A venture into space
Little Cosmos is a single-player, 3D-platformer where you explore different planets, each with their own unique environments and challenges. It was made over the course of 7 weeks, using Unreal Engine 5, by a team of 9 people. It was my third game project at Futuregames, and I acted as a level designer as well as sound designer. It was an incredibly helpful experience, challenging me in both level and sound design, introducing me to UE5 as well as Wwise which I used to implement sound into the game.
One of the biggest challenges designing Little Cosmos was to make the planet hopping feel intuitive. Having the player jump from a floating platform to a small moon orbiting a larger planet, just to find a collectible, and then being able to find a way back to the planet was a joy to come up with. A lot of it came down to making the player feel like they could approach the planets from any direction but in fact they would end up coming from the direction I meant them to.
One thing we weren't considering when deciding on the concept for the game was how tricky designing the level would be since it meant we would have to work upside-down and sideways a lot of the time. Eventually most of us managed to get fairly skilled at navigating it towards the end of the 7-week development...
I realised while working on the level how valuable the classic, tried and tested concepts are, such as a jump pad precision-section. It's something the player is most likely familiar with and is a welcome breath of fresh air amongst concepts that might be less familiar. In a game like Little Cosmos it was also important for me to come up with ways to get the player up in the air, to help them see objectives in the distance, since the small planets they were traversing might make it harder to see what was right around the corner.
In an exploratory game such as Little Cosmos, little easter eggs and non-essential collectibles are, in fact, essential. Take this little meteorman for example, what would the game be without them? Anything resembling a landmark is also very helpful for the player to be able to navigate through the environment on these tricky planets.
How cool is Wwise? About this cool...
This being my first venture into Wwise, I was thrilled to learn all the things you can do with it. Aside from the overall look of the interface being a bit intimidating at first, it quickly became second nature. Using states and RTPCs was an absolute blast.
As the game is set in space, which of course doesn't have any sound, and the look of it being very stylised, it gave me a lot of freedom in terms of audio. I decided to go a Nintendo-esque route and have a lot of the sound effects be very tonal, as in having a clear pitch. I made sure they all complimented the soundtrack, as in they all operated in the same scale as the soundtrack, and it ended up really helping to create a universe in which the game takes place. Here are some examples: