My name is Alexandros Delas. I live in Düsseldorf, Germany. I am a passionate gamer with first experiences in working for a professional video game developer and publisher. I have gained professional experience in designing Real-Time-Strategy game levels while working on the the award-winning AAA-title Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom. I have a strong background in fan/mod level design. I have created multiple WarCraft III and StarCraft II campaigns, with over 40 maps.
My goal is to reenter the games industry as an overall better designer and to achieve a leading position in game development, so I can inspire others to create awesome games.
Real-Time Strategy | Ubisoft Blue Byte | Work Time: 13 months | level design and art
The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom is an award-winning kingdom building strategy game. Players create a kingdom with fortified towns and small villages where settlers produce goods. The military, economic, and research systems allow players to play the way they want. Beyond the game campaign, customizable maps, downloadable expansions and player-generated content guarantee wide-ranging experiences.
Being my first professional job as a level designer, the most challenging aspect for me was to design levels around a game with no existing basis. Many design decisions (e.g. the size of the sectors) constantly needed to be re-evaluated because of the addition of new features. This made it necessary to remake levels regularly. My prior experience as a hobby level designer for WarCraft III helped me familiarize myself with the in-house tools quickly. I helped improve the usability of the editor by suggesting new features (e.g. controlling the rotation of objects or more hotkeys), but it sometimes got into the way by trying to make things feel and look like WarCraft III. While the job has shaped me to become a much better level designer and level artist, it has also shown me how the focus on a single type of game (in my case WarCraft III) can lead to misconceptions about what makes good design for a different game.
Strategy Board Game | Personal | Work Time: 2 weeks | scripting, board design
UnrealOthello is based on the classic strategy board game Othello (also known as Reversi). Two players take turns placing disks, and any disks of the opponent's color that are in a straight line and bounded by the disk just placed and another disk of the current player's color are turned over to the current player's color. The object of the game is to have the majority of disks turned to display your color when the last playable empty square is filled.
I challenged myself to learn node based visual scripting with Unreal Blueprints. The plan was to create a fully functional game within two weeks, mostly working on weekends. My knowledge of object-oriented helped me learn the basics of Blueprints quickly. I decided to create a game based on a classic board game, because the fundamental game design can be implemented relatively fast, allowing additional features to be added on top. For the base game I decided to implement 1vs1 play against an AI opponent. The AI opponent makes decisions randomly. I finished creating the basis within the set amount of time. Future released will include games against other human players, locally and via network, and an AI opponent that makes decisions based on the current state of the game.
Real-Time Strategy | Personal | Work Time: 4 months | story, level design and art
StarCraft II: Primal Ascension is a co-op map for the award-winning Real-Time-Strategy game StarCraft II. It won third place in a contest hosted by Blizzard Entertainment.
The was the first time I had to build StarCraft II map with specific requirements within a given timeframe. I had no prior experience with the co-op game mode so I spent the first days playing all of the existing maps, analyzing their similarities and differences. I wanted to create a unique map that would be distinguishable from all of the existing maps by theme and by gameplay. I decided to go for a "giant monsters" theme. I tried out several tilesets that would support this, e.g. city and jungle environments. Ultimately I decided to go for the jungle environment, because the theme was missing in the existing map pool. The problem with having enemies that are single, giant bosses is that players can damage them from a safe distance with high cooldown abilities. This removes the tension of actually facing them in close combat. To counter this, I added multiple floating crystals to each boss, which have to be destroyed before a boss can take damage. The movement of these crystals would make long-range abilities far less effective. I also added some abilities to crystals to make each of them unique. Early playthroughs indicated that the map felt over-engineered. Players had to pay attention to many things at once, and the short playtime would not support a long learning-curve. I mitigated this by removing some optional objectives making the maps smaller for better overview.
Real-Time Strategy | Personal | Work Time: 5.5 years | level design and art
StarCraft II: Shadow of the Xel'Naga is a custom campaign for the award-winning Real-Time- Strategy game StarCraft II. Each map is unique and based on a different sub-genre of strategy games. Additionally the campaign offers co-operative gameplay. All maps can be played alone or with a friend. The story is based on the eponymous StarCraft novel, written by Gabriel Mesta.
This was my first project with the Starcraft II editor. The idea was to design each map based on a different genre. I used the first map of the project as a playfield to learn the basic use of the editor, but also to try out creative gameplay elements, like driving vehicles in a semi-open world environment. Due to unfocused approach the gameplay required continuous revision. As I gained more experience with the editor, later maps were more focused, while still establishing unique concepts, like stealth mechanics. Overall I had to tone down some of the unique gameplay elements, because I realized that players would not want to relearn game mechanics after each map. An additional challenge was the implementation of co-op gameplay as the main game mode. Not all player characters share the same abilities, so I designed them to complement each other and feel equally useful. Most of the time, I was working and playtesting alone, so I implemented an additional system that allowed me to control all characters at the same time. This worked so well, that I added it as an additional game mode.
Racing Game | University | Work Time: 4 months | project management, scripting
Kinect Tube Racer is a prototype racing game created with Unity and Xbox Kinect. The player uses his hands to move the vehicle left or right to avoid obstacles. Stereoscopic 3D glasses can be worn to produce an illusion of depth.
With a team of seven people, we decided that I would manage the project. I split the team into three groups, one for modelling, one for programming, and one for the less experienced developers. I would assist the less experienced developers in understanding Unity and help them implement scripts used for 2D and 3D sound effects. We broke down the tasks into user stories and everybody chose what they wanted to work on. I set deadlines so we would know exactly how much time there was left in each stage of production. Later, as the individual parts of the game had to be merged, the teams were also merged. This allowed us work more quickly. Not only was the project finished in time, but we added more featured than planned, like a highscore list and a music track.
2D Plattformer | University | Work Time: 4 months | level design, scripting
Project Steampunk is a prototype for a 2D jump and run game created with Unity. The environment is designed similar to classic jump and run games, with various types of enemies, traps and power ups. The player controls a character that can use various attacks and abilities to fight enemies and traverse the terrain.
Our team consisted of four team members. Me and two others had no prior experience with Unity, so we spent the first weeks on studying the engine, while the experienced team member implemented the first basic movement system. I helped creating the game design document that explain all game features in detail. Based on this document I implemented the movement and shooting system for the enemy AI, I implemented all traps, teleporters, moving platforms and power-up items. I also implemented a time slow feature. Due to the lack of time and knowledge, some planned features, like ladders, ropes or moving traps, could not be implemented. For testing purposes I designed a test level which allowed the testing of features in a confined space. Before building the final level in Unity I painted all rooms with Adobe Photoshop, so we could get an idea of the pacing of the level design and where we would want to put the objects.
Point and Click Adventure | Personal | Work Time: 1.5 years | level design and art
WarCraft III: The Last Guardian is my third custom campaign for the award-winning Real-Time-Strategy game WarCraft III. The focus lies on puzzle solving and immersive storytelling. The story is based on the eponymous WarCraft novel, written by Jeff Grubb.
The WarCraft III editor does not offer native solutions to create classic point & click adventures. I created systems that allow a player to combine items with one another, talk to other characters, and a static camera. While the first playable version was received well by the community, I felt that it had many areas in need of improvement: The levels were too big, so the player had to walk very far in-between interactive elements; many puzzles were too complicated or too simple; the camera was often irritating in that it jumped too quickly from one scene to the other. I reduced the size of the levels, so each area had more interactive elements and players had to walk less. I removed the mundane "fetch quests" and simplified the most complicated quests. I also implemented multiple difficulty levels and remade the item system so players have to actively choose which items they want to combine. I modified the camera system to move towards a new location, giving the player time to get used to a new area. An added alternate camera mode also allows players to play from a top-down perspective.
Real-Time Strategy | Personal | Work Time: 1.5 years | level design and art
WarCraft III: Day of the Dragon is my second custom campaign for the award-winning Real-Time-Strategy game WarCraft III. It features a mix of RTS and RPG elements and a variety of choices the player can make. The story is based on the eponymous WarCraft novel, written by Richard A. Knaak.
Given my experience with the WarCraft III editor my second project was supposed to be bigger and better. I added more custom features like selectable hero classes, new hero abilities, new units, new tech-trees, larger levels and more optional quests that can be solved in multiple ways. Unfortunately, adding selectable hero classes forced me to homonegenize the hero abilities to some extend, limiting myself in my creative freedom. For example, all hero classes would have abilities to deal damage or self-sustain, but there would not be an ability that allowed a hero to teleport himself across the map. I mitigated this by creating normal units that were unique to single levels, e.g. ships that could carry units across bodies of water. Similarly, adding multiple optional quests to each level and allowing at least two approaches (good or evil) to each optional quest, forced me to limit each quest to one or two steps for its completion. The reason is that, each step is supposed to be a mirror image of a good or an evil approach, which lead to one of two possible game endings. Adding more steps would have overcomplicated the technical implementation of each step. Fewer steps allowed me to focus on making the steps and rewards for each approach feel unique. E.g. players could either rescue villagers to have them join his army, or rob them of their gold to hire mecenaries and buy items.
Real-Time Strategy | Personal | Work Time: 2.5 years | level design and art
WarCraft III: Lord of the Clans is my first custom campaign for the award-winning Real-Time-Strategy game WarCraft III. It features a mix of RTS and RPG elements and focuses heavily on the story of Thrall, the protagonist. The story is based on the eponymous WarCraft novel, written by Christie Golden.
This marks the first time I adapted a book into a playable project. The book does not depict as much combat as typical WarCraft III maps. The challenge was to be creative, by implementing varied combat and puzzles, tailored to a single controllable character, but still staying true to the story of the book. My approach was to examine the book for situations of confrontation or action, not necessarily physical combat. I used these situations to implement non-standard gameplay, like mini-games that would challenge a player's reaction. After finishing the first playable version I realized I had focused too much on the game objectives and not enough on the playable character. There were many different objectives, but the toolset stayed mostly the same throughout the game. In later version I added more abilities for the playable character, more controllable units, and I also changed the objectives and level design in a way they would support the new features.