Project: A Panda In Glasses [WIP]




I love games.


I love talking about games.


I love the colour orange.


And A Panda In Glasses is a personal project which brings them all together! APIG is (and will be) a video series created, edited, and presented by myself where I’ll be focusing on games and the teams/design decisions behind them.


I enjoy Youtube channels and other kinds of media from a variety of websites, but they seem to mostly focus on the industry. I’d like to instead focus on more behind-the-scenes things and discuss design principles and more, as well as forcing people to look at some very orange videos. We all win.






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Where Have I Been?



My Portfolio has been rather quiet for a while so I thought I’d give a quick update!

And honestly, the main reason is exhaustion. With how hard I’ve been working these days, I just haven’t had a lot of time for much of anything except resting after work. But with the holiday season having been and gone, I’m finding myself more free time to get back into what I love most; the colour orange. Also games. But have you seen the colour orange?!!

So a few little things,

  1. I’ve slightly re-organized the portfolio a bit. Not massively, but just making room for other things.
  2. I have a mini personal project that I’ll be posting and starting very very soon. I’ve got the header and everything set up for it which I usually do about 20 seconds before I post something, so it’s about 99% ready.
  3. And another personal project that’s a lot BIGGER I’m going to crack on with.

Other than that, I still love games. Still want to work in games. Nothing’s changed on that front!

An Update!

It’s been quite quiet on the site for a bit now. That’s down to just a few reasons! But I thought I’d just post a quick update about a few projects I’m working on that will be ready to post up shortly.

| App!

A new game is one! A small app I did at Uni for a project which I’ve decided to go back to, straighten up a bit, and try and get it out for others to play. The intention is for it to be absolutely free, but it’s an app me and my friends enjoyed playing and others might do too!

| Video Series!

I’ve always liked writing about gaming things, be them the actual games or the industry itself. So I quite liked the idea of trying to branch out into videos! The videos haven’t quite hit the quality I want right now, but they’re getting there. I’ll be making some posts about it soon.

| Novels!

I love writing! As I said above. And rather than sit on some of my ideas, I might as well jot some down and I’ve enjoyed writing small novels here and there and looking to expand on that a bit.

So there’ll be a lot of content coming soon on this website! Just need some time off work to get it all set up (as I hope is visible, I spend a lot of time on the presentation of my portfolio) and it’ll be up!

Update DONE!

An Introduction




Welcome to my Portfolio! My name is Dom Ward, I’m a young and enthusiastic Game Designer, and I have an About Me page if you want to know more! Feel free to browse my website which I somehow cobbled together one rainy week-end; navigation options are to the right and below the header, and the Portfolio is split into 5 different categories.


The portfolio is 99% dedicated to the colour orange, but the other 1% is solely focused on gaming, as well as my own work revolving around it.


Below is some more information about my portfolio, as well as some quick links!


| About Me |


I was born in 1992 in Newcastle upon Tyne. After attending school up to Sixth Form, I was struggling to decide what I wanted to do in life while applying for University. My biggest hobby and my biggest interest had always been video games since the first time I cried while watching my brother play Resident Evil 2.

In order to pursue this I dropped out of applying for University that year and instead attended Newcastle College to do a Game Design course. After achieving the necessary grades I then attended Northumbria University and graduated three years later with a degree in Computer Games Design & Production.

I’m proud of that achievement. But what I’m prouder of is that, after 5 years of education in the Game Design field, I’m even more excited and passionate to work in games than I was the first day I filled out my College application.


| Portfolio Categories |


These posts focus on art and graphics made, either in 2D, 3D, or hand-drawn.



Blogs are personal posts about games or updates regarding my website.



These posts feature Game Design content like Level and World designs.


Reviews of games I loved or hated! (but usually love)





#E3 – Nintendo’s Spotlight [What I think]


Nintendo. I don’t think there’s anyone who loves games that doesn’t have a soft spot for ol’ Ninty.

I don’t at the moment own a Switch. But I want one. Nintendo have already sold me on whats a fun and unique platform. Their next job is to keep piling the games onto it so when I finally jump in (knowing they’re doing bundles with different coloured JoyCons, I literally am waiting just to ensure I get a good one) I can jump in big.

So I went into this presentation already sold on their platform and simply wanting to see more!

Top Announcements

| Xenoblade Chronicles 2

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not the biggest JRPG fan. In general they just aren’t games that attract me. But Xenoblade Chronicles on the Wii was one of the few which I played and utterly adored. So knowing its getting a sequel on the Switch, I’m excited for it!

And it looks fantastic. With it being set to release this year as well, if there’s a good bundle this Christmas there’s a good chance I’d pick it up with a Switch.

| Kirby

A new game featuring the “Angel of Death” of Smash Bros.? Brilliant!

It looks like an interesting game. And with it featuring co-op, that plays right into one of the big draws of the Switch straight away, which is co-op right from out of the box. I’ll always have a soft spot for my favourite Smash Bros. character and its great to see him getting some attention.

| Switch’s Pokemon RPG

So we didn’t get to really see anything about this apart from learn that it exists. But if this really is a full Pokemon game on the Switch with the added ‘oomph’ that handheld iterations don’t have, its pretty much what I’ve been asking for.

| Metroid Prime 4

Finally we get to see what Retro has been working on and would you believe it, another Metroid Prime. Just another tease like the above, but its a good tease. I’m happy to know we’ve got this coming along.

| Yoshi

What’s with Nintendo and just calling the game by the character’s name? I hope these are just temporary names!

But more Yoshi is always great to hear. It looks like a fun little platformer and it does look bright and colourful. Not that I’d expect anything less from a Nintendo game featuring Yoshi; as hilarious as it’d be to get given a dark, brooding Yoshi game I’m also relieved Nintendo won’t ever do that… right?

| Mario Odyssey

Can any Mario game top the brilliance of Galaxy? Who knows, but Odyssey seems to be giving it a pretty good go! It continues to look great with a rather weird trailer. But after Nintendo proved exactly what their team can do with the huge Breath of the Wild, I have nothing but faith in them in giving us a huge Mario game to enjoy.

| Metroid: Samus Returns

Another Metroid game? You spoil us, Ninty.

This one looks very fun! Its a re-imagining of Metroid 2 being made by some of the Castlevania guys. You really couldn’t make it up! It’s a shame I’m somewhat disappointed that this is a 3DS game and not on the Switch, but I hope it makes its way to the Switch eventually since I’d love to play it and wouldn’t want to buy a 3DS just for a single game now that a brand new platform is out.

What’d I think?

Another fantastic presentation from this year’s E3 and a great way to end it! Plenty of great games announced and so much to look forward towards that the Switch is getting better and better. The only thing I’d have liked is a little more clarity! Two big announcements were nothing but teasers and I’d enjoy more in-depth looks at the titles on show.

But a very strong showing from Nintendo this year for sure. After feeling their presentations at E3 have been weak for a few years now (as much as I love Breath of the Wild, showing just it and Pokemon wasn’t enough last year), they’ve come back in full force. Good job, Ninty!

#E3 – Bethesda’s Conference [What I think]


If there’s one thing I’ll always appreciate about Bethesda in recent years, its their continued support of the single-player, campaign-driven games. Arkane Studios has been on fire for a while now, producing quality on top of quality, and DOOM was among the most refreshing games I’ve seen all generation. And that’s on top of Skyrim and Fallout 4.

So this conference starts with them riding a lot of goodwill and with some very high expectations from me.

Top Announcements

| VR 

One of the flaws I thought of Sony’s press conference was a lack of quality VR titles being announced. Bar Resident Evil 7, not much has really done a lot to show just how good VR truly can be. So I’m impressed that Bethesda definitely seems to be supporting it by announcing both DOOM and Fallout VR titles.

It’s great to see VR supported by two games, but I can’t imagine my stomach is going to agree with DOOM VR all too much. I suppose I’ll have to wait and see!

| Skyrim on Switch

I’m not looking at jumping back into Skyrim in any hurry, but I do have to say seeing it run on the Switch is pretty cool. When I get a Switch, Skyrim might have to be one of the titles I get along with it.

| Dishonored: Death of the Outsider

Above I just sung Arkane’s praise. Dishonoured 1, 2, and Prey are among my top titles for years and I can’t wait to see what else they do. So some additional content for Dishonoured is a great thing to know is coming! It looks like an interesting expansion and thankfully September isn’t too long to wait. Definitely be picking this one up!

| The Evil Within 2

In my pre-show musings about the conferences, I put that I’d love to see a sequel to The Evil Within at E3 this year. I loved the original and Resident Evil 4 remains a game I don’t think anyone, let alone me, will be forgetting in a hurry.

So this was a great surprise announcement. The game looks fantastic and if it can fix the technical hiccups of the original while maintaining the same quality of gameplay, I’ll be picking this up as soon as I can.

Resident Evil 7 went back to horror and did a damn good job at that, so I think this time The Evil Within 2 doesn’t have as much of an easy ride when it comes to scaring us. The competition’s steep this time around! But I’m optimistic it can be pulled off.

| Wolfenstein 2

Another break-out hit I didn’t think I’d enjoy so much! Not quite up there with DOOM, but it really showed that Bethesda know how to do a great FPS. The sequel, like above, if it’s just more of the same quality gameplay with some brand new additions then I’m sold already and it looks like just that.

And a continuation of what I praised Bethesda for moments before; a single-player campaign-driven game. I can’t wait.

What’d I think?

It was okay. I was a little bit surprised it ended when it ended; Bethesda unveiled a few great new games, namely Wolfenstein and Evil Within 2, but as excited for both of them as I am (and for more Dishonoured content) they were just sequels. I didn’t really see anything brand new and exciting. Even the VR titles. They’re VR versions of what we already know.

A significant lack of “new” from Bethesda this year and a little bit underwhelming for that reason. A weaker presentation I didn’t expect from them, sadly.

#E3 – Ubisoft’s Conference [What I think]


Another conference I was very much looking forward to was Ubisoft’s. With a slew of games already announced I was looking forward to and them always managing to surprise me with new and innovative titles, I had my fingers crossed that this year’s conference would be exactly that.

And not just big titles, but smaller ones too. Titles like Grow Home, Child of Light, and the Rayman games may be small compared to Assassin’s Creed but I absolutely loved them just as much. Can’t wait to potentially see more.

Top Announcements

| Mario + Rabbids

We all saw the leak. We all did. Lets not try and hide that. So getting it out first seemed like a good choice, Ubi.

And I thought it sounded interesting when first reading it and now I’m actively anticipating it! It’s a wacky, crazy game with no rhyme or reason. I ask myself why does this game even exist? And that’s EXACTLY the type of game I look forward to. From the gameplay it seems to be a comedic XCOM 2 with Mario characters and Rabbids trying to BE Mario Characters. It looks fantastic. The only thing this game seems missing is a pre-order button!

(And getting a Switch first might also be of some help to me playing it)

| Shigeru Miyamoto

Not really a game announcement. He’s actually a human being! But seeing him on-stage with Ubisoft was pretty cool.

| Assassin’s Creed: Origins

I’ve been enjoying Assassin’s Creed since its inception, but I think there’s been very clear differences between them. Assassin’s Creed 2, Brotherhood, and Black Flag all seem to be just a slight level ahead of any other titles in the franchise, for example.

Origins, with its longer development cycle, I’m hoping will be up there with the best and from the gameplay footage it looks bigger and more expansive than ever. Which is a great start. I love the setting and I’m going in with my expectations high.

| Crew 2

So I’m not the biggest racing game fan. I enjoy the DIRT series and I’ve played Forza Horizon because they’re a bit different; less of a sim game and more of a “Never stop pressing the accelerator” type of game. At least how I play them, anyway.

But Crew 2 looks very fun! It looks like big, crazy racing game and that’s what I’m looking for. Definitely got my eye on this one.

| Skull & Bones

Assassin Creed 4’s pirate gameplay in its own big standalone game? I’m sold.

It sounds very fun. Being excited for Sea of Thieves, this looks like a different take on a similar format; sail the seven seas with friends and plunder all you like! I think between them, Microsoft and Ubisoft have covered my pirate itch for the generation if both games shape up well.

| Far Cry 5

Another franchise of Ubisoft’s that I’ve really enjoyed. I loved the first one by Crytek and the second one as well, but 3 and 4 really took it up a notch with not only a great open-world but two very compelling villains.

This new title seems like a very bold move for the franchise. I’m almost assured that it’ll have the same solid gameplay I’ve come to expect from the franchise, and my eye is keenly fixed on how it’ll handle its setting and all the characters involved. So I’ll really- wait, you have a dog? SOLD!

| Beyond Good & Evil 2

An incredible cinematic trailer which showcased a game we’ve seen murmurings about for many years, and I’m so excited to know it’ll finally be heading our way eventually. The original was a fantastic game and I’ve been looking forward to the sequel ever since the first rumours began to circulate.

And it was great to see Michael Ancel on stage looking very moved and emotional at the fact he was finally standing at E3 and showcasing this game for the first time. Shows this really was a project he was passionate about and I can’t wait to play it!

What’d I think?

One of the best conferences Ubisoft’s had for a while now. A load of brand new games which are just so un-connected you’d never guess they were from the same company; we’ve got a funny little strategy game, a massive pirate game, open-world action in America, and a pig swearing! A very good presentation with a lot to look forward to.

And a final note. I loved the ending! We had Michael Ancel on stage talking about this dream project of his finally becoming a reality, and we had all the Ubisoft devs at E3 come onto stage to end it with Yves. It had a lot of heart, Ubi. You should be proud of this one!

#E3 – PC Gaming Conference [What I think]


I’m a PC Gamer. I became a PC Gamer because, being the youngest of 3 brothers, I would always be last in line to play on any of the consoles. But that always left our computer free and so that became my private little gaming platform and I’ve never moved off it being my primary platform.

So this was, naturally, a great conference that had the potential to show a lot of things I would be interesting in buying.

Top Announcements

| XCOM 2 – War of the Chosen

XCOM 2 was a brilliant game which I’ve played through multiple times. The modding scene is huge and I’ve enjoyed making each play-through different every time by utilizing a variety of different ones. My last one had a variety of Mass Effect mods piled on to make the experience unique and familiar.

So hearing of a big expansion coming for the come, I couldn’t be more on board and just what I needed to jump back into the game! It sounds fantastic and is definitely something I’ll be buying as soon as I am able to. And it sounds impressive. I’d expect the kind of gameplay additions they’re touting in a sequel, not just an expansion.

August 29th can’t come sooner!

| Ooblets

Double Fine comes in with Ooblets, a game… well. It’s definitely a game!

It looks beautiful to start with, and as funny and quirky as I’d expect from Double Fine. But it looks like some sort of Pokemon crossed with Stardew Valley and that’s a combination I can’t wait to try out! And to reiterate an earlier point from previous posts, I’m loving just how much colour and variety there is at this E3. Ooblets continues to impress.

| Total War: Warhammer 2

I’m a massive Warhammer fan. In 40k I collect Eldar and Necrons, with an Eldar force that at this point is ridiculous, and for Fantasy I’ve stuck with my Wood Elves for a while now ever since the new Codex came out, with a bit of High Elves in there for good measure.

So Creative Assembly picking up the Warhammer license was a big deal for me. The first title was great, and this second one is shaping up to be a rather fantastic experience too. I loved seeing the High Elves and honestly, I’m not worried about this game at all. CA haven’t let me down once before, they won’t start now.

| Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds

I’m pretty sure, despite how much I’ve played this game, that I still type the name if it wrong but lets continue anyway.

As the best example of Battle Royale (and I’ve bought a LOT of the games which promised it), it’s nice to hear that it looks set to receive some big updates in the future to make it more exciting and feel more alive. I’m already loving it despite Early Access so as long as the game isn’t ruined just give me more things and I’m golden.

| Killer Floor 2’s Summer Sideshow

A free update for Killing Floor 2 adding in lots of content the day after the announcement? Oh Tripwire, you shouldn’t have!

| Klei’s New Game

So Klei are making a new game, Grift Lands. It looks and sounds great but honestly, at this point, just telling me that Klei are making a new game is like telling me Arkane Studios are too; I don’t really need to know what it is to know that I’m going to most likely love it!

Bring on every offering you have, Klei, I’m still enjoying Invisible Inc.

| Age of Empires

I think Age of Empires was one of the first strategy games I ever played. And with my young mind not quite being able to grasp much above Sonic the Hedgehog at that point, it wasn’t a game I played much of but I’ve always wanted to go back and play it. It looks like exactly my type of game.

So hearing that it’ll be getting a remake/remaster, with every asset re-made, is just music to my ears. Perfect timing! I’ll happily wait for this and look forward to giving one of the original strategy games some of my time.

What’d I think?

I am very impressed! I can’t really remember the last PC Gaming conference which probably goes a long way in explaining my opinion of it. But this one had a lot of games, a lot of great announcements from some of my favourite developers, and I enjoyed the different feel this conference had to the other ones. I enjoyed developers actually chatting and revealing how they made the game. As a Game Designer, I naturally am immensely interested in just about every part of a game’s creation process.

So a great presentation and a lot of titles to look forward to!

#E3 – Sony’s Conference [What I think]


A lot of eyes were on Sony this year. Not only are they leading the industry with the incredible success of the PS4, but after a very strong showing last year and with not only the Playstation but the PS4 Pro and the Playstation VR too, Sony have a lot of offerings and a lot of customers that can’t wait to be impressed by what the company has to show.

I myself don’t currently own a PS4, but I definitely intend to get one. So this conference I hope would be the tipping point of me finally jumping on board with Playstation.

Top Announcements

| Days Gone

I’m still a sucker for the zombie games. This and State of Decay 2 I’m fully wanting to scratch that itch, and Days Gone is looking better every time I see it. The zombie hoards on the initial trailer were very impressive, but I’m glad to see that this game isn’t shaping up to just be a Left 4 Dead-style title and looks like it has a lot more depth to it with a bigger variety of enemies than just the good ol’ zombies.

Looking forward to one day playing it, looks like a very solid game.

| Shadow of the Colossus Remake

A remake I can very much get on board with! Or I suppose, not really get on board with but scrabble up the side of.

Shadow of the Colossus was a fantastic game. It was one of my favourite PS2 games and that’s saying something considering the ridiculous library of titles that game actually has. I initially assumed this would just be a good remaster but a ground-up remake is music to my ears. Very excited to give it a try! I just hope the game I loved so much is still in there.

| Call of Duty WW2

I think this might be the first Call of Duty I’ve been looking forward to for quite a few years now. I’ve always enjoyed the COD games but since MW2 I’ve never bought them full-price on Day 1. But I like the shift back to WW2 that this title’s doing and the multiplayer does look very fun. The sound quality is excellent, too. I’ll need to think about this one…

| God of War

God of War has been among the top action games for when I just wanted to relax. Yes that might come across as weird, but I always found games like DOOM relaxing too. Just a single, straight-forward goal; destroy everything in your path.

And this new one is shaping up rather well. I wasn’t sure what to think when it was first revealed but I’m definitely on board now.

| Destiny 2

Having never played the original but always thinking it did look very good, finally seeing the second game in action and knowing it’ll be hitting PC along with the consoles makes me looking forward to finally jumping in and giving Bungie’s new franchise a try.

| Insomniac’s Spider-Man

After Sunset Overdrive was one of the most refreshing titles in a while and with possibly one of the most fun E3 trailers ever (“Of course you can, it’s a f***ing videogame”), I was always anticipating what they’d go out and do next and I never would have guessed they’d jump in on a licensed Spider-Man game.

And it’s shaping up very well! We all love a bit of Spidey and after the great Spider-Man 2 on PS2, I’ve not really been excited for another game of his since this one. And I trust Insomniac to do a terrific job!

What’d I think?

Sony showed a lot of games which I’m looking forward to getting. And though I definitely enjoyed the conference, it did feel somewhat underwhelming. Last year’s E3 conference had some of the biggest announcements ever, whereas this year Sony felt lacking in any big hitters. Lots of great games, but not a single “WOW!” moment from me.

And the lack of VR is disappointing. We did get shown some of it and I love VR and I want it to work; I actually tipped PS VR to be THE device to really bring it to the consumer market rather than just enthusiasts on PC. But there just seems to be a lack of system-seller titles for VR. Skyrim is fun but I’ve no interest jumping back into it with VR.

A good conference. But a little bit disappointing.

#E3 – Microsoft’s Conference [What I think]



Microsoft was up next and was definitely who I had my eyes on this year. After strong showings previous years but then an unfortunate amount of bumps in the hill, such as Scalebound being cancelled, it made me worried in some ways but hopeful in others that they had to have been working tirelessly to fill in the gaps left.

Though I don’t own an Xbox, I do own a PC and I’m happy that Microsoft are now embracing their PC players. And was an additional reason I was looking forward to their conference more than usual; Sony needs to sell me on a PS4. But MS doesn’t if they’re bringing their titles to Windows.

Top Announcements

| Metro: Exodus

Now this was a great announcement! One of my all-time favourite franchises were the STALKER games on PC. Shadow of Chernobyl loaded up with a few quick mods and you have a game so incredibly ahead of its time and a lot of fun. And so Metro has also become a favourite franchise of mine too, with an atmosphere that is hard to match.

This new one looks like a lot of fun and seems to be taking the cue from many linear titles in throwing us into a more open-world and pushing exploration even further. Which makes this Metro closer to STALKER than ever before! I just hope the same great story and atmosphere persists.

| State of Decay 2

Another game which I loved. It was simple and easy to play, with a hidden depth and charm to it. And the one thing I always thought that game was missing was just a slight ‘boost’, and co-op.

Looks like they’ve definitely added both! It was one of my top games announced last year and it seems to be coming along perfectly, I couldn’t really ask for more… except for perhaps an earlier release date. And a free copy. Make that 2!

| Crackdown 3

Okay, Microsoft. I already wanted this game. All you had to do was show me some more of it and that’d be fine but ooooh no, you HAD to bring in Terry Crews which means I can’t not buy this game. Thanks!

The game looks like mad, crazy fun. I never expected anything less than that, but its always nice to know that’s exactly what we’ll be getting!

| Minecraft Cross-Play

My enjoyment of this announcement is less of playing Minecraft with other platforms and more just seeing Microsoft and Nintendo open to working together like this. I hope Sony changes their mind and comes on-board because it’s nice to see companies genuinely put players first with this kind of move.

With their push into PC too and a willingness to do cross-platform play, I’ve liked new Microsoft’s less aggressive platform pushing compared to last generation when it was them who refused Steam on Xbox and them who wouldn’t do cross-platform play with Sony. This move is a continuation of that and I think it’s great to see!

| Sea of Thieves

I’ve been very vocal of my desire to play this game and seeing it in motion did nothing to lessen that. It looks like exactly what I expect from a Rare game; it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It doesn’t try too hard to be something it isn’t. It’s just a focus on stupid fun and I’m looking forward to firing myself out of a cannon very soon!

Game’s shaping up well!

| Super Lucky’s Tale

I’m a sucker for colourful, quirky platformers. I’m already sold.

| Life is Strange: Before the Storm

I loved the first Life is Strange! So much so that it and similar games served as the backbone for my University dissertation in my final year and I managed to argue that playing it was “research”. Which would be a very proud moment of my life!

Looks like it’ll be an interesting new story, and I hope maintains the sharp writing and believability (time-reversing powers aside) of the last one.

| Ori & The Will of Wisps

MS’ conference just keeps delivering on my favourite games! Ori & The Blind Forest was up there with Ubisoft’s new Rayman games as my favourite 2D platformers around, and Ori was un-matched in just how beautiful of a game it was.

And the trailer alone shared that beauty. It looks stunning just like the original and definitely a game I’ll be picking up.

| Cuphead


| Xbox One X

So it isn’t a device I’ll be looking to pick up. But I love the idea of it! And I think it’s a better direction than the PS4 Pro; if you’re going to make a big powerful console, you cram as much as you can into it! And it seems like MS has done just that. Every game so far showed off running on the X has been quite spectacular.

| The Smaller titles!

So many unique little Indie games and smaller titles being shown off. The Darwin Project, the Last Night, Deep Rock Galactic, and a lot more. They all look fantastic and not even a little bit like one another to boot. That’s exactly what I want from my E3!


What’d I think?

A very, very good presentation from Microsoft! And I was surprised at just how colourful it was. A lot of variety and a lot of bright, exciting games. Sunset Overdrive was always the brightest game they showed off and now it seems like one of the many colourful titles hitting PC and Xbox in the near future.

They definitely came out swinging, here. I’m impressed at how many of their games I can’t wait to slam the cash down for.