Lost Lander is a mobile game for Android that allows players to fly around a barren planet with just one finger. The goal is to collect the broken parts of your spaceship so you can customize your lander and escape the planet. I made this game because I noticed a shortage of mobile games that allowed me to fly around with "floaty" controls that would test my dexterity and precision. I also took a lot of inspiration from the old Lunar Lander game and my goal was to make a 3D flying experience that would give players a similar feeling of floating around.

 

My Role:

-Designed level layouts and the flow of the interface.

-Programmed game mechanics and lander controls.

-Modeled and textured lander parts to be modular for customization purposes.

-Managed player feedback and adjusted the game's design accordingly.

Software:

-Unity 3D

-3DS Max

-Photoshop

-Substance

Mechanics:

-Players collect ship parts by using a tractor beam to return them to the launch pad.

-Fuel Rings are placed throughout the levels to guide players to the objectives, replenish fuel, and add to their final score.

-Flight controls can feel weird at first but are easy to pick up on and rewarding to master.

Design Challenges:

-Designing the lander controls was the hardest part of this project. I was originally using the phone's accelerometer but I changed it to touch controls after a lot of negative player feedback. The challenge then became how to adjust the upward force, forward force, and general atmospheric resistance so that the player had enough control.

-Making a customization screen was another difficult task. First, I had to model everything so that every part combination could fit together without clipping through another model. I then had to program the actual process of giving players choices and saving their choices to be used in the levels.

-Placing the Fuel Rings was a fun but painstaking process. I had to test each level countless times to get the ring placement just right. Each ring had to feel like it was the next natural place a ring would be to progress the player towards one of their goals.

 

What I learned:

-While designing Lost Lander, I learned about a new, more efficient, and safer way of saving data. I also realized how important it is to completely scrap a control scheme if players don't like it. Half of this project became an exercise in adjusting player controls but I saw that it was time well spent when a 60+ year old was able to pick the game up and understand how to move around.