Next Up Hero
Next Up Hero is a rogue-like action adventure game with a focus on community building. I worked on NUH over the summer of 2017 as a design intern at Digital Continue, the team behind Scribblenauts and Lock's Quest. NUH employs a unique form of co-operative play, where players choose from one of nine combat classes and venture into procedurally generated dungeons that are too challenging to vanquish alone. However, whenever a player dies in these dungeons, they leave an "echo" behind, and later players can revive these echoes to give them an edge, allowing them to progress further. This crowdsourced progression eventually culminates in a dungeon boss, and upon its defeat, rewards are doled out to players depending on their level of contribution.
Given the relatively small size of the studio, my work as a design intern covered a wide range of responsibilities over the several months I was there. My primary task was to help balance the combat system, which ranged in scale from number tweaking to fundamental modifications to enemy behavior or player abilities. To this end, I was variously responsible for constructing and modifying spreadsheets, implementing proposed changes, and keeping a running design document of known bugs and planned changes while working in this capacity.
Apart from this, I also did work in quality assurance, acting as the first line of playtesting on internal builds before they were sent to our publisher. After playtesting, I would log any important changes and newly introduced bugs in the design document, and discuss with the development team about new ideas or feedback on the most recent build. During these discussions, I prominently advocated for a more structured progression system within the game, and provided suggestions to help tune the gameplay to align with the game's core design philosophy of community contribution.