AAA Titles

Far Cry – PC 2004, Crytek

This video is of the very first Far Cry gameplay demo that was prepared over the 6 weeks leading up to E3 2002; where Far Cry was nominated and runner’s up in multiple “Best of” categories at the event. An interesting bit of gaming history considering that Crytek went on to become a multi-studio developer and middleware provider, and Far Cry, spawned a number of sequels developed by publisher Ubisoft.

On the project I was promoted to Lead Designer shortly before the tech demo, X-Isle, evolved into Far Cry. The demo may not look like much compared to today’s games, but, prior to this demo there was NO gameplay for either project, just raw unproven graphical tech on display. It’s something that the video probably fails to do justice to, as it is more than a decade old now and many of the features — including mechanics like sprinting — are now commonplace if old-hat.

Unless you have experience with such things, I’m sure that it will be lost on you just how important it was to develop an actual gameplay demo that had gameplay in order to ensure the success of the title. Especially for an unproven development studio, even if they had what looked to be great technology.

The video was one of the better takes I recorded after playing the demo enough to get reacquainted with its features and quirks — rough edges. Unfortunately I got to know the demo a little too well, and therefore, the encounters with the enemy (AI) are a little too methodical and efficiently dealt with. Too clean and not messy enough — which visually is where the fun is.

Fallout Tactics – PC 2001, Micro Forte

I worked on Fallout Tactics primarily as a Level Designer, and also contributed a lot towards the title’s game design — why I’m listed as one in the credits rather than as a level designer.

Recently I installed Fallout Tactics and played some with the editor. With it you can stitch together all the tiles that are rendered on screen to create a massive JPEG image of the map — you get an interesting bird’s eye view of the maps this way. So, I went through and did this for every map I had contributed a lot towards. Turns out that many of the levels for Fallout Tactics are either largely my own work or I contributed a lot towards them. Which came as a bit of a surprise to me.

I thought I’d upload one map image-set here — Mission 16, Newton — with the various levels occluded. Though, the maps aren’t made up of individual layers but rather individual tiles, as you can see with the first image. Tiles are then grouped together via a tool for occlusion purposes; so for example, you enter a one story building and the roof tiles disappear.

If these images are saved locally and opened up via an image viewer, it’s possible to zoom on in to look at the finer details of the map.