Bachelor Thesis – Making Citizens in a City Building Game Memorable: Burghers


  • Objective: Improve on Warriors and Serfs and make it memorable
  • Engine / Languages: Unreal Engine / C++, Blueprints, UMG, XML
  • Platform: Windows
  • Team Size: Individual Project
  • Duration: ~45 work days

Burghers is a 3D real-time city building game set in the medieval era. The player is the leader of a new settlement, and as such, aims to grow the settlement’s population and wealth.
It is a direct continuation of Warriors and Serfs, but with different design goals. Where Warriors and Serfs was always intended to have combat as integral part of gameplay, Burghers is about the citizens. The design goal for the game was to make the citizens interesting (memorable) through randomly generated properties.

The written part of the thesis explored methods of making that happen, and proposes a list of possible features to implement. In order to create the list I analysed recent games as well as other media.

I am very satisfied with my work on the written part of the thesis. I gathered an interesting collection of properties that have shown to be effective in other games.

I’m not entirely satisfied with the progress of Burghers, however. At the beginning of the three-month period I had for the thesis, I decided to fix some of the technical debt that resulted from the dirty fixes I made in Warriors and Serfs. I greatly improved a lot of the architecture for implementing new items, buildings or types of citizens, however doing so took me around three weeks. These improvements made no direct difference to the player, and in the remaining time, I could hardly make use of the improved development flow.
The final result is that Burghers doesn’t feel much different from Warriors and Serfs, and citizens are hardly more memorable. Instead of focussing on improving for the long term, I should’ve focussed on the immediate goals at hand – making the citizens more interesting. I wrote more about this in the Documentation about Burghers, which is part of the Bachelor Thesis.

Watch the Gameplay Video:

Here are download links for the thesis:

Semester Project BA6: Rescue Tactics


  • Objective: Educational Game about Floods
  • Engine / Language: Unreal Engine / Blueprints
  • Platform: Windows
  • Team Size: 7 + 2 Experts
  • Duration (me): ~210 work hours (26 work days)

Rescue Tactics (previously Force of Nature) is an educational game about natural disasters.
The player takes on the role of a local first responder in the event of a natural disaster. They need to navigate a city full of hazards retrieve a citizen in danger, and get them to safety.

We made Rescue Tactics in our sixth Semester of Studying at CGL. Besides me, the team consisted of Alicja OssowskiCaterina BöhmTatjana EngelsAnna Rosenkranz (Artists), Dmitry Borovikov (Programming) and Andreas Gefken (Design and Management). In addition, we partnered with two students of geography didactics from Uni Köln who acted as our experts.

I was the main programmer during this project. I setup the project and prototyped the two gamemodes. During the project I still did most of the programming work, including everything relating to the levels (except sound). I also guided the Dmitry in his work, as it was his first time using Unreal.
Since the game needed to be in german and in english, I also handled the technical aspect of localization.

This video shows off pretty much all of the content and features of the game.

Download the game HERE.
You can read more about the development Process HERE.
The Game was published on the University of Cologne’s Website for Geography didactics, see HERE.

Final Sprint and Exhibition (Week 7)

JULY 19 – JULY 25

We got some useful feedback from the playtest, although it was mostly things we knew. This sprint had two endings really, the Final Presentation on Monday the 23rd, and the Exhibition Day on the 25th. We had to do some heavy prioritisation in order to get the stuff we wanted to show done by Monday, and the things we wanted to make them feel done by Wednesday. I totaled 53,5 work hours from July 19 to noon on July 25, excluding the Presentation, with 48 Tickets on HackNPlan.
Continue reading “Final Sprint and Exhibition (Week 7)”

Polish for the Playtest (Week 6)

JULY 11 – JULY 18

We had, thanks to Emmanuel, found a group of students to playtest with, and the date was set to be July 18th, the day of our next sprint meeting, late afternoon. So we decided to focus on playability for this week. We also decided to hold a game jamming session on the day of the next sprint meeting. For that reason I’ll include all of the 18th in this post.
Continue reading “Polish for the Playtest (Week 6)”