Teeny Tiny’s Travelling Circus [UPDATE 1]

Hey guys!

For one of my projects during my final year of university I’m going to be creating a borrower’s scale environment. My little world is going to centre around a makeshift travelling circus pitched in a English household attic!

Every object in the environment will be household items forged together to create little-worldy constructions.


Basic concept of layout and scale.

I’m currently working on the structure of the circus tent itself, which will be fashioned out of an umbrella, string and trails of shiny red ribbon. The environment will focus around the umbrella tent, with props both inside and outside.


Study of possibly structure for circus tent.

Inside I’m looking to create the typical structure of a circus including the ring side bench seats, chairs, circus ring, high wire and other performance props. Outside the tent will stand circus wagons, entrance signs, a ticket booth and popcorn stalls with seating.

Top down layout

Top-down layout of environment.

To show scale, I plan to fill the attic with typical storage junk such as cardboard boxes and bin bags. I hope to blur the background and miscellaneous props to create a ’tilt shift’ effect to push the feeling of a miniature world.

I will be blogging my progress so stay tuned! 🙂


[FINAL UPDATE] Beneath The Sand

Hey guys.

A couple of weeks ago we finished our summer project. Beneath The Sand! You can download the final version here. (:

We learned a lot from this project, including a lot about teamwork and deadlines. There’s a lot of things I’d like to improve about our final result and revisit parts that were left unfinished, but overall I’m happy with what we achieve in 13 weeks and I hope you enjoy playing it! (:

Please contact me and tell me what you think!


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@sazberryftw | @AlexHaddowM
@Scott_Swarbrick | @wdbutterworth

[UPDATE 2] Beneath The Sand

Hello again.

Another update to the game we’re working on, Beneath The Sand. A lot has changed in the game since the last prototype!



Save System
Your progress is now saved at several checkpoints throughout the level. In the future, these checkpoints should be represented by an alter or statue and may replenish lost health.

We have now adjusted the grapple to no longer need a wind up. Grappling is one-click and instantly takes you to the spot you grappled. Grappling onto objects such as the stone crate is also instant and the play can pull the object behind them.

Treasure Rooms
Treasure rooms can be found throughout the level and contain different collectibles. When the player enters a treasure room they are taken to an interactive environment.


Visually the game is beginning to take shape. We intend to create variation through Unreal’s material instances to mix up the colours and tones of different areas. Visuals are still very much work in progress!

As an explorer of these ancient Egyptian tombs, you will uncover the tale of a Pharaoh through various wall paintings. In this first level, you will uncover the first third of his story as you follow his journey to the afterlife. In future builds, we would also like to include voice over for each story section.


Traps are now much more diverse in movement and patterns. Arrow and spike traps can have random or delayed fire rates and no longer need to be static.

[UPDATE 1] Beneath The Sand


Over this summer I will be creating a game with three friends, Alex Haddow-Mendes, Will Butterworth and Scott Swarbrick, and in association with White Paper Games. We will be making a 2.5D puzzle-platform sidescroller set in Ancient Egypt in 10 weeks.

You will play as an explorer entering the Egyptian tombs for the first time in search of artifacts and information but instead discovers the path of a dead pharaoh as he descends into the afterlife. You must help him reach the afterlife by collecting what possessions he needs to rest.

Game concept by Will Butterworth

Concept by Will Butterworth

We went through quite a list of ideas for our main mechanics – the players abilities, environmental threats, AI. We concluded on the player using a grappling hook and torch for most gameplay elements. The grappling hook can be used both for grappling yourself to ledges and grappling onto items to pull them towards you (such as pulling objects to bridge a path or rest on a switch).

We also decided to center our challenge around environmental obstacles such as traps rather than include AI enemies and combat.

One of our biggest must-haves was implementing movement in and out of the environment as well as left and right (Little Big Planet-esque). Our game uses ‘lanes’ that the play can move in between at certain points. We can have as many lanes as we want and can use the lanes as a mechanic.

Our levels will be split into two distinct sections:

  • An ‘at your own pace’ puzzle section that involves problem solving and navigating the environment.
  • A face paced ‘chase’ section where the play must think fast in order to escape from danger.

Each level will be a new tomb and each level will have these two sections above. Completing the second section yields the artifact for that level.

Level structure initial plan

Level structure initial plan

Visually, Will and I looked into the art style of Chris Turnham. We liked the simplistic but effective use of block colours and shades, and the style of geometry.

Chris Turnham’s ‘Old LA Zoo Ruins’


We finished our first (somewhat wonky) prototype on the 3rd of July and you can download it here. Bare in mind the gameplay is loose and mostly just shows of the main mechanics and the visual direction.

Left and right – A & D
Forward and backward – W & S
Jump – Space
Sprint – Shift
Crouch – C
Grapple Charge – Hold Left Click
Grapple Release – Right Click
Torch – F
Interact – E

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We also have a first demo of music for our game composed by NJ Apostol of White Paper Games, which you can listen to here:

[UPDATE 2] Character Design: “Creepy but I like it.”

WIP 03

Here’s the finished B/W paint!

Overall I’m quite happy with how this turned out, I think I managed to capture the mood I was looking for. I was pleased with how her wooden branch torso came out, and I placed a glowing ‘egg’ inside her abdomen encased in the branches. Hopefully once I put colour into it the glow will be more prominent!

I decided to position the legs into a hovering pose seeing as she is half harpy. I was initially trying to incorporate the legs of a faun, but after a few sketches I decided it wasn’t suited. I also removed the branches from her upper back as they seemed to add too much clutter. I think the talons and claws still need work but ho-hum!

Here are a few extra work in progress shots I saved!

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[UPDATE 1] Character Design: Half tree, half harpy

Hey guys!

WIP 01

I’m currently working on a character concept for a playable character in a third person game. I’ve taken inspiration (click me) from figures and head-wear made of wood and branches, and physical features of the mythical creature the Harpy. I also LOVE stag antlers and helmets designed using them and wanted to mix that in with tree branches.

Here’s a few references and some initial ideas I had!