I've worked in a variety of toolsets, built scripts to automate them, designed and built internal web applications to track, analyze and improve processes, and prototyped mechanics using Lua and ActionScript.
I understand how to solve problems within the scope and constraints of a larger design while maintaining the key elements that make a feature fun and effective. I can quickly understand the overall picture of a project and how to put my design skills to use improving it.
I know how to get a design across effectively and how to keep everyone on the same page as the design changes and evolves. I am always improving and updating my design documentation skills so that I can make the whole project better and more effective.
I'm currently experimenting with Dan Cook's game design logs.
I was very excited when I was offered the chance to mentor students from Vancouver Film School's Game Design program on their final projects. The 3-month development cycle is a chance for them to show off what they've learned in the rest of the program while receiving feedback and guidance from industry mentors. During the last year I've had the chance to work with dozens of students as they rush to prototype, build, and iterate on their games. I am extremely passionate about finding reliable, repeatable strategies for creating quality games, and mentoring these students gave me valuable insight into how to guide, direct, and teach more effectively.
I was the lead level designer on SSX. Together with our lead designer and art director, I developed our processes and values for creating and reviewing levels. Within the worlds team, I reviewed level quality and directed improvements, prototyped level designs, made sure our content pipeline was running smoothly, and directed the design and development of our content creation tools.
Outside of the worlds team, I worked with our gameplay, campaign, and interface teams to make sure gameplay requirements for levels were well established, pacing and flow of our levels matched the campaign design, and everything was properly positioned, organized, and displayed within our Google Earth-inspired front end.
I mentored the junior designers on our team in production processes, tuning techniques, communication, and level design. I provided a strong example by being courteous and thorough when dealing with other game areas, and I made every effort to challenge our level design team to solve the source of problems instead of the symptoms.
A huge part of my work on SSX was in designing and producing our content creation toolset. One of the pillars of the project was mass content, building ten times as many levels (of high quality) as the last game. Instead of simply increasing our team size dramatically to attempt that, we wanted to come up with a procedurally driven method to enable us to rapidly build levels.
I was responsible for figuring out what that was going to look like, which things we would tackle, how we would invest effort, and how our content would integrate into the rest of our production process. I also spent a lot of time learning the Houdini environment that we had chosen as the basis for our tools, so that I could think effectively about the procedural process and how the architecture of our toolset would fit together.
SSX shipped with five times as many tracks as any previous game in the franchise.
I was a key part of the earliest efforts to reboot SSX. I designed concepts that became the pillars of our pitch, worked on large parts of various presentations to our internal publishing structure, and gave product pitch presentations to marketing and development groups to build excitement and hype about the game internally. I know what it takes to build a game from an idea to a finished product.
As a side project, I built an internal web application designed to make comparing genre, timing, sales, and review scores easier by plotting, graphing, and connecting Metacritic and other sources of game data. The tool made it extremely easy to look at quality versus sales relationships across many games in a franchise, how different review outlets score different publishers and developers, and how sales in different genres have waxed and waned over time.
I believe data gathering and analysis of this sort is very useful for uncovering interesting scenarios and directing design research.
I was instrumental in starting and cultivating a stronger design community at our studio, holding design discussion meetings with cross-team participation to try and create better design sharing. I believe that extremely strong design culture is essential to creating fantastic games.
I joined the Facebreaker team relatively late in the production cycle and immediately got to work building quality features. I helped to design and finish UI for game modes, helped set up AI patterns for the single player mode, helped out on localization and other general production work, and wrote copy for tons of parts of the game so there was a constant thread of humor throughout the product.