Blowfish Studios (uncredited) Scholastic of America
Dactyl Hill Squad: Rescue Run (2018)
Senior Producer & Game Designer
Used prior experience working on Endless Runner games to define the high-level game design, and guide junior designers in obstacle design; assisted with overall game direction to fit in line with IP.
Play here: Dactyl Hill Squad: Rescue Run on Scholastic’s Website
Aside from my role as a Producer to deliver the project on time and to the expected quality, the key aspects of design I brought to this project were:
- IP-Derived Design
I assessed the manuscript of Dactyl Hill Squad by Daniel José Older, and identified elements of tone, character, and theme to discuss with the client, as well as using the intended design of book covers to help guide the overall visual look of the game.
- 3×3 Grid Obstacle Design
Because the character was flying rather than “running,” at first it felt like there would need to be a very different way of thinking about obstacles. In truth, once we chose to omit ramps/different levels (see: Subway Surfers for an example), it was the same structure: a 3×3 grid of locations where the player could be at any one time. This is the same as in a standard Runner, whether explicitly or implicitly stated. This was used both to design different types of obstacles (ie, by thinking of them as shapes within the 3×3 grid, eg a column, row, or square), as well as planning which obstacles could follow after each other and still offer an opportunity for players to navigate – ensuring that mistakes felt player-made (fair) and not game-created (unfair).
- Structured Semi-Procedurally Generated Segments
The design of the game required two “environments”: street exterior, and building interior. I ensured that there was a minimum number of each segment, as well as a connecting segment to allow a transition.