When designing levels and mechanics for Archipelago, I took inspiration from exploratory games. One of the main games that influenced me was "The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker". It's sailing mechanic helped inspire our own sailing. I looked at what made the sailing feel great with the boat’s movement, its trails, and its dashing mechanic. WindWaker also has barrels floating around in the ocean that the player can collect Rupees from. This helped inspire our barrel smashing mechanic as it added variation to gameplay when sailing long distances.
A film called "The Wind Rises" was a large inspiration when writing the soundtrack for Archipelago. It has a beautiful light piano accompaniment and evokes reminiscent feelings of life and freedom. I tried to evoke similar feelings in the game using a similar instrumentation.
When developing Archipelago my role in the team was varied. Whether that was making shaders, designing the world and mechanics or writing music. The hardest and longest task when developing Archipelago was creating the open world. It took a long time to develop due to the scale of the world and also our determination to make each island feel unique. In total seven expansive islands were created for the player to sail to and explore. One of the hardest tasks was to place every single rock in the scene by hand. For each island I created a unique music score to make the island feel memorable and new. I would also create unique game assets from the original art assets I was given to give islands special props and to reflect the levels design.
When developing the mechanics I would write lots of detailed notes and drew diagrams to test them out on paper. This was a valuable process as it was quick to polish them after in Illustrator. My focus was to create something readable with lots of visuals for the programmers to quickly understand and implement.