Once a Stray is set in the medieval city of Ghirelheim, a once flourishing city with great wealth, now reduced to a decaying shell of its former glory. Desperate to rid the city of a plague spread by a powerful necromancer, the people seek answers from a sickly king and the church that preaches providential salvation. The fate of Ghirelheim and its inhabitants relies on the success of a stray cat named Auguen, who has been raised from the dead by their caretaker, a non-corporeal spirit and self-proclaimed animancer named Bennet. Auguen must destroy the mystical invading rats that have been cursed to spread the plague and revitalize the once prosperous town.

Player Controller

Phatom Claw

Auguen's basic attack is the Phantom Claw. This attack deals the least amount of damage but it is able to combo into itself. It was designed to be used on the move or when the player is stuck in a bind. It's the go to attack.

Dive Bomb

If the player holds the right shoulder button while in the air it triggers the dive bomb state. In this state, time is slowed down to allow the player to aim their attack. Once the button is released the player shoots forward and causes a nova explosion at their location.

Nova Explosion

When the player activates Auguen's Nova Bomb, the player's movement is stopped. A sphere collider is spawned on the player's position and on contact with the enemies, they are knocked back and take moderate damage.


When the player activates the spirit dash Auguen becomes translucent and his movement speed increases. When Auguen collides with an enemy, they get knocked up and take minimal damage.


The Tri-Beam is the heavy finisher. Pressing the heavy attack button after the using the Nova Explosion spawns in three short range beams that deals massive damage to all enemies in front of the player


What I've Learned

I had never used Unreal Engine in any capacity before working on Once A Stray. The game was made only using blueprints and it’s not pretty under the hood. Wrapping my head around the use of visual scripting after coding in Unity was overwhelming. There was a lot to learn and only four months to learn them. Listed below are some of the main things I’ve learned during the development of Once A Stray:

  • How to manage a team of programmers with varying skill sets
  • Blueprints can get very messy very fast
  • Event tick is a dangerous friend. It can do a lot for you but when you rely on it too much, your performance suffers
  • The difference between a macro and a function and when to use the right one
  • Even the smallest effort to organize your blueprints goes a long way

Having been in the trenches, I can say I’ve learned much more about game development during OAS than when I was going solo. Ive learned about more efficient coding practices, team politics, team management and code refactoring There is still so much more for me to learn but i’m getting there and I am looking forward to the journey.