Summary of responsibilities
I was design lead on Dance Central. It was built for Microsoft's new "Natal" technology and was a launch title for the Xbox 360 Kinect. The team consisted of around 20-25 developers working under a strict deadline. Production lasted a very short time: under a year. My design team was very non-traditional. It consisted mainly of the professional choreographers who created dance routines for the game.
My responsibilities included:
- Defining design philosophy and goals for the project and communicating them clearly to the team.
- Designing and tuning major systems such as core gameplay modes and the metagame.
- Identifying and solving new types of usability issues for a new and in-development input device.
- Evaluating new choreography for general fun-factor and suitability to be split between difficulty levels.
- Developing a suite of choreography design tenants to ensure that moves played to Kinect's strengths and worked well with the tracking tech.
- Running multi-discipline Strike Teams (scrum) for major features such as practice mode (Break it Down) and the UI.
- Attending and running playtest sessions with Harmonix employees and external testers.
- Acting as design liaison between Harmonix and our support team at Microsoft.
- Being involved in marketing and promotion. I ran demos at E3, San Diego Comic Con, and a press event in Toronto. There's footage of me dancing on a Canadian afternoon news hour. I'm not telling you how to find it.
- Learning to dance. I and most of the team took dance lessons multiple times a week in order to immerse ourselves in the artform.
- Attending a Justin Bieber concert. It was amazing. Zero sarcasm here.
Proof that I am now a Belieber:
GDC Talk Design postMortem
I gave a GDC talk that covers the development and design process for the project:
This presentation covers the design process for Dance Central in quite a bit of depth and is the best place to hear the start-to-finish story of how Dance Central was made. I gave this talk multiple times; at GDC in the US and Europe, and at other events such as Boston Postmortem.