Into the Wider World
Creating the "Fimbulvinter" Concept Game
Roles: UX Design, Game Design & Development
Fimbulvinter is a single-player survival RPG inspired by Norse mythology. Set during the aforenamed “Fimbulvetr” – a three-year winter preceding Ragnarok, we follow “Lif” as he learns how to survive in a hostile, dying world.
A still from the completed proof-of-concept. In it, the player character faces down a wolf in a snowy forest.
Fimbulvinter’s main gamplay screen.
Players can explore the world to learn more about the lore, fight vicious creatures of myth, and build lasting relationships with characters.
You can check out the game here.
Why This Game?
Click each line to learn more.
I’ve loved video games since before I was allowed to own a console, and I’ve wanted to work on them in one way or another since high school.
After completing my course in UX/UI, a classmate and I began trying to find an idea that might work well as a proof of concept, competition submission, or a full indie game. Eventually (admittedly, after playing through the 2018 God of War), we settled on the idea of Fimbulvinter and wrote a game design document. I even went so far as to create sketch ideas for sprites, researched Norse weaponry, and built a few wireframes.
Early sketches for the game, depicting a stick figure walking through a forest and hunting a rabbit.
A sketch of an inventory/equip view, with handwritten notes.
Sketches of various sprites and notes.
An early game wireframe with two characters running through a forest.
Early concept art for shields, along with descriptions and scaling math.
Early Fimbulvinter sketches (top left, top center), potential sprite and thematic ideas (top right), an early gameplay wireframe with all elements (bottom left), concept work on shield designs (bottom left).

Design Work

When I started work in earnest, I went back to my sketches and updated them. I tried out a few different layouts to determine the best path forward.

Next, I moved on to wireframes, trying to capture several different scenarios, like cutscenes, boss fights, inventory modals, and regular gameplay. There isn’t much UI change from the wireframes I created during my initial ideation two years prior, but they’re a little cleaner to ensure they don’t pull focus from the gameplay.
A wireframe of players in combat, including health bars over the enemy NPC's head.
Wireframe of an "out of combat" game view.
A wireframe showing how game dialogue might look.
A wireframe of a boos encounter, with a joke boss known as "The Killer Rabbit."
A wireframe of an inventory screen, separating items by type and providing descriptions.
Final wireframes for Fimbulvinter. Click the arrows to see more.
A man with a drawn bow, in a pixellated style.
“Enemy 4” from “Hero and Opponents Animation” by Szadi Art.

With a rough visual idea, I started hunting for assets in the Unity Asset store. Because I wanted to appeal to gamer nostalgia, I used pixellated (64- or 32-bit) assets for foreground objects and higher-resolution images for the background. While finding assets for worldbuilding – backgrounds, interactable objects, and NPCs – was more straightforward, I struggled to find a suitable asset for the player character, mainly because of all the abilities I envisioned he would have.

Eventually, I settled on Szadi Art’s “Hero and Opponents Animation” pack, specifically the archer. Since I had no experience or time to create an asset that could do everything I wanted, I limited my player character’s abilities to long-range (bow and arrow) combat, which still allowed me to keep some of the hunting aspects I wanted for the game.

Building the Game
Click each line to learn more about the development rounds.
To accommodate the project’s testing requirements, I split the development of Fimbulvinter into three rounds: basic mechanics and visuals, combat and animation, and game feel.
Scope Readjustments
Given my relative inexperience with Unity and the constraints of a month-long project, I constantly whittled down the project scope. These changes included a massive reduction of the quest and dialogue systems, removing a loot chest and additional status bar (stamina and body temperature) functions and effects.
After 30 development days, I had a minimally functional, five-minute game with cinematics, ranged combat, multiple scenes, and interactable objects. It isn’t publicly available on, but reviews from players were positive.
While this isn’t my first time working on a digital game (I’ve participated in game jams before), I learned the most from this experience. First and foremost, I know I’m a designer, not a developer. I felt far more comfortable creating sketches and wireframes, building the soundscapes, hunting for assets, and writing quests and lore than implementing them. However, I want to keep developing my skills because design doesn’t live in a vacuum.
Admittedly, I dropped myself into the deep end with this project. The MITx PRO course didn’t adequately prepare me for complex programming, nor did it follow a conventional game design process. I often felt I was scrambling for answers, and I struggled to balance my work on this project with my full-time job. I reached the point of burnout several times, mainly due to the constant issues with an extensive scope and consistently missed deadlines. Speaking from a UX perspective, a lot of this could have been avoided by designing more iteratively, starting the project further out from the submission date, and spending more time familiarizing myself with Unity before the start of the project.
Despite this, the Fimbulvinter project was a valuable first foray into Unity. I better understood Assets, issues with complexity, and the intersection between coding interfaces and more manual processes (such as Unity’s timeline functions). I will continue developing this project and others in the future. I plan to work on creating custom assets, learning how to create passive status effects, and creating more complex quest and dialogue systems.