Behind The Scenes
Stephen Oyarijivbie (Steve-O) Edit
This is the first in a longer series of behind-the-scenes interviews and discussions with the people that make Project Spark and Team Dakota tick.
Hey guys, my name is Steve-O and I’m a combat designer on Project Spark. My job is to provide challenge, and motivations to overcome conflict by taking action.
“I’m 'bout dat action boss” ~Marshawn Lynch
About Me Edit
“What made you want to become a combat designer?”
Combat has this direct, physical, and intense reward for me and has been the best drama my whole life.
As kid, I was inspired by Kung Fu movies such as 5 Deadly Venoms, Kid with the Golden Arm and Way of the Dragon. I was hooked on how the characters would use their skills to overcome obstacles and achieve goals. I began taking martial arts as I got older to better understand the art, and my love for combat led me to fighting games.
Tekken played a big role in my development, teaching me spacing, damage values and frame data. Unlike Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, Tekken has a deep animations sequences for attacks and when you can cancel those animations. I got really into it and began competing. I even won a few regional Tekken competitions. All this and more placed me on the path to become a combat designer.
“How did you end up on Team Dakota?”
I didn’t know much about Project Spark until I saw Claude Jerome, my friend from college, on the stage of E3 2013. It was awesome seeing someone I knew well in the spotlight showing off one of the coolest innovations I’d seen.
I started watching the Team Dakota streams and following Project Spark heavily. When I saw a stream where a few team members showed off Swan Song, my mind was blown. At the time, I was working in Texas on a Beat ‘em Up game. One day I got a call from Team Dakota. Claude had sent my resume in and they wanted me to join the team to work on champions and combat. I said yes immediately.
“What do you do on Project Spark?”
I collaborate with the team across disciplines to implement and iterate on the overall game vision. I work with animation for movement models, attack locomotion, and tuning frame data. Sometime I help oversee visual effects for combat messaging. I’m also responsible for creating and modifying combat features, combat encounters in champion quest, and non-playable characters’ behaviors, in addition to conceptualizing new champions or enemies. I bring these new concepts to life with prototyping and finally implementing.
“What have you recently worked on?”
My “claim to fame” in Project Spark was creating the cool Necromancer Boss from the Necromancer’s Rise Pack. Most recently, I came up with the combat mechanics around the different Kodian Golem assemblies. I've also worked on a lot of the brains, combats and counters in Champions Quest. On top of that, I did a lot of the design and gameplay work on our most recent champion Seph. I thought through what abilities make the most sense for a Sorcerer, what that ability progression might look like and how it could be fun and a bit different than our other champions.
Recommendations for New Players/Creators Edit
If you want to make your own custom enemies and are new to Kode, I’d recommend starting with studying the Goblin Bruiser and its default enemy brain. I worked to make that as simple as possible. It only uses 8 lines of Kode to find its enemies and begin attacking them. Play around with the Kode tiles and see what happens when you modify them.
Once you’re comfortable and understand the default Enemy Brain, you could next graduate to the Bandit Scavenger brain. It’s a bit more advanced, but still easy to understand and play around with.
Favorite Community Levels Edit
There are quite a few community levels I’m a fan of. Here are three of them.
Necromagical Pumpkin Patrol
It’s super cool to see such a great usage of champions in community levels. This level hits on a lot of initiative we wanted the community to explore. We want you to be able to make your own games around champions. And we want you to be able to make your own fun custom enemies. The enemies here have nice tiers and keep a consistent design language.
The creator did a great job with custom enemies and characters. I really look for varied combat and Dark Mines hit on all of that for me. I love the glow of goblins, their different abilities and armors. The custom champions selection screen is also so cool. Everyone looks like I really want to play as them.
Orbit 32 – Void Origins
The presentation, the build-up and the tension in this creation hooked me. It was a really good experience to go through. I wasn’t scared at first and I wanted to know what was going on. Until that one scene where I looked through the camera and saw blood all over the room. That melted my mind!
Original article published on Wednesday, February 18, 2015.