Descent of Champions (2019)
Lead Designer - Roles and Responsibilities
- Player ability design
- Enemy design
- AI state design
- Website interactions
- Wireframes for website
- Documentation of all systems
- Team organization and strategy
Descent of Champions is a round based arena brawler where players compete in combat based objectives to earn the audience's favor. The audience is made up of live spectators (real people watching the game) who use their phone to engage with gameplay systems, earn currency, and influence the match to create an epic battle.
My team created this game for the Ubisoft Game Lab Competition in spring 2019. Our mandate was to create a game where spectators could influence at least one system in the game. We decided to create our own website and unleash the mob mentality of twitch on our players, all while keeping balanced and enjoyable gameplay. That's why our custom website economy is scalable to the number of spectators watching.
The Vision of a Product Owner
As the designated product owner and lead designer, my main objective was to deliver exactly what Ubisoft wanted in their mandate while maintaining a high level of authenticity and structuring unique gameplay. Of the 21 teams, Champlain College was the only school to make a website for the competition. My mission was to create a custom website modular for all popular phones at the time essentially eliminating all barriers to entry. We dedicated over 25% of our development time setting up a website so spectators could seamlessly transition to engaging with the game and spending time contributing to the horde mentality.
As you will find out below, our dedication to the mandate landed us the win for that category at the competition. Many games that had an excellent mechanic or beautiful art, but we were one of few that made a complete cohesive experience for the player. It was the polished features, engaging gameplay, and powerful group dynamic that brought us so much success at the competition.
Design by me, Art by Isaac Mills
SUCCESS AT UBISOFT
After 2000+ development hours in 10 weeks...
...of 12 schools, 21 teams, 9 categories...
- Best Creativity and Integration of the Theme ($2000 scholarship)
- Best Prototype (nomination)
- Best Art Direction and Production (nomination)
- Best Technical Achievement (nomination)
- Best Quality of the "3Cs" (nomination)
- Audience Award (nomination)
Reflecting on 2000 hours of work is difficult. There are many things I would've changed, but I wouldn't have learned about those things if they hadn't happened. One of my career goals is to be the creative director for a AAA title. Being a creative director requires a vision, leadership, and solid communication. My biggest learning outcome from Descent of Champions was about leadership. We started the project without a clear form of leadership or a product owner. There was a point in the project where there was inconsistent communication and a lack of direction. I stepped up as the product owner and lead designer for the team. Once I established that I knew what the game should be, our work became more efficient and we worked harder knowing we were accomplishing something great.
I've always known that leaders are important to the success of any team infrastructure. The competition taught me how to step up and become that leader.