After over four years of working at Lucas Arts, I came in today to find out that Disney is shutting the doors on the studio. I would have really liked to have been able to share First Assault with the world. I spent many longs nights working on the core combat systems, from the guns to the locomotion to the grenades and all the attachments. We had a unique team-oriented game with many systems that facilitated our objective-based gameplay. We were so close to being done, it’s difficult knowing that it will never be released.
Never-the-less, I am proud of what we accomplished and learned many new lessons from the process. Our feedback and iteration loops by the end of the project were starting to become like well-oiled machines and I was honing in on the fine tuning that we would need to ship a polished and competitive product.
We also had a great team and I look forward to hopefully working with them again in the future.
R.I.P Lucas Arts
I’m glad we have finally announced one of the projects we have been working on here at Lucas Arts. It has been in development for several years now and I worked on it during the early concept/prototyping phases including designing the cover system and some of the camera work that is still in the game.
I will be speaking tonight, April 11th 2012 @ 7PM, at the San Francisco IGDA meeting about Common Game Design Anti-Patterns. Come check it out!
Here are the details.
Common Game Design Anti-Patterns
Anti-Patterns are patterns that are common used but are ineffective or counter-productive in practice. In this talk, I will discuss some of the most commonly used game design anti-patterns to discuss how designers can optimize their designs so that they are not adding negative design value to their projects. While these are not hard and fast rules, they are intended to inform designers so that they only use these design patterns if they are going to get more in return than they lose.
After the Birmingham News article, a local morning talk show also asked me to do an TV interview. The host was a somewhat mistaken about my role on the project but he was very enthusiastic!
The Birmingham News gave The Force Unleashed 2 an A+ review and the reporter contacted me about doing an interview. While telling him my story, I mentioned how, as a designer from Birmingham, David Jaffe (also from Birmingham) had inspired me. Hearing this, he decided to write an article about my work and contacted Jaffe to comment. The resulting article was an excellent piece and talked not only about the work I’ve been doing but also about the importance of support from friends and family.
“If you unwrapped the video game Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II on Christmas, you’re probably already acquainted with Ben Retan’s handiwork.
Retan, a Birmingham native, is a systems designer for LucasArts, where he’s worked for about two years. He was part of the team that created the newest game about Darth Vader’s apprentice, Starkiller. In one of the “boss fights,” Starkiller faces a gigantic, cranky beast called a Gorog that eats rancors for lunch. Retan looks nothing like the monster, but the Gorog borrows some of its brains from the smiling young designer.”
“Supportive parents who allowed their children to follow their passions is the common denominator, not geography. If more parents were like Ben’s dad and my parents, then we’d have a world full of people living their dreams. And to me, that’s what it’s all about. That’s why we are here.” – David Jaffe
Read the Full Article …
After a lot of long hours of hard work, I’m proud to say Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 is finally released! This project has been an epic journey and I’m extremely proud of the work I was able to accomplish. Of course, I always wish I had time to get more done but that’s just how it goes. Make sure to check out the Gorog and Spider Terror Walker fights!
I was recently approached about doing an article about my work on The Force Unleashed 2. It was featured on the Full Sail website and details my work and experience on the project.
“Video games have played an important role in expanding the Star Wars universe, most recently with the 2008 hit Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, which was hailed for its darker take on the series. In it you play as Darth Vader’s secret apprentice, Starkiller, battling against the Jedi with an arsenal of powerful Force abilities. It was the kind of mature Star Wars experience fans had been waiting for, and the intense action and cliffhanger ending left gamers eager for a follow-up – which they’ll get this October when Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II hits consoles…”
Read the Full Article …