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Thomas Blair Portfolio

  1. Thomas “Blixtev” Blair Video Game Designer Portfolio 2001-2022 PRESS in lower right for Fullscreen Viewing
  2. Game Context (2015-2021) • Genre: Action Combat MMO for PC - PvP centric • Designer Data entered into Google Sheets and exported into Unity Asset files • Visual scripting language for NPC and player powers • Template based item system (all items were “snowflakes”) • 3rd person Action Combat Crowfall
  3. Crowfall: Classes Class Design • Designed 10 out of 11 of the base classes • Designed and implemented hundreds of player powers across the 11 base classes • Each class started with a google sheet drawing laying out the core powers and the key effects of each, ie this one is a bleed, this one is a stun
  4. Crowfall: Class Talents Talent Trees • Designed and implemented hundreds of talent nodes across the 11 base classes • Each class had a talent tree with 3 dedicated promotion classes • Each Promotion class was mutually exclusive with others • Added lore snippets to nodes in order to help sell story of the world
  5. Crowfall: Statistics Player Stats • Designed over 600 stats between all game systems (combat, harvesting, crafting) • Derived statistical model (Parent stats influenced multiple children stats) • As linear as possible statistic growth to provide as level a playing field in PvP as possible
  6. Crowfall: Racial Powers Races • Designed and Implemented passive and active powers for 12 races ranging from 6-8 per race • Each race needed to feel very different, so powers were extremely impactful from double jumping and glide to extra discipline slots or invisibility while standing still • Tuned statistical attribute variations between races so that elves were smart but weak whereas half-giants were strong but dumb
  7. Crowfall: Powers Tool Powers Tool • Designed visual scripting language and tool for use with implementing Player Powers that was ultimately used to implement over 1500 NPC and player powers • Hundreds of logic options within each power to handle various use cases from simple Buffs to complicated Proc Effects • Powers had to execute instantly on client for smooth gameplay, yet be verified on the server such that players could not cheat game rules
  8. Crowfall: Harvesting Harvesting • Designed and implemented harvesting core “action harvesting” minigame (reused combat system mechanics) • Designed “Weak Spot” feature (use reticle to aim at randomly placed target on resource node) • Implemented “Group” harvesting for team-based harvesting • Itemized thousands of rows of treasure table data
  9. Crowfall: Harvesting Progression Harvesting Progression • Designed and implemented all 5 harvesting professions, progression and stats
  10. Crowfall: Crafting Crafting • Designed crafting system with many goals in mind; • Have as few recipes in players recipe book with as many possible product outcomes as possible • Allow player freedom to determine stats • Allow players to risk outcome stats and decrease the risk via profession progression • Attempt to capture the allure of Star Wars Galaxies crafting system • Implemented over 895 recipes with over 6062 potential outcomes (based on resource inputs players could change the outcome product)
  11. Crowfall: Crafting Experiment Experimentation • Players could earn experimentation points through item and discipline progression, which allowed them to allocate to stats on the items • Post point allocation the player would press run experiment and each Pip would roll on skill vs difficulty and grant a result, the higher the result the more stats granted per pip
  12. Crowfall: Team Documentation Documentation • Wrote hundreds of GDDs for game features • Using simple visualization programs, documented how systems worked for other designers and engineers to understand
  13. Crowfall: Systems Calculators Documentation • Created many Excel Calculators to simulate game systems to validate the content outside the game (Combat Formula Calculator shown below)
  14. Crowfall: Face of the Game YouTube and Twitch Engagement • Represented the company and title at all opportunities • Monthly Twitch/YouTube Q+A series for over 5 years • Periodic Development videos • Trips to foreign countries
  15. Crowfall: Holiday Events Holiday Events • Designed and implemented Crowmas, Valkyntines Day, and The Great Hunt events • Leveraged existing game systems, mainly crafting and harvesting systems to buy items from event vendors • Event vendors required alternate currencies that sold limited event items arranged in Pixel Art layout
  16. 5 Dragons Game Context (2014) • Genre: Async multi player Card Battler RPG for IoS • Data entered into Goggle Sheets and exported into Unity Asset files • No designer scripting
  17. 5 Dragons: Combat Tutorial Combat Tutorial Design • Attempted to simplify complicated card rotation mechanic • Cards represented current move and next move • Class abilities and consumable tokens layered in
  18. 5 Dragons: Progression Player Stats • Designed to directly modify the values of the cards in combat • Had to be as simple as possible yet have a variety of stats for itemization needs Ability Design • Players could spend CHI points in combat to use a Buff or Curse ability • Abilities designed to be more interesting than +- values to stats Itemization • Designed to directly modify the values of the cards in combat, except for amulets which granted temporary tokens when specific cards were used
  19. 5 Dragons: World Design World • Broken into multiple continents with multiple scenes per continent • NPC level was based on how linear progression based on player level • Repeatable dungeons provided player XP and items Navigation • Different encounters and actions could be had via tapping on a node; rest, travel, story, combat Story • Wrote dialogue with a tone of silly and kung-fu tropes
  20. 5 Dragons: Metrics Dropout Metrics • Implemented hooks in combat tutorial, and globally in order to identify where players were dropping out of the funnel • Smoothed out drop off points to show measurable improvement between versions
  21. Game Context (2013) • Genre: Mobile arcade project developed in Unity Engine • Demo Title – not on public store • Data hard coded into objects • Script in C# Mobile Project: Moon Master 2013
  22. Mobile Project: Moon Master 2013 Arcade Style • Based on Atari 1979 Lunar Lander Arcade Machine • Implemented all game code and 10 levels to master • Levels balanced around rewarding players fuel for landing on platforms, run out of fuel and ship explodes Mobile Specific Code • Implemented virtual joystick • Exported to Windows Based Android device (Nexus 7) Assets • Used free assets available from variety of internet sources • Primarily 3D assets with Unity default UI
  23. Game Context (2013) • Genre: Mobile Star Wars RPG for IoS using Adobe AIR • Unlaunched Title • Data entered into Goggle Documents, exported into proprietary game assets • Script in Lua • Reference based item system Mobile: Unannounced Star Wars Title
  24. Mobile: Unannounced Star Wars Title Player Characters • Designed 20 Star Wars character's complete ability packages • Implemented Han Solo, Leia Organa, Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, R2-D2, and Bobba Fett abilities • Created synergy amongst characters via abilities NPC Characters • Designed 10 iconic Star Wars Villain character's ability packages • Implemented variety of Tusken raiders to use as grunts, mini bosses and bosses for Tatooine content Itemization • Designed and implemented variety of items to be equipped by the Hero characters Documentation • Documented all systems within game • Created “how-to” guides on how to implement abilities, status effects, characters, and use export tools
  25. Game Context (2012) • Genre: Facebook Social-Casual MMO targeted at 35-50 year old female demographic • Designer Data entered in “excel like” adobe Flash system bolted on top of a template back-end • Script in Lua • Template based item system Facebook: DragonTown
  26. Facebook: DragonTown Core Game Loops • Designed Core Game Loops Character Professions • Designed and implemented the following professions: Farming, Mining, Lumberjacking, Woodworking, Smithing, Cooking • Designed and implemented all time-reengagement activities Crafting System • Designed and implemented all crafting progression and recipes Quest Content • Designed content path based on crafting profession progression • Implemented 350 hours (based on crafting/harvesting times) of quest content Virality • Designed all viral post opportunities: quest completions, crafting completions, dragon growth stage completions, and boss kills • Designed and implemented viral crafting requirements to complete recipes Analytics • Used analytics to optimize player quests • Removed or modified quests where more than 1% of players fell out of game Crop Level Time (hours) Cost Cash Delta Seconds Cash per second Dragonberry 1 0.08 25 30 5 300 0.016666667 Corn 2 0.5 30 40 10 1800 0.005555556 Sugarcane 3 4 35 95 60 14400 0.004166667 Wheat 4 1 45 60 15 3600 0.004166667 Cotton 5 2 50 80 30 7200 0.004166667 Cocoa 6 3 55 100 45 10800 0.004166667 Potato 7 6 60 150 90 21600 0.004166667 Soybean 8 8 65 185 120 28800 0.004166667 Tomato 9 12 70 200 130 43200 0.003009259 Jalepeno 10 14 75 230 155 50400 0.003075397 Strawberry 11 16 80 255 175 57600 0.003038194 Oat 12 18 85 280 195 64800 0.003009259 Cabbage 13 20 90 310 220 72000 0.003055556 Rice 14 24 95 355 260 86400 0.003009259 Grapefruit 15 36 100 500 400 129600 0.00308642 Farming Data Cash per Second goal values 1-8 hours .004 8+ hours .003
  27. Facebook: DragonTown Profession Experience • Different curves based on profession type • Customized based on length of time to perform content and energy usage Knobs Harvesting Cooking Level Harvesting Cooking xpBase 90 30 2 quest driven quest driven newbie var 1.22 1.05 3 quest driven quest driven variable 1.22 1.075 4 90 30 medium var 1.15 1.1 5 200 62 advanced var 1.08 1.15 6 334 95 7 497 130 8 696 170 Formula 9 939 213 10 1236 259 11 1598 308 12 2040 361 13 2436 427 14 2891 500 15 3415 580 16 4017 668 17 4710 765 18 5507 872 19 6423 989 20 7027 1167 21 7679 1372 22 8383 1608 23 9144 1879 24 9966 2191 25 10853 2550 26 11811 2963 27 12846 3437 28 13964 3983 29 15171 4610 30 16475 5332 xpBase+(previousLevel*knobVariable) 0 10000 20000 30000 40000 50000 60000 1 4 7 10 13 16 19 22 25 28 31 34 37 40 43 XP Value Level Profession XP Curves Harvesting XP Cooking Xp
  28. Game Context (2011) • Genre: Facebook Social-Casual Isometric Vineyard Builder targeted at 35-50 year old female demographic • Designers entered data into a single Excel sheet which then exported to web file • Script in Lua • Template based item system Facebook: My Vineyard
  29. Facebook: My Vineyard Live Veteran Reward System • Designed system • The longer players played, the more Veteran Points they earned which could be spent on special items in veteran’s catalog Secondary Fermenting System • Designed system • Extends length of time it takes to ferment wine • Enabled players to earn higher score on wine barrels Extended Player levels • Extended XP curve for 10 additional levels Analytics • Used Analytics to optimize prices of game decorations
  30. DC Universe Online Game Context (2007-2010) • Genre: Action Combat MMO for Console and PC • Designer Data entered into database integrated into Unreal 3 • No designer scripting • Kismet and Matinee removed from Unreal, later added back piecemeal as custom encounter tool and “cool cam” system • Referenced based item system • 3rd person action combat
  31. DC Universe Online Player Stats • Designed with console players in mind • Skill with controller had to matter • As linear as possible statistic growth • Non derived statistical model Itemization • Designed stats amount from items to make up 20% of character total power • Compelling item appearance collection mechanic • Implemented many of the more complicated “fun items” (trinkets that player clicked for buffs or form changes) Experience • Designed “time to level” around console players • Quick to max level (weeks instead of months)
  32. DCUO: Trait Trees Traits System • Allowed players to customize character by spending Power Points in 2 power type trees and a generic Iconic power tree • All load out combat abilities originated in the trait trees • Allowed players to spend a different pool of Skill Points on movement mode abilities • Implemented the following trait power trees and abilities contained within: Fire-Immolation, Ice-Cryogenics, Mental-Illusion, Nature- Shapeshifting, Sorcery-Summoning, Gadgets-Traps • Implemented random powers in Iconic powers tree • Implemented random powers in movement mode trees.
  33. Player Supers Constants Base Finisher Damage 80 Power Cost 1000 Base Ability Cost 200 Projectile (1 or 0) 0 Dmg per Power 0.4 Ranged Autohit (1 or 0) 0 Ranged Projectile 0.8572 AOE (1 or 0) 0 Ranged Autohit 0.75 Cone (1 or 0) 0 AOE 0.66 Stun in seconds 0 Cone 0.75 Knockdown (1 or 0) 0 1sec Stun = dmg 16 Stat per 5% per sec 0 Stun Effect Ratio (1sec) 0.2 Snare 50% (sec) 0 Knockdown = dmg 24 Suppression (sec) 0 Knockdown Effect Ratio 0.3 Root (sec) 0 Snare 50% = dmg 3.2 Mez (sec) 0 Snare Effect Ratio (1sec) 0.04 Encase (sec) 0 Suppression = dmg 8 %DoT Damage (Max 100) 100 Suppression Effect Ratio 0.1 DoT duration (sec) 12 Root = dmg 6.6672 DoT Ticks per second 1 Root Effect Ratio 0.08334 (unused) Cast Time (sec) 0 1sec Encase (no immunity) 14.024 0 Encase NO immunity Ratio 0.1753 +Break Damage Threshold 0 Stat Mod = dmg 0.32 Stat mod per 5% (1 sec) 0.004 Damage 0 Mez = dmg 10.08 DoT Damage per Tick 53.33 Mez Effect Ratio (1 sec) 0.126 Mez break ratio 0.32 Root break ratio 0.65 DoT Dmg Bonus 0.05 Charge/Cast Time Bonus per sec 0 Max root time 12 Max mez time 8 Max suppress time 10 DPS to Finisher Ratio NA Basic DPS 80 Variance (Finisher Damage) Min Max Tight (10%) 0 0 Ice, Earth, Mental Tight/Mid (15%) 0 0 Dual pistols, Dual Wield, Melee, Thrown Mid (20%) 0 0 Light, Bow, Ring, Atomic Wide (40%) 0 0 Fire, Electric, Two handed Variance (DoT Tick) Min Max Tight (10%) 48 58.66666667 Ice, Earth, Mental Tight/Mid (15%) 45.3333333 61.33333333 Dual pistols, Dual Wield, Melee, Thrown Mid (20%) 42.6666667 64 Light, Bow, Ring, Atomic Wide (40%) 32 74.66666667 Fire, Electric, Two handed Variance (Basic Attacks) Min Max Tight (10%) 0 0 Ice, Earth, Mental Tight/Mid (15%) 0 0 Dual pistols, Dual Wield, Melee, Thrown Mid (20%) 0 0 Light, Bow, Ring, Atomic Wide (40%) 0 0 Fire, Electric, Two handed Ability Damage Calculator • Implemented calculator which ensures all NPC and player powers in game are relatively balanced from a damage perspective, based on the game effects contained within the power DCUO: Combat Abilities
  34. Movement Challenges • Designed and implemented system core • Implemented and established course style baselines for first 5 races for each of the 3 movement modes • Players could only see challenges for their specific movement mode • Variable reward times were implemented to ensure replayability (Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum) Unique Courses for Different Movement modes • Made use off all city surfaces: the ground, the sides of buildings, and the skyline to give each movement mode a different “feel” • Implemented form changes of different modes to let players experience other movement styles than their own Group Movement Courses • Implemented courses which would form change all players into the same movement mode to challenge each other head-to-head DCUO: Movement Challenges
  35. DCUO: Legends PvP Legends PvP • “King of the Hill” and “Capture and Hold” map modes • Designed and Implemented all Legends characters abilities, movement modes, weapon combos and, formchanges for the following characters: Catwoman, Harley Quinn, Huntress, The Joker, Arkham Asylum Joker, Nightwing, Robin, Two-Face, Batman, Future- Batman • Certain character team ups had hidden passive bonuses such as Batman and Robin, The Joker and Harley Quinn • Implemented victory and loss rewards as well as a daily reward for first win of the day • Allowed players to fulfill the fantasy of playing iconic DC characters in a limited way so as not to have a persistent world filled with players all playing as Batman
  36. Star Wars Galaxies Game Context (2003-2007) • Genre: Sandbox MMO • Designer Data entered into Excel, and exported into flat files • Java Script language • Template based item system (all items were “snowflakes”) • Most servers had on average 15 million unique items • 1 year expansion cycles • No Designer tools beyond TextPad and Excel, all systems and content implementation required advanced scripting skills • 3rd person tab target traditional MMO combat
  37. Star Wars Galaxies Live Character Builder Terminal • Known to the community as “Blue Frogs” • Scripted tool to assist developers and later players to test new content • Prior to creation developers had to write and maintain custom scripts to perform any of these tasks:  Any item in game could be added to terminal; weapons, armor, cash, vehicles  Auto level characters  Add buffs to characters • Utilized asset that Art department had created but never used in game, making it highly visible if one of these ever made it to a Live server • Saved Developers, QA, and Test Server players thousands of hours of time over the course of the project
  38. Star Wars Galaxies Live Jedi Lightsaber Revamp • Lightsabers became a slotted container • Color Crystals, Force Crystals and Krayt Pearls could be placed inside the saber hilt which determined color of blade and increased the damage range • Elemental Damage type based on color of color crystal • Enabled the Jedi players to have a progression path for their saber style of choice No Trade System • Items with No Trade script attached could not be traded to other players or placed in others houses • No Trade items turned containers they were placed into No Trade while they had a No Trade item contained inside • Enabled developers to make new content that ensured the player had performed previous steps by looking for the presence of specific No Trade items in the player's inventory
  39. SWG: Jump to Lightspeed Combat Upgrade - Combat Function • Assisted in reducing combat actions script from 32,000+ lines of code to under 1500 lines through using a single combat function that took parameters from a data table rather than a unique function per ability • Converted old player abilities from script functions to excel • Vastly sped up implementation of new combat abilities Combat Upgrade - Armor Reclassification • Classified armor into three types: Battle, Recon, Assault • Classes were linked to specific armor types • Armors had three levels of protection: Basic, Standard, Advanced • Armor has inherent hindrances: movement speed, rate of fire, and accuracy • Hindrances can be reduced and cancelled out by Mitigation, which are granted in elite combat skill boxes • At master elite skill boxes, all hindrances for Advanced armor should be completely mitigated • Encouraged players to master skill trees Combat Upgrade - Combat Levels • Added combat levels from 1-80 based on total number of skill boxes acquired • Scripted a new con system for NPC’s Gray, Green, Blue, White, Yellow, Red, Purple. Gray cons were considered trivial and purple is "Instant Death" • Prior to combat levels the players had no idea how difficult a NPC combat would be
  40. SWG: Rage of the Wookiees Buff System • Scripted system where multiple status effects could be grouped into a single component called a Buff • Buffs could be implemented in a single data table • Buffs were visible to the player via icons Multi-passenger Vehicle System • All vehicles that looked like multiple people could sit in them gained the functionality • Players could /offerride /acceptride /declineride • Implemented vehicle color customization kits
  41. SWG: The Total Experience Item System Rewrite • Scripted a system that generated “static items” • Static items behaved like referenced items in that they would update data when they were loaded from database • Enabled team to implement items in data tables rather than templates • Enabled team to alter item stats without attaching cleanup scripts to items • Items gained multiple new properties including: buffs, level requirements, factional requirements, skill mods, statistic modifiers, and set bonuses • Implementing an item became a task of minutes rather than hours
  42. SWG: Trials of Obi-Wan New Game Enhancement Profession Conversion • Data and script work to convert 35 professions into 9 iconic Star Wars classes • Removed any profession that didn’t fit into the new iconic 9 • Collapsed multiple professions into single iconic class • Made character identity more accessible to players
  43. SWG: Complete Online Adventures Expertise System • Designed framework for Expertise system • Each class would get points as they leveled, points could be spent in expertise boxes for additional abilities • Players would not have enough points to purchase everything • Each of the 9 classes would get 2 separate expertise trees • Gave players customization within their class Jedi Expertise Tree • Implemented all Jedi expertise trees • Path tree had a Lightsaber path (melee) and a Force Lightning (ranged) path fitting the different Jedi/Sith fantasies • Generic General Tree for force iconic Jedi abilities such as Force Run, Saber Block • Points were balanced such that Jedi could pick up 1 complete path and some general skills
  44. Beast Master Expertise • Wrote Design Documentation for entire system • Players could spend points in Beast Master Expertise tree granting them ability to craft and use pets in combat • Points spent in Beast Master expertise tree used the same pool of points that were required in the class expertise trees • Beast crafting was not a prerequisite to using beasts in combat Beast Master Incubator • Scripted the Beast Incubator • Limited to one incubator per character, one use per real life day • Energy harvested in the world was required to power the device Beast Master Beast Crafting • Temperature gauge to determine colorization, and armor and damage potentials • 4 different kinds of enzymes from different vectors(looted, crafted, harvested) to determine attributes, skills, mutation levels • Better quality enzymes yielded more points to distribute on attributes • Enzymes could be customized towards higher stat value or higher mutation chance to produce rare creatures such as Rancor or Acklay • Awarded Patent (US 8241099) “Generating Custom Creatures” SWG: Complete Online Adventures
  45. Beast Master Crafting Flow SWG: Complete Online Adventures
  46. Entertainer “Build a Buff” System • Designed social interaction system between the Entertainer players and the combat players • Assisted in scripting and implementing system • Players would visit an Entertainer in a Cantina and watch them perform for 3 minutes • Entertainer would construct a custom buff package which would be applied as a single buff at end of session • Hugely popular with the Entertainer players as well as Combat players • Awarded Patent (US 8764554) “Customized Enhancement System” SWG: Complete Online Adventures
  47. Holiday Systems • Designed initial system and later expanded system • Initially a yearly gift system where rewards were placed into players inventory upon login near the holiday • System expanded to player performing varies content activities generates tokens • Tokens could be exchanged for rewards at holiday vendors Lifeday (Christmas) • Yearly gifts • Special music around band at event hub • Specialty buff items from vendors (Hoth Chocolate, Wookiee Cookies) • Opening Lifeday presents would spawn a massive Wroshyr tree for 2 minutes at that location Ewok Festival of Love • Special crafting recipes • Chocolate fountain with Ewoks surrounding it • Flower bouquet granted from Chief Chirpa if you say in spatial chat to him “allayloo Ta Nuv” (celebrate the love) SWG: Complete Online Adventures
  48. Fan Events FanFest – 2004-2005-2006 SOE Fan Faire 2007-2008-2010 • Yearly event • Sent to represent Galaxies / DCUO Teams (Voice of the Product) • Expose upcoming features to fans • Take feedback on existing game features • Sit on Developer Panels to take questions about specific systems • Entertain fans
  49. EverQuest Game Context (2001-2003) • Genre: Sandbox-Themepark Hybrid MMO • Designer Data entered into Database via Access frontend • Primitive, proprietary custom scripting system • Constrained to 100 lines per script • Basic Script functions • Referenced based item system • 1 year expansion cycles • Internet at the time limited size of live updates; mainly bug fixing, and small content/systems that did not require new assets to be patched • 3rd person tab target traditional MMO combat
  50. EverQuest Live “Crown of Deceit” Questline • First content implemented as a designer • Multi week quest, gated mainly by faction grind • Reward enabled large races to play as medium size race, which made game movement and collision much more pleasant • Reward enabled night blind races to have best version of night vision • Extremely popular item Enhanced Rogue Poison System • First system revamp as a designer • Poison crafting created a clickable inventory buff item which placed a buff on players • Poisons were mainly forms of Damage Procs, with some utility like stuns and roots
  51. EverQuest: Planes of Power Launch Date (2002) Cooking and Armorsmithing Crafting Recipes • Over 300 crafting recipes Tradeskill Epic Questline “Aid Grimel” • Required players to have max skill level in all 7 crafting professions • Required months of player crafting and raiding to acquire components • Reward Signets were so sought after non crafters took up crafting professions Round Robin Reward Mechanic • Rewards could be turned in to same NPC infinitely for the reward player wanted (item a-> item b -> item c-> item d ->item a) Armor Token System • NPC’s dropped generic token for cloth, leather, chain, plate • Tokens were turned in for class specific armor • Less powerful armor tokens added for raiders to sell to less powerful guilds • Required player crafted components in addition to raid drops and NPC purchased items to complete • Created a Loop of Kill Raid Boss –> Seek Crafter -> Economy Sink
  52. EverQuest: Legacy of Ykesha Launch Date (2003) Added all NPC creature base population to zones • Gulf of Gunthak, Crypt of Nadox, Dulak’s Harbor Cartography System • Provided design specifications for map system • Made maps for popular zones Class Based Challenges • Prototyped with Shaman class • Only possible because designers gained ability to call scripts from scripts • Shaman had to survive by healing themselves in a ring for 2 minutes while being attacked by 3 NPCs, with zero outside help • Needed to maintain NPCs positions or shaman would be pushed too far, causing spell casting to fail the “channeling” check • Feature was cut due to inability to make a custom mini game for every class in time (first 6-month EverQuest expansion)
  53. Thank you for reading to the end!