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 …
I recently worked on level design for one of the more indie games we have been developing as part of our Lucas Labs effort. It’s a reverse-platformer in the sense that instead of controlling a character moving through a world, you are instead placing pieces to help the character avoid obstacles. It was a really interesting an fun project to work on and I hope Lucas continues to develop titles like this outside the Star Wars IP.
LucasArts today announced Lucidity, a new game under development from the LucasArts team that re-imagined The Secret of Monkey Island®. Set for release on Xbox LIVE Arcade and PC via digital download on October 7, Lucidity is an addictive puzzle platformer set in the surreal dreamscapes of a little girl named Sofi.In Lucidity, players take a trip into the imagination of Sofi, a young girl who is filled with a persistent desire to explore new worlds and overcome all obstacles in her way. In this challenging puzzle platform game, players are tasked with keeping Sofi safe as she drifts deeper into the strange new world of her dreams. Through quick reaction and placement of randomly generated puzzle pieces, players must create a path through beautifully detailed dreamscapes to keep Sofi in perpetual motion and deliver her to safety.
“Lucidity comes from our effort at LucasArts to form several small internal development teams and give them the creative freedom to make games that surprise, amaze and inspire,” said LucasArts President Darrell Rodriguez. “The re-imagining of The Secret of Monkey Island and the development of the all-new Lucidity are just the beginning of this effort.”
Really excited that the DLC I’ve been working on is coming out! It was awesome getting to work on the Boba Fett and Obi Wan boss fights. I hardly could have imagined when I was a kid running around dressed up as Boba Fett that I would actually get to design a fight against him one day.
“LucasArts has announced that the “Ultimate Sith Edition” of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed will hit this fall on PS3, Xbox 360, PC and Mac, bringing with it two new levels in the Star Wars Infinity canon. One, set on Tatooine, will see Vader’s apprentice hunting down and battling Obi-Wan Kenobi, making a stop at Jabba the Hutt’s palace along the way. For the other, which takes place on Hoth, the apprentice has become the master, and — wearing the Vader-esque armor seen above — scraps with with Luke Skywalker himself.
The Hoth mission will be exclusive to the Ultimate Sith Edition of the game; the Tatooine mission, however, will be offered as paid DLC on PS3 and 360 for owners of the less-than-ultimate original game. Additionally, the new edition will include all previously released DLC for The Force Unleashed on disc, including the Jedi Temple mission and various player skins.
It may seem strange to be launching a second edition of the title (and DLC) nearly a year after it was released, but The Force Unleashed remains the fastest-selling Star Wars game of all time (and has sold move than six million copies to date).”
My first published game has now been released and I’m extremely excited! There’s nothing quite like the feeling of being able to go to the store and see your game on the shelf. Even though I’m doing design work now for LucasArts, I worked as a gameplay programmer in this DS title. Watch the trailer below and you can see some of the mini-games I worked on including the alien and zombie versions of whack-a-mole.
Six Flags Fun Park DS on Amazon…