I attended graduate school for game design at NYU Game Center, earning my MFA in May 2016. While there, I was fortunate enough to study under such amazing faculty members as Frank Lantz, Eric Zimmerman, Bennett Foddy, and Clara Fernandez-Vara.
On this page you’ll find detailed descriptions of three of my major projects (aside from my thesis, Sumer): Geneses, Ratnakara, and Grecian Goldsmiths. Further down are short explanations of other games I worked on for school.
An abstract real-time strategy game where players compete to establish control over a gridded board. Build beacons to project influence and convert tiles to your color while blocking your opponent from doing the same. Score points by maintaining continuous pathways from your home base to the pink altars, and win by being the first to fill your score bar completely.
Geneses was my semester-long project for Game Studio 2, taught by Eric Zimmerman and Bennett Foddy. I did design and programming, Char George did lead programming, Sig Gunnarsson did design and art, and Pierre Depaz did sound and menu design. We built the game in Unity.
In retrospect, it had excellent game design – it was deep, fun, and innovative – but needed more attention to UI and tutorial design. It’s impossible to tell what’s going on from the screenshot above, even the location of the players! (They’re the little ^ symbols with dark outlines. See if you can spot them.) It’s a good lesson to learn, and despite its shortcomings I’m still quite proud of the result.
In the time of Zheng He, trading vessels plied the Indian Ocean seeking their fortunes in exotic ports. You play as a merchant captain dodging pirates and racing your opponents to score the best deals from Kilwa to Nanjing. Upgrade your ship and fill your hold with silks, spices, rare animals, and more in a contest to become the wealthiest trader!
Ratnakara is a Euro-style board game that uses a drafting mechanic based on 7 Wonders. However, instead of playing each card instantly, you build hands and play from them after the draft. It also features an economy based on supply and demand, as well as a bidding system for turn order that’s integrated with the draft. Altogether I consider it quite a successful project.
I designed Ratnakara along with Jason Schoenfeld, Wynn Chen, and Bruce Lan, who also did the art. It was our final project for a Board Game Design class taught by Rob Daviau, creator of the brilliant Risk: Legacy.
As a master artificer in an alternate-history Byzantine Imperial Court, you control a pair of golden Automata that roam the lands of the Empire. Harvest resources, bribe bureaucrats, and gain enough prestige to be awarded the title of Grand Machinist!
Grecian Goldsmiths was intended to combine the Euro and American styles of modern board game design. It includes direct conflict and resource management as well as a unique bidding system. Like Ratnakara, I think it came out super well.
This was my final project for Game Design 1, a class taught by Eric Zimmerman. My co-creators were Misha Favorov, Brad Lee, Chang Liu, and Will Pang. Chang did the board art, and Will did the card art.
Here are some other projects I worked on at NYU, with brief descriptions of each. It’s not a complete list, but the point is more to give a sense of the amount and variety of work rather than to be a comprehensive catalog.
GAME DESIGN 1
Warslayers 2: The Battle of Warslayer Hill: A strategic mod of the card game War, where players manage 3 different decks.
Shifty Critters: An abstract game where each player moves a farm animal with a unique power across a board of shifting tiles.
The Emperor’s True Love: A hidden role game based partly on the Prisoner’s Dilemma where players vie for the favor of the Emperor.
The Great Porridge Purge: A retelling of the fairy tale “The Sweet Porridge” where players must chomp their way through a village flooded with breakfast.
Assassin’s Feed: A physical stealth game based on Apples to Apples designed to be played in supermarkets.
GAME DESIGN 2
Bandit Kings: A collectible card game where players make permanent deck-altering trades during gameplay.
The Volcano: A Knytt Stories level where you must save your home by descending deep into a volcano before returning to the surface by a different route.
BOARD GAME DESIGN
Jefferson: A deck-builder that uses a standard deck of cards.
Lia Frank’s Rainbow Road: A real-time math game designed for kids.
Train-a-saurus Wrecks: A game for preschoolers where you stack dinosaurs onto a moving train.
MINIMALIST GAME DESIGN
Chomp: A game for 2 players on 1 controller where you work together to maneuver a fish through dangerous waters. Made in Unity.
Return: A frantic one-button endless runner where you keep a spaceship from crashing into asteroids for as long as possible. Made in Processing.
Bishop: A territory control game inspired by Go where players take turns placing cross-shaped pieces to dominate the board. Made in Processing.