World of Mechs
Role: Junior Game Designer
World of Mechs is a multiplayer VR-FPS with a focus on the different mechs, their abilities, and statistics. It will be releasing on the Oculus Store in the near future, and has been an amazing experience for me as a designer.
I was hired for World of Mechs at a point where production on the core assets was mainly done. We had all the maps, the mechs themselves, and most of the core game modes implemented so the focus was shifting towards fine tuning and bug fixing. As a junior designer my initial tasks where to get to know the game and bug fix a lot of the miscellaneous issues floating around - errant collision on maps, incorrect VFX usage on mechs, and balancing the campaigns reward structure to ensure players can use new mechs at a reasonable pace.
As I got more familiar with the project my duties expanded, and I worked closely with the mech systems and statistics. My tasks mainly involved balancing and tweaking, updating the entire roster's damage, health, movement speed, and fire rate among other stats. Using our company playtests as a basis I would adjust mechs in accordance with what the other designers and I agreed upon in our design meetings. Tweaking the abilities power on each mech to make them feel more impactful, brain storming a back-dash that is now universal on light mechs, and adjusting mech stats to make each variant feel unique where all tasks I undertook to balance and design a better experience for World of Mechs.
As the project continued I created additional bot variations with different power levels for use in campaign. During development it became apparent that bots where just a little too good at the game, rarely missing shots and not having to worry about our heat lockout mechanic. So began the process of updating every bot variants reload speed as a start, to bring them more in line with players. With this however came the problem that campaign became too easy as players progressed and upgraded their mechs, so I began the task of creating different "Level" version of bots. Each new "Level" bot was stronger and tweaked in ways that benefit their archetype - reload speed increases on shotguns and damage increases on precision weapons - upgrades that pushed the design, and most importantly brought them in line with player strength. It took a fair amount of time finding the right % amount to tweak different stats and testing them, but in the end the bots had a variety of power levels as the campaign progressed to challenge the player, as well as bot match difficulty options to keep things interesting.
With World of Mechs mainly under wraps as it goes through the QA process, I feel like I've grown as a designer from where I was before. Dealing with multiplayer balancing adds a new layer to the process, making sure something feels good to shoot and get hit by can be a challenging process. It does pay off in spades however, when playtesting a new design or balance iteration with the team and hearing the fun and happy voices rise up can make the next design challenge even more tantalizing. The sheer volume of numbers and changes needing implementation no longer become a hurdle but an entertaining challenge to tackle, and one that I hope I can tackle again in the multiplayer space.
Below you will find some examples of documentation the team and I used to do our balancing. Keeping track of relative power throughout the mechs and having easy references for necessary data was essential when balancing and these sheets helped massively in keeping that data in my mind while balancing in engine.