Blowfish Studios (uncredited) Scholastic of America
Horizon: The Game (2016)
Producer and Lead Game Designer
Producer (client relationship management and scheduling), with Game Design responsibilities including overall progression and system design, tutorial design, world design (from book reference), creature/enemy design, powerup designs.
Horizon: The Game is a procedurally-generated side-scrolling platform game with lots of loot drops and unlockables. It was designed to extend the experience of reading Scott Westerfeld’s book series of the same name.
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:
- Moment-to-moment Gameplay, Combat and Enemy Design
I oversaw the general gameplay, including defining the rules for the semi-procedural level generation, and setting the classes and stats of weapons, gadgets (spells), and enemy units. Enemy units were designed in collaboration with the art team and were designed to each have multiple levels of difficulty (both stats and behavior, as well as a minimum player-level spawn requirement) to increase the difficulty for the players over time. Methods of taking damage and healing were also my responsibility.
- Metagame Design and Player Progression
I defined and oversaw the system of in-game drops (items and lore) from three types of chests (“luggage” as per the IP’s world design), as well as the flow to craft new items, and the player levelling system (which functioned as a game difficulty guide). The design was focused on identifying anticipated player types, both from a skill level as well as how they prefer to engage in the game world. I devised a crafting system that would allow both high and low skill player types to be able to unlock high-level items over time by anticipating what types of sellable items they would be more likely to have an excess of, as well as ensuring that both speedrunners and level explorers would be rewarded in different ways. I was also responsible for future/update planning, including taking a high-level view of new environments and gameplay additions.
- Narrative Delivery Design and IP-Derived Design
While I only did minimal writing for this project, most of the Narrative Design I did was focused on the Tutorial, as well as the aesthetic design of the world, weapons, and enemies, as derived from the book. I also defined the system for the chance to drop audio diaries.
These systems were developed in collaboration with developers, but were researched, planned, documented, and confirmed by me before sending to the client for feedback/approval.