make fun stuff / make stuff fun.
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Epitaph

CURRENT WIP

ROLE:
Visual Design, Animation, Game/UX Design

Epitaph is a competitive tactics game where death is the style and the strategy. You control a team of 3 characters trying to kill off your enemies, but every time a character dies, it comes back stronger. Highly tense and fast paced, Epitaph provides the action and creativity of a MOBA team fight mixed with the high-pressure decision-making of Speed Chess.

Epitaph

A competitive tactical game where death is the style and the strategy. You control a team of 3 characters trying to kill off your enemies, but every time a character dies, it comes back stronger. Highly tense and fast paced, Epitaph provides the action and creativity of a MOBA team fight mixed with the high-pressure decision-making of Speed Chess.

 

 

Epitaph was conceived as a design challenge. Tactics games are traditionally a slower, more pensive genre of game, while eSports thrive on constant, high action. To find common ground between these very different areas of game design, we first decided on the four principles that we believe create a great competitive game: pacing, drama, depth, and clarity. 

Could we translate the principles of a tactics game into a competitive eSport format?
 
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We want to give players and viewers a concise and intense competitive tactical experience. 
 
  • Tactical Depth: Epitaph challenges players to make tactical assessments on timing, sequencing, positioning, and ability effects, before performing combos to generate the most impact.
  • Dying makes you stronger: In Epitaph, when a character dies, they come back stronger. This presents players with a mechanic to unfold their strategies by changing the tactical landscape. 
  • Built for eSports: The depth and skill of Epitaph is crafted to allow players to compete and showcase their mastery. With an escalating dramatic arc, players and viewers are intimately aware of the tense and uncertain outcome of the game until the final blow.
  • Expressive play through Characters: Players can find affinity to different characters due the breadth of varied playstyles, strategic implications, and aesthetic or emotional quality offered. With 12 characters, players can expect a wealth of opportunities to experiment and master different team compositions.
 
 

Draft a Team of Three Reapers
Control a team of three Reapers, the many faces of death. Each Reaper has a unique set of abilities to deceive and destroy the opposition.

Position and Timing-based Combat
Epitaph’s combat makes you think about the positioning and timing of your attacks. You give your commands in real-time, and they resolve in a first-in, first-out queue. It’s a hectic mix of fighting game pacing with tactical strategy.

Combine Unique Abilities
Your Reapers are powerful on their own, but deadly when used together. Combo together abilities to unleash devastating damage and foil your opponent’s plans.

Fight to the Death… and Beyond
You’ll win the game by killing your opponent’s Reapers six times, but be careful: every time a Reaper dies, it comes back from the dead as a more powerful version of itself. As you get closer to winning the round, you’re also letting your opponents becomes stronger.

 
Utilizing death to escalate the tactical landscape and uniquely occupies a pace that lies between turn-based and real-time.
 
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My job included Art Direction, Character Design,  UI/UX and VFX. I also worked on the game system design with another 3 game designers

  • Structured Character design & animations, get rid of all unnecessary parts, emphasis their identity, also keep consistency.
  • Clean up the playable area, Figure out the essential UI elements, group and prioritize them by position and size, to make sure everything we show on screen is necessary and clear
  • Also try to Create Excitement through visual language, we slow down the VFX and use Camera behaviors as a guidance for players and spectators, let them know what is happening and where they should focus on, designing for the moments.
 
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Exhibitions
Brooklyn Brewery, NY
IndieCade East 2016, NY
EVO 2016, Las Vegas

Mentions
A.V. Club
KumaZoku Entertainment

Selects
IndieCade 2016, eSports Showcase, US
Tokyo Game Show 2016 Indie Game Selection, Japan
Boston FIG 2016 'Epic Scope and Gameplay' Selection, US
NYU Game Center Incubator 2016 Selection, US

Credits
Kailin Zhu (Visual Designer, Game Designer)
Wyatt Yeong (Programmer, Game Designer)
Jon Moormann (Game Designer)
Jingjin Liu (Game Designer)