Game Design Portfolio

Shadowdawn: Genesis

A 2D role-playing game using influences from both Japanese-style console RPGs and Western-style sandbox RPGs. Unlike most 2D RPGs, the game is not tile-based and uses floating point positioning in three dimensions for exploration, combat, and interactions. There are many complex game systems involved to allow for a number of playstyles:

  • Nine playable characters that can make up an active party of five.
    • The Leader (Player controlled)
    • Two Vanguard (Typically Aggressive AI). These characters generally have a bonus to attacks, with their behavior and specific bonuses tied to the formation chosen by the leader.
    • Two Support (Typically Passive AI). These characters generally have a bonus to defense and evasion, with their behavior and specific bonuses tied to the formation chosen by the leader. They have a reduced rate of attack but have the ability to draw fire or give buffs to the party. Each pair of characters has their own “Synergy Skill” that, if they are in the support line, will grant a party-wide bonus with varying effects.
  • Each character comes with a “Unique Skill” that is performed with the Secondary Action button. Each skill has usage in combat and during exploration. These unique skills can often be combined with other abilities for even more varied effects.
  • 3D-like exploration:
    • Although the game is displayed in 2D, there are several abilities and puzzles that require making use of height, such as flying or jumping to ledges or splitting the party up to find solutions to roadblocks.
  • NPC schedules and time of day are supported.
  • Customizable equipment via upgrade chips and parts.
  • Skill trees that prioritize the disciplines of “Body”, “Mind”, and “Soul”. Body discipline increases physical prowess in both attack and defense. Mind increases accuracy and evasion, as well as more effective physical skills, while Soul increases potency and ease of using mystical abilities as well as resisting stress, among other things.

More information throughout the devblog:

First-Person Puzzle Level

3D puzzle level designed with the following prefabricated puzzle pieces:

  • Energy/laser emitters and targets that activate or deactivate puzzle elements.
  • Three kinds of barriers: Blue barriers block player movement, green barriers prevent moveable blocks from being carried through them, and yellow barriers prevent lasers from passing through.
  • Two kinds of moveable blocks: White blocks that can block lasers, and blue blocks which can re-direct a laser beam that passes through it.
  • Pressure panels that can either activate a connected object, or automatically launch whatever is placed/standing on them into a specific direction.

A few additions were made to design to add to the interactivity:

  • Three shootable targets that must be located and hit within 4 minutes. Accomplishing this unlock one of the launcher panels to allow the player to move blocks from one section of the puzzle map to the other. Once the 4 minutes expires, the targets and panel will reset.
  • An NPC that can be interacted with.
  • Deadly waste that is linked to a pressure valve.
  • A movable blast shield.

The goal of the map is to activate the four pressure panels that will release the lock on the final exit:

Activating the switch marked “Field Control” at the start of the map allows every yellow and green barrier to switch colors, changing which sections of the puzzle are traversable with the moveable blocks:

The crux of the puzzle is this launcher panel. As the player is blocked from crossing the radioactive sewage pit via the blue barrier, but moveable blocks are allowed, we are encouraged to find blocks throughout the level that can make use of this travel option and place them on the panels opening the final exit:

There is a theme of “give and take” or trade-off in the design, as not only do the yellow and green barriers shift to allow blocks to be carried through different paths and energy lasers to reach new targets, but activating one switch tends to deactivate another function of the map.

Untitled Shadowdawn-themed Tactical RPG

Turn-based, grid-ruled tactical RPG emphasizing fleetfooted, small human units and larger, single-pilot mechanized units with more defensive and offensive abilities. The setting is ground, sky, and near-orbit as enemy forces invade from a distant alien planet.

Levels are designed with enemy fortifications that can launch streams of energy or bullets, which in turn can whittle down any unshielded unit. Strategy requires some mechanized units to draw attention and provide shielding for more offensive, but less shielded mechanized units to pass through safely. Unlike most turn-based games, these fortifications can constantly cause damage so leaving a unit in a vulnerable position is often deadly.

Humans can leave their mecha to perform base explorations and sabotage missions that the larger units cannot reach. Humans take up 1×1 grid, while their mecha operate at 2×2 or even larger in some instances. With careful planning, an enemy mecha or vehicle can be captured and used freely by skilled humans.

There are a number of roles that human characters can choose to focus on which gives various abilities, improving their piloting, technical mastery (for sabotage and hacking missions), repair, and magical abilities that can affect even mecha.

The story branches depending on performance and objective priorities in key missions, along with strengthened camaraderie with specific team members.

Video Slot Machine Gaming

As a generalized senior developer at Ainsworth, assigned and responsible for many assistant design tasks in video slot machine games, focused primarily on presentation and timing as directed by the lead designer. While not responsible for the math models that create the core gameplay, small but numerous design tasks based on understanding limitations of the core platform and collaborating with the lead math designer to hand them the game they envisioned, along with working with art via layouts and limitations, as well as engineers for new features the platform may not have, were all part of the package.

Grand Legacy and Royal Legacy with Andrew DuBose – YouTube (Lead Designer: Andrew DuBose)
Take It or Leave It Trailer – YouTube (Lead Designer: Terry Daly)