Monster Mash is a 4-Player local Co-Op game designed to be a different take on the game "OverCooked". You play as assistants to a mad scientist, where you must create monsters for their lunatic boss, and using teamwork to overcome physics-based obstacles & unique game mechanics.
I created all of the design, code, and pre-production art for this game.
Game Design Example
Set in a dystopian future, HAX is a genre combination of a Sim Management game with a Turn-Based RPG battle game. Players grow a futuristic illegal crime empire by selling illicit EXE's (virtual experiences to the brain), recruiting henchmen with strongly-typed character abilities, and outfitting their city and crew with upgrades that require strategic thought and ingenious usage.
At the Sim level of gameplay, using an isometric view of the map, the player travels to and from locations in a node-based map. The player icon represents his leader and crew of henchmen performing activities and triggering events/combat throughout their neighborhood. Each node they move to triggers possible interactions, such as combat against other gangs or security forces, buying/selling, roleplaying decision events, or engaging in pokemon-type battle events, just to name a few.
Players will eventually be able to purchase properties, outfit their building and city with upgrades, grow their battle creatures, upgrade and customize the abilities of their henchmen, as well as unlock new city neighborhoods that have new behaviors and challenges unique to each neighborhood.
Existing examples of this gameplay can be seen in games such as "FTL: Faster Than Light".
TURN-BASED COMBAT GAMEPLAY
The primary other mode of the game will be turn-based combat events using strongly-typed characters that have special abilities that require cooldown to use again. These characters will fulfill classic roles such as tank, DPS, glass canon, healer, buff/debuff, but there will also be roles such as increasing the chances for reducing ally ability cooldowns or increasing enemy cooldowns, triggering multiple attacks per character, or increasing the effectiveness of synergies between characters.
This matrix of strategic depth is compounded by the fact that each character is also defined as being of a certain "race" (human, cyborg, robot, synthoid, etc), as well as a particular "job" (Haxxer, Corp, Mercenary, etc).
Existing synergies among characters in your current team can be tweaked or drastically changed by simply swapping out one or two members of the party for another character.
Existing examples of this gameplay can be seen in games such as "Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes".
GAMEPLAY LOOP & PLAYER RETENTION
The gameplay loop that keeps players playing will be the never ending amount of growth they can obtain at the Sim and Combat modes of gameplay as well as PvP and guild interactions with other players.
The game will be kept fresh with activities such as engaging in special raids, seasonal events, participating in guild events, Guild shared-goals & achievements, and PvP against other players across multiple PvP modes.
The evolution of the best strategies and upgrades at the Sim gameplay mode and Turn-based combat mode will be an ever-changing target, keeping gameplay fresh for months-to-years.
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CEO / Creative Director
Gas Powered Games
If I were to describe Brian in a single word, I would say it's passion. In all my years of designing games, passion is the heart and soul of what it takes to make a truly world class game, and Brian exemplifies this beautifully.
He works to the bone, until the job is done better than could be expected in the time allowed. His insight into people and leveraging their motivations into rewarding experiences can be seen in everything he touches.
Brian embodies fanatical passion about the design, development, and socialization of games. His natural talent to dissect, learn, adapt, combine, and reinvent the systems that make games, and the gamers who play them, have benefited us greatly.
He explored new territory, and fed his discoveries back into the levels and mechanics he built for the team. If you seek someone to fearlessly blaze a trail into the future of gaming on your behalf, hitch your wagon to Brian, and prepare to be amazed at how quickly he can cover ground.
TURN-BASED COMBAT GAMEPLAY
The Turn-Based level of gameplay involves the player using teams of 5 characters to battle other teams of 5 characters in either PvE or PvP combat. The characters will be arranged along a line, with the opposing team lined up and directly facing their counterpart.
The Turn-Based game mode is an entirely different game mode from the Sim level. Most of the game systems and art assets will not be able to be reused at the Sim level of gameplay.
Published game titles that can quickly convey the gameplay experience here would be any Final Fantasy game before Final Fantasy X. Star Wars Galaxies (the mobile game) could be considered to be the template that the Turn-Based gameplay is based around.
With the exception of UI, everything in the Turn-Based game mode will be 3D gameplay. The requirements from the art team will be to creat dozens of low poly characters with detailed textures, non-interactive 3D environments & props, all all other aspects of #D gameplay (lighting, particle effects, etc)
If this title is released on mobile it is important it is vital to reduce the minimum hardware requirements to play the game smoothly.
The camera will be located above and to the right of the player's team, positioned high enough and rotated down enough to see both teams. Art and game design departments will be involved in the final viewing experience for the player.
The camera is static in both position and rotation, and nothing from gameplay will "rumble" or "shake" the camera. We do not want to alter the stability and predictability of the view of the combat scene, and decrease the ability of the player to take in changes/results of attacks.
Each character is unique and will convey their role or even specific abilities just from their visual appearance and thematic styling. Imagine the clearly differentiated characters of 80's cartoons such as G.I. Joe and Transformers, or the cartoon Star Wars series "Clone Wars".
This level of gameplay has characters separated into "races" and "jobs". Examples of races would be Robots, Androids, Haxxers, Corp Agents, etc. Examples of jobs would be Leader, Attacker, Healer, Tank, Support, Debilitators, etc. There are strong synergies within races, or among jobs, but the game design will foment effective team compositions that do not require teams made up of just one race, or just one job.
Much like every other mechanic in the game, Turn-Based characters have abilities and base stats that deeply synergize with other characters. A small example of team compositions that can be created would be teams that increase damage, increased speed or critical hits, debilitating enemies, AoE attacks, potent healing, and many other effective strategies.
This should allow for hundreds of team combinations, with about 20-30 considered "the best" by the player community. The community's generally accepted "best" team compositions will hopefully get shaken up by the release of new characters, special events, guild events, new upgrades, or simply via tuning and fixes to character functionality.
Swapping out just one or two characters will completely change how a character interacts with their teammates, and how effective they are against the synergies of enemy groups.
These synergies gain another level of complexity with certain units designated as "Leader" units. These units impart passive changes to the team's abilities, statistically alter the team, or unlock unique game mechanics only available by equipping this character into the "Leader Slot". Leader characters can still be used as normal characters, and are not required to be equipped in the Leader slot.
Gameplay Example: A leader has a passive ability to increase the chance for critical hits for the entire team, in addition to the standard 3-5 abilities any given character has. This passive synergizes with a team already focused on critical chance, critical damage, and adding buffs to teammates when one of them scores a critical hit.
If this leader's passive ability only increases the critical damage of the team by 2%-10%, the Leader's ability does not intellectually stimulate players. It just adds on a lump of stats the player cannot do much with.
The next step would be the Leader's passive ability allows the entire team to be healed by x% of the leader's maximum health. Providing value to critical hit teams are usually have characters with low amounts of maximum health.
An example of powerful Leader ability showcases that increases in synergy and efficacy come with more and more restrictions.
For instance, a leader could have all of the passive effects listed above, but the final passive ability unlocked could be that critical hits by team members who shares the same "race" (Robot, Android, etc.) and/or share the same "job" (Attacker, Healer, Support, etc.) with the leader has a 50% to inflict a debuff that decreases an enemy's protection versus enemy critical attacks.
Of course the enemy team could be comprised of strong healers/support characters who remove debuffs, or characters that increase in damage and speed based on the number of allies that are debuffed.
These type of synergies will be the focus for the gameplay for the Turn-Based level.
The total number of characters in the game that can be acquired and upgraded will be an extensive list to keep player retention. The total time to acquire and upgrade all aspects of these characters will take months to complete. In conjunction with acquiring and upgrading buildings and Holo-Beasts, players may take years to achieve fully upgraded units.
Distracting players from focusing on improving just a few select units, will be the other major mission for the game design department. Just a few examples of how to distract players could come in the form of special in-game events, side-quests with character restrictions, side-quests with additional benefits to certain classes, temporary additional benefits during an event to upgrades that the community view as not the most effective upgrades.
Player retention will be particularly effective for players motivated by growth mechanics, PvP competitions, teamwork and social interactions, as well as players attracted to strategic efficacy never becoming stale or rote.
A huge focus of the game's ongoing development, nearly one-third of all work-hours spent in the game design, art, and media departments, will be on social media. Long-term developmental initiatives will involve in-game video updates from the game launcher app or home menu, a simple phone game app with mini-games that provide benefits in the core game, and in-game rewards for player involvement in voting (see below).
Social promotion of popular Twitch and Youtube personalities will be supported by our company to the point of "hero worship" for these players. The player community will be given the ability to vote on the direction of development of new units & game mechanics. They will also be able to vote on the upcoming deals and packaged content that requires purchases with real-world money (IAP).
This will provide a sense of ownership in the community while providing us with valuable data mining, as well as the reduction of budget expenditures spent on creating content that players literally told us they do not desire.
Senior Game Designer
Machine Zone Inc.
Brian is an extremely passionate and driven designer. After jumping straight into the Design trenches of Age of Empires Online (AOEO), he immediately undertook major responsibilities that required immediate mastery of new skills and tools.
Brian met such high demands through dedication, passion, and plain hard work.
His ability to receive and act upon constructive criticism led to the contribution and shipping of dozens of high-quality missions in AOEO.
Senior 3D Artist
Super X Studios
Brian is an incredibly dedicated, hard-working individual who puts a profound level of detail and quality into his work. One thing I admire about him is his consideration for the player at the other end of the controller. It may sound commonplace for designers, but I have found not all designers remember this.
He dedicates himself to the project and the industry like no one I know, and he works hard to find the "fun", which is invaluable.