Portfolio – Miscellaneous Work

Systems & Mechanics
An analysis of resource acquisition in the original Diablo. Covers the procurement of money, the role of consumables, the algorithms behind drop-rates and item-generation, and the meta-game these elements create during a playthrough.
How limited inventory space, ammo scarcity, visible laser sights, item-trading, area-of-effect healing, and weapon specializations all came together to create a player-driven co-op experience.
A case for keeping the minimap locked in exploration-based titles.
Layering and creating multi-purpose mechanics with a single item in Demon’s Souls.
How the often-brutal challenge of shmups is alleviated and turned into a feeling of accomplishment with the use of drastically small collision boxes.
Other Articles
How Super Mario Bros. 3 taught players without pausing the game or using any text. Featured on various sites such as Kotaku, and periodically referenced as a design-primer for Super Mario Maker.
A look at how a single world-building element — the illegal drug fisstech — was incorporated in The Witcher via its main plotline, hub and side locations, faction-warfare, and the daily lives of numerous NPC’s.
A look at the strengths and weaknesses of various projection types and how they’re used in videogames. Referenced on Real-Time Rendering and in various tutorial posts and articles.
The controversial topic of FPS rates and how they affect more than just aesthetics.
3 examples of player behaviour that has no gameplay impact yet is quite prevalent. Inspiration for an episode of the Experience Points podcast.
Personal Work

Prior to becoming a programmer, I catalogued my neophyte design ideas and sought to implement them in various game-creation toolkits such as VERGE, Adventure Game Studio, and GameMaker Studio. This led me to learn basic scripting, map design, and systems logic.

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JRPG creation engines allowed me to get a handle on elements such as quest design, level architecture, resource management, and character progression.

Eventually I tried my hand at modding games like Quake and Morrowind, discovering more low-level elements of game development such as memory and asset management. This went side-by-side with my Computer Science education where I attempted to turn every school project into a video game, including an OpenGL racing game I created with two partners.

During the development of RC Racer, I was responsible for creating wrappers for external libraries such as FMod, providing 3D assets and textures, and tweaking all of the game’s physics for a varied player experience. The game went on to be showcased by the college at recruitment shows, and got me invited to a post-grad game development competition prior to my own graduation. The contest was a two-week sprint to create a small J2ME title, with the winner getting a publishing deal.

Although my entry received second place, I was still able to independently get it published via Kalador Entertainment, and the mobile-development experience helped me transition to Capybara Games soon after that company’s inception.

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Learning proper memory management was especially crucial for 1st Contact, which was limited to a 28 kB jar file and very little space on the stack/heap.

Prior to leaving our respective employers to found Incubator Games, I researched various ideas for our first original-IP title. One of my initial concepts was a minigolf game, but it never reached fruition as the newly-released iPhone completely changed the mobile landscape.

With much more powerful hardware and a touch-screen interface, the iPhone required a different overall approach. To better match the device, I created a prototype for Tribes of Mexica, a game based on revolving and pairing circles of combatants.

Taking a tentative step toward working with consoles, I used Microsoft’s XNA framework to create the initial version of Tribes of Mexica. While eventually it’d be abandoned for a proprietary system able to deploy to iOS devices, XNA’s built-in asset compatibility, memory management, input detection, shaders, etc., allowed me to focus strictly on the gameplay.

The AppStore marketplace quickly embraced a F2P format causing us to move on from the premium-model Tribes of Mexica, but the endeavour helped to establish our own prototyping framework. We added a particle editor, UI editor, tweening system, and entity management system, further eliminating startup costs and creating a speedy testing platform for all future prototypes.