Category Archive: Games Design

Rockstar North

In April 2016 I joined Rockstar North as an Online Mission Flow Designer, working out of the office in Edinburgh. My primary responsibilities is working on gameplay systems in an online setting, both in their creation and maintenance. I am currently still employed at this role.

While working there, I have contributed to the ongoing development of GTA Online, including work on the Further Adventures in Finance and Felony and Biker pack.

Skirmish Sangin

 

cover

SKIRMISH SANGIN is a tabletop skirmish game where players control opposing forces, either modern western military forces (ISAF) or insurgent militias that do battle everyday in the modern war for Afghanistan. Inside this book you will find:

  • Simple, fast combat rules that enable furious tabletop skirmish battles
  • Information and rules for creation of professional and insurgent forces
  • A full array of modern weapons and armour for both sides
  • Rules for off table support ranging from snipers to heavy weapon platoons, fast air and helicopters
  • A game that plays as easily with two people as it does for multi-player games.
  • A set of rules that provides an intense and compelling tabletop game regardless of whether you field four figures per side or forty.

One of my main hobbies outside of the video games industry is that of tabletop wargaming. As I started playing I found that Skirmish Sangin was my preffered ruleset. This was due to its level of detail yet also its speed of play, allowing for complex and exciting scenarios to be played out. As time went on, I started writing several small sets of rules and scenarios before posting them onto the Skirmish Sangin forums. One of these caught the eye of the head honcho at Radio Dishdash and so I have started to contribute by writing more scenarios in my free time.

So far several of the scenarios I have written have been released. These are:

RollerSaurus

 

10313423_10202653129741659_1769408886271832958_nPitched as the world’s first Rotary Dinosaur game, Rollersaurus was a quick prototype made over a month by myself based off a designer‘s idea for a game. I worked to translate a bare-bones GameMaker prototype into a Unity game that could be deployed to mobile. We set a short time limit on it due to other commitments and aimed to have a small game that included the key concepts with room to expand in the future.

The game was designed for play on mobile devices, utilising the tilt sensor to roll the player character back and forth across the level. Players must then shoot down flying enemies while avoiding being hit. The game has been tested on both Android mobile and tablet devices

I look forward to returning to this prototype and extending it into a full game. I especially like the mock theatrical feel of the level, but I did not manage to get it lit properly before I ran out of time.

Development details can be found on my development blog at http://hntdaab.co.uk/devlog/?cat=2

Media

Source Code

This is avialable online at https://bitbucket.org/michael_charge/rollersaurus

Third Person Shooter Project

The damage zones outlined on the final model. The largest capsule is the model's collision mesh.

As two separate projects at university, I have been creating a series of demos to test out mechanic ideas for a potential third person shooter project. The overall idea was to bring realistic aspects of certain shooter games (such as location based damage and ballistics) into a touchscreen game. To assist in iteration, the demo was created in Unity, utilising its C# scripting as well as features such as Mecanim for character animation and its robust physics system.

Professional Specialisation

The Professional Specialisation aspect of the project was to focus on gameplay programming and the initial aims were split into three core parts:

  1. A basic third person cover sysytem
  2. Realistic ballistics with the aim of letting designers use real world values
  3. A location based damage system that can affect the player’s gameplay when they are injured.

These objectives went through a process – an investigation into how other games implement them, a rough idea on how they should work in code and then implementation. All three were successfully implemented in a prototype fashion.

  1. The cover system will look for a cover marked object, move the player to the cover position and force the player to crouch.
  2. Ballistics takes in values from real world weapons and outputs the correct kinetic energy. Rounds use a combination of raycast and physical collisions to both impart force and cause bullet effects on the health system from any distance.
  3. Each of the characters in the scene has a location sensitivity health system. This takes kinetic energy values, applies it to the hit location and then deals with the after effects such as knocking a character down or killing them.

 

The finished protoype can be played online at https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/6573563/DemoWebBuilder.html or below. Please note the cover mechanic has been disabled for web player

 

Further details of this projects development can be found here

Innovation Project

The Innovation Project module was based around taking an investigation from initial idea to its conclusion. I decided, to tie in with my third person shooter game, to look at a brief delivered by one of my tutors looking into third person controls in a 3D environment. I implemented to control schemes to compare a touch screen focused scheme with the standard soft joystick option used by many porting companies.

To test these scheme, I created a simple map and a timing utility to chart a players progression through the level. In addition to this, I also created an implementation of the shoot scene with touch screen controls.

As you can see in the image below, I got the final demo working and deployed successfully to both my Nexus 7 tablet and my HTC One phone.

2014-05-12 12.21.02

Further details of this project can be found here

Source Code

Source code for this project can be found on Bit Bucket at https://bitbucket.org/michael_charge/overwatch