Thomas Iu

Game Designer




Sinking Soviet Submarine

Punk Skunk 01 Punk Skunk 02


Sinking Soviet Submarine is a game I made with a team at the CSU Fullerton Game Jam in October 2011, in which we had 48 hours to make a game. It is a competitive multiplayer game. Two players each control a row of submarines and try to hit each other with torpedoes while shooting down enemy torpedoes. The sea life swimming through the battle may provide cover or concealment against attacks. The input device is a musical keyboard, with pressure sensitive keys determining the flight speed and energy expenditure of each torpedo shot. Each submarine's attack is controlled by a single key. The submarine row has a shared reserve of attack energy that regenerates slowly, so players must be careful to not waste energy hitting the sea life, or defending against enemy torpedoes that are likely to get blocked anyway. The number of obstructing creatures grows over time, making it more challenging for players to anticipate good opportunities to fire. Players win when they hit one of the opposing submarines.

I was a game designer and level designer on this game.

My Work On This Game:

  • Collaborated with team to design game

  • Defined player and NPC abilities and game objectives

  • Designed and scripted NPC spawn progression in Unreal level editor to create increasingly challenging obstacles over time

  • Designed and scripted NPC behavior to create visually appealing environment and engaging variety of obstacles to anticipate

  • Scripted camera movement and composed foreground scene for visual appeal

  • Designed and scripted AI for Player 2

  • Designed particle effects

  • Integrated audio for environment and characters

  • Cooperated with programming and art teams to implement features in 2 days.


I designed and scripted the progression of creature behaviors and in-game events, and created most of the animations necessary for them. My intention was to create behaviors that do not feel visually repetitive, but remain predictable. Players should be able to identify the pattern of each type of creature, and time their attack and defense accordingly. Having a mix of different creature types and behaviors gives the scene visual appeal, and makes it more challenging for the players to predict firing opportunities as the quantity of creatures increases. As the game progresses, players who are more skillful at anticipation gain an advantage over others.

I also worked on composing the foreground scene, arranging the player submarines and scripting the camera behavior. The opposing submarines are spaced far enough to give time for players to respond to each other's torpedoes. Submarines within a row are spaced to balance the screen space attractively.

Although the gameplay is that of a 2d top-down shooter, moving the camera to the side and lowering the angle creates a greater sense of depth and accentuates the 3d art. I took care to not make the angle so extreme as to unbalance gameplay or make the second player feel too distant. The camera sways from side to side to evoke the feeling of floating in water, but the effect is intentionally subtle to avoid distracting from combat.