Splinter Cell: Blacklist
encounter design, scripting and balance
layout iteration, from conceptual modeling to final cover placement
design and upkeep of interactive gameplay elements, AI helper objects and navmesh
presentational scripting and iteration for tutorials, UI and voice-over
optimization for performance and loading
high-level technical polish and bug-fixing as part of a small team of project closers tasked with shipping Blacklists's single player campaign.
Games will often teach their core systems explicitly, but players are constantly picking up implicit hints about patterns in the world.
I try to leverage this by introducing and gradually reinforcing a rule or set of rules during down beats, in an effort to prime the player to use those rules to their advantage in a high-stakes moment. For example:
1. Any open window can be climbed out of.
2. If there's an open window on the 1st floor, there's a matching open window directly above it on the 2nd floor, & vice versa.
3. Open windows separated by a floor can be climbed between.
ie. if you see an open window, even on a first time play through, you trust you can use it to quickly climb between floors.
The goal is to track the expectations the player is building about the world they are in, and reward them for improvising off the back of those expectations in the heat of the moment.
In open-ended environments, with groups of AI systemically hunting them down, you never know where the player will be when they suddenly feel the need to make themselves scarce, or in what direction they'll try to do it.
If the player ever panicked and flew into an active sprint, I wanted it to produce a result in as many directions as possible, whether climbing up a wall, vaulting over cover, or flying out of a window. Keeping a space navigable can keep a story going when it would otherwise come to an end.