Nate Smith, originally from Boston, MA, is currently a student at NYU Tisch in New York City. He is acquiring a BFA degree in Game Design and a BS degree in Computer Science. In the past he has worked as an intern at Impeller Studios on In The Black and Epic Games on Fortnite. He specializes in creating unorthodox games with eccentric controls, but most of his professional experience is in user interface programming.
This website is a portfolio. He made it from scratch. Can you tell?
by Epic Games
UI Programming Intern
C++ in Unreal Engine 4
PC/Xbox/Playstation/Nintento Switch/iPhone (lol rip)/Android
Multiplayer Battle Royale
Responsible for programming all Chapter 2 Season 8 UI and HUD, including Sideways Weapons, Sideways Encounters, and Funding Stations. My work largely consisted of retrieving data from the gameplay side and making it available for the UI designers. I managed plugin and module dependencies, and was the sole point-of-contact between two teams.
First assignment: Create a UI crosshairs framework for Sideways Weapons, namely the Sideways Rifle and Sideways Minigun. Firing a Sideways Weapon generates heat, and when a certain threshold is passed, it causes a state change in the weapon which adds increased damage or accuracy, along with a corresponding UI change. If too much heat builds up, the weapon overheats and the player must wait for it to cool down before firing again. The UI takes in heat data from base weapon classes and formats it with useful events, states, and transitions to ensure easy usage by the design team.
Second assignment: Implement the Sideways Encounter UI(s). Sideways encounters were split into two types with radically different design goals and data needs. Large encounters required a counter for each of the 3 secret bosses. Each instance of the small encounters had timers, score counters, and events which needed to be regularly updated across clients for the appropriate players. This feature went through several major design changes during development, which taught me to create more adaptable and expandable code to respond to different goals. This was my first time creating completely new networked content, and working on it advanced my ability to conceptualize multiplayer UI.
Third assignment: Heavily modify an existing system to create Donation Stations for new weapons, unvaults, turrets, and mechs. Players donate to either fund unlocking one item, or fund one of two items. When players spend enough golden bars on a choice then it is unlocked simultaneously across all servers.
In The Black
by Impeller Studios
UI Programming Intern
C++ in Unreal Engine 4
Online Space Combat simulator
My team of 20+ industry veterans was spread across the US, UK, Netherlands, and Spain, and I participated in sprint meetings every day, where we used the Agile framework to manage tasks.
I worked from and wrote several design documents for systems that I then implemented from scratch with C++ in Unreal Engine 4, building on a massive 6+ year old codebase.
The team tasked me with creating new in-game interactive UI elements, and I took the initiative to create automation tools wherever possible.
First assignment: Create a KSP-style "Navball". Right now, only the orientation and movement vector is displayed, but my code allows for expansion in the future so devs can implement pointers to current objectives, enemies, etc. It was my first time working on a code-base of this magnitude, so this task helped me get familiar with world-space UI and networking in games.
Second assignment: Remake the thumbnail rendering system. Previously, each thumbnail was individually captured by a technical artist. I created a system to automatically capture image thumbnails of items and player ships. I worked from a design document by the lead programmer, and the process was a great learning experience in dealing with the asset rendering pipeline in UE4.
Third assignment: Generate in-game radial menu trees for short voice messages and ship-system commands. I worked from a design document from the lead designer with UI/UX references, and I automated menu generation with simple data tables. Currently only the voice messages are implemented, but future designers can easily add ship-system commands for undocking, repairs, ejecting ect.
Fourth assignment: Re-implement the third-person missile camera. I wrote the design document from scratch, and ended up needing to completely remove the old system. By pressing a button, the focus cycles through each fired missile before returning to the player.
Fifth assignment: Add a first-person camera to each missile, and a corresponding dynamically created rendertexture on the player's HUD. Many of my projects used a similar concept for post-processing.
Fall 2021 - Spring 2022
PC VR / Oculus
A VR package delivery game about post-post-apocalypse communities
Involved creating numerous custom VR interactions and systems from scratch.
Interactive bankruptcy visualization.
An artistic data-visualization project in memorial of all NYC companies that have declared chapter 11 and chapter 7 bankruptcy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A narrative adventure about an aging community of friendly animals.
Major Studio Spring Project.
Set in a mystical forest in an isolated valley, players take the role of The Fox, summoned to the woods by a spirit after a fire devastated the Heart of the Forest. Shaken by the catastrophe, the residents of the forest's retirement community have isolated themselves from one another, afraid to make the hike through the smoldering ruins.
Major Studio Fall Project II.
Based on Ocean Dive, a 1 week prototype by Luke Lin.
Control the fate of Planet Earth from the comfort of your space-ship/cubicle.
Major Studio Fall Project I.
Based on The Interuniversal Union for Conservation of Homo Sapiens, a 1 week prototype by Claire Wang. I automated dialogue+decision writing through "Card" ScriptableObjects, which allows us to greatly expand the scope of the project. Definitely more goofy than most games I've made.
Clone of Valve's classic puzzle-FPS.
Intermediate Game Development final project.
The assignment was to clone a famous game, so I picked a very challenging game to code. As lead programmer, I implemented most of Portal 1 & 2's gameplay elements by listening to a lecture by a lead programmer on the originals. I also created tools to automate modeling, texturing, and lighting.
Tattoo. A. Squid. Intermediate Game Development midterm project.
More of a toy than a game; Use the mouse to draw on a gigantic squid.
Bizarre two-player puzzle game, each player controls one half of a demon-duo disguised as a priest to corrupt the congregation.
Two-player arcade space shooter, (maybe) available on the iPad.
4-player puzzle/card game. Each player tries to create the best circuit by connecting wires through appliances and outlets.
A recreation of an old game I made in Python. New sound effects, lighting, enemies, boss behaviors, and levels.