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Dissonance

Game: Half Life 2 (Modification)

Description: Dissonance is a real-time strategy (RTS) Half Life 2 modification that uniquely combines the frenetic action and timing of a rhythm game with the fun strategic choices of a strategy game.  There are no bases or workers for the player to manage, and players gather resources by controlling specific structures on the map. In addition, both factions in Dissonance have a unique soundtrack that dynamically reflects the strength of that faction and its actions during the game.  During a battle, both factions' music plays at the same time resulting in the two music styles melding into one glorious musical battle that players can hear as well as see.

The player takes control of an avatar leading one of the game’s musical genres.  The avatars, while incredibly powerful, do not have any standard attacks or weapons to strike enemies.  They instead use the power of their music to summon units and use special powers.  In order to summon a unit or use a particular power, the player must play a specific set of notes in time with the game’s music.  Every time the player attempts to play a note (successfully or not), the player uses one beat of that type (removing it from the faction’s resource pool). This adds a skill/rhythm aspect to the game as well as making the player feel actively involved in the music.  The unusual combination of rhythm and strategy makes Dissonance a truly unique experience that should not be missed.

Role: Game Designer / Level Designer

Tasks:
  • Designed all gameplay and systems around a predefined core concept
  • Created and maintained Game Design Document throughout project
  • Coordinated with other leads to ensure consistent work toward a central vision and managable project scope
  • Managed all testing tasks including bug testing, playtesting, and balance testing
  • Designed in-game user interface and managed its creation
  • Managed creation and implementation of music tracks for proprietary dynamic music engine
  • Created and integrated all sound effects
  • Designed initial level layouts and scenarios
  • Supported level design department by creating particle effects and implementing gameplay scripting
Team Size: 15 (5 Artists, 6 Programmers, 4 Designers)

Development Time: 20 weeks

Documentation: Game Design Document



Since the game was designed to support a large number of players, creating a suitably large level was a challenge both technically and artistically.
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Extinction

Game: Unreal Tournament 2004 (Modification)

Description:  Extinction is an objective-based, multiplayer game set in an alternate prehistory where dinosaurs and humans must fight for food to ensure the survival of their race.  The game features two distinct sides, dinosaurs and cavemen, each with three unique classes available to play.  Each class features different statistics, attacks, and abilities that allow the player to choose the class that best suits their play style.  In addition to the class differences, the two sides feature entirely different team sizes.  Dinosaurs are large and powerful, but their numbers are severely limited while cavemen, though individually weak, are more numerous and able to collect in large groups to attack the dinosaurs.  These unique features in addition to the straightforward core gameplay of gathering food in order to survive, make Extinction an enjoyable experience for players with a variety of different interests and experience levels.

Role: Producer / Level Designer

Tasks:
  • Coordinated team of sixteen developers to deliver polished game experience under extreme schedule pressure
  • Worked with other leads to design initial game concept and core gameplay
  • Co-authored initial pitch document, project proposal, and game design document
  • Managed creation of all other pre-production documentation including LDD, TDD, and Art Style guide
  • Created Asset and Development Plan
  • Implemented SCRUM management practices for team including creation of sprint backlogs and burndown charts
  • Organized and led all team meetings
  • Presented project to faculty and students at key milestones (Prototype, First Playable, Alpha, Beta, RTM)
  • Handled all level lighting, particle effects, and audio integration for the game
  • Managed group finances including catering and promotional materials
Team Size: 16 (6 Artists, 6 Programmers, 4 Designers)

Development Time: 12 weeks

Documentation: Game Design Document