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Survival Moon Title_edited.jpg

Survival Moon

Team: Unavailable Games // Role: Game & Level Designer // Timeline: 1 Week

Survival Moon is a Survival Horror in which players must find & return scattered parts of their ship while watching their oxygen level & flashlight battery while avoiding deadly alien enemies.

My roles were Game & Level Designer on this project and I showcased the game at many Toronto events.

Design Goals

  • Simple, easy to pick up mechanics

  • Challenging gameplay

  • Replayablility

Design Challenges

Feel & Mood


Make players feel tension & vulnerable yet not hopeless



Give the players the ability to perfect their gameplay

Reward Risk


Reward players that explore in a meaningful way

My Solutions

Formidable Foes


Undefeatable enemies, that can be avoided or diverted



Consistent systematic rules and patterns for players to learn 



Hidden keys that open safe shortcuts & an upgrade

Game Design


Myself and some friends decided that with a week off from school, we wanted to make a small game together.

By searching we found a cartridge that gave the initial idea: collecting stuff on the moon.

From there, hostile aliens were introduced and the treasure turned into parts to fix a ship.

Treasure Moon
Simple Mechanics, Challenging Situations

In order to fulfill the feeling of vulnerability I designed the player to be very weak. They can be killed instantly by the aliens and if they're not careful, players can die from lacking oxygen.

Flashlight Battery Power

Allows player to see in the darkness and a blast of light scares aliens away, but uses much of the battery. Without their flashlight, the player is lost and vulnerable.

Survival Moon Battery

Oxygen Level​

Time outside of safe areas deplete oxygen. While running, oxygen depletes quicker. The player dies when out of oxygen.

Survival Moon Oxygen
Explore and Collect

1. Ship Part​

There are multiple ship parts. Players are slowed while carrying them to create tension from risk.

2. Door Key

Door keys open shortcuts, rewarding players that explore and master the level.

3. Lantern

Lanterns can be carried to save flashlight battery and oxygen, though they are not safe from aliens.

4. Carry Upgrade

The carry upgrade allows players to hold up to two items, and is found behind a locked door.

Survival Moon Items
Deadly Horrors

I designed the aliens to be a dreadful hostile, especially upon first contact.

They have a large area in which they can hear and detect players.

Player's can overcome the threat by learning their patrol paths to avoid them, or by cutting their line of sight during a chase.

If the line of sight is broken, they check the last known location of the player and no longer use the large circle to detect, they instead use a vision cone. They return to their patrol if the player isn't found.

Aliens take very wide turns, making it easier for players to cut around corners and lose the hostile.

Survival Moon Enemy

I spent a considerable amount of time adjusting player and alien variables such as movement speeds, aggro time, depletion rates and much more. The result is a replayable game of cat and mouse that can be mastered.

Level Design

Map Overview

I built the map using Unity's Tilemap Editor

Survival Moon Map Overview
Level-Flow/ Beats

Players can obtain ship parts in any order. They are rewarded for exploration with keys to safe shortcuts and an upgrade to carry two objects at once.

Survival Moon Map Player Paths
Predictable Enemies

Enemies each have a consistent path that the player can learn and plan accordingly to. All enemies have the same line of sight and aggro properties. I balanced them to break off their pursuit fairly easy since they are extremely powerful.

Survival Moon Enemy Paths



The game was shown at multiple industry events around the General Toronto Area. A lot of people enjoyed it and went on to try to finish the game on their own time, messaging me when they completed it.

The Good

  • Easy to Learn, Hard to Master

    • Players never felt cheated by the game and wanted to jump back in to try again​

  • Don't Helicopter Parent

    • Players liked that they had to memorize the map​

Places to Improve

  • How do I play?

    • Aside from the first ship part, the controls and abilities aren't entirely clear. It works in some places, and falls flat in others​

  • Where Am I?​

    • The entire map shares the same few tiles, so there aren't many landmarks to work with to orientate​ players

Some Of What I learned
  • Gameplay mechanics compliment atmosphere, mood, and feel

  • Equal challenge is met with equal reward

  • A handful of mechanics mixed together can create a lot of gameplay

  • Players need to be taught the rules but not have their hands held

  • Even if there aren't many art assets, landmarks need to guide players

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