Anamnesis’ defining attribute is its use of the Oculus Rift as a secondary display port, not as an HMD. Players are told that they possess a Google Glass like device which picks up the psychic residue left behind by other people in the space. At any time, a player can lift the Rift to their face like a pair of binoculars and get a new view on a familiar play space.
Anamnesis uses this technique to explore multiple narrative perspectives, environmental storytelling and the utilization of role-play and ritual in the gameplay process.
My role in the project was as co-narrative designer and lead programmer.
Anamnesis - Trailer for the Oculus Rift mystery game
Let's Play: Anamnesis
HUMANITY HAS BEEN BROUGHT BACK INTO THE DARK AGES BUT REMNANTS OF A ONCE HIGHLY ADVANCED CIVILIZATION STILL EXIST. In this world where control over lost technologies equals power, two explorers from a small village have just discovered Aegis, the legendary weapon said to have brought on the calamity. Although its true purpose remains mysterious, one thing is certain - powerful people will stop at nothing to control it. _________________________
Aegis is a 2D, exploration-focused platformer with tower defense inspired combat. Designed to invoke a nostalgia for the 16-bit classics we played as kids, Aegis also includes the huge leaps and accessibility and design that have been made since then.
Aegis is my first pure Production role- I often end up doing 50/50 design/production. Its a real joy to be on a team that needs a Producer. As a team of 3, Bryce handles all the art and Lifu handles all the programming, which means that everything else falls to me- Incorporating the business, creating and managing budgets, setting schedules and general biz dev. Its an enormous amount of work, but also the one where I feel, for the first time, truly capable.
Aegis is currently in production and seeking funds to complete development, with a Kickstarter campaign set to launch July 2nd. To find out more, check out http://www.aegisthegame.com.
Minimum Wage: Hunger is designed to be played by 2 players at the same keyboard. You can certainly play it solo, but you'll miss out on some of the experience. The idea is simple: Collect as much nutritious food as you can in the time allotted. Because of it's large resolution, Minimum Wage: Hungry is best played in it's own window. Click here to launch Minimum Wage: Hungry.
Minimum Wage : Hungry is a game about food deserts, areas of industrialized, urban landscapes where people, often the poor, have little to no access to large groceries and, by extension, nutritious foods like fresh produce.
MW:H is intended to be one in series of games looking at the difficulty of being poor in a country as wealthy as the United States. Originally, this was a smaller portion of a larger game simply titled Minimum Wage, but I opted to focus on a smaller section in order to use MW:H as a sort of laboratory for the kinds of mechanics I’d like to employ in the rest of the series.
Episode 1 & 2, rules character sheets and a findings & methodology report can be downloaded from here.
Obsolete was a table-top role playing designed by myself and Geniveve Conley. We started from the idea of making a tabletop role playing experience for people who don't play tabletop role playing games. We set out first to do research on why people- especially gamers- are squeamish about table top experiences and then set out to design a game that accounted for that.
The big finds:
General anxiety about "roleplaying"
A large number of responders felt that they weren't creative enough.
Steep learning curve (A 20-sided die is terrifying.)
Inaccessible setting / Social Stigma (Few players felt comfortable in fantasy or sci-fi environments)
We took a few steps to try and work around these:
Players play as themselves, woken from a long rest in an unfamiliar environment
Combat is demphasized and all situations are resolved with a single roll of a familar 6-sided die.
Simplified character creation: You self-report on a small number of skills and then choose abilities you think you have. These abilities are intended to be role playing prompts, designed to guide players as well as aiding the DM in telling the story.
The story is broken up into "episodes" of a approximately 10-12 episode season. Each "episode" should take no more than 90 minutes, with a target playtime of 45-60 minutes.
We took writing cues from 'rational mystery' shows like LOST, ending each episode on a cliffhanger and implying a deep, recurring mythology in the universe.
Setting the game in a sci-fi esque, but familiar environment.
You can check out a video of the playtest over yonder. The end result basically that people who want to play tabletop games want and need that full, complicated suite of rules and options. People who don't want to play tabletop games simply won't. This is less a question of accessibility and has more to do with lifestyle, social stigma and desire.
Obsolete Playtest & Summary
One my two big projects at GameDesk was on Producing the Aero project, a game designed to teach the principles of Aero dynamics to kids as young as 5th grade. I also contributed to the level and progression/incentive design.
One of the major challenges about working on a game like this is marrying fun, compelling mechanics to actual learning standards. That meant bridging a gap between our game-focused development team and our education-focused team of scientists, teachers and researchers. No small feat, but one that gave us a beautiful, useful game.
My more significant work was on GeoMoto, designed to teach Earth science, starting from the Big Bang and moving to modern day. Major design work was done on 5 prototypes, directing small teams of 3-5 from paper prototype to digital demos. I also worked on overall vision, creating a lookbook and working with a team of artists to create a unique and consistent aesthetic standard for the project as a whole.
Mapping a path for a game like GeoMoto is a major project, not just for the usual reasons- Making games is hard and involves lots of people and parts- but because we had to figure out a way to condense all of time and known science into a 60 minute story. I started from the basic research and met with researchers from California State as well as notable figured like Bill Nye to figure out how to bring the story together.
From there, we worked in small prototyping teams pulling the projects together. Prototype teams would have weekly meets with research and content teams and adjust from there.
Borystook is a 3D puzzle solving game that takes place in a fantasy land where players can change the world around them by utilizing a magical book. Conceived as an exercise in non-linear, contextual storytelling and developed in the Unity 3D engine.My major responsibilities in the project included production schedules, environmental and level design and environmental programming.
Sky Pirates is a family-style board game designed for quick, strategic play with a strong focus on risk vs. reward behaviors. It began life as a mod to the classic game Up the River, but quickly came into its own. Players control a pirate ship, docking at islands and claiming treasure. Until they return back to the homebase, however, they have no idea what that treasure is worth. Do they take it back and find how close they are to winning or are they better off testing their luck on the high seas? Meanwhile, the board changes as players twist islands, move whirlpools and make islands vanish.
Work is continuing on the game to expand the actions a player can take (We're adding ship to ship combat, multiple treasure types and more ways for players to alter the board) and to open up the win conditions beyond "get x gold".
todays news utilizes the New York Times’ XML feeds to create new images, headlines and color schemes based on the current news. Headlines are generated via a Markov Chain algorithm built into the RiTA text-processing library. ‘Markov’ images are created by sampling a fraction of each image and recompiling it into a whole. Background colors palettes are created by taking color samples from each of the major images on the front page. The result is an ever changing composition- sometimes oddly meaningful, sometimes absurd- that is both generated by the artist in collaboration with the machine, via algorithm, and yet more importantly, by the data itself. The result is inherently political and yet entirely without prejudice.
Video & Other
A series of small films and other media I've worked on.
wuHue: Beat Matched Lighting
A fun project- Beat Matched lighting for the Phillips Hue lighting platform.
Smell The Roses
A Source Filmmaker short film about finding out something about yourself
Another SFM film about my uncomfortable relationship with media and the thin axis of functionality.