Alphaville City Simulator & Griffinville

Game Designer/Developer Created Griffinville & Alphaville

March 2016 - May 2018

For 27 months I was a Game Designer/Developer at Merit Network making two projects.


I was responsible for all aspects of these 3D worlds including level layouts, game logic, scripting, networking, prototyping, public presentations, debugging, testing, developing and sourcing assets from the Unity Asset Store and GitHub wherever I could. Those along with the 3D world's UX & UI were all assembled within Unity Game Engine using C#. I scripted myself tools and pipeline workflows in both environments (in Blender & Unity) to save multiple months of development time. I would also showcase this software at public events, e.g., for the Governor of Michigan and several multi-stared generals at the North American International Cyber Summit in October 2016 and 2017 .



Alphaville is a 36. sq km island city which acts as a car simulator. Hacks made on this virtualized network are mirrored in real time within Alphaville. Traffic and street lights when hacked blackout the town and cause traffic to drive chaotically; giving context and meaning to the often hard-to-visualize hacking and security training service Merit's cloud provides. The actual hacking of these systems would safely occur within virtual machines running on Merit's sand-boxed cloud, with the resulting changes being visualized here in Alphaville.


Most of my summer 2016 was spent developing self-driving car AI from scratch within Alphaville. The cars were designed from their early stages to eventually become a fully hackable and drive-able system within the 3D world. By the end of their development they supported all levels of autonomous driving without traffic within the game -- allowing players to switch their cars from manual to fully automated driving, and every step in between, both on and off road.


Where I wanted to take the cars in Alphaville with a few months work.

My hope was to extent this self-driving framework by adding driving control via an external API which would contain the same data that is put through a real car's CAN interface. This would have allowed the cars to be driven partially or fully (e.g. just throttle or steering) by any given possible neural network, allowing them to both test and train in a realistic physics-driven environment. Alphaville could have then been used as a testing environment for real world self-driving vehicles.


I had plans for making the cars recreate much of the sensor data that real self-driving vehicles use as well (such as LIDAR, dash cam footage, gyroscope, GPS data). The last major feature I was able to add on to the cars was a rudimentary testing harness which could determine if the cars had violated several driving conditions and score them accordingly (e.g., if they cars left their lanes while driving (which wheels, when, how many times), if the failed to stop at a traffic light, had a collision, were flipped over, etc).



Griffinviille's Purpose

Griffinville is an unclassified project for the Michigan National Guard. Accurate to within an inch, it's a game level I created consisting of 5000 objects and 60 PBR textures recreating the 26 multi-story buildings at the physical facility (CACTF at Fort Grayling, MI). The geometry used was from the original construction CAD 3D blueprints.

It's intended to bridge the physical and virtual domains of warfare. The general idea is that this game world would mirror several hackable systems at the physical facility such as traffic lights (hacking them all to be changed to the same color, or off completely), hacking locks on network connected doors (locking people in rooms or the jail), or powering on or off a water pump, and the lights on each building's floors. The actual hacking of these systems would safely occur within virtual machines running on Merit's sand-boxed cloud, with the resulting changes being visualized here in Griffinville and possibly physically at CACTF too.


Griffinville is shown here in an unfinished state about two month before the project was completed.
At the end of development the scene's ground was fully painted, and all indoor areas had lighting, which is not shown here.


Griffinville Development: Roadblocks and Solutions in a Timeline

All of this work was done concurrently as I developed Alphaville.


Griffinville is brought up about half way through this video clip from the PBS show Destination Michigan.


Development Experience With Unity Packages

I used these Unity packages extensively through 27 months of professional game development making Alphaville and Griffinville. I've used and tried out many others as well.