Élie Michel

This section of my résumé presents
a timeline of my video game
productions and exercises

< Back to Résumé
Shiver Monument Alley L'Allumeur de Réverbères Trouble-Neige Urban Exodus Mesdames Messieurs Le Quatre de Chiffre Research GooBlender PortalBGE High Speed Racer Charyol
Logo de Dark BASIC

Dark BASIC logo

Video game making has been at the heart of my interests and a great learning engine for a long time. It all started with an already old copy of Dark BASIC falling by some kind of chance into my hands when I was about thirteen. From this first contact grew a ramified curiosity about all technical and artistic fields of video game.

I present here my history of video game making backwards — recent work first — for more eye-catchiness, but you could consider reading it from the bottom up.

Itch.io: https://bloodyfoxie.itch.io/shiver

Shiver is an escape game in virtual reality exploring Magritte's art. It has been realized for the Digital Art Jam 2018 at Centre Pompidou. This was my first experiment with VR.

Details

Game Engine: Unity

Modelisation: Blender

Production time: 2 days

Team: 4 people (Léon Denise, Samuel Lepoil, Marie Vilain, Élie Michel)

Main role: 3d Artist, Developer

Play in browser: [HTML]

Monument Alley is a study of how the wonderful game Monument Valley works. The main curiosity of this game is that it plays on perspective paradoxes, and reproducing them in a 3D renderer is a fun challenge. Seamless transitions when the character moves through the illusion adds to the difficulty. Another property of the original game is that it is very polished, and I wanted to get a bit of polish in my remake as well, especially on the animations.

Details

Game Engine: Unity

Modelisation & Animation: Blender

Production time: Roughly 12h spread across 4 days

Team: Alone

Main role: Developer, 3d Artist

A note about remakes

I believe that remaking is the most instructing exercise for learning an art and its techniques. It allows one to focus exclusively on the how, without worrying too much on the why, while still letting room for some innovation.

Website: http://reverbere.exppad.com/

L'Allumeur de Réverbères is a mixed reality video-game where you help a child to light up their city by building actual platforms. The game controller is made of actual platforms on which a virtual character can walk. The shadow of the player also interacts with the game, turning the virtual lights off. It is acquired by a Kinect's depth sensor.

L'Allumeur de Réverbères as been selected for exhibition at Laval Virtual 2018 from April 4th to April 8th, 2018 in the category Virtual Fantasy Demo. It has been awarded and will hence be exhibited at IVRC 2018, Tokyo, Japan. It also got the special mention for interactivity.

Details

Hardware: Kinect, Video-Projector, Kaplas

Game Engine: Unity

Modelisation & Animation: Blender, Maya

Texturing: Photoshop

Production time: 5 days for the first exhibition, plus ongoing updates

Team: 5 people (Clément David, Félix David, Léo Macaigne, Solène Moulin-Trémont, Élie Michel)

Main role: Developer

Presentation page: [HTML]

Trouble-Neige is a 2d adventure game in which the main character interacts with its environment mostly through their emotions. When facing a situation, the character (named Trouble-Neige) can react with one emotion or another (anger, sadness, etc.), which results in a different perception of the world. Each emotion is associated with a given mechanism. When sad, Trouble-Neige can make the rain fall. Being angry prevents them from going to some areas, but allows them to break some walls.

Trouble-Neige grew up in an overprotecting world but their hyper-sensibility leads them to leave the village. Then starts a traveler's tale split into six chapters, all leading to the discovery of a new mood world. The organization of these chapters is not sequential and rather determined by the emotions that the player decides to react with in the previous levels. March 2018: Two scenes have been implemented for now, namely the tutorial scene and the village escape. The game is still in development.

TroubleNeige

Extract of the game design storyboard

Although it started as a short term project, I got interested in providing maximal freedom to the artist and level designer by extending the Unity editor. This really helped us parallelizing the work by providing quick previews to the artist, and reduced boilerplate when updating assets.

TroubleNeige

Custom editor extension developed for quicker level prototyping and preview

Details

Game Engine: Unity

Modelisation & Animation: Blender, Maya

Drawing: Photoshop

Production time: 10 days

Team: 2 people (Suzanne Gomont, Élie Michel)

Main role: Developer

Play in browser on itch.io: https://eliemichel.itch.io/urban-exodus

Urban Exodus is a mini-game where one solves puzzles to make city tiles turn into nature tiles. It was developed during a game-jam-like exam at ATI, and so in only 12 hours. Assets have been built with the help of Polyworld, another of our projects at ATI.

Details

Game Engine: Unity

Modelisation: Blender, Polyworld

Production time: 12 hours

Team: 2 people (Suzanne Gomont, Élie Michel)

Main role: Developer

Download: https://eliemichel.itch.io/mesdames-messieurs

Mesdames Messieurs is a game made during the Global Game Jam 2018 inspired from top lists of real messages from the SNCF or the SNCB, which can be very imaginative. The game splits in two parts, first driving, then apologizing, because ultimately you'll get into an accident, or face some kind of issue. The game will ensure that.

Details

Game Engine: Unity

Modelisation: Blender, Maya

Drawing: Photoshop, Illustrator

Production time: 2 days

Team: 5 people (Clément David, Félix David, Anthony Le Guen, Houssem Eddine Mtir, Élie Michel)

Main role: Developer

Le Quatre de Chiffre is a restaurant where you must defend your fridge against rats. It is a tower-defense game where one must put traps and reload them to catch rats while ensuring that the restaurant remains clean enough.

This game was developed during a small jam with colleagues from Télécom Paristech. Most people there were developers so I had the opportunity to jam only as a 3d artist, not touching a line of code.

Details

Game Engine: Unity

Modelisation: Blender

Texturing: GIMP, MaPZone (yes, I still hold a copy of this)

Production time: 2 days

Team: roughly 8 people

Main role: 3d Artist

From 2011 to 2017, my work has been more focused on research and theory, as well as more general purpose programming and exploration of other fields such as Machine Learning. Check out my résumé for more information.

Nevertheless, here is a rough presentation of some of these works which where related to Video Games, although more oriented towards engine development than game creation.


Distance field based 3d modeling GUI and ray marching (2017)

Project on GitHub: https://github.com/eliemichel/RayStep


WebGL GLTF loader (2017)

Play in browser: [HTML]


Multi-scale real-time rendering (2017)

M.Sc. Internship report: [PDF]


Procedural landscapes (2014)

Eurographics 2015 Paper: [PDF]

GooBlender

WIP thread on BlenderClan: [HTML]

GooBlender is a remake of World of Goo. The toon style attracted me, and it was the occasion to show that the Blender Game Engine handles 2D games very well.

GooBlender First prototype of GooBlender

First prototype of GooBlender

It started as a technical demonstration of the elastic constraint system available in the physic engine of the BGE, and its quick development allowed me to spend more time on the scenario, gameplay and graphical art.

Experimentation of live terrain destruction and fluids

Experimentation of live terrain destruction and fluids

I was looking for technical challenges. Graph algorithms like the path finding used to determine the victory, rudimentary hand-made fluid simulation to integrate water to the gameplay, live update of collision meshes to be able to destroy some parts of the terrain, like in the Worms, etc.

Intro scene GooBlender GooBlender Crédits de GooBlender

Walkthrough

Details

Game Engine: Blender Game Engine

Modelisation & Animation: Blender

Drawing: Inkscape, GIMP

Production time: 2 months, after school

Team: Alone

Main role: Developer, 2d Artist, Scenarist

PortalBGE

WIP thread on BlenderClan: [HTML]

This is a remake of Portal, though I wrote this game before trying the original. The dark humor and style of the trailer had immediately convinced me and rather than running to the next game store I decided to reproduce it. I started with the trailer itself:

The First Person Shooter base itself was already an interesting exercise, since the Blender Game Engine did not feature any template for this. Another interesting challenge was the pose of the cameras used to render the portal views. This helped me at the time to gently learn about the notion of matrices for 3D transforms.

Walkthrough

(Early version, video record courtesy of Cré@'Game)

Details

Game Engine: Blender Game Engine

Modelisation Blender

Texturing: Inkscape, GIMP, MaPZone (by Allegorithmic)

Production time: 2 months, after school

High Speed Racer

High Speed Racer (HSR) is a futuristic space ship racing game close to Wipeout, though I did not know the latter at the time. This is my first truly collaborative project, for which I've met people and worked with them for almost two years.

This game was my first online game. I had no notion of network and system programming at the time, and learned the hard way when to prefer UDP over TCP and so on.

This is also the first game for which I tried to care about promotion beyond just updating a WIP thread on a forum. We developed a project's website, that we tried to keep attractive by filling it with tutorials about problem we had solved about the Blender Game Engine during the production. Unfortunately, this project also taught me never to trust my web host and to back things up. We lost the whole website and tutorials (modulo The Wayback Machine [1] [2]).

Details

Game Engine: Blender Game Engine

Modelisation Blender

Texturing: GIMP

Production time: 2 years, after school

Team: 4 people

Main role: Developer, Network developer

This is the furthest I could get to find a finished game in my archives. Charyol is a headless turn-based strategy game for four players. Everybody must collaborate for their civilization to take off, but will start fighting once they're independent enough. This game was first created as a board game.

Details

Game Engine: Dark BASIC Classic

Production time: A couple of weeks, or maybe months, rate limited to half an hour a day in front of a keyboard

Team: Game Designed with my brothers

Main role: Developer

A*

Another of my first games, written in Dark BASIC, inspired by a tutorial for ZX81, reproduced lately in Processing for the purpose of this screenshot (2007)