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Half-Life 2: “Compromised”

As a professional game designer, I have the unbelievably fun job of making videogames for a living. If you’d like to see some examples of the sort of thing I do in my day job, you can review videos of my past work. Because this website is primarily focused on my career as an author, which is separate from my career as a videogame designer, I have not included any videos from work completed for my current employer to avoid any appearance of tying the two together. My writing and game career remain separate endeavors. These videos include only projects I completed on my own, primarily while attending the Guildhall at SMU.
In my last six months at the Guildhall at SMU, I completed a thesis project comparing two common methods of telling stories in games - scripted sequences and cutscenes. To aid in my research, I created a Half-Life 2 level called “Compromised”. This level told the same story through two methods - either through cutscenes (taking control away from the player to show them the action as in a film) and scripted sequences (having the action unfold around them). The video below is a complete playthrough of the cutscene version of my thesis level.

Doom 3: “Escape from Mars City”

As part of my work at the Guildhall at SMU we worked with Radiant, the engine used to create Doom 3 and Quake 4. Over the course of three months I created “Escape From Mars City”, a Doom 3 level where you play as a hapless scientist armed only with a flashlight. Rather than taking on the creatures of hell, you must hide, evade, and escape as you attempt to reach an extraction point. The video below is a complete playthrough of this level.

Mjolnir - Hammer of Tempered Elements: “Fighting the Executioner”

My first project at the Guildhall at SMU was to spend three months creating a side-scrolling game from scratch in Torque Game Builder. As the project’s programmer/scripter, I got to create an entirely new game and all its elements (player movement, UI, enemy AI, environmental interactions and hazards, player checkpoints, cutscenes, and pretty much everything else). The highlight of this work was the final boss battle of the game, where you face the fearsome Executioner to save Sarah, a young, mystically gifted girl, from execution. Mjolnir - Hammer of Tempered Elements took its name from its main game mechanic, imbuing your hammer with the elements of Fire, Ice, Holy, and Demonic - each element had strengths and weaknesses against the game’s enemies and allowed you to destroy doors of an opposing element (Fire / Ice, Holy / Demonic). In the final boss fight you face an enemy who, just like you, freely swaps elements at will. The only way to defeat the massive Executioner is to acquire an element opposite of the one he currently wields. The video below is the complete boss fight.