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Age Of Empires Online

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Project Highlights

  • Core design team lead for the first free to play entry in the 25 million unit selling franchise

Skirmish Mode Design


  • Directed development of top-selling co-op skirmish mode DLC
  • Managed a direct report, design schedule, and all art and engineering requests for skirmish
  • Tuned difficulty, rewards, quests, and gear across 40 levels of player experience for skirmish
  • Tuned every combination of skirmish settings including map type, map resources, starting resources, maximum age, victory type, and each pairing of 1-4 computer or human players versus 1-4 AI opponents with different army types and difficulty options

AI Design and Tuning


  • Designed 9 unique AI armies with varied tactics, units, gear, and strategies
  • Analyzed and designed improvements to each army type to enhance the diversity of tactics used across each AI including melee focus, cavalry focus, ranged focus, siege focus, naval focus, economy focus, and priest focus
  • Tuned AI script variables to better balance difficulty, attack frequency, build orders, and strategic focus

Map Design


  • Oversaw creation of over 20 PvE and multiplayer maps using mission editor, C#, and triggers
  • Remixed classic Age of Empires maps for AOEO and tuned player base allocation, starting units, resource allocation and important geographical features such as bodies of water, mountains, hills, islands, and valleys
  • The terrain features, resource pools, and sizes of these maps scaled appropriately for 2 to 8 players, in all manner of skirmish configurations.
  • Highlights of several maps I implemented:
    • Black Forest: All bases are nestled in nooks of a large forest. Narrow tree-lined pathways lead to each base as well as resources.
    • Oasis: The center of the map features a rich water source, lots of trees, and plenty of mines and food. Resources around the rest of the map are sparse, requiring players to expand towards the middle.
    • Arabia: Bases are protected by cliffs allowing resources to be harvested safely. The terrain is rugged and so are the wild animals roaming the map. Several mini-oasis fishing ponds are scattered all over the map, allowing access to additional food and wood resources.
    • Big Island: Players begin on opposite sides of a large island rich in resources. A large body of water surrounding the island allows for interesting naval and fishing options.
    • Dueling Islands: Players begin on small resource rich islands, which are surrounded by a large body of water and additional smaller islands containing more resources.
    • Mountain Crossing: Four large cliff walls form an X across the entire map. At the center is a large open area. Resources are condensed at the top and bottom parts of the map.
    • Sheltered Pass: Two parallel cliffs separate players and create narrow choke points into each base. A small number of cliff ramps can also be used to launch suprise attacks along the walls.

Quest Design

Skirmish mode includes a set of 15-20 quests tied to completing specific game mode objectives, such as defeating specific AI opponents, winning on all maps, winning 1 on 4 matches or 4 on 4 matches, winning a match in each of the 3 game mode types, and reaching specific milestones such as winning 100 skirmish matches. For each of these quests, I created the starting conditions, objective text, objective triggers, NPC quest givers, and reward tables.

The end game of Age of Empires Online is targeted at players who have hit the level cap. It focuses on challenging repeatable content aimed at PvP players, co-op players, and solo players. Each player must choose one of 3 factions to ally themselves with. Successfully completing hard PvE game modes or winning PvP matches earns players alliance points. At the end of each time frame (daily, weekly, monthly), faction points are tallied and rewards are given out to players on the winning team.

  • Co-designed the framework and structure of the repeatable end game experience to improve player retention
  • Designed 3 of the repeatable game modes that earn faction points
  • Created quests associated with each end game mode type

Scripting

  • Architected overhaul of map generation and quest trigger system in C#
  • Created 3 different victory condition scripts and several repeatable end game types
  • Created a library of trigger utility functions to simplify scripts and to provide a consistent interface amongst them
  • Implemented an extension of the game achievement system by creating new quest objective types in C#

Microtransaction Design


  •  Co-designed microtransaction model, including vanity, consumables, and functional upgrades