I worked as a technical designer on Saints Row IV. I split my time on this project between the game and the Core Tech Group. On the game, I directed all technical design efforts. On CTG, I gathered designer feedback and industry research to help concept and develop future tools for designers. I also did the scripting and pacing for many of the game's tutorial missions.
These are the missions I worked on for Saints Row IV. Although I was a technical designer on this project, I had a chance to script some of the tutorial missions. The goal was to properly pace these early learning experiences for the player so they could acclimate to the game mechanics and be better prepared to face some of the later challenges. 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.
Mission 04 - The Fundamentals
This is the first mission after the prologue of the game. It focuses on re-introducing Steelport as a computer simulation and teaching the player the basics of traversal and combat. The mission teaches basic walking/driving, GPS features, radio features, weapon purchasing/upgrading, police/alien notoriety, and introduces ambient gameplay like Flashpoints and Hotspots. Some notable challenges were: pacing a large amount of tutorials throughout a short mission, ensuring that in co-op both players learn what they need to know before moving on, and integrating the ambient Flashpoint system seamlessly with the misison.
Mission 05 - Blazin'
This mission introduces us to super powers, a new core feature of the game. It focuses on finding data clusters and teaching the player the basics of super powers. The mission teaches about collecting data clusters to hack the system, how to use clusters to buy/upgrade powers, and super running/jumping. Some notable challenges were: pacing a large amount of tutorials throughout a short mission, ensuring that in co-op both players learn what they need to know before moving on, pacing the sing-a-long during the driving section, and working with level artists to layout the jump simulation.
Mission 06 - Hot And Cold
This mission introduces ambient Hotspot gameplay, new enemies, and a new super power. It focuses on shutting down a Hotspot, fighting its Warden, and stealing his Blast super power. The mission teaches about destroying generators to disable a Hotspot, how to destroy a Warden, and how to steal his super powers. There were many notable challenges, such as: integrating the ambient Hotspot system with the mission, ensuring that in co-op both players learn what they need to know before moving on, tuning the Warden fight to fit a tutorial, and working with level artists to layout the super power simulation.
Mission 08 - Breaking The Law
This mission introduces store hacking, advanced police/alien notoriety, and a new super power element. It focuses on hacking a store, triggering a notoriety response, ending notoriety, and using different elements for your super powers. The mission teaches a simple hacking minigame, how notoriety spawns and morphs, how to end notoriety by catching the Golden CID, and how to switch super power elements. Some notable challenges were: integrating the ambient hacking/notoriety systems with the mission, scripting a custom notoriety response that looked ambient, morphing the police into aliens, and pacing the Golden CID chase.
Mission 09 - Power Up CID
This was my favorite mission to work on because the combat is so varied and CID is hilarious. It focuses on escorting and protecting CID through various technical step to free him from the simulation. The mission relies mostly on core combat, but also introduces new enemies and the Telekinesis super power. There were many notable challenges, including: integrating custom CID animations and model swaps, pacing combat waves when protecting CID in various areas, scripting enemy spawning/movements through the alleys near the power plant, overloading CID and freezing him, and pacing a large amount of dialogue and musical cues.
Mission 13 - The Warden Stomp
This is a very short mission based solely around the player acquiring and learning the Stomp super power. The mission was built off of previous Warden and super power related tutorial missions, so it didn't provide many notable scripting challenges. One difficulty that arose was trying to fit a silent mission start in seamlessly with the story structure so you were ambushed by the Warden upon entering the simulation. This required a battle setup at every possible simulation entry point. It also meant working closely with QA to test it in as many final build situations as possible, since it was an uncommon way to start a mission.
Mission 19 - A Game Of Clones
This mission was mostly scripted by another designer, but I stepped in to help fix bugs, add tutorials, and bring it to completion. It focuses on escorting and protecting CID, defeating a Warden, and stealing his Buff super power. The mission relies mostly on core combat, but also uses Telekinesis extensively, and introduces the Buff super power. There were many notable challenges, such as: fixing issues with CID traversal and animation, fixing comat issues like wave organization, adding in dialogue/music cues, adding in the Buff super power tutorial, and general script optimizations.