Game Info

GENRE: Arcade Extreme Sports
PLAYERS: Single Player
RELEASE DATE: Soft Launch July 2017

Contributions Gameplay & Level Designer

Ownership of all levels
Creating and maintaining all Game Design Documentation
Responsible for Player Feedback and UX Design
Designed and balanced the in-game economy
Collated post-launch analytics reports
Designed and Implemented First Time User Experience tutorial content
Designed card upgrade progression system

#Skatelife is an extreme sports platformer with sidescroller characteristics. Core gameplay is primarily focused on performing and upgrading tricks to ultimately achieve a higher score during a competition. Levels or competitions are only available to play for a limited amount of time, after which the next competition will start. During a competition players will be tasked with completing a series of missions before they can access the leaderboard to compete with other players. Unlike our previous titles, #Skatelife is not procedurally generated, which means the approach to level design is much more traditional. Tricks are awarded to the player in the form of cards, either through purchases or completing every mission while a competition is active. Upon acquiring new tricks, players can assign them to slots in their loadout, which allows them to be performed during a playthrough.

Level Design

My primary responsibilities included designing all of the levels and corresponding missions that make up the competitions. When designing levels, the mission objectives dictated a lot of how the level is composed; this is due to the objectives being such a fundamental component of each competition. In addition I also had to consider both foreground and background level composition; primarily because the player character automatically transitions between the foreground and background lanes by jumping. From a level design perspective, this gave me the opportunity to create interesting encounters without the inherent limitations of sidescroller movement. My design goals for each level included:

Accommodates exciting missions
Variety of vertical elements
Branching routes
Risk and reward encounters
Appropriate skill challenges
Unique trick opportunities
World interactions
Recognizable Locations
Rhythmic in nature
Secret and exclusive elements
Encourages exploration

Multiple Routes

Due to competitions being active for a fixed time, branching routes are absolutely essential in ensuring replayability throughout the competition. The challenge lies in the balance between familiarity and variety to keep players engaged yet not overwhelmed with complex layouts.
The focus of a playthrough is on performing tricks and completing objectives, as a result if the player fails a trick or crashes they simply respawn to attempt the encounter again with only a minor time penalty. Instead a playthrough is dictated by time, so in turn it becomes the predominant factor that controls difficulty. So we can conclude that branching routes serve two distinct purposes: the first being replayability, the second being difficulty as additional routes results in more content to explore which takes more time.

Card Upgrades

I was responsible for designing the card upgrade system that acts as one of the game’s main progression mechanics. When the player upgrades a trick, they’re awarded experience points as well as score improvements to the trick itself. Upon reaching certain experience levels, new tricks are added to the random card packs. To upgrade a trick card, the player needs to collect duplicates from inside card packs. Additionally the player needs to spend Kudos; which is a currency is earned while the player in maintaining a trick combo during their run. Upgrading a trick card also increases the amount of Kudos per Second the player earns when performing a combo.