Tabula Rasa


Tabula Rasa was the first game that I worked on. Initially designed as an anime-fantasy massively multiplayer online game, I was hired on as a game designer focusing on content. Midway through development, the game was re-imagined as an sci-fi action title based on feedback.

I eventually became in charge of much of the prototyping and implementation of core features as we came out of the reboot, helping with content structure, vertical slicing of content systems and tools, and eventually the overall user experience and UI.


  • ICO_Content_Design_LargeTabula Rasa was broken into two types of content – persistent maps and instances. The former were large hubs that allowed a large number of players to play alongside each other while the latter were tight, group based experiences. I helped prototype the persistent map gameplay and created a several instances that made it into the final game.



    Pravus Research Facility

    Pravus Research Facility was the first instance that was created for the game. In it, players were tasked with helping the planet’s natives by destroying a nearby facility responsible for turning their kin into cyborgs used by the enemy faction. The map was based largely around trench warfare that eventually had players infiltrating the facility itself. Along the way, side missions that influenced reinforcements could be acquired.



    Purgas Station

    With a reactor core that harnessed the sun’s energy, Purgas Station served as a source of power for much of the enemy faction’s units. Players were tasked with locating a missing reconnaissance unit that was sent in previously, and finish the job for them. Players would make their way deeper into the facility taking down high-ranking enemy officers, re-establishing communications and eventually over powering the reactor to destroy it.


    Maligo Base

    Home to a prototype wormhole device, Maligo Base served as a secret weapons facility in the heart of the planet’s forest. Players would need to work their way past enemy forces and locate the device. Along the way, they would discover more details about the research as well as prisoners that could be rescued before finally destroying the device with explosives.




    The game was divided into several persistent maps, but the first done was Concordia Divide. This map was initially done as a vertical slice to help illustrate some of the key concepts in the game’s reboot, including how combat and trench ebb and flow would work. Additionally, concepts were fleshed out on how allies received reinforcements, enemies spawned, and finally, how the overall presentation and choreography of the ongoing “battlefield” would be presented. I scripting and blocked out much of this zone during it’s initial stages before it was revised in it’s final form for additional content changes and polish.

    Concordia Divide



  • ICO_Systems_Design_LargeMuch of the system work I led was centered around content development. I worked with the tech and art departments to establish tool improvements as well as get new systems online that would make content creation quicker and more polished for the player.



    The Usable State System (USS) was a content creation pipeline that let designers create fully contained objects, with their own visual effects, sound effects, animations, and script hooks. This system formed the basis for how we would handle everything from dropships that spawned enemies to puzzle objects that would power doors (such as access systems, power, keycodes, etc.).





    Several of our key creatures required design assistance to get their behavior online. I worked with the art and tech departments to bring the following creatures to completion.


    A large bipedal creature, the Juggernaut had a series of short ranged attacks to combat melee players with. Additionally, the creature had a chance to fire off a barrage of missiles that would impact players both near and far.




    Predators served as a scouting unit for the enemy faction, attacking with short range lasers and attempting to keep their distance in order to avoid incoming enemy fire.



    Mainly a reconnaissance unit, Sentinels had the capability of not only evading enemy fire, but also calling in reinforcements that would arrive in dropships.




    One of the signature creatures in the game, Stalkers were massive tripedal machines that would scour the battlefield for enemy players. In addition to powering a large fixed frontal gun, Stalkers could power up a large plasma bomb that would drop on the battlefield, causing massive damage to the area and those in it’s path. Their spawn in behavior had them flying in similar to “War of the Worlds”, striking the ground and standing upright before engaging in battle.


    Bane Cannon

    Fixed position cannons, these machines would dish out heavy amounts of firepower at unsuspecting players. Their key immunity came in the form of any EMP based incoming attack.



    Tesla Coil

    The Tesla Coil was a stationary structure. While weak and easy to destroy, the coils had the capability of charging up and electrifying nearby players with a high damage arc of energy.




    Control Points were the largest scripted system in the game. These large bases could alternate control between both allied and enemy forces. Their locations were identified on the map which gave indication as to which faction owned it.

    While in the possession of the player’s faction, they would serve as a teleportation site, offer commerce and dispense and complete quests. Eventually, they would be attacked by the enemy faction, requiring the player to fend off waves of enemy dropships, with troops working their way into the base.

    Possession of control points was centered around a control point “flag” which was an an obelisk like structure. I was responsible for the logic, tech coordination and scripting of these bases as well as blocking out and establishing their overall layout.

    They had to be constructed in a modular fashion so that our designers could place dozens of these quickly throughout the world without having to alter anything other than base properties on objects.



  • ICO_UX_Design_LargeA three person team consisting of myself, a UI programmer, and UI artist were assigned to help design and implement all the interface needs for the game. I was responsible for the overall design and high level wire frames for the UI. The UI artist would refine these further and establish the aesthetic for it. Finally, the UI programmer would work with us both to bring it to fruition.



    Our combat was simple to understand at it’s core, but required a unique take on how to control it. We focused on making it easy to handle the basic movement and combat actions, while letting you cycle your abilities and weapon loadouts as needed.




    The HUD needed to provide all the necessary information while being as transparent as possible to the player. This proved to be a challenge but our UI Artist really did an excellent job with making it all come together while still keeping the information easy to digest.



    Targeting Reticles

    One of the most challenging aspects of the HUD were the reticles for our gun play. We had to provide information on range, ammunition amount and faction association, while still keeping the aesthetic of the game and not overwhelming the player.




    Weapons & Ability Tray

    The weapons tray allowed the player to cycle forward/back both the weapons being used as well as the abilities the players had active.



    The minimap provided the information of nearby points of interest and allowed the player to filter this information depending on their preferences.




    Attribute Bar

    The Attribute Bar provided information on the player’s health, power, adrenaline (which resulted in kill streak bonuses), buffs and debuffs, and finally their level and “in-combat” status.






    Our icons were largely developed externally by a contractor. I was responsible for driving the direction of the icons that were used in the UI itself while also providing information and intent on how the icons would be used. Finally, I would hook up icons after reviewing them with the art team.





    Outside of the HUD, the game required a large number of windows to allow the player to manipulate and view the data available on their character.

    Character Creation

    Character Creation allowed the player to modify base characteristics using a predefined set of templates for each category (head, hair, torso, etc.). Additionally, color values were modifiable using a built in color wheel.



    Mission Accept Window

    The Mission Accept window provided a fictional blurb on the mission the player was accepting, as well as the rewards granted upon completion.


    Radial Menu

    The Radial Menu was a different take on how the player could access windows. I didn’t want the player to have to move their cursor very far since the game was fast paced and didn’t provide a mouse cursor by default. Instead, I opted to have the player hold down their control key and have the mouse available at the center of the screen, allowing them to quickly go to a window or it’s associated tabs.




    Character Window

    The Character Window provided key stats and equipped items that were on the player. Additionally, the player could see more detailed information in the form of resistances and their derived stats.



    Inventory Window

    The Inventory Window was grid based, allowing dragging and dropping. However, the player could expand it for a larger view. Additionally, the inventory allowed filtering which was unique at the time for an MMO.


    Vendor Window

    The Vendor Window provided a way for players to purchase and sell goods either individually or in bulk. Recently sold items could be viewed again to re-purchase back and items could be repaired if damaged.


    Mission Window

    Mission information was contained within the Mission Window, providing key objective information and their status, as well as allowing tracking to be toggled on or off by the player. Players could also see if group mates had the mission as well.


    Logos Tablet Window

    Logos was the unique language in our game. Players would discover Logos runes throughout the world that mapped one to one with an English equivalent word. The Tablet provided a way for players to view the vocabulary at large and see which of these runes they had unlocked.



    Looking for Squad Window

    Players wishing to group with others could take advantage of the Looking for Squad Window. This system gave players a way to post advertisements and group up with others based on the information they provided. Others could then search out players using similar criteria and be paired up automatically.



    Map Window

    The Map Window was the most complex window to get online. It required navigation of all zone maps as well as an extensive filtering system that called out key points on any map the player wished to view. Additionally, maps needed to be generated in a style that fit the theme of the rest of the game.


    Waypoint Window

    The Waypoint Window was a subset of the map window, providing players a means of traveling between different points on the map they were on.


    Zone Loading Screen

    Our Loading Screens provided fictional information on the map the player was about to travel to, while showcasing some of the key areas of the map in the form of captured screens.


    Help Window

    The Help Window provided information on the systems players would be exposed to. Each help file supported embedded images and informational call outs as needed.


    Options Window

    The Options window provided detailed settings for Video, Audio, and the Game itself. Keybindings could also be remapped in full through this window.