What is this game?

Thousands of years ago, the Giant Skylanders fought epic battles in Skylands, but were banished to Earth. With a new threat looming, it’s time to bring them back to join forces with the Skylanders to defeat KAOS. Only you can put them on the Portal of Power™ to unleash their strength in the ultimate battle to save Skylands!

What did I contribute?

As the Enemy Systems Designer I was tasked with handling all enemy related systems.  The most effective way to create a good system is not only to get insight from your intended users, but to also become one yourself.  To this end I created various enemies and their behaviors for the game.  While doing this I worked closely with the Enemy Designers and developed best practices and a standard format for enemy scripts.  When it came time for me to optimize everything to meet performance targets those efforts made that goal far more achievable.

The proprietary scripting system this studio used was very low level and very powerful.  Nothing was built for us, and we had the power through script to create variables, functions, etc. and everything from the camera system to the save game system is written in script.  This gives better context for when I say I wrote a finite state machine system as well as various common behaviors for the enemy team to use from the ground up.  Previously each script was written manually and things were copied and pasted from one to another, but by adopting a more centralized and modular approach I saved the team a lot of time and headaches throughout the course of development.

One system I wrote for the team was a queue system to allow level designers to more easily control enemies both during cutscenes and prior to the enemies being alerted.  This allowed them to perform elaborate action sequences that could easily be started, stopped, and reset both during cutscenes and for the purposes of patrolling an area in the level with more interesting behavior sequences than just walking back and forth.

During the course of development we were having lots of issues with enemies getting stuck on the environment.  Because there wasn’t any sort of navmesh or pathnodes enemies were operating on simple line of sight and full awareness of other characters around them, but had no sense of the terrain around them.  I implemented a pathing solution whereby level designers would just tag various points in the combat environments to allow enemies to better navigate their environment and understand where things like pits or walls were located.

Other Info

Publisher:   Activision
Toys For Bob
PS3/Xbox 360/Wii U/Wii/3DS
Genre:   Toys-to-life action 3D platformer
Model:   Traditional purchase, Toy DLC
Modes:   Campaign, Co-op Campaign
Team Size:   ~ 80
Dev Cycle:   ~ 1 year

Released:   2012