Game Designer | Indie developer
MA in Game Design and Development at National Film and Television School
xuhe.games@gmail.com
My Games
 
What am I working on now?

Disconnected - Narrative Documentary Game

March 2019- Present

I did 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)

      

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

   

When we say autistic people have diffulties 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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Indie Projects

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

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

 

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 cozy box. It is in open beta now on ios App Store and Google Play. 

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. 

July 2016 - Sept. 2017

Cat Bounce - Physics Puzzles

Memory Detective - Brain Game 

Nov. 2015 - June 2016

I did all the game design and most of the art (worked with a programmer and an artist)

 

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.

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

NFTS  First-year Projects

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 

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

 

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.

 

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)    

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

Battle or Bed - personality-simulation strategy game

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

 

Battle or Bed 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!

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

I did all the game design, code, and most of the art. Development time: 1 month 

(worked with a screen writer, an artist, a composer and two sound designer)

 

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.

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 first-person adventure game

I did the level design, art and part of the code of the room showed in the video.

Development time: 2 months (worked with five of my coursemates, a sound designer and a composer)

 

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 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

I did all the game design, code, concept art and UIs. Development time: 1.5 months

(worked with a 3D artist, screen writer, a composer and a sound designer)

 

This game 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".

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)

Projects in other studios

Top Football Manager

May 2014 - Nov. 2015

Top Football Manager is an 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)

Achievements:

Game Jam Project

Jelly Boys - platformer

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 groups.

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

DRAWING

ART

PSYCHOLOGY

EMOTION

BIOLOGY

GAMES

EXPRESS

EXPLORE

CODING

INDIE

STORY

I learned biology for my bachelor degree.

I learned 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.

I published my first indie game.

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

Now I am in NFTS studying how to make better games.

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© 2018 by Xu He