Project: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Position: Game Designer
Duration: July 2009 – July 2010
Engine: Hero Engine
Star Wars: The Old Republic (TOR) is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game based in the Star Wars universe. Currently in development by BioWare Austin. The Old Republic was released as a PC title.
As a Game Designer on The Old Republic, my main responsibility was designing and scripting missions. In an open world MMO setting, this required juggling the task of creating engaging, immersive gameplay for each individual player while taking into account all the complications of developing in a multi-player environment. My average day consisted of creating these missions, populating game areas with mission-specific NPCs, bug-fixing & polishing existing missions, updating design documentation, and helping designers, both new and old, with toolset issues and questions.
In order to script missions for The Old Republic, we had to learn how to create fun and engaging gameplay in a story driven, open world, multiplayer environment. This involved scripting complex conversation trees with multiple branches depending on player choice, creating the gameplay steps in each mission by considering what mechanics are available to the player, and working in sync with artists, programmers and writers to bring each design to life. My biggest takeaway from BioWare is learning how to design a mission that reinforces the vision and story of the game while being able to stand on its own with fun gameplay.
Designing Tools and Training Designers
Aside from my main responsibilities for mission scripting, I was also responsible for taking ownership of a the Companion Character system and working with the Lead Gameplay Programmer to identify and address the issues that kept it in an unfinished state. I then identified modifications to the toolset that needed to be made in order for the World Design team to interface with the system. After the modifications were made, I then trained other World Designers on how to use the new system to script missions. I was also responsible for the general training of a large number of designers on the project.
Maintaining an Internal Scripting Knowledge Base
I’m a strong proponent of good communication and up-to-date tools, so I took it upon myself to the scripting wiki up to date with tutorials on advanced scripting implementation. I also created and maintained advanced template scripts within the toolset that designers can copy or reference when they implement gameplay scenarios that require more than the basic toolset functionality.