Be Water

"Be water, my friend." — Bruce Lee

About
Be Water is a 3D platformer made in 9 months for the NYU Game Center by a team of 7.

I was responsible for direction, game design, level design, and 3D art.
Media
Play as a drop of water—literally.
Play as a drop of water—literally.
An entire kitchen countertop to traverse!
An entire kitchen countertop to traverse!
Switch between solid, liquid, and gas to platform across the kitchen.
Switch between solid, liquid, and gas to platform across the kitchen.
Explore the apartment, even beyond the countertop!
Explore the apartment, even beyond the countertop!
Process
At NYU, seniors work together or go at it alone to create one last game before graduation: a capstone project. For my team, that was Be Water.
But for me, Be Water was more than just another project for NYUit was a personal game concept, one I had worked on for a couple years prior. And at the beginning of the semester, when I had the chance to pitch it to the team, I took it.
As you can see, the rest is history!
Concept art I made for my unnamed water droplet game.
Concept art I made for my unnamed water droplet game.
Screenshot from the final build of Be Water.
Screenshot from the final build of Be Water.
From the get-go we wanted the game to primarily take place on a kitchen countertop. We just needed to find the right inspiration.
We loved the wood-finished countertop in this kitchen—
We loved the wood-finished countertop in this kitchen—
—and the sink placement in this one!
—and the sink placement in this one!
After scouring listings on Zillow, the team really liked this elongated, U-shaped kitchen we kept seeing. It can be hard to tell with the perspective in-game, but from an aerial view the inspiration is pretty obvious!
Here's an aerial view of the kitchen countertop in-game.
Here's an aerial view of the kitchen countertop in-game.
Despite the look of the screenshots so far, we had actually planned for an entirely photorealistic direction early on! Heck, I even 3D modeled a whole kitchen sink in the style.
The old kitchen sink, rendered in Substance Painter.
The old kitchen sink, rendered in Substance Painter.
But while we all loved the look of our kitchen countertop, we still weren't sure how to translate the idea of "being water" into game mechanics.
It was one of the more unexplored aspects of my original concept, so a lot of my early ideation was spent exploring potential abilities for our playable droplet.
A silly concept for the ability to squeeze through tight spaces.
A silly concept for the ability to squeeze through tight spaces.
Diegetic indicators are always cool.
Diegetic indicators are always cool.
My initial concept for the ability to turn into steam.
My initial concept for the ability to turn into steam.
How would turning into steam interact with the player's jump?
How would turning into steam interact with the player's jump?
A personal favorite of mine was a more whimsical take on the concept, inspired by those sticky goo hand toys you often find at arcades.
First drawings of the concept.
First drawings of the concept.
Some random doodles.
Some random doodles.
Eventually, we decided to expand on the ability to turn into steam by including ice, creating a kind of state-changing mechanic.
Once gameplay started getting locked in, I refocused my attention to 3D modeling. As the only 3D artist on the team, it was my job to model each and every asset we needed—including the actual apartment itself!
Various props in Maya.
Various props in Maya.
Once assets were modeled in Maya, they were brought over to Unity and textured programmatically, creating the pastel apartmentscape you can explore in-game.
Screenshot of the WIP living room in Maya.
Screenshot of the WIP living room in Maya.
The living room in the final build, textured and rendered in-engine.
The living room in the final build, textured and rendered in-engine.
You can download Be Water on itch.io.
More