2012
04.03

PAIN

On PAIN for PS3, I started out as a level designer. In this capacity, I worked on freeplay (a basic sandbox destroy-everything mode) layouts for the Sore Spots Theme Pack and the Movie Lots Theme Pack. We would arrange props and animated characters to promote flow through the level, in a Tony-Hawk-style loop method. Large gameplay loops were first established, then smaller loops were constructed such that the player could enter and exit smaller and larger loops at will, providing lots of play options for the player, and promoting repeat attempts. I would also construct challenges and events, while working closely with scripters. These challenges were also akin to the challenges presented in the early Tony Hawk games, with goals like collect or hit things in a certain order, or hit all the objects within a certain time limit. Level designers would design the challenges and then work with scripters to implement these new goals.

Later, after most of the themes had shipped, I started working on new gameplay modes for the game. The PainBall mode was taken over and redesigned to be a kind of soccer game in which each player tries to get his or her character into a net at the far end of the playing field. Since this mode had to accommodate any of the purchased themes that a player might have, each mode had to work with the pre-designed play space that was created for the freeplay layout. This was definitely challenging at times, but in the end, each theme had a unique feel and set of challenging obstacles that made the mode shine in each of the 5 theme packs that the rest of the design team had created.

Following the design of that mode, I designed an prototyped quite a few new modes. Fleshing out ideas like the Ice Breaker mode, or designing ideas from the ground up, in the case of the Pain Pinball mode, was extremely rewarding and both of those modes found their way to market. Pinball was a scaled up version of a pinball table and used the existing props that we had to create the appropriate pinball style mechanics and challenges. This design was particularly fun because it required going back to analyze another game, breaking it down into its component parts, and applying the pieces that made sense to the new pinball mode. The loops from traditional pinball table challenge design were incorporated and used to the fullest extent while trying to add elements from regular Pain gameplay to tie the two worlds together. Since the two modes were close to begin with, this marriage formed rather easily, and the style of our game meshed quite well with traditional pinball table design.

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