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-Work in Progress: Gameplay-


The Millennial Stone Team Picture Alex Shilts Tyler Morgan John Clark Aaron Hamilton Pranav Kumar SMU Guildhall
Project Summary
  • Successfully ship a quality game with the largest team we had all worked with prior

  • Put a new spin on an established multiplayer Capture-the-Flag formula

  • Create a balanced and fun multiplayer experience with interesting weapons

  • Create a unique Aesthetic that mixed charming and creepy elements in interesting ways, drawing heavily from the works of other celebrated creative minds

The weapons in Cult are practical harbingers of entertaining death that fit within the aesthetic theme of the world. From their initial conception, each gun was a charming union of cute, creepy, and deadly. For some reason, they all ended up involving either bugs or literature.

Our primary points of aesthetic inspiration were Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas and H.P. Lovecraft's Call of Cthulu. As such, Cult takes place in a small, brightly colored town during an annual festival where the rival cults attempt to summon their Gods for bragging rights and a glorious death. The town is disheveled, covered in small clutter to show that this small war started in the middle of everyone's daily activites. Everything in the environment has exaggerated and cartoony proportions, and we made heavy use of light and color to highlight weapon and ammo pickups. 

Since Cult is set in a comically small town with two rival dark religious sects, we placed the base Temples right next to each other, separated by a high wall. This made the level layout both interesting and humorous, as players had to run in a u-shape around the town trying to find and kill their neighbors. Originally, the separating wall had doors and windows but is now boarded up and covered in rude graffiti mocking the rival team's God.

Project Summary


Team Design Goals

Adorably Creepy Guns

A Unique and Engaging Aesthetic

Balanced and Thematic Level Design

Dead Pixel, from left to right (Click the names for their websites)

Marcelo Spiezzi Raimbault - Producer, Lead Level Designer

Hong-Yung "Henry" Dai - Lead Programmer

Colton Revia - Level Designer

Chris Medina - Lead Artist

Brian Perry - Level Designer, Writer

Alex Shilts - Team Lead, Level Designer

Taylor Pate - Artist, Voice Actress

Scroll down for the project details and what I did

This game was the end result of a Team Game Project course at the SMU Guildhall. Focused entirely on multiplayer, FPS gameplay, and weapon design, the course asked four teams os students to put their own spin on the Unreal Tournament (UT) formula. Although the project was rocky and had several major setbacks, the end product was a glorious union of UT, Tim Burton, and H.P. Lovecraft. 

Team Lead, Technical Designer
Multiplayer FPS ||  Unreal 4.7 || 7 Developers || 4 months


What went right

  • A cohesive team vision of the final game

  • Fun, hectic, and balanced gameplay

  • Cool weapon design

  • Good voice acting for the Eldritch God announcers

  • Fantastic aesthetics and personality

  • Awesome iconography for the cult sect logos, team flags, and graffiti

  • Sexy cloth physics

What went wrong

  • The original engine, Unreal Tournament 4, was pre-alpha and ended up being incapable of properly building an executable game. This caused a complete engine migration halfway through the project, costing us weeks of dev time

  • Did not adhere strictly to milestone asset locks due to the Great Engine Migration

  • Development schedule restrictions necessitated crunch and caused early burnout

  • Template Player Character Blueprints provided by the faculty were hard to modify, hindering our ability to customize the gameplay

What we learned

  • You should test the engine you will be working with profusely before starting full development

  • Crunch is useful, but too much of it, regardless of the reason, benefits no one and makes the final game suffer

  • Game features that replicate over a network for multiplayer take twice as long to develop and debug than normal 

Cult is a Multiplayer 3D First-Person Shooter (FPS) focused on the Capture-The-Flag game-mode for PC that pits players as two rival cults against each other in a small town dedicated to the worship of two Eldrich Gods. Players attempt to steal the rival Cult's flag both to interrupt their summoning ritual and progress their own. The Cultists are armed with quirky weapons, snazzy robes, and a strong desire to be gloriously eaten by their God FIRST.

Technical Designer

Team Lead

  • Created and animated all weapon-related HUD

  • Designed and built the Main Menu

  • Scripted and implemented all in-game guns

  • Polished and balanced the gun and Player behaviors to final quality

What did I do?

  • Led team design discussions

  • Held and maintained the overall vision of the game throughout the project

  • Co-created and maintained the Game Design documentation

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