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November 11, 2017

Dreadnought

“Dreadnought” is a class-based space combat shooter.

PROJECT INFORMATION

Position: Game Design
Date: September 2016 - December 2017
Duration: 15 months
Team Size: ~ 100
Technology: Unreal Engine 4

PS4 Announcement Trailer

Introduction

Dreadnought puts the player in command of massive capital ships for tactical, team-based warfare in space and across the skies of different planets. Experience points are earned with every battle and can be used to upgrade the spaceships. As a game designer and product owner representative, my core responsibilities were to design and implement game features as well as to drive forward and communicate the overall vision of the game.

Motivation

The team sizes of many projects I have been working on were relatively small. I was curious to see how working dynamics of bigger titles would be. While working as a small team requires each team member to step into multiple disciplines, working in AAA environment needs each professional to be highly specialized.

Goals

Working at Yager should give me great insight on what characterizes AAA development as well as how I can grow personally and contribute to the production within such environments.

Responsibilities

As a game designer, I was responsible for designing features and taking them through full development cycle from high-level design to shippable quality, while I was coordinating a feature development team of ten members. In the following are few examples of my work at Yager.

Game Economy

Redesign of the progression system and balancing of the overall progression speed.

One significant aspect of the game is the progression system, in which the player is rewarded with experience points and game credits for every match. Those rewards can be used to unlock new content. I redesigned the progression system and balanced the overall progression speed of the game.

Feedback System

Implementation of a player feedback system.

Due to the high variety of modules and the many possible effects they can have on the player, it is not always easy to keep track on which status effects are currently affecting the ships. Therefore, I have been designing a sustainable and easy to set up system to manage several feedback effects. This system controls sound effects, post-processing effects, displayed text and is easily scalable.

Game Modes

Ownership of Onslaught and designing Havoc modifiers.

Not only was I the owner of the game mode: "Onslaught" which is currently the most popular game mode in Dreadnought, I also designed the boosters and wave modifiers for the game mode: "Havoc", a PS4 exclusive PvE game mode. In this game mode, players try to survive through waves of enemies cooperatively. Boosters are ship attribute upgrades, which the player can unlock between each wave, while wave modifiers are changing the game rules of every wave. (e.g.: Ships don't take damage when being attacked from the front etc.) Wave modifiers force the players to adapt to the new circumstances and force them to change their playstyle accordingly. Multiple modifiers can also be active at the same time ensuring that players are confronted with new problems regularly.

Game Balancing

Balancing of ships, weapons, modules and daily contracts.

Many areas of the game required careful tweaking of values. As a Designer, it was also my responsibility to set up and balance ships, weapons, modules to achieve the desired behavior. Business​ intelligence ​hooks allowed us to analyze and evaluate game data through Tableau and Excel, which subsequently lead to a concise balancing of variables

Campaign API

Feature for setting promotions and discounts on the fly.

To guarantee an easy and efficient way to set up offers and promotions for items in the in-game marketplace it was necessary to design and implement the campaign API feature, which would be failsafe, work on the fly and could be operated without having to restart the game servers.

Bug fixing

Fixing bugs is part of the daily work as a game designer.

It is essential to identify and fix uprising bugs during development. Bugs are usually logged by QA and then being assigned to responsible departments. As a game designer fixing bugs often required adjusting values and setting references to resolve unintended behavior. Depending on severity, complexity and branching management it may or may not be necessary to verify, review or to sign off bug fixes.

Recap

Working at Yager gave me the opportunity to gain a throughout inside look at AAA production and the work as a game designer in a professional studio. I was exposed to new challenges, and it was a great experience to cooperate and exchange ideas with other designers and the creative director. I was able to see all aspects of the daily work as a game designer, starting from all the internal and external meetings to managing a small development team and functioning as the communication hub. But also the complex communication structure within the whole company and the working pipeline as a whole was impressive to see. Features had to be evaluated in importance and request had to be made. As a junior at Yager, I always felt like being perceived as on par with the other designers and a lot of trust and responsibility was given to me as well as high stake tasks were assigned to our development team. I am leaving Yager with certainty, that I have gained valuable experience in AAA production and am happy to have positively contributed to the product.

Game Teaser

Game Trailer

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Hobbies

When I am not dancing Lindy hop or climbing up a wall, I enjoy to create stuff and to educate myself. I believe that most knowledge can be shared and applied across a high variety of tasks. Therefore, it is useful to keep an open mindset for all kinds of different professions.

I have also designed soundtracks for my games and have been playing the guitar in a band.

Please, feel free to browse through some of my hobby projects.

 

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