Here it is; my first published retail video game! Despicable Me: The Game’s goal was to rise above being a “movie game” (it was timed to release with the Despicable Me movie, which spawned a very successful franchise, but we didn’t know this back then!). To that end, we succeeded; it’s a fun combination of puzzle and action platforming. I was in charge of designing the levels based on the villain, Vector. He had a nautical theme, so many of the traps I designed were water based. I worked with Kevin Mabie, one of Vicious Cycle’s gameplay programmers, to develop a magnetized raft, which sat on water. You would use a magnet gun to cause the raft to float left or right, avoiding obstacles. It turned out great, as did the game (note: this was probably one of the last games released on the Playstation 2, a game console that reignited my love of video games when I was in college studying music!).

Level blockouts were done in 3D Studio Max. The design goal here was to “keep the player jumping,” which is a more direct, forceful type of level design than you’d see in a first person shooter or other genre. Yet the design had to gently introduce new platforming puzzles, building the player’s skill over time. A new trap or jumping puzzle would be introduced in a gentle manner; it would be difficult for the player to fail. Over time, these concepts were made more complex and dangerous, testing the player’s new skills.

Developer: Monkey Bar Games (a division of Vicious Cycle Software)
Release Date: 2010
Publisher(s): D3 Publisher
Console(s): Playstation 2, Nintendo Wii
Genre: Platformer