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Call of Duty: Black Ops 3

Developer: Treyarch
Publisher: Activision
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Platforms: PC, Playstation 4, XBox One

Released November, 2015

Role: Game Designer.

  • Enemy Combat Encounters orchestration and scripting.
  • Level Events orchestration and scripting.
  • Enemy Design for Zetsubou No Shima ( Zombies ).
  • Boss Encounters design and scripting for Zetsubou No Shima.

 Game Trailer

 Lotus Towers is the level that I spent much of my campaign scripting efforts:


The Added Complexities of a Cooperative Campaign
The inclusion of a coop campaign that supports up to 4 players presented some challenges that previous Call of Duty games did not have to tackle:

  • Event Orchestration- Orchestrating events with the possibility of multiple players was a huge challenge. We had to track every player's progress through a level in order to spawn enemies and events accordingly. Sometimes, triggers needed to wait for all players to arrive to kick off encounters and events.

  • Keeping Players Together- Thanks to the cybernetic/virtual world nature of the narrative, players that fall behind can be teleported to catch up with the other players ahead. It would've been way harder to achieve cooperative campaign gameplay if we didn't have this narrative point to allow catch-up teleports.

  • New Enemy Spawning Concerns- We had to make sure players could not see enemies spawning from different angles, as multiple players can cover multiple angles of an level.

  • Difficulty Scaling- Spawning and difficulty scaling had to be done and tuned to accomodate the number of players present.

  • Player Connection Concerns- Handling players dropping in or hot-joining was a big challenge. Player presence always had to be verified before attempting address players in script.

Advanced Movement and CyberCore Abilities  

The far-futuristic setting gave the characters special abilities not seen before in previous Black Ops titles, and allowed some very imaginative missions. The powerful nature of these abilities necessitated some additional safe-guards and opened up new design opportunities:

  • Mitigated Advanced Movement- Advanced movement was given or taken away as needed by narrative and level design. Areas where Advanced Movement was permitted had to be designed to rein the player in with extra-high geo and Out-of-Bounds triggers.

  • Game Mechanics Scaffolding- Some encounters and events were designed to specifically teach the player how to use these new abilities for later levels, or give the players opportunities to use particular abilities ( replayability! ).

We designed missions where the virtuality of senses played a big part, and the player is left questioning whether anything/everything they saw was real, or a digital memory. Some examples:

 "New World" Mission:

 "Frozen Forest" Mission:

The Island of Despair: ZOMBIES!  

After wrapping up the campaign, I was assigned to work on a Zombies DLC map called "Zetsubou No Shima" ( Island of Despair ). It was a fun change of pace and tone, and I got to design and implement a few key gameplay features for the map:

 The Thrasher- A large swamp zombie that can swallow a player and run around as the player sees everything happening from its gut:

 The Skulls of Nan Sapwe Puzzle- Players must retrieve 4 skulls to unlock a secret chamber containing a powerful weapon:

 The End Boss Fight- Players descend into the bowels of the island installation to face a mutated swamp monster version of a familiar character:

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