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Title: Programming Lead My roles: Programming, Tech Direction, Game Design
Distraction Machine is a music composition sandbox/puzzle game about bringing people together in a post-apocalyptic world.
You are the Distractor - a warrior bard wielding the power to soothe the living and control the undead. But will your music save your people or lead them to ruin?
I was brought onto Miscellaneum Studio's team near the start of Distraction Machine's development to begin prototyping and iterating on core mechanics as its only programmer. The prototypes I wrote played a crucial role in securing funding in order to continue the project, including funding from Canada Media Fund and Code Coven's ELEVATE 2020 accelerator program.
By release, I wrote almost all of the code the game runs on: UI, gameplay, music creation & playback, animation, asset integration, save systems, and narrative content delivery.
In pre-production, I trained another teammate for help with integrating tutorials and localization. I also wrote tools for my team to use in production, including a narrative sequence editor, and saving tool for pre-written music.
I was also tasked with creating some design pitches to solve some of the challenges the team was facing at the time, including a pitch for the core game loop, and what would become the Request & Criteria system.
Creating Content Tools
Distraction Machine's levels are called Requests, as conversations with NPCs draw out goals (Criteria) that the player must achieve in order for the level to be completed with the best rating. As such, Requests needed lots of control over which NPCs would appear, what they would say, and what Criteria they would give. I created the Request Editor, using Odin Inspector and custom Unity Editor scripts, to facilitate the creation and editing of these Requests.
The Request Editor was pivotal in delivering all of our narrative and gameplay content. I learned much about what makes a good development tool thanks to valuable feedback from our designers.
A diagram of some of the Request data structure I created before developing the tool.
UX in a Maximalist User Interface
Distraction Machine's extraordinarily diagetic interfaces were grand challenge for us to achieve. Extreme emphasis was put on visual heirarchy, and usage of color, motion, and sound became mandatory in order for affordance to cut through the striking, high-detail visuals.
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