I joined Gazillion Entertainment's Marvel Heroes Content Design team back in 2012 - just after the product launched. Content was the design umbrella under which Missions, Levels, and Narrative lived.

 

My original focus was on the mission and population side of things - drumming up new (and iterating on old) main and side story quests, as well as populating zones with NPCs, enemy encounters, and events. 

 

Patrol Zone Event - War Games

Sharing one of the many events I designed for our patrol zones - War Games. Since this particular zone contained Taskmaster's Institute POI (basically, a paramilitary & mercenary school), I thought it was characteristic of the institute's namesake headmaster to include interloping superheroes in his curriculum.   

Whereas events in our story mode zones were mostly single-phased events, patrol zone events were multi-phased and sequenced. The idea was to promote cooperation among players to complete a sequence in order to advance the event to the next one.

War Games Sequences (pictured below)

  1. Deathmatch

    • Defeat 4 named Mercenary elites​ spawned randomly on specially-placed markers throughout the map. Mercenaries were given a dramatic entrance (rappel from above) as well as unique tag lines to pop at players upon aggro.

  2. Hostage Rescue

    • Hostages spawned in groups of 1-3 on special markers placed within the interiors (mostly warehouses) and guarded by Mercenary trash mobs. Interacting uninterrupted with a hostage triggered their run-to-exit behavioral override. I placed exit markers at nearby static doors that the escaping NPCs would path toward before despawning from the map.

  3. Hardpoint Capture

    • During this seemingly last sequence, players flock to a large POI at the center of the map where a simple king-of-the-hill phase kicked off. Players needed to defeat 150 trash mob Mercenaries within 3 minutes. If successful, the event boss, Taskmaster, would rappel in. 

  4. Taskmaster (Boss Fight)

    • In Marvel Heroes, we had story bosses and event bosses. Both inherited from a shared abstract and blueprint. But whereas story bosses were designed with solo players in mind, event variants needed to give challenge to large groups. War games' Taskmaster (being the latter) was given a higher difficulty curve - greater damage output and armor. 

World Population - NPC & Enemy Encounters

I've enjoyed populating playspaces with fun and engaging encounters since AD&D 2nd Edition, and later with the City of Heroes team. With Marvel heroes, I've been able to leverage that passion and experience once again into bringing its zones to life through population vignettes we called discoveries. Below are some examples taken from our Hell's Kitchen region (chapter 1), of which I also level designed. 

In creating discoveries, I would take into account the overall narrative of the zone and which factions are to be represented. I would map out their (mob families) respective turfs, their activities, pastimes, language, interactions & involvements with other factions, etc. Implementing discoveries was done through our proprietary data entry tool called Calligraphy. Calligraphy, paired with our highly-modified version of Unreal Editor, allowed me to put my designs into game using the following workflow:

Unreal Editor (Step 1)

  1. Select the marker a discovery will spawn on.

  2. Select which entities are to spawn on the marker (entities included enemies, NPCs, props, vfx, etc).

  3. Design the entities' arrangement on the marker​.

  4. Place the marker throughout the level (Calligraphy ultimately determined the number of discoveries, so markers were placed liberally.

Calligraphy (Step 2)

  1. Chose the various entities' various animations / overrides (on-start, faction proximity, wake-up, death, run away etc.).

  2. Write the entities' dialogue / weighted dialogue options(on-start, faction proximity, wake-up, death, run away etc.).

  3. Set the discovery's reward / loot drop, if any.

  4. Set time of cooldown until next spawn.

  5. Many, many other bells and whistles.

CONTENT DESIGNER - WORLD BUILDER

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