I worked as a mission designer on Red Dead Redemption. My duties included story mission design and scripting using a proprietary language. Beyond my work on assigned missions, I was also heavily involved in developing system wide solutions for the mission team as a whole. This required me to work closely with other team members to diagnose issues and fix them accordingly.
These are the missions I worked on for Red Dead Redemption. Of course, in a game as large as this everything is worked on by many people including: producers, writers, animators, modelers, programmers, testers, and other designers. Over the course of a project designers may also work on many different missions in different capacities. These are the missions I was assigned for the majority of the project and/or brought to completion.
Mission 02 - New Friends, Old Problems
This is the first mission after the prologue of the game. It focuses on introducing ranch life, creating a relationship between Bonnie and John, and teaching the player the basics of traversal and combat. The mission teaches basic walking/riding/following, basic ranged/mounted combat, dead-eye level one, horse hitching, and game saving. Some notable challenges were: integrating custom animations for John being hurt and Bonnie pointing to different points of interest, scripting rabbit movements and coyotes attacking chickens, and pacing the riding tour of the ranch.
Mission 14 - Exhuming And Other Fine Hobbies
This mission introduces us to Seth, one of the more colorful characters in the game. It focuses on teaching the player the basics of law response and the wanted/bounty system. The mission teaches how to acquire a wanted level and bounty, evade the law, pay to remove said bounty, and lasso and hogtie someone. Some notable challenges were: integrating the ambient law system seamlessly into the mission, providing the player with a variety of fun options for breaking the law, and scripting alternate endings with regard to the player capturing or killing Moses.
Mission 15 - Hanging Bonnie MacFarlane
This mission raises the stakes as Bonnie's life is hanging in the balance. It focuses on high-tension combat, squad tactics, and precision shooting using dead-eye. The mission is one of the first big tests of the skills the player learned in the early parts of the game. There were many notable challenges, including: integrating custom animations for captured Norman Deek and Bonnie, pacing the hostage exchange and the initial ambush, scripting squad combat AI for allies/enemies, and scripting alternate endings with regard to the player shooting the rope or walking up and cutting it.
Mission 22 - Man Is Born Unto Trouble
This is one of my favorite missions because of the classic western mining camp setting. It focuses on ranged/melee combat, mine cart driving, and precision shooting using dead-eye. The mission requires the player to use all of their skills learned so far as well as learning how to drive a mine cart. There were many notable challenges, such as: itegrating custom character/prop animations for cutscene end caps, creating scripted cutscenes for mine shaft and cart loading/unloading, scripting squad combat AI for enemies, and providing multiple entry/exit points into the mine with AI defense balancing.
Mission 28 - Lucky In Love
This was one of the more fun missions to work on because of the classic western standoff. It focuses on ranged combat and teaching the player poker/dueling. The mission guides the player through a game of poker and the resulting duels with your disgruntled opponents. Some notable challenges were: integrating poker and dueling minigames seamlessly into the mission, integrating poker table arrangement and dueling poses into cutscene end caps, tuning the poker and dueling difficulty to fit a tutorial, and scripting a special hostage variation into the ambient dueling system.
Mission 40 - The Gates Of El Presidio
This mission hosts one of the largest scale battles in the game. It focuses on non-stop combat, wagon driving, cannon shooting, and pursuit on/off horseback. The mission asks the player to search for Javier, who is hiding in the middle of an all-out war for El Presidio. There were many notable challenges, including: pacing the ghost riding wagon explosion, integrating the exploding gates seamlessly with cutscene end caps, scripting a never ending battle between two AI factions, pacing the Javier chase, scripting and optimizing the wagon explosions from cannon fire, and scripting alternate endings with regard to the player capturing or killing Javier.
Mission 46 - The Prodigal Son Returns (To Yale)
This is the last mission where you encounter the eccentric professor MacDougal. It focuses on rooftop combat, evasion on/off horseback, and mounted combat. The mission asks the player to escort the professor out of Blackwater and the region while enemies are trying to kill him. There were many notable challenges, such as: working with level artists to craft the rooftop escape, scripting enemy movements inside and on the rooftops, pacing mounted ambushes along the road, and optimizing enemy spawns to account for extra the resources needed to support Blackwater.
Mission 48 - And The Truth Will Set You Free
This is the last mission before the epilogue of the game. It focuses on a massive offensive on Dutch's hideout and a final showdown between John and Dutch. The mission asks the player to ride with an Army detachment to a fortress in the mountains and stop Dutch once and for all. There were many notable challenges, including: scripting the massive detachment riding through winding mountain paths, working with level artists to design the hideout specifically for the mission, using exisitng weapons and mechanics to create a well paced and exciting showdown, scripting AI defense balancing, and creating a scripted cutscene for John's ride home.