Project: Kingdoms of Amalur
Position: Technical Designer
Duration: September 2010 – February 2012
Engine: Unreal Development Kit, BigWorldKingdoms of Amalur was a massively multiplayer online game in development by 38 Studios in Providence, Rhode Island. The game took place in the same world as Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, and followed a story line written by RA Salvatore.
As a Technical Designer on Kingdoms of Amalur, my responsibilities focused on owning and developing the designer driven scripting system, and prototyping the experimental game systems. At times, the work also included creating overland zones, scripting boss fights, training designers, maintaining the internal scripting wiki, and hosting playtests. On Kingdoms of Amalur, I worked my way up within 3 months from general zone designer to the design team’s first specialized scripted event designer, responsible for the game’s most complex scripted events and acting as the first point of contact for any scripting questions or issues.
Designing and Scripting Public Multiplayer Gameplay
My original responsibility on Kingdoms of Amalur was to create the game’s overland zones. This first started with concepting the zones, writing their storylines in RA Salvatore’s vision while working with artists to identify the key points of interest for each zone. The next step was to whitebox those zones with the artists side-by-side to make sure the terrain sculpt is proceeding according to design specifications while working with engineers to figure out the technical needs of the zone. Afterwards, we pushed zones to a first-playable state where we worked in a small team of designers and artists to put quests, dialogue, NPCs, and special events in the zones.
System Owner for the Designer Driven Scripting System
After transitioning to Technical Designer, I became the system owner for the designer driven scripting system. This meant I was responsible for the development of this system all throughout production, ensuring the system met the needs of the design team. Whenever a new case arose where the scripting system needed modification, I would work with the engineering team to identify what needed to be modified to make the change as smooth as possible for the design team of 40+ that used the system.
Responsible for Prototyping the Introductory Zone and Cutscene
As the team’s first dedicated scripted event designer, my responsibilities included prototyping the introductory zone and all scripting functionality associated with it. This zone was the first thing any players would see, and deserved to be personal, despite being an MMO. I found a way to create a system to fire events only on the game client, which allowed different players to see different things based on their personal gamestate. This allowed the art and animation teams to create high-value show pieces that were then scripted to happen for each individual client at a specified time. My responsibility also involved prototyping the zone’s major gameplay events, including the boss fights, major story beats, and the final cinematic where you fight an actual Dragon.