LYRA SHILLABEER Level, World, Narrative and Graphic Designer


Hyakorsk is a third person action-adventure game following the last survivor of a frog village as he travels the ancient wreckages of a doomed civilisation on his quest to destroy the horrors they created and avenge his people.

The project, which I worked on during my second year at Falmouth University, was inspired by the Legend of Zelda series and smaller indie titles like Hob and Hyper Light Drifter, as well as preservation efforts like the Svalbard Seed Vault and long term nuclear waste warning proposals such as the Ray Cat Solution.

The game can be downloaded from our itch page here:

Summary of Contributions

I worked as a level designer, designing our game's main level, an unused tutorial level and adding a tutorial segment to the main level

I also created several game mechanic prototypes, including the original prototype for our pitch, and due to several programmers being unable to participate in the project, I polished and integrated them into our game.

Level Design

I designed the game's apartment dungeon, as well as the main exterior level alongside another designer in my team. I also designed a tutorial on my own, which we had to cut due to time constraints.

Because of this, I reworked the starting area of the game to function as a tutorial, providing gates which the player would be unable to pass through without understanding basic concepts like standing on buttons and controlling the companion with a laser pointer.

For more details on the tutorial, go to the tutorial explanation section

Original designs for the overworld segment and apartment dungeon

Finished versions of the overworld and dungeon

Original pitch

I was the team member who pitched the initial hyakorsk game concept to the team, coming up with the rough world design concept of a world abandoned by its previous inhabitants allowing a new species of frog people to emerge, who approach the ruins of the old world with curiosity and wonder. explain scientific incidents such as electronic doors, batteries and radiation poisoning as "Magic".

The original idea was a traditional zelda-like action adventure game where every single act of magic is actually because of science, however due to the primative understandings of the characters in this new world, they explain them away as magic. For instance, referring to radiation poisoning as an ancient curse or automatic doors as enchantments

For the pitch I also created a world map, although there aren't any landmarks except for geographical ones since I figured the landmarks should be placed based on the game's progression

Tutorial Explanation

When the player enters the level, they must drop into an enclosed pit. This action teaches them that the game has no fall damage.

Immediately afterwards, they are told that MMB is the summon companion button. Pressing this will cause the companion (Who will be referred to as the cat) to emerge.

The player then enters a room containing a button, 2 locked doors, and a receptacle. Approaching the button prompts the player to control cat with RMB. Approaching the receptacle will tell the player that the companion can place crystals inside of it. Either of these prompts will convince the player to summon the cat if they haven't already done so.

Standing on the button will open the first locked door, which contains a crystal, but only while the player is standing on the button. If the player places the cat on the button and enters the room inside, they recieve the prompt telling them the cat is the character who can collect the crystal if they have not already seen it from the door. If the player stands on the button, they can get the cat to pick up the crystal and place it in the receptacle. This teaches the basics of the button mechanics and controlling the cat.

It is also important to mention that the button is placed in front of the initial doorway, meaning that they are likely to trigger the button accidentally, showing them its function.

Once the player leaves, they are presented with a large ditch and a prompt telling them they can press shift to run, which teaches them they can perform running jumps. In hindsight this is the weakest section of the tutorial and if I was to work on this game again I would adjust the wording and also remove the spikes from the ditch so players do not feel too pressured to experiment.

After clearing the jump, the player arrives at a control panel. The cat is not with them at this point since it cannot jump over the pit. Approaching the control panel prompts the player to use their LMB attack to flip the switch in front of them, creating a bridge and allowing the cat to follow them again. As well as teaching them how levers work, it also teaches them the basics of combat without including a moving enemy for them to fight.

After leaving the control panel area, the player now comes across two deer who will attack the player immediately. These two deer have decreased damage output compared to the rest of the deer in the game so the player isn't damaged as quickly in their first encounter. The player should recognise them as a danger and remember using their attack on the lever moments before, and use this knowledge to defend themselves against the deer.

Looking back, this enemy placement is poor, since the player will easily feel overwhelmed when their first encounter consists of two enemies. This is due to this encounter not originally being the first enemy encounter in the game, since we removed several earlier encounters to allow for tutorial space. Keeping the second enemy was a massive oversight and I have learnt a lot from seeing player's reactions to this. Additionally, i would prefer for the player to remain in a confined space at this point, so that the player is unable to progress until after the combat encounter is completed.