Major Projects

These highlighted senior projects are notable for a combination of end products, including a final playable product. In most cases, these are group projects involving members from disparate areas of study.

Conclave

Role: character designer, trailers

A third-person free-for-all in the style of classic fighting games, Conclave combines combo-based magical weapons and spells with dynamic multiplayer action. Players can choose from five unique classes, each with a distinctive style of magic that favors a particular playing style. Built in the Source engine, Conclave is scheduled for public release in summer 2013.

Visit Conclave on the web
Watch Fall 2012 Trailer

As one of the designers on the Conclave team, I was primarily responsible for creating characters and their abilities, as well as balancing them based on feedback from internal playtesting. Our design team also worked on high-level gameplay design, such as the role of combos, blocking, movement, and healing. We worked closely with a separate engineering team, who did the majority of the implementation. In addition, I designed and editing the Conclave trailers, using in-game recordings and footage rendered in Source FilmMaker.


Combiform

Role: designer and programmer

Play the Combi-shooter demo!

Combiform was a 2012 USC graduate thesis created by Andy Uehara and Ed Yee. It was a gaming platform based around a unique controller that could physically connect to other controllers, adding a physical and social aspect to gameplay.

As part of the Combiform team, I was one of several designers working on applications that would demonstrate the range available to the platform. The first several games were primarily party-style games of dexterity and timing, so I was brought on to build a more traditional top-down shooter. This game, nicknamed "Combishooter", was designed for four players, each of whom would have their own spaceship avatar. These ships could be combined by connecting controllers, creating higher-level vessels that had unique properties. Players would need to master the various types of ship available to them as well as respond quickly to changing enemy tactics to succeed.


Defend Earth

Role: designer and programmer

Watch [gameplay footage]
of Defend Earth.

A top-down shooter in the mold of Striker or 1942, Defend Earth brings this staple genre to the Facebook market to take advantage of the lack of other games in the genre. It was built with a team of four in just three months as part of a USC rapid prototyping class focused on the free-to-play model.

Working on Defend Earth, I was able to use previous experience with the top-down shooter model of gameplay to rapidly build and implement gameplay mechanics such as enemy AI and powerups, leaving other team members free to focus on the Facebook integration side of programming. Our free-to-play model evolved over the course of the game's design thanks to advice from professional mentors, shifting from an emphasis on permanent upgrades of the player and game world to one-time-use powerups that could be sold more cheaply and more regularly.


Black Blade

Role: level and gameplay designer

Created for an exercise in level design, Black Blade is an example of the "hypothetical game" method of design: construct a high-level design for an entire game, and then build pieces of it of an appropriate scope for each class milestone. Black Blade follows a member of the eponymous military order caught in the high-tech war between the Confederacy of Black Nova and the Sivari Empire.

In the case of Black Blade, three sections of the game were created more fully. "Down To Earth", a trench-running segment culminating in a large battle around a huge artillery gun, was created as a walkthrough and map to demonstrate the concepting process. "Bastion", a shorter section defending a fixed emplacement from incoming enemies, was designed and realized in the Unreal Engine, including terrain, static mesh objects, pickups, enemies, lights, scripts, and other elements to create a cohesive experience. "Adrift", the class final, was built first as a concept and then pitched to the class, before being built into a complete level, and involves heavy use of gravity and impulse volumes to create a floating graveyard of derelict spacecraft.

About Black Blade: [.rtf]

"Down to Earth": revision 1 [.png] revision 2 [.png] documentation [.txt]

"Adrfit": pitch concept [.png]