About the game
Fuzz Village is an original game idea that both myself and another game designer brought to life.
You play as a small fuzzy monster, raised in simple village life. One day your village is destroyed by vicious vines, and it is up to you to start a new village home to unite the local wildlife against the threat of a deadly invasive species!
Meet different creatures, explore strange worlds, and create a village that is entirely your own.
♥ This game is currently in development, and everything shown on this page is a work in progress ♥
We had been talking about making a "farming" game for months. It was always my favorite genre. While I have never tried Farmville, I grew up pouring hundreds of hours into Harvest Moon and Rune Factory, both of which were really the only games in the genre while I was a kid. Today we have Stardew Valley, and I was never more excited about a pixel art game. Farming and lifestyle games are why I wanted to get into video games: they are building off the idea of a utopia. A space where humans are trying to make life "perfect". Life tells us this isn't possible, and while that is up to perspective to decide, video games allow us the space to experiment with worlds like this. Worlds where time is endless, mistakes are always forgiven, and enthusiasm never runs out.
Take this passion for farming life simulators, and my other love for bizarre monster-making, and thus... Fuzz Village!
Student Project to Personal Passion
Rudro and I took this idea to our Game Design 2 class at Cogswell College in the Fall of 2018, looking to find other teammates to help build this world. We were joined by three other students (Gwen Bachour, Sebastien Lengre, and Scott Thompson), who helped come up with the structure and design flow of the game. With some help from them (and a lot of help from Trello), over the course of one semester we built the entire first level of Fuzz Village.
In Spring of 2019, Rudro and I chose to complete Fuzz Village in its entirety for our Level Design 2 class. We were joined again by Sebastien, and in the months so far we have redone that original level and reprogrammed a majority of the game's content to better fit new design and gameplay.
The goal is to finish Fuzz Village by May 2019, or as much fun polish as possible for our team of three full-time students.
Concept Art & Visual Development
The player's design started with this doodle. I love walking the line between cute and creepy, and this rat-like dude was just the thing. At the time I had imagined behind the mask would be a swirling vortex of teeth, like a face-mulcher. To cover this gnarly image, all the Fuzzes wear handcrafted masks.
A lot of this game's flora and fauna came out of my sketchbook. I am always drawing bizarre creatures and plants, and they were the perfect pieces to fill the game world with.
Part of our goals in 2018 was to have an intro movie show the player the backstory of the game a bit, and in a minimal workload way, let anyone playing the game know what they are getting into. Our test level was of the core mechanics, and we wanted play testers to get to those core mechanics but still be properly aware of the why.
For this video, I drew a few quick paintings to go along with the storytelling.
These fuzz beings lead happy lives. The valley is free of predatory creatures, and they feel much joy from tending to the small plants they nurture.
The player is one of the many pleasant folk in their hometown; raised to care for living things and congregate peacefully.
In the middle of one sunny afternoon, the earth grumbled and moaned like an old capsizing ship--grotesque vines slithered out and engulfed the village.
I didn't originally tend to do much programming on Fuzz Village, but it ended up being a lot of fun.
It was my 3rd Unreal Engine project, and by this point I felt very comfortable using Unreal and my past programming knowledge to navigate around everything. Due to a shortage of engineers, Rudro and I (who are usually only visual artists) have programmed the vast majority of the game.
Using our past experiences and the infinite wisdom of the internet, we dove into making a 3rd person 3D platformer with simulation elements. Which has been a huge undertaking, but we've learned massive amounts!
Below are a few of the blueprints that I have worked on so far:
In Fuzz Village, the main point is... the village. The player is able to start a village from nothing by crafting huts, gardens, and decorations to construct their idyllic home. Our first big hurdle in creating this gameplay experience was to save all the objects that the player would be building.
I had dealt with save files and systems while learning C#, so I took on making a save system for our game. Unreal has the very basics already there for us--the actual saving of data to a file is a simple step. Reading each necessary element and writing it properly, as well as reading it properly back again... that part is more complex. Primarily, I created a function that accepts all data types to be saved and sets them in the separate PlayerSaveGame class. This way, only the objects I have chose shall be saved (such as player huts) and any data I want connected to those huts.
Most recently, I have been implementing the use of data structures to save content like the villagers themselves, so as to contain their fur color, name, and conversation ID all together at once.
This game was my first experience programming AI, and using behavior trees seemed to be the best option. Above is the behavior tree for unrecruited wild monsters.
To start they wander the map freely, but if they see the player, they will stop to stare at them. If the player starts a quest for them, then that NPC will remain in place until the quest is completed.
Once the quest is completed, this recruits the wild monster to join the village, and the NPC will then either follow the player back to the village or walk back on their own if they lose sight of the player.
A core part of Fuzz Village is of course the village. Making this feel more real and ever-changing is a challenge on such a small scale, but a solid start for us were the village stats.
The village has a food supply, and the player must gather or grow food to keep the stores up, and thus keep the village happy. To reflect both that happiness level, and the state of specific villagers (for perhaps having an active quest), I added a mood icon to the villagers when they are approached.
With a high village happiness, the villagers are happy! Mediocre happiness gives a :| neutral face. Low happiness gives a sad face, of course!