar” or Chansey in English or Lucky in Japenese. It has always my favourite pokemon. ♪♫ If you are nostalgic about the time where you used to deal card in the school yard or if you just want to know more about Leveinar follow this link.

Summary of action:


And I want to finish by thanking my beloved housemate who bought me a flying pig (and material to do hot chocolate) to cheer me up while I was dying at the beginning of the assignment. 😀 I am so blessed \0/


Hello youuu

Point Lonsdale & Lighthouse


C086357-R1-18-17AC086357-R1-12-11A C086357-R1-23-22A

I know it is not the same continent, probably not the same season, not the same light etc. but when I saw the lighthouse in Point Lonsdale, it remained me some paintings from Edward Hopper.

Edward Hopper is still my friend, baby.

Lighthouse at Two Lights, 1029


Lighthouse Hill 1927

Edward Hopper - Lighthouse Hill.jpg

About Symmetry


The deadline for posting expired a while ago, I knooow. But I had my master applications and stuff which were time-consuming… and most importantly, Uni has been killing me –again-. No seriously, even though I am super enthusiastic about what I learn, I still have to get use to this new system where you have to submit things all the time. Anyway, I said that I would stop to complain about Uni work because after all, I like what I do. =)

Before talking about the precise content of one of my lecture, I’d like to share some experiences of my learning process here.

In my maths class, the first assignment was a group project for which we had to do an oral presentation (Good heavens!) about symmetry. More precisely, we had to show how symmetry was important for our understanding of the world and in which ways it had influenced (and is still influencing) other domains than mathematics such as physics, music, biology, architecture or art…

I let you guess what my parts were… Symmetry in Architecture and Art!

Woohoo Surprise

As usual, I did not manage to K.I.S.S kiss kiss ♪♫ (Keep It Simple, Stupid). I started by look at the wikipedia page about symmetry then, 3 hours later, I was reading a book (massive brick of more than 1,000 pages) about the secret and the mystery of the Taj Mahal. Well, the Taj Mahal is related with symmetry somehow, it is one of the most famous example of bilateral symmetry in architecture (Bilateral or reflectional symmetry is when you can draw a line in middle of an object and when the two halves reflect each other, see the drawing). By the way, the drawing of this article is for one of my friend who made an exchange in India last year.

ANYWAY, I have learnt heaps of stuff about symmetry and I started to be quite big on it, but just thinking about me, speaking in English in front of native speakers frightened me. I wouldn’t know explain why, but for me, it really makes a difference for me whether I speak with natives or international/exchanges students, so that’s why I wasn’t super confident for this presentation.

Eventually, I don’t know how but we did very well! Just before, I felt like fainting and during the presentation, I could see that sometimes the audience couldn’t get everything that I was saying but, as one of my friends told me, in English as long as you really have the intention to be understood, people will understand you. I experience that fact all the time actually 🙂

Now, I’d would to talk about symmetry in itself. It is a massive subject and I won’t even try to cover all of it but I want to talk about some aspects that I found really interesting and made me think a lot. Warning, the next part is a bit indigestible. \0/

You know, usually, when you start a research paper, you often use lam catchphrase like “Nowadays, the technologies are everywhere” of “With the globalization blablabla”. As I begin to get how it works here, I started my essay by: “Observing nature or society, by studying biology or languages, or just by looking at his or her reflection in a mirror, allows one to understand that symmetry is present everywhere and in everything”. At first, it sounds boring but when you think deeply about it, it is striking how symmetry is really everywhere, either in physical object or abstract idea.

For example, in architecture, Symmetry is a concept major in all cultures throughout time and is used as a tool to provide a particular experience to the user and a way for the architect to express particular ideas.

What kind of idea you might want to ask? For example, the reflectional symmetry (the one you can see on the Taj Mahal) is the most common form of system found in architecture. BUT WHY?  reflectional symmetry appears to have been historically valued in architecture mainly for aesthetic reason; although a building has to be functional symmetry seems to create shapes that are considered to be harmonious and beautiful, at least to the human eye (Williams 1998). (why?)

Okay, that is maybe common sense, but another theory argues that humans design and create building as in their image. In other words, people are surrounded in nature by symmetrical elements and are themselves symmetrical, thereby influencing the way they design objects, buildings and even cities.

And it is true when you think about it: so many objects that we design are symmetrical like cars, lamps, phone, pretty much anything! That would explain why so many buildings display reflectional symmetry in all cultures and all time periods. Many other different type of symmetry can be observed in both ancient and recent architecture such as chiral symmetry, spiral symmetry, rotation symmetry etc. Each kind of these provides a particular effect to the building and has an impact on the final renderer. For example, the spiral symmetry that can be observed in the Guggenheim Museum in New York is used to symbolise the concept of continuity (William 1999). In short, symmetry provides tools for architects and artist to express their conception of the world but also to create unique experiences for people who admire them (okay, it is a bit too much).

Symmetry is really something that we take for granted but when you start to challenge your imagination and try to imaging the world without symmetry, it can be very very confusing (and interesting). To begin with yourself, it you weren’t symmetrical, what would you look like?

However symmetry as the only way of make thing beautiful is an idea that has been challenged in the 21st century but I won’t enter in the details (just look a picture at another Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, you will understand what I am talking about).

Okay, now I spent too much time on Architecture and I don’t feel brave enough to do the job for the Art. I will just say that mathematics and Art in particular can influence art. For my oral presentation, I focused my analyse on Escher (Dutch artist, born 1898 and died 1972) who was inspired by nature and in some cases architectural pieces that contained symmetry (la boucle est bouclée). He was very famous for his tessellations (a tessellation is when a shape is repeated over and over again covering a plane without any gaps or overlaps, and obviously, it contains symmetry). Since tessellations are unbounded objects, drawing them was his way to express his idea of infinity. Eventually, I think that Esher was interested in describing the reality through the mathematics with symmetry but also with other mathematical concepts. Voilà voilà.

When I did the research about art, I realised that symmetry plays a big role in my own drawings. Is it because I draw my inspiration from nature which has symmetrical elements as I said? Or is it because I observe society which is based on symmetrical systems? Or is it because I have been learning that symmetry is what gives harmony and beauty to the world though my education?

Is it really the case or is it another social construction?

I don’t know but I let you reflect upon it.


Elsa Symmetrical Lioness.

PS : I have just finished The Pillars of the Earth written by Ken Follet. It is a story about power and faith, about obstacles and betrayal, about victories and courage, about war and peace… It took me half the book (= more than 500 pages) to be on it but then, I have been obsessed with this it. Besides, all this matters of cathedral has inspired me. Here is the Cathedral of Chartres, another example of symmetry in architecture btw 🙂

 charteschartres (2)