Take on the role of a nimble little hat and prepare to outrun a relentless floating head, ablaze with fiery determination. Can you stay ahead while the rhythm drives you forward?

Immerse yourself in the stylish world of Hat Dash, where thrilling escapades meet jazz-infused beats!

Game Design Info

Game Design Skills
  • Game Mechanics Design: Developed and refined unique game mechanics for "Hat Dash," emphasizing the intricate interactions between the player-controlled hat and in-game elements.

  • Level Design - Dynamic Platform Generation: Developed a system for the dynamic generation of random platforms and obstacles within "Hat Dash," ensuring that each playthrough provided a unique and engaging experience.

  • Prototyping: Utilized prototyping tools for rapid testing and iteration, allowing me to explore and fine-tune mechanics efficiently. Embraced player feedback, making iterative design improvements based on playtesting.

  • Encounter Design: Designed unique hat-wearing enemy encounters that added a little more depth and excitement to the gameplay loop.

  • Game Documentation: Created and maintained design documents, outlining mechanics, level design ideas, and gameplay systems.

Software and Tools Used
  • Unity Game Engine: Extensively used Unity for the development of "Hat Dash".

  • Prototyping Tools: Leveraged prototyping tools such as Unity Remote Link and Machinations to rapidly experiment with and validate new ideas, ensuring the game's mechanics were engaging.

  • 3D Software: Employed software such as 3DSMax and the built-in Unity Builder for modeling, texturing, and crafting various assets, ensuring a coherent and visually appealing game world.

  • Scripting and Logic: Utilized C# scripting to bring game mechanics to life and ensure seamless player interaction.

  • Visual Tools: Photoshop was used for most if not all of the 2D visual needs for "Hat Dash".

  • Project Management: Managed the development process efficiently, and used project management software such as Trello, to keep the project on track.

Art and Sound Integration
  • Art Direction: Maintained a consistent and visually appealing art style throughout "Hat Dash," ensuring the game's unique identity.

  • Sound and Music Integration: Integrated sound effects and music to enhance player immersion and engagement in "Hat Dash."

Testing and Balancing
  • User Testing: Gathered valuable insights for refining and optimizing gameplay elements through 3 stages of user testing; The first stage was with close proximity friends and family, the second was with friends and family around North America, and the third was open testing before full release.

  • Balancing: Continuously tweaked game mechanics, spawn speeds, move speeds, and obstacles to maintain the ideal balance of challenge and enjoyment in "Hat Dash."

Skills and Tools Used In "Hat Dash"

Development Blocking of "Hat Dash"

  • Platformer to High Hat: The game started as a platformer concept where platforms spawned for the player to outrun while avoiding falling. An enemy bumped the player around to add a challenge.

  • Unexpected Twist: A bug caused the player to be bumped on top of the enemy's head, leading to the idea of a hat-based game. Then the challenge was for the player to manage both their health and the risk of falling.

Theme and Name
  • Jazz-Themed Evolution: The concept evolved further to incorporate a jazz theme, connecting the player-controlled hat to a high hat, providing a natural thematic link.

  • "Hat Dash" Branding: The catchy name "Hat Dash" was chosen to align with the high-hat, endless runner theme, ensuring the game's identity.

Development Phases
  • Enemy Integration and Player Health: Initially, the focus was on making the enemy wear the player/hat in an engaging and fun way. The concept of managing the player's health was present from the outset of the hat wearing enemy. Players could lose health or fall off the platforms as two ways to fail.

  • Platform Functionality: Ensuring the endlessly spawning platforms worked functionally and contributed to the core gameplay, with no platforms spawning inside of other platforms, as only 3 sides of any given platform were 'available' for new platforms to spawn.

  • Visual and Audio Elements: The next stage of the development process included the addition of rough visuals and sound effects to provide an immersive experience.

  • Obstacles and Platform Variations: Various obstacles were added to introduce depth to the gameplay. Some obstacles slowed the player's speed temporarily, while others caused damage or stopped the player entirely.

  • Art Style and Music: The finalization of the game's art style and the incorporation of music and sound effects for a complete sensory experience.

  • Collectible Health Packs: Later, collectible health packs were introduced, allowing players to regain health, thus extending their run length through calculated risks.

  • Difficulty Balancing: To maintain a challenging but fair gameplay experience, several aspects were tweaked, including the speed of the enemy and player, the turn radius of the enemy, the grab timer of the enemy, and the timing of platform spawning and de-spawning.

  • Collectible System: Collectible coins were added, along with player skins that could be purchased using these coins in the shop, introducing an additional layer of engagement.

Game Design Document


  • Project Title: Hat Dash

  • Game Concept: "Hat Dash" is a 3D endless runner game where players control a hat trying to escape a head that wants to wear it. The hat's health decreases when worn. The game's soundtrack is jazz-themed, featuring a constant high-hat, adding humor to the "Hat Dash" title.

  • Genre: Endless Runner

  • Target Platform: Android (currently), aiming for future expansion to iOS.

  • Target Audience: Designed for kids with a fun and animated experience.

Game Mechanics

  • Core Gameplay: Players control the hat's movement in a 3D environment, avoiding being worn by the head. They collect coins, used to purchase hats/skins, and hearts to restore health.

  • Controls: Swipe or touch-based controls for movement. Touch joystick for movement, and button for jumping.

  • Gameplay Loops: Players aim to survive as long as possible, collecting coins and hearts, avoiding obstacles, and earning coins for purchasing hats/skins.

  • Progression System: Hats can earn coins for performance and scores, which they can use to buy different hats/skins.

Story and Characters

  • Story Overview: The game maintains a humorous and lighthearted tone without a detailed narrative.

  • Character Descriptions: The main characters are the Hat and the Head. The Hat is the player-controlled character, and the Head (named Bert) is the antagonist.

Level Design

  • World/Level Structure: The game features a single, endless 3D level with procedurally generated platforms.

  • Level Goals: The primary goal is to avoid being worn as long as possible and achieve a high score.

  • Platforms: Each platform spawns randomly on one of the 4 sides of the previously spawned platform (Unless there is already a platform in the way). The platforms themselves start off as a standard square platform, and as the game progresses, they get more and more complicated, with new platform shapes and holes causing chaos.

  • Obstacles: Platforms have various obstacles, including bushes (slowing effect), fire (health reduction), and trees (blocking the way). As the game progresses, platforms become more complex with holes and challenging obstacles. Also, the obstacles will only spawn on the platforms themselves, so no floating plants are present.

Art and Audio

  • Art Style: The game's 3D graphics maintain a colorful, playful, and animated style. The color of the background and environment changes from green to red as the score increases.

  • Sound and Music: The jazz-themed soundtrack features a constant high-hat, intensifying as the game progresses. The high-hat/jazz sound theme gives the title ‘Hat Dash’ a second meaning.

User Interface (UI)

  • Main Menu: The main menu includes options to start the game, access settings, view high scores, and visit the in-game store.

  • HUD Elements: The HUD displays the Hat's health, score, collected coins, and active skins/hats.

  • Menus and UI Screens: The in-game store allows players to purchase hats/skins using collected coins.

  • Platform Lifespan: To display how long each platform has before de-spawning, each one has a counter above it, and the platform itself changes from green to red the closer that counter gets to 0. This feature was a later addition, as I felt the timer itself was too hard to notice once the game picked up a bit.

Figure 1 Collectible Heart

Figure 2 Collectible Coin

Figure 3 Early Production Bert Wearing Playable Hat

Figure 4 Late Production Bert

Figure 5 Background and Platform at the Start of the Game and Platform 'Spawn Cycle'

Figure 6 Platforms Near De-Spawn (Note the Change in Colour)