Tom Hermans — Game Designer

I’m Tom Her­mans, and I’m a Game Design­er that spe­cial­izes in User Inter­faces, User Expe­ri­ence, Puz­zles, Nar­ra­tive, Lev­el Design & Game acces­si­bil­i­ty. My pas­sion is to help make mean­ing­ful game expe­ri­ences for a glob­al audi­ence. I also have knowl­edge about mar­ket­ing, psy­chol­o­gy, and UI imple­men­ta­tion in Unre­al. In my free time, I read books, take a walk, go swim­ming, or play games and write about them. I’m cur­rent­ly not look­ing for a job or intern­ship— but you’re always wel­come to let me know if you want to offer an inter­est­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion!

Contact me at

Arboreal (formerly Meadow Folk)

One year devel­op­ment time — Unre­al Engine
Team of 35 — Win­dows tar­get plat­form — UX Design­er

Arbo­re­al is a year-long project to cre­ate a game in the vein of Stardew Val­ley and Har­vest Moon—a laid back farm­ing and adven­ture game.
I did mar­ket research, UX strat­e­gy, and UI and UX design for this project. Mead­ow Folk is still being devel­oped, so this page is incom­plete and will be updat­ed through­out the project.


 

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Dur­ing pre-pro­duc­tion, we did tar­get audi­ence research. We researched our ref­er­ence games, their sales, com­mu­ni­ties, and sur­veyed 400 play­ers. Of the sur­vey data, we made this graph of play­er moti­va­tions.
Lat­er in pre-pro­duc­tion, also made a com­pet­i­tive analy­sis, includ­ing mar­ket seg­men­ta­tion, crit­i­cal suc­cess fac­tors, and this SWOTT analy­sis list­ing our game and team’s great­est strenghts and pit­falls.
Orig­i­nal iter­a­tion for the inven­to­ry screen, with five hot­bar slots that could each have two items.
This ver­sion got imple­ment­ed, but was ulti­mate­ly scrapped because of the high fric­tion to equip items.
Sec­ond iter­a­tion of the inven­to­ry screen. We start­ed focus­ing on con­troller sup­port, and the UI had to be rethought because of this.
Sec­ond ver­sion of the inven­to­ry in the game.
Orig­i­nal ver­sion of the dia­log screen. The dia­log choic­es are spread out in a + shape to avoid that play­ers will be biased towards the first choice in the list.
Ear­ly iter­a­tion of the dia­log sys­tem in-game.
Orig­i­nal mock­up of the plan­ner screen.
Ear­ly iter­a­tion of the plan­ner in-game.

Mobility! Accessible Precision Platformer

Two year devel­op­ment time — Game Mak­er Stu­dio
Team of 3 — Win­dows & Browsers — Hob­by­ist Devel­op­er

Mobil­i­ty! is the side project I’ve devel­oped for two years. Born out of my love for pre­ci­sion plat­form­ers, my goal was allow­ing as many play­ers as pos­si­ble to enjoy the game! It was fea­tured by itch.io, PC Gamer, and Rock Paper Shot­gun. I kept a devlog with notes about new addi­tions or changes made dur­ing devel­op­ment, which you can ref­er­ence here.  

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In Mobil­i­ty, the goal is to touch every plat­form on the lev­el, so I designed the lev­els to be open and allow dif­fer­ent approach­es.
Mobil­i­ty has mul­ti­ple dif­fi­cul­ty set­tings and oth­er acces­si­bil­i­ty options to help new play­ers ease into the pre­ci­sion plat­former genre.
The game has four worlds, each with their own over­world, lev­els, and sto­ry.
Part of the Trel­lo board that served as a to-do list and changel­og dur­ing devel­op­ment.

Nebelkampf

8 week devel­op­ment time — Cus­tom Game Engine
Team of 16 — Win­dows tar­get plat­form — UX Design­er

Nebelkampf is a dig­i­tal board game with hexag­o­nal tiles, since we had a spe­cial engine avail­able for this type of game. Fog of war mechan­ics only allow play­ers to see the tiles their units are look­ing at—each unit has a dif­fer­ent view range and oth­er spe­cial abil­i­ties that can be used to gath­er infor­ma­tion.

I helped playtest­ing the game, and made visu­al research, wire­frames, and mock­up ani­ma­tions to make the game as clear as pos­si­ble, and this helped me to under­stand the basic of UX, and encour­aged me to con­tin­ue with the role on lat­er projects. I also birthed the name “Nebelkampf”.

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After sketch­ing ideas, I trans­lat­ed them into ani­mat­ed pro­to­types in Mock­plus. For exam­ple, here’s the unit place­ment screen.preperation place­ment.
I also used Point­Point to pro­to­type cer­tain pieces of UI, like tooltips, vis­i­bil­i­ty indi­ca­tors, and oth­er icons.
I was also respon­si­ble for the tuto­r­i­al, which I made an inter­ac­tive mock­up for in Mock­Plus.

Hidden Listener

48 hour game jam — Unre­al engine
Team of 4 — Game for Win­dows — Game Design­er

I attend­ed the Glob­al Game Jam with two pro­gram­mers and one artist. My goal was to just expe­ri­ence an on-site game jam, and to have a lot of fun mak­ing a game! The theme was Trans­mis­sion, so we made an espi­onage game set dur­ing a war.

On Fri­day, we brain­stormed the core game idea and set up the back­log. On Sat­ur­day, I made the sys­tem of the secret codes, made the game map & playtest­ed the game idea. On Sun­day we ran short in time, so I imple­ment­ed audio into the project and help pol­ish it up.

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A paper pro­to­type which I used to test an ear­ly game con­cept.
Doc­u­ments for codes that you’re sup­posed to print out & use to play the game.
The game’s page on itch.io, with instruc­tions how to play the game.

Tahira’s Tower

6 months — Babylon.js — Team of 2 — Brows­er — Hob­by­ist Devel­op­er

A 3D ver­sion of Sokoban, the clas­sic box push­ing game, designed as a very hard but fair, ambi­ent puz­zle game. Sokoban has also inspired oth­er pieces of my work, like Picross Push­ers, which com­bines Picross with Sokoban, and Sokobanana, which adds a slip­ping mechan­ic to the mix. The box­es in Tahi­ra serve mul­ti­ple purposes—you can push mul­ti­ple box­es lined up next to each oth­er, put them on top of each oth­er, use them as step­ping stones or stair­cas­es, and more. This way, I could cre­ate lots inter­est­ing puz­zles & dynam­ics using just the box­es as a sin­gle mechan­ic.

One of the ear­ly puz­zles that teach­es you that blocks can be stacked on top of each oth­er, then moved as one.
A stair­case build­ing puz­zle.
A puz­zle about split­ting up stacks of blocks by plac­ing them into the holes of the right kind.
The final stair­case puz­zle, for which the play­er needs to manip­u­late stacks, rows, and stair­cas­es of blocks.

Edge of the Sky

16 weeks — N/A — Solo project — Board game — Game Design­er

Edge of the Sky is a board game I designed from scratch. Play­ers explore a game world that’s con­stant­ly expand­ing on the look­out for ele­ments, which give points when matched togeth­er. Edge of the Sky was released as print & play game on itch.io, and a sin­gle pro­to­type ver­sion of final­ized qual­i­ty was made using the board game work­shop. It was shown on the IGAD Show­case Day as a “Best of the Year” project.

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Paper pro­to­type used to test the game, and what I uploaded to the inter­net as print & play ver­sion.
The game board con­sists out of tiles, which are placed dur­ing the game. These often con­tain ele­ments the play­er must match.
Rulesheet on the print & play ver­sion.
I also let the Game Crafter print a sin­gle pro­fes­sion­al copy of the game, with a box, man­u­al & tiles with min­i­mal­ist art.

 

Other projects

DM-ZeppHangar (Unreal Tournament level)

A pro­to­type for an Unre­al lev­el. The theme I chose was that of an airship/zeppelin hangar, with the lev­el being set on the roofs, the insides, and plat­forms con­nect­ing them all. While mak­ing this, I focused on lev­el design and learn­ing which geom­e­try and pick­up place­ment best sup­ports Unre­al Tour­na­ment game­play.

To play, put the lev­el in Documents\UnrealTournament\Saved\Paks\MyContent

God Complex

A two-week game jam game with a team, with a cus­tom mat with pres­sure plates as con­troller. The play­er plays a giant, and has to stomp vil­lages with their feet. I helped cre­ate the design, then bal­ance and test it.

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Orig­i­nal­ly a week-long solo game jam game (in which I had to make a Game Boy inspired game), I con­tin­ued devel­op­ing it as a mobile game. It’s a metroid­va­nia in which the play­er can­not jump, allow­ing lev­els to fit on sin­gle screens.

Feel free to reach out at