Game Design Document

Pizza Time started as an intern project for Pyrebug studios and my first step to building it was forming my Game Design Document. I had just finished playing "The messenger" and thought the time travel mechanic they used was a fun puzzle to build a game around. And since my favorite genre of game is the 3d Platformer/collectathon, I knew I wanted to go down that avenue. The meme “Pizza Time” came into my head and fit in perfectly with the theme I wanted to go with, so I ran with it. I wanted to have a distinct look and feel to the past and present while still making key features of the terrain the same so that the player feels like they are going back in time to visit a past version of the level. So I brain-dumped all the features and plot, examples are: making all the levels food-themed, making the main character a pizza man, make everything in the game have a cartoon/boarderlands style outline, and having upgrades such as a grappling hook, and spin attack. I would later continuously go back and make changes to the doc as I built the game. The GDD was finished on Apr 21, 2020 and production began.

Image of the game design document I made


Start of Production

I began working on the prototype and wanted to get the two types of 3d movement, the (present) 3d character, and the (past) ball of dough. I began making a combat room to run and test all the features I wanted to be implemented. Roni and golden pizza slices were added to be collected and used to help the player in the shop and unlock areas. I then got work on the time travel mechanic. I wanted it so the player would travel to the past and be in the same position in the world when they got there so I could do puzzles around that. The main suggestion/hurdle was having to come up with a way to save what items were collected vs not collected when switching between the past and future scenes. After days of theorizing and testing, I finally came up with the solution to my problem, saving all the collectibles under a game object, transferring that through scenes, and turning them off/on depending if they were in the past or present. I then started to model and animate the main character in Blender. I then wrote a shader script to give the game the cartoony outline I was looking for. Now that the base work was done, I was able to start working on the first themed level, broccoli forest. After drafting, and white boxing I made a working prototype of the broccoli forest. Some key features are: climbing up a tree and seeing the whole level, a working dialogue system that appears after doing the main timeline quest, and making a wave defense system where you fight enemies to protect a broccoli tree. Around this time I stopped production due to the internship finishing and resulting in being hired by Pyrebug studios on July 1st, 2020.

render of a bedroom that I textured

Senior Project

Starting Back Up

I needed to think of a game to make for my senior project and decided to pick pizza time back up. I showed off the current state to my fellow classmates who were impressed with what I had done so far and had some feedback for some implementations I could make. My first step was to use that feedback and polish it. It was over a year since I last touched the game and I had grown much as a developer so my main goal was to clean up the code and work on the game with a new set of lenses. My goal was to create 2 levels so I started by coming up with a theme for the first stage. I know a lot of people (me included) confuse the spelling of dessert vs desert, so I decided to lean on that joke and make a level based on that mixup. And called it Dessert Desert. I began by throwing a terrain over the prototype level I had created sculpting dunes and canyons based on the original level flow the prototype had. My thought process being brown sugar and sand look similar, so the "sand" will be brown sugar, a key ingredient in multiple deserts. So I modeled some chocolate and some smores to platform off of. The upgrade shop was originally just a cube you walked into so I also modeled a proper one loosely based on a pizza shop to go with the theme of the game. I wanted the past and present to be similar terrain but polar opposites so I went with ice cream and the idea was the ice cream melted and left behind the brown sugar dessert. I made the chocolate platforms into ice cream sandwiches because of their similarity in size and how they fitted the theme. We had our midterm critique on October 22, 2021, where I received helpful feedback from my peers and professors.

render of a bedroom that I textured


Fall Semester Final

A few of the big points the professors wanted me to change were the terrain looking like a wet napkin, the UI not matching the theme, the texturing looking off, and the background being barren. So I got to work. I changed the collection UI to appear when you collect items, and improved the upgrade shop, making it more inviting as well as making the UI look like a menu from a pizza shop. In order to upgrade the visuals I wanted to switch to Unity's Universal Render Pipeline due to that having a higher ceiling. This forced me to redo the textures because my outline shader not working anymore. I spent a lot of time creating ab improved one, and the time spent was definitely worth it. Using Unity's shader graph, I was also able to make an actual dune-looking texture with crystals of white sugar to add some extra flare. Switching to the Universal Render Pipeline helped make the ice cream scene pop like ice cream and not a white, diffused mashed potato look. I also gave the enemies a proper AI that I had created in a previous class using Unity's AI and navmesh systems. The last thing before the final critique was implementing the dialogue system to make a quest for the ball player to help a snowman find his hat. This snowballs into him building a bridge in the future which the player will now be able to cross a huge gap (which I planned all the way back in the prototype stage and now had a reason for its use). It led to it being more obvious that the player was actually going back in time and that these deeds helped the present. We received our final critique on December 10th, 2021.

render of a bedroom that I textured render of a bedroom that I textured
render of a pool that I textured render of another angle of same pool that I textured


BFA Showcase

After the final critique, I started working on the broccoli forest. This time I took the time to model actual broccoli trees and retextured the old forest due to the render pipeline change. I also improved the scene by adding roots and windy paths to roll around on. I wanted the gameplay focus to be different so I finally implemented my grapple hook and let the ball grapple to the top of trees. At this point, I began to better realize the "fun" aspects of the game so the momentum, platforming, and exploration is what I believe make this level better than the dessert desert. My game was to be played at a demo station on the University of Connecticut campus so I tested the current version of the game to see how it played. Because it played so much slower on their hardware, my goal for the next week was to optimize the code, polycount, and bake the lighting so it would play better and make for a better experience. On April 2, 2022, the day of the showcase, there were many people surrounding my game and it was cool to finally see all the hard work pay off. I looked at it as a larger playtest and wrote down some complaints as well as some parts I overlooked. Some things I wrote down were: players getting lost, controls feeling good to me but slippery to others, the ball texture didn't move with the ball, and the camera was too fast and glitchy. All that aside, my game had won an award during the event and I looked back on all my hard work, feeling like I finally proved myself as the gifted game designer I knew I was. I have since worked on these problems and released the game to The game is currently on the shelf with hopes to pick it back up sometime soon. February 2, 2023.

render of a bedroom that I textured render of a bedroom that I textured