What is My Current Status?
I am currently a Jr Combat Designer (Contract) at Gunfire Games!
What was i doing previously?
Previously, I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Game Design from DigiPen Institute of Technology
What am I looking for?
Nothing new at the moment.
Sep 2021 - APR 2022
Team Size: 2
Sorcerer Standoff showed me a new fascination with character, class, and combat design. Creating passive and active abilities that synergized into fun gameplay loops that meaningfully impacted a multi-character ecosystem was intoxicating. Not only did I find the type of design I wanted to pursue professionally, I was able to substantially learn and grow at it over 8 months. With a level designer as my only teammate, I was solely responsible for scripting the core combat systems and all systems/mechanics for our 4 Sorcerers.
As a team, we came up with verbs, adjectives, and themes for our 4 elements, which served as the foundation of each Sorcerer. This gave each Sorcerer a distinct fantasy and set of emotions for us to base their mechanics on. After much brainstorming and iteration of potential mechanics on paper, I moved into engine and began prototyping, testing, and iterating further. We tested multiple times a week following new changes/additions and even tested with our school's fighting game club on occasion! By following this process, keeping an open mind, and staying unattached to our ideas, we delivered flashy, fun, and satisfying combat for 4 unique Sorcerers.
Levin "The Conduit" - Lightning
Pandora "The Voidwalker" - Void
Mordant "The Blight" - Caustic
Azar "The Phoenix" - Summoner
jan 2021 - APR 2021
The foremost goal of Droplet's creation was to deliver a 5-act story with a cathartic ending. However, writing characters and scripts, challenges more associated with narrative design, were not only foreign to me, but daunting too. My inclination towards gameplay and level design made me feel at odds during development.
However, tackling that dissonance resulted in the most important takeaway of the project. That being how I came to understand the importance and necessity of having narrative and gameplay work hand in hand to feel as one.
To accomplish this, levels were divided into several micro challenges, with each providing a new iteration on the player's abilities. This helped to gradually teach the player over time, allow them to build up mastery, and have consistent mechanical and narrative progression. By designing mechanics into micro challenges and around the character's emotions, the player's mechanical mastery became the character's narrative development. The player felt as the character did. With Droplet, I utilized my strengths within gameplay and level design to work through my less developed narrative design skills and provide the cathartic experience I set out to deliver.
Playthrough w/ No Commentary
Sep 2020 - APR 2021
Team Size: 16
As my first project developed fully remote, there were far more challenges than there had been in the past. With everyone trying to find a new work/life balance, motivation was definitely harder to come by, and communication began to suffer. So, to help with this, I made time for additional check-ins to catch up with my teammates, not about their work on the game but about their other classes, their general welfare, and see if there was anyway I could be of help. I initiated check-ins through text chat and gave the option to continue through text or swap to voice and/or video. Doing so helped me understand what my teammates were dealing with so I could better plan out timelines that created a healthier work environment and in turn, helped my teammates find motivation.
The design team wanted to do something new with this project and emergent gameplay was something we all agreed would be challenging, but fun to take on. As the gameplay designer, I meticulously researched systemic design principles during pre-production and worked with the other designers on a pitch to the team. Once we started prototyping, I worked on the tool (called the gravity gun) that would harness these principles, working with our programmers to make sure we had the necessary knobs and dials for quick iteration. In doing so, we turned basic push and pull physics into a single, fun multitool that allowed players to experiment with combat, traversal, and environmental hazards the way they wanted. I also worked on the game's encounters, which included working with our Character Artists, Animator, and AI Programmer to create enemy behaviors, pathing, and combat. One such ability allowed enemies to adapt to the player's actions, altering their appearance and gaining new resistances in an effort to incentivize and reward trial and error with the gravity gun.
Playthrough w/ No Commentary
Sep 2020 - Dec 2020
THE POINT OF NO RETURN
My first 3D project, which is three separate projects incorporated into one, is not traditional gameplay but rather a game-feel showcase/experience. A diegetic main menu, a HUD (heads up display), and a kinesthetic flow (interactive simulation) make up this project, with each having received four weeks of development time. I adore Sci-Fi, so choosing an experience to emulate with this project was simple; it had to be Interstellar. As such, my goal with each of these three projects was to use my eye for feedback to sell Outer Space's terrifying immensity.
Inside a spaceship's cockpit, you interact with futuristic controls, initiate a launch sequence, and encounter one of Space's great anomalies. These projects helped me enhance my C# skills further, become more efficient with universal engine concepts (i.e. particle systems), and ultimately, ship an experience that left testers speechless.
Playthrough w/ Commentary
These Powerpoints were made and presented by me to showcase my concepts and plans for each of the three projects for The Point of No Return. I spent some extra time creating a unique theme for these Powerpoints not only to help support the ideas I was pitching but because its something I enjoy doing!
Nov 2020 - Dec 2020
THE AMSTERDAM BICYCLE FISHERY
The goal of my first 3D project was not to deliver a full-length game but rather a prototype that immersed players in a targeted fantasy. Many ideas came to mind for this project but I wanted to do something weird, something that most people hadn't heard of. So, I searched the phrase "Crazy Jobs" and found an array of interesting occupations, like the one at the heart of The Amsterdam Bicycle Fishery. Between four other Unity projects (The Point of No Return), a fourteen-person Unreal project (Grav-Link), and six-weeks to ship, this project taught me a lot about prototyping, rapid iteration, and time management.
At the start of development, I attempted replicating what I had found in my research. I tested, prototyped, and iterated the physics-heavy interactions, but as I continued to attempt realism, fun was few and far between. I was so worried that imperfect replication of my inspiration would hurt immersion, but I learned immersion comes from so much more than realism. So, I implemented new solutions, like the code sample below, which resulted in mechanics that had the uniqueness of their real-life counterparts while also being fun, responsive, and immersive.
The videos below have a unique perspective in that they showcase an entire year of my growth as a designer. The video on the left shows the prototype I completed in six-weeks, which was my first foray into 3D. The video on the right showcases my return to this project one year later with the lessons I learned from Grav-Link and Droplet.
Rapid Prototyping & Iteration
Iteration and Polish
Sep 2019 - May 2020
Team Size: 15
This was not only my first time working on a multi-disciplinary team, it was the first time for everyone! Combined with using a custom engine made by our programmers, this project had many novel challenges in store. Our team was full of incredible talent but we knew that meant far less if our ability to communicate wasn't as incredible. To tackle this, each department (Design, Art, Tech, Sound) had a lead whose duty it was to understand what was going on in their department and communicate that during weekly lead meetings and milestone presentations.
Although I did just that as Design Lead, my communication efforts did not stop there. As Systems Designer, I playtested and iterated mechanics implemented by our gameplay programmer as well as WIP assets from the Art and Audio departments. I collaborated with our animator, VFX artist, and graphics programmer to harmonize their amazing work with our mechanics to create the game's satisfying gameplay. I worked with our other designer to establish a steady engagement flow in our levels through carefully paced out challenges and strategic use of the high in quality, low in quantity limitation of our hand-drawn assets.
Through many successes and failures, this project laid the foundation for how I work in a multi-disciplinary environment to respectfully and conscientiously help those around me make the most of their incredible talent!
Overcoming a communication roadblock
Playthrough w/ No Commentary
Jan 2020 - April 2020
SLAM VAN DAMME
During the production of Nohra, I developed and designed Slam van Damme, a 2D Beat 'em Up reminiscent of classic arcade games. With this project, I created a short but heavily polished five- to ten-minute experience using Unity. I also scripted the entire project myself, which was something I had never done before.
Through signifiers and guided trial and error, I practiced designing tutorials that were hidden in gameplay. I kept a steady engagement flow using a five-act structure (Setup, Hook, Development, Turn, Resolution) within the level and gameplay mechanics. Most importantly, I added TONS of visual and audio feedback over the course of development to deliver on the Challenge and Accomplishment engagement types which pulled players into challenges and rewarded their victories. Through the iterative design process as well as weekly check-ins and milestones, I achieved a short yet sweet game that delivers on my targeted engagement types and experience.
Playthrough w/ No Commentary
Sep 2019 - Dec 2019
CATS OF GIZA
During the pre-production of Nohra, I also developed and designed two analog games; a 1v1 card game and a 2v2 board game. The 1v1 card game was built and tested from the ground up, solely by me, in six weeks. In that time, I created an asymmetrical combat system in which I implemented and balanced various systems, including power, armor, health, dodge, and accuracy, to create a complete combat experience for two unique characters.
After six weeks, I moved on to create a 2v2 board game, which required me to adapt my preexisting combat system to include ranged combat, a map, eight unique characters, and meaningful teamwork all within another six weeks. These two projects showed me how to create systems based on a theme or feeling rather than just a spontaneous, cool-sounding mechanic or idea. This made my game more engaging, interesting, and unified.