Technical Game Designer at Netspeak Games
Indie developer (founder) at Grand Neuron Studios

MA in Game Design and Development at National Film and Television School
 
 
Released Indie Titles

Disconnected - Narrative Documentary Game

March 2019- Dec 2019

Disconnected is my graduate project during my study at NFTS. It is a narrative documentary game (PC) that makes players experience the life of an autistic girl through metaphorical game mechanics and real-life interviews as voice-over.

  

I was responsible for all the game design, code and most of the art (worked with a composer and a sound designer, and two artists helped a little bit).

   

When we say autistic people have difficulties putting themselves in other people's shoes, have you ever put yourself into autistic people's shoes? Disconnected gives you the chance to do that.

 

We showcased the demo at EGX 2019 and received very positive feedback:

‘Disconnected’ Aims to Explore Life With Autism            EGX Discoveries: Disconnected Game

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I founded Grand Neuron Studios in November 2015, and created Memory Detective and Cat Bounce.  

  

Cat Bounce is a physics-based puzzle game. Players need to use their wisdom to position woollen and rubber balls to let them bounce the little cat to her cosy box. It is in open beta now on ios App Store and Google Play. 

  

I was responsible for all the game design, code and art (worked with a composer and a sound designer)

  

It was featured by Google Play Early Access, and selected by Indie Prize (Casual Connect Europe 2019) Finalist. The main part of the game was developed from June 2016 to September 2017. I'm still polishing it based on the early access feedback. 

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July 2016 - Sept. 2017

Cat Bounce - Physics Puzzles

 

Memory Detective - Brain Game 

Nov. 2015 - June 2016

Memory Detective is a brain training game to challenge and train your memory and attention. You will need to focus your attention to remember the fun stuffs for short periods of time in order to pass tests that come later in the game. This game is based on working memory tasks widely used by scientists.

  

I was responsible for all the game design and most of the art (worked with a programmer and an artist).

The mechanics of  this game were inspired both by my previous research and some research from other scientists in working memory. 

  • 100,000+ downloads on Google Play

  • Google Play download ranks (Hong Kong) - puzzle (games) - Top 70

  • Google Play download ranks (Taiwan) - puzzle (games) - Top 100

Studios Produced Titles
 

Sunshine Days  (Technical Designer)

June 2020 - present

Sunshine Days is a wholesome and relaxing cross-platform (mobile and PC) MMO game developed by Netspeak Games. Even though it's still in early stage of development, we have started beta live-op for a couple of months, and received very positive feedback from the players.

I have been working as a Technical Designer for Sunshine Days for more than a year. My work includes designing new features and implementing them using Unreal Blueprint. I always like to taking full responsibility on a new feature and collaborating with the team to not only build it up but also keep it to a high quality.

 

I also collaborate with our data analysist to look into our live-op data, figure out issues and how do we improve players' experience based on the finding from the data.

Top Football Manager (Lead Game Designer)

May 2014 - Nov. 2015

Top Football Manager is a multi-player online mobile football manager game. Players can create their teams, cultivate their players, bid on or scout for premier players, arrange tactics, and have real-time matches with others. 

I worked as lead game designer for this game for more than one year. I was responsible for the improvement and design of most of the functions (only except the match AI system), such as transfer market, training, and some social features.

  • Top 10 in Google Play’s Top Free Sports Games of 84 countries.

  • Featured on Google Play homepage (global)

  • Top 10 in App Store’s Top Free Sports Games of 140 countries (No.1 in 31 countries).

  • Featured on App Store category pages (global)

Experimental Projects

Achievements:

 

I started the Game Design and Development MA course at National Film and Television School in Jan. 2018, and created five game demos in the first year.

Focus - A Sticky Arcade Game

Play it in your browser! -->  xuhe.itch.io/focus 

Focus is a solo project created for the Code Camp module during my study at NFTS. The player controls the focus dot to collect four green target dots and keep away from the pink distraction dots. The distraction dot can keep the focuc dot stuck by its glue and consume its health.

  

I was responsible for all the game design, code, art and sound design. Development time: 1 month.

 

The idea of this game was inspired by the neural mechanism of working memory capacity. I designed the game mechanics to illustrate the limitation of our working memory and how we can make the full use of it.

 

"Xu has created an excellent, stand-out Code Camp project, which is undoubtedly one of the strongest seen so far on the course for the Code Camp module. "  "Its presentation, delivery and its understanding of the user has a professional flair to it."

-----  Alan Thorn (Unity Development & Design Tutor)

"Focus is one of the best games I’ve seen at the NFTS. It’s a charming game that not only plays well but is also brilliantly presented. "  "I like the stretchy glue effect when you get stuck to a distraction it looks and feels wonderful. "

                     ----- Ted Chaplin (Art Tutor)    

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Focus was also selected by Indie Prize (Casual Connect Europe 2019) Finalist!

Battle or Bed - Personality-simulation Strategy Game

Battle or Bed is a solo project created for the App Factory module during my study at NFTS. It is different from any kinds of strategy games you have played. You can’t drag your characters, you can’t change their specific behaviors, but you change their personalities which will then affect their behaviors. 

In the game, the player needs to let the villagers protect the village by attacking the enemies and stay happy. The player loses the game if enemies destroy the totem in the village or the happiness of the villagers go down to zero. Battle makes the villagers unhappy while sleep makes them happy!

 

I was responsible for all the game design, code, art and sound design. Development time: 1.5 months

Battle or Bed is a charming tower-defense game for mobile with a generally polished aesthetic and innovative game play twists, such as character customization at the level of psychology and personality traits.

-----  Alan Thorn (Unity Development & Design Tutor)

Although the characters are simple, their actions are varied and fun which helps tell them apart and builds a connection with the player. I want them to succeed.The UI emoticons are beautifully designed and the perfect choice for visually assigning character traits.

 ----- Ted Chaplin (Art Tutor)

Happy Land - VR Narrative Game About Sadness

Happy Land is a VR game created for the Synthespian module during my study at NFTS. The story happens in "Happy Land" where everybody must be happy, and a boy is detected by the system as being sad. The player acts as an officer who is given the task to “make” the boy happy. The player needs to make choices about what to say and what to do. The player's choices will lead the story to different endings.

 

What I want to deliver through this game is that evey emotion and memory have their meanings and are part of us as a human. There is no good or bad emotions.

  

I was responsible for all the game design, code, and most of the art (worked with a screen writer, an artist, a composer and two sound designer). Development time: 1 month. 

There are some dramatic and powerful choices to be made here, and there is a feeling, for me, that a social commentary is also being made.                                                       -----  Alan Thorn (Unity Development & Design Tutor)

I’m impressed that you have created your character and keyframed animations. Although these assets are simple, they are still effective.                                                                                                                     ----- Ted Chaplin (Art Tutor)

 

With Happy Land, Xu managed to create an interestingly uneven experience - in my books, this is a very positive comment - that demonstrates her sensibilities and deadpan sense of humour.

----- Manos Agianniotakis( Game Design Tutor)

Scrap 3D Adventure Game

Scrap is a team project created for the Hello World module during my study at NFTS. In Scrap, the player explores different rooms in a  space station and collects a power cell from each room to deactivate the AI who is in control of the space station.

I was responsible for the level design, art and part of the code of the room showed in the video (worked with five of my course mates, a sound designer and a composer). Development time: 2 months.

 

I made this game with five of my coursemates. Each of us created one room. My room, as showed in the video, is the signal center of the space station. I designed and  modeled this room, with an interesting puzzle implemented in it. I was also responsible for the sound design of this game (working with a sound designer).

"Although Xu’s room is the smallest space in the Space Station, I found it one of the most rewarding. The lighting is great. There is the right balance of tone to make all the form and details readable.

                               ----- Ted Chaplin (Art Tutor) 

             

"‘Scrap’ is unquestionably one of the strongest Hello World projects created on this course so far, both technically and artistically."     

-----  Alan Thorn (Unity Development & Design Tutor)

Full playthrough video of this game:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJbEgKEWDt0

A Fake Story About Monsters 
- A Puzzle Game Disguised as a Bullet-hell Game

A Fake Story About Monsters is a project created for the Moment of Consequence module during my study at NFTS. It is designed to break the borders of game genres and flip the traditional hero & monster stories on their heads. It starts with a side-scrolling bullet-hell game, but actually the player can solve the hidden puzzles to "change the game".

I was responsible for all the game design, code, concept art and UIs (worked with a 3D artist, screen writer, a composer and a sound designer). Development time: 1.5 months.

Xu challenges traditional assumptions about game genres and boundaries, allowing gamers to change game type... These elements all hang together well to build an experience that is intriguing and still drops enough in-game hints to motivate the player forwards to exploring more of the level and game.

-----  Alan Thorn (Unity Development & Design Tutor)

The character design is excellent. I like the balance of shapes within the hero character.

 ----- Ted Chaplin (Art Tutor)

Game Jam Projects

Jelly Boys - Platformer

Jelly Boys was developed for an in-house game jam during my time at the  Games course at NFTS. The theme of this game jam is "Dualism". In Jelly Boys, the player controls two characters at the same time. For example, if the player press right arrow key, the two characters all move forward. The goal is that one character needs to die while the other needs to live.

 

I'm one of the two Level Designers of this game.

It was voted as the best game among all four games.

My Publications:

1.  He X, Zhang W, Li C, Guo C (2015). Precision requirements do not affect the allocation of visual working memory capacity[J]. Brain research, 1602: 136-143. (SCI, Impact Factor 2.75)

2.  He X, Guo C (2013). Capacity and Resource Allocation of Visual Working Memory [J]. Advances in Psychological Science, 21: 1741-1748.

3.  Li C, He X, Wang Y, Hu Z, Guo C (2017). Visual Working Memory Capacity Can Be Increased by Training on Distractor Filtering Efficiency[J]. Frontiers in psychology, 8, 196. (SCI, Impact Factor 2.463)

4.  Li C, He X, Guo C (2015). The Storage Mechanism of Multi-feature Objects in Visual Working Memory[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 47(6): 734-745.

 
 

ABOUT ME

SCIENCE

PAINTING

ART

PSYCHOLOGY

BIOLOGY

EXPRESS

EXPLORE

DATA

GAMES

CODING

INDIE

STORY

I studied biology for my bachelor degree and psychology for my master degree.

 

I did some research on psychology and published them.

 

I worked as a game designer in several game companies.

 

I became an indie developer and published my first indie game.

 

I learned coding by myself, and developed my first Unity game.

 

I came to the UK, completed an MA in Game Design and Development, and am currently working as a tech designer on an MMO game.

 

Other than making games, I love painting with watercolors and drawing with pencils.

EMOTIONAL

CONTACT