GRID Autosport

Codemasters released GRID Autosport in the UK on 27th June 2014, on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Much of the momentum from developing GRID 2 was continued into GRID Autosport, lending to the relatively short development time. GRID Autosport was also an opportunity to address feedback from our community fanbase regarding GRID 2.

As a result, GRID Autosport dispensed with a narrative story-line and brought the focus back to pure racing, with 5 distinct driving disciplines to master, and a handling model just as authentic and visceral as the original Race Driver: GRID.

[youtube http://youtu.be/4J4-z2UeitE]

As a Game Designer, this project was my largest challenge to date, as I was given responsibility for the Online Multiplayer portion of the game. More information on what this entailed is given below…

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Auto Club Revolution

I was previously working on a “freemium” online multiplayer sim-racing game called “Auto Club Revolution” at Eutechnyx Ltd. as a Game Designer.

  • Developer – Eutechnyx Ltd
  • Publisher – AutoClubRevolution.com
  • Platform – PC Online (Browser & Client)
  • Release Date – Open Beta Q2 2012

“Auto Club Revolution delivers a console quality online racing game to the free-to-play market while creating a social platform for communities of car enthusiasts and racing fans. The unique combination of console quality racing, social features and close collaboration with motor manufacturers creates the ultimate venus for racing game fans and car enthusiasts alike.

Racing game fans will enjoy the array of visually stunning officially-licenced cars, with realistic driving performances and handling around custom built and real world licenced race tracks. Car enthusiasts will immerse themselves in an online world built around their favourite car brands and enjoy exclusive access and first looks at new car models through branded ‘Auto Clubs’.

The team has drawn heavily on their 14 years experience creating racing games to create a revolutionary new approach to the genre and has worked very closely with many major motor brands to deliver unrivalled access to the player’s favourite car marques.” – Eutechnyx Ltd.

Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2

I’ve recently been overcome with nostalgia and revisited several of my favourite games from “back in the day”. Some of  EA and Westwood’s Command & Conquer games are among those that hold a special place in my heart, but not all. I’m quite particular about which of the series I like; namely Red Alert 1 and 2 along with Generals and their respective expansion packs. Yes, I admit it, I don’t care very much for the Tiberium games. Sorry.

Anyway, many moons ago, I used to tinker under the bonnet of Red Alert 2, modifying its config files to produce amusing results, like flying cows that could rapid-fire nuke shells across the map with a sniper rifle. I also used to build maps for it, but as I’ve had several computers that each saw multiple hard-disc wipes since the days when Red Alert 2 was in its prime, I’ve long-since lost them all. So, yesterday I decided to make a new one. Just to see if I still could.

After a little searching, I found the semi-official map editing tool, Final Alert 2, and set about rebuilding one of the multiplayer/skirmish map designs I’d once made from memory. It was loosely inspired by one of my favourite maps from Cavedog’s Total Annihilation, “Shore 2 Shore”. Read on to see how it turned out.

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Second Life

I have been part of multiple projects using Linden LabsSecond Life, a massive virtual world where thousands of users can interact using “avatars”. Almost anything can be created in Second Life, and its behaviour can be controlled using a scripting language called LindenScript.

One of the projects was an actual university assignment, whereby we had to design mini-games that were similar in style and theme to what you might have seen on a TV game-show, like The Crystal Maze.

The other projects, however, were extracurricular; and I worked with fellow students Chris Butler and Matthew Brittain. Firstly, we supplied the assets for a “machinima” in Second Life as a pilot TV programme for Channel 4, which was directed by Pixel-Lab. Secondly, we worked on a major press event when the University of Derby signed a deal with global technology services giant, EDS.

For the press event, we had to model a replica of the specialist Games Development Suite in Second Life, as that was where the signing took place in real life, and we produced avatars that would mimic the actions of the real people in the room. You can find the university’s article on the event here. Expand this post to see screenshots of how we built the virtual Games Development Suite.

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MotoGP 09/10

From 2008 to 2010 I worked on  MotoGP 09/10 in a design role with Monumental Games Ltd. The game was released for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on the 19th of March, 2010, and was published by Capcom.

MotoGP 09/10 PS3 Boxart

“MotoGP 09/10 takes the series in an exciting new direction rewarding players for their racing style as well as skill on the track.

Gamers will get all the riders, tracks and teams from the official 2009 MotoGP season AND free downloadable content from the 2010 season as it unfolds. The free update means gamers will be able to play the most up to date MotoGP season content earlier than ever before.

MotoGP 09/10 delivers a racing experience like no other. The blistering speed and intensity of race day will be just one of the challenges as MotoGP 09/10 will add many new modes and features for the best in offline and online racing.” – Capcom

Credits

The credits can be found here.

Design Responsibilities

  • Gameplay balancing
  • Vehicle handling/dynamics
  • Scripting
  • AI behaviour
  • Dialogue
  • String-table localisation/management
  • Downloadable content
  • Achievements & rich presence
  • Replay camera system
  • Track data editing
  • Menu layouts & flow
  • Research & documentation
  • Testing & bug-fixing

Recommendation

Tom Goodchild, Lead Designer of MotoGP 09/10, was kind enough to leave me this recommendation on my LinkedIn profile:

“Matt was a fresh faced student straight out of university when he first arrived at Monumental Games. I was a fresh faced lead designer at the time and we both had to grow into our roles while working together.

Matt instantly displayed a maturity and calm temperament that was head and shoulders above that of his student peers, in fact surpassing several industry “veterans” and even, after a year of working together, fooling our new game director into thinking Matt was a industry vet himself.

Matt has professional, considered, focused and careful approach to design that proved very successful at reducing project risk and getting work done on time. We knew that we could leave Matt to a task with minimal supervision knowing that we’d get a complete and fully tested piece of work that could slot into the game with minimum disruption.

Matt then returned to university after giving our company two solid years of hard work and (nearly) two full boxed current generation titles under his belt.

Highly recommended.”

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