Sébastien François
Game Design

I have been designing board games and video games professionnally for more than two years now.

My academic background is a mix of visual storytelling, game design and English, with a hint of psychology.
I can draw, write, program, balance and communicate visually but I am also working on improving myself in economics, management, psychology, etc. with online courses.

I am focused on taking the best and most informed decisions for a project and its vision, wherever they come from.
I want to understand how things work and make them work even better.
The end user is always my main concern and I deploy all my empathy and knowledge for the players and the team.
Feedback is the backbone of a positive creative process and a positive leadership. Everyone is involved, we can be confident in our game.

See my resume for more details.

You can also check my GRAPHIC DESIGN PORTFOLIO for more about PRINT, WEB & USER INTERFACE.

Video Games

Les oubliettes



GAMEPLAY VIDEO


 

Puzzle game
Unity, PC.
Android (tentative).

My role

  • Game & Level design
  • Programming (C#)
  • Story

Gameplay


Swap between the floors to get all the keys and progress!

Currently in development with Julien Leuliet & Linh Phuong Tran.




M'as-tu vu?



Assymetric 2-player game
Unity, PC.

My role

  • Game design
  • Programming (C#)
  • Art

Gameplay


Who's going to win? Wolf or Piggy?

As Wolf, the player is hidden in the bushes and builds a path to blow up Piggy's house.
As Piggy, bomb the field and stop Wolf before he eats you!

The game is played with a controller and a mouse.




Lost at sea



Experiment
Unity, PC.

My role

  • Programming (C#)

Gameplay


Try and maintain the morale of your crew.
How long can you survive until the ship reaches shore?

What went right

  • Coding features: the game was mainly a reason to experiment with level generation, basic AI and turn-based grid movement.

  • Sound: with minimum sound, the game has a depressing mood that fits the theme.

What went wrong

  • Not balanced: as this was not the purpose for it, the game balancing has not been worked on much. Replayability is limited.




Orange Ciel





Platformer
Unity, PC.
Student project with Nicolas Bertrand-Verge, Philippe Bouchard, Maha Jamal and Jean-François Lessart.

My role

  • Level design
  • Editor scripting for Unity-Blender workflow
  • Programming for checkpoints and camera
  • Concept art and character design
  • Graphic assets creation
  • Assets integration

Gameplay


The player glides through the world and uses the wind to avoid obstacles and reach places.

What went right

  • Setting the mood: colors, music and sound conveyed the feeling of freedom.

  • Learning a lot: as the first project done with Unity without previous programming skills, this project brought a lot of challenges.

What went wrong

  • Scope: the core mechanic could have been simplified to allow more ressources to content and challenge creation. We should have also faced our limitations in terms of both time and skills even though our lack of experience haven't helped us to define a more reasonable scope.

  • Reinventing the wheel: we should have used more Unity plug-ins so we could prototype the game more easily without hurting a programming wall and an overwhelming learning curve of our tools.


Board Games

Rivalo

7+ | 20 min | 2-5 players
Published by GameBrotherZ

My role

  • Game design
  • Balancing
  • Playtesting
  • Writing of the rules
  • Project management

Gameplay


The game is based on a draft mechanic: players pick one card from their hand before passing it to the next player.
The most valuable treasures are worth points when their condition is met (three of a kind, paired with another, etc.).
At the end of the round, players can pick one crew member and use their special power to steal missing items from an opponent.

What went right

  • Game feel vs the theme: the treasures are always hidden and players try to make the best guess while sabotaging the others, which feels like pirates ready to stab each other in the back.

  • Balancing: by playtesting, we could make sure each item had a different feel of risk-reward and accomodate different types of players.

What went wrong

  • Implementation of the characters: for marketing purposes, they had to be on cards. It was challenging to find a way to make them work and feel different while keeping the game wery simple to play. The final version is working and adds a layer of decision-making but might not feel as elegant as the rest of the game.



Fish And Chips

3+ | 10 min | 2-4 players
Published by GameBrotherZ

My role

  • Game design adjustments
  • Balancing
  • Playtesting
  • Writing of the rules
  • Graphic and package design
  • Project management

Gameplay


Players flip a token that describes one of four actions: draw a fish, take one from another player, trade one with another player or simply pass their turn.

What went right

  • Evolution of the game: the game is based on a prototype the company received. It was too complex for the target audience, and did not feel immersive enough. The streamlining process ended up with a more elegant game.

  • Adults have fun too: the game is very light but the material and the interactions make it fun for an older audience too.

  • The product: by changing the rules and have less fish needed, we could enhance the final product and focus on the physical experience.

What went wrong

  • Packaging: the bowl is the selling point, but the game needed to be stored easily and not look like a toy. The result is good enough but a better solution was found for next editions.



HiLo

7+ | 15 min | 2-6 players
Published by GameBrotherZ

My role

  • Game design
  • Balancing
  • Playtesting
  • Writing of the rules
  • Graphic and package design
  • Project management

Gameplay


Players use dice and cards from their hand to win Victory cards placed on the table. A player wins a Victory card by matching its value, and they can win multiple in a row by playing the right combos.

What went right

  • Accessibility: the game is very easy to play for the whole family, and manages to keep chances even for both kids and adults. The decision-making is narrowed down just enough to have a nice flow and no wait time.

  • Combos: the combos give players the feel they are on a roll, and is a satisfying catch-up mechanic.

  • Educational value: the game can be a teaching tool for fast and simple calculation.

What went wrong

  • A wrong start: the game was first derived from another game. it never felt satisfying and a substancial amount of time was lost before accepting it was in the wrong direction.



Spuzzle

 
 
4+ | 15 min | 1-4 players
Published by GameBrotherZ

My role

  • Revising of the rules
  • Solo variant

Gameplay


Players flip a card then place a puzzle piece corresponding to the card.
The player can remove another player's puzzle piece if they draw the hand card.
All players can add a piece if anyone draws the Spuzzle card.

First player to complete their 4 mini-puzzles wins!.

What went right

  • Featured on Disney Channel website: I implemented a solo version of the game without changing the components. It was featured on the Disney Channel website and played by thousands of children.



Tracktic

10+ | 30 min | 2-4 players
Published by GameBrotherZ

My role

  • Game design
  • Balancing
  • Playtesting
  • Writing of the rules

Gameplay


Players choose patterns to replicate on the board with their puzzle pieces in order to create the longest line of their color.

What went right

  • The product: the game has a beautiful look and feel, and brings a twist to the use of puzzle pieces.

  • Establishing a playtest methodology: the game needed extensive playtests, and it was the first time we created a complete methodlogy for that, from surveys both oral and written, to statistical data. This allowed us to identify some problems we didn't know, some we did, and some we thought were, but were not.

What went wrong

  • Looks before rules: the game was too far in its development to bring major changes and simplify the gameplay and usability. Things were done in reverse, without much control over it.

  • Writing the rules: the game could not be simplified further but still needed to teach specific concepts that were hard to write down and convey.


Spuzzle Match

7+ | 15 min | 2-6 players
Published by GameBrotherZ

My role

  • Game design
  • Writing of the rules

Gameplay


Players place the correct puzzle piece if they have them in hand. The first player to empty their hand wins.

What went right

  • New in its range: the game is meant to be sold with lottos and memory games. It has a simple core mechanic that brings a new perpective on puzzles, and can be adapted to multiple licenses.



Mods

Leap of faith - Custom map for Portal


Scripted intro










 

 

Poseidoom - Multiplayer map for Team Fortress 2 (ALPHA)



 

 

User Interface



Please check my GRAPHIC DESIGN PORTFOLIO for more USER INTERFACE related works.

▹ Click here to go.


Comics & Storytelling

Strzala

The story of a hunter pursuing a very special kill.

▹ Click here to read


P'tit gros

Olivier is a kid a bit uneasy about his weight.
But he will discover that not every one is.

▹ Click here to read


Acéphale

The story of a nightmare.

▹ Click here to read


Sake

The story of a son trying to make the exceptional sake his father never managed to create.

▹ Click here to read


Black man and white woman in dark green rowboat

Based on a short story from Trailerpark by Russell Banks.


Psi

Storyboard for a script written by Y. Vaast.

▹ Click here to read


2D & 3D

Concepts



Sketches

Resume

Experience

Game Designer @ Budge Studios (Montréal) - since 12/2015

Unannounced title. Designing mobile game for children
Pitch and documentation.

Game Designer @ GameBrotherZ (Montréal) - 2 years (06/2013 - 08/2015)

Designing board games for children and family.
Balancing.
Writing the rules.
Organized playtesting sessions (defining data to gather and methodology, writing surveys, observing, analyzing results to put the data back into the design process).
Supervized graphic design.
Project management (from the prototype to the manufacturing).

Intern @ Spearhead Games (Montréal) - 1 month (2013)

Did some QA, observed playtests and learned about their workflow.
Worked on menu screens (Photoshop, Flash).
Worked on collectibles placement in the levels (Unreal Engine).

Functionality Tester @ Electronic Arts (Montréal) - 9 months (2012-2013)

Studies

DESS (graduate) in Game Design @ Université de Montréal, Montréal, QC, Canada.

Bachelor in Visual Arts : Comics @ ESA St-Luc, Brussels, Belgium.

Undergraduate in English @ Université Nancy II, Nancy, France.

Focus and interests

Mobile games market & development.
Playtesting (observation, survey, statistical data, telemetry, user research, etc.)
User interface.
Level design (visual storytelling, optimized navigation and challenge).
Multiplayer experience as emergent narrative.

Softwares

Unity with C#      
Source SDK      
Unreal Engine 4      
Maya      
Photoshop      
InDesign      
Premiere      
AfterEffects      
Word      
Excel      
Visio      
HTML/CSS      
JIRA      
Confluence      

Miscellaneous

French (native) & English (fluent)

Interests:
Fanzines and independent comic publishings.
History of Modern Art.
Practicing badminton, soccer, not enough tennis and some basketball.