Schell Games, Expected Fall 2016
Happy Atoms is an augmented reality chemistry modeling set with physical toys and a digital app. The app takes pictures of completed molecules built with the toy and identifies them for the player. The discovery of molecules feeds into a game loop featuring a map that tracks the progress of each discovery and a research (quest) system that encourages players to find specific molecules. This was the first project I directed, and my responsibilities spanned team direction, working closely with our manufacturing partner, Thames and Kosmos, coordinating with our research partner, WestEd, and reporting our progress to the Department of Education, our grant funder.
Role: Project Director
Schell Games, October 12, 2015
Orion Trail followed in the footsteps of Enemy Mind as a jam week project turned full project. I was chosen by the team to join in once it was internally green-lit to create sustainable systems for this space-comedy adventure game. I designed the game’s Probability Drive, an outcome selector that modifies its odds for an outcome based on player attributes. Each encounter has four outcomes, Critical Failure, Failure, Success, and Critical Success, and any encounter can be navigated using one of five attributes. In addition to balancing the systems, I wrote content for these encounters, which included the setup and 20 outcomes.
Role: Systems Designer
Schell Games, June 6, 2014
Enemy Mind was conceived as an internal jam week project which was pitched to the leadership and turned on as a small-team project. Although I was not involved in the pitch process, I was brought in as a level designer to balance the difficulty curve across the game. I collaborated with the other designer to shape what kind of behavior we wanted out of the enemy ships and defined the pacing of each level. Using our internal scripting system, I created encounters and tweaked them in response to playtest data.
Role: Level Designer
Schell Games, Unreleased
This was my second internship during the ETC program and it was a definite change of pace for me. They had just started the project a mere two weeks before I joined planting me firmly into the concept phase; it was a good continuation of my game development experience, compared with my experience of beta with Dungeon Defenders and alpha with XCOM. It was a small team (3 designers, 1 artist, 1 producer) and we focused on planning the core systems and defining the player experience. It was a fantastic mentorship experience particularly because the team was small and the other designer that I worked closely with was systems-oriented like myself.
The Bureau: XCOM Declassified
2K Marin, August 20, 2013
I was a part of the XCOM team over the summer between the first and second years of my master’s program. My primary responsibility was to rotate between the level designers to support them on their tasks. I tackled scripting bugs, tuned combat encounters by tweaking cover placement or enemy composition, and prototyped scripted events so that animators and cinematic scripters could see what the level designer wanted. Through this process I received mentoring from a breadth of level designers while contributing to the game in a concrete way during the alpha phase.
Trendy Entertainment, 2011
I started at Trendy during my last semester of undergraduate studies in psychology. It was my first experience in game development environment and the small nature of the studio helped me understand the interplay between the different roles. I started as a quality assurance tester and I transitioned to a level scripter, eventually fixing minor bugs that I found through testing. I was quickly exposed to how the different pipelines worked together to actually build the game and that knowledge was the foundation for my understanding of game development, particularly of the beta phase. I’m grateful to the Trendy team for my first opportunity to work on a game in a professional capacity.
Role: Assistant Producer, Assistant Level Scripter, Senior Game Tester
The Winding Path
This was created as part of a Game Design course taught by Jesse Schell. The constraint of this assignment was to use dice so I designed a cooperative, tabletop RPG adventure where the dice you use represent both your ability to coordinate with the team and your health. This is a selection of my coursework to demonstrate the process of iteration and documentation I used through the process of developing this game.
I am drawn toward game mechanics, and I am enamored with their power to transfer experiences or emotions from one person to another. As part of class, we were asked to list 100 games and the experiences we had with them. I enjoyed the assignment so much that I’ve continued maintaining it by adding new games that I play as well as returning to older games to comment the experiences.
This was a 2012 Global Jam Game entry and in 48 hours we created a nonviolent, top-down dungeon crawler. The theme for this year was the Ouroborus and we elected to use an additional constraint that the game mechanics or content changes based on actions taken in a previous session. It was a wild weekend and I learned exactly what 48 hours means when it comes to scoping a project. I served as designer and producer, Brad Buchanan was the programmer, Anisha Deshmane our artist, and Eric Hamel our sound designer and composer.
Building Virtual Worlds
Building Virtual Worlds is a course that brings together students with various talents and perspectives to collaborate and rapidly prototype interactive experiences on various platforms such as Microsoft Kinect, Head Mounted Display, Nintendo WiiMotes, and others. For every round, the students are shuffled into teams which include a programmer, a 3D modeler, a 2D/Texture artist, and a sound designer. Each round has a theme and a specific time line associated with it.
My main contribution to these projects was textures and 2D art, and I collaborated on the game design and interaction development. In addition to these roles, I was elected in four of the five group rounds to serve as a producer for the team. Throughout the course, I frequently used Autodesk 3ds Max 2012, Adobe Photoshop CS5.5, and Adobe After Effects CS5.5. I also began to learn Autodesk Mudbox 2012. All game development was done in Unity.