Snowed Under

Technical Designer | Game Developer

Snowed Under is a short 3D adventure game where you have to struggle through the snow to get to your family in time before the outrageous snowstorm brings you back to where you’ve started.

Snowed Under takes place in a world covered in snow and ice where you can try to find a way to your family by using the world and the mechanics in your advantage. Our design goal has always been to tempt the player to cause the phenomenon called ‘intended emergent gameplay’.

Emergent Gameplay is a phenomenon that arises from a basal game structure by combining simple rules. This creates complexity and unpredicted patterns of a system. Simply put; results that the developer wouldn’t expect to happen by combining interaction between the player and the game. It is a common word used in the Game Industry, with popular games as “Zelda: Breath of the Wild”, “Minecraft” and “Just Cause” that made excellent use of Emergent Gameplay.

Intended Emergent Gameplay comes from gameplay that has been designed to cause Emergent Gameplay. This form of emergent gameplay is planned but always comes in unexpected forms. 

For this game I worked together with Tim Hendriksen. I worked as a Technical Designer supporting him in any technical questions he has and coming up with new ideas how to make our mechanics work better together to create emergent gameplay. It took us a lot of iterations on how to create a single level that is entertaining, but can be approached in different ways. After a while we had this big icy landscape where the player would have to overcome his only obstacle, a broken bridge, to get back to his family. However, despite the fact that people enjoyed playing around in this environment we still didn’t think that the results we got were good enough to claim that we’d created possibilities for emergent gameplay. So we kept working on new interactions between the mechanics, had to redesign the systems and started to polish this single environment to prove that games can create a lot of content even in small areas with a simple set of mechanics.