killzone 2


killzone 2

game mechanics

Below are some of the game mechanics I designed while working on Killzone 2.

SIXAXIS Placed Charge

Below is the Placed Charge I designed for Killzone 2. No art, code, or effects, just the functionality / concept. We needed a placed charge mechanic for use at the end of a few levels, to slow the players progression and offer up something different to advance, as well as utilizing the SIXAXIS controller in a fun and intuitive way. The placed charge went through several iterations before ending up in it’s final state below.

Each charge was designed to remember the lights that had been set. If the player gets shot off a charge or disengages to defend themselves the lights they already set would remain lit and they would only have to set the remaining lights to fully activate the charge.

Lastly it was designed so that Level Designers could place as many or as few charges as they wanted. When the last charge was placed the player would automatically pull out the detonator. The player could of course switch back to their weapon if they needed to defend themselves.



This is the SIXAXIS Valve mechanic I designed for Killzone 2. No art, code, or effects, just the functionality / concept. We needed a simple unlock mechanic that would allow the player to utilize the SIXAXIS controller in an intuitive manor. After a couple iterations we found that three turns was enough to make it fun to use but not frustrating if we wanted to have more then one in a level.

Paper Prototype

Final In Game Mechanic


Buddy Assist Mechanic

A big aspect of Killzone 2 was how immersive we wanted the experience to be. Guerrilla wanted to keep as many of the interactions in the game as possible and reduce the need of cutscenes. The Buddy Assist was one of my designs that attempted to do just that. The player would need to be corralled in certain areas for progression purposes and once they were free to move on an AI would take position in a predermined spot and the AI and player would assist each other in getting up and over the obstacle. Should the player jump back down again the AI will take a new position to help the player back up onto the ledge. The act of helping each other in such an interactive way assisted in creating more comradery between the player and AI.

Also of note, the Buddy Assist Mechanic in Killzone 2 was a first of it’s kind in a video game.


Petrol Barrel

Below is the Petrol Barrel I design for Killzone 2, one of several Damage Inflicting Destructibles (DIDs). No art, code, or effects, just the functionality / concept. The concept for this came from the fact I hate flammable barrels in video games that when shot simply burst into flames. I wanted to see if I could improve upon the concept and with the help of the talented game coders and artists at Guerrilla, the below barrel was born. Needless to say I was quite happy with the results. 

Each bullet impact will cause a jet of fiery petrol to spring forth and after the expected 3 seconds of burnination ( timer starts from the first impact) the barrel will explode into fiery goodness. You can of course fire multiple rounds into the barrel in quick succession to cause it to explode quicker.

Electricity Mechanic

I am the first to admit that my electricity mechanic was over designed. Knowing what I know now 

Unused Mechanics

Low Ammo Warning

At the time the player could pick up weapons from off the ground to use. A problem though was the weapons could have low ammo which would be frustrating should you do this in a fire fight. So I whipped up a motion study to show a possible low ammo warning that would appear on both the weapon in hand and weapons on the ground so the player would know and could plan accordingly before picking up a weapon.


Encounter Dialog guidelines

Encounter Dialog guidelines

1) What are these and why?

These are a similar set of guidelines I created at Guerrilla Games to help the Level Designers in the creation of the dialog they would need for their various encounters. Given the importance of communication between the designer and the Player, dialog is one of the simplest ways to educate and inform the player of what is going on. I’ve tried to rewrite these guidelines to be a little more general, some examples might be a little FPS specific, but they can be applied to any genre as it’s the meaning being the guidelines that’s important.

2) The Categories

I’ve created four communicate categories that I believe should be represented in some way when creating any critical or semi critical encounter. Basically any encounter with an objective or where the Player could become confused, disoriented, or frustrated. These categories are of course up for discussions and debate. 🙂

2.1 Establish Player Motive

  • Why is the Player here and doing what they are doing?
    • Critical dialog and sequences are delivered to the Player so they will know and understand what they need to do and why they are there.
    • Non-Critical encounter chatter, theater of war stuff, etc. can also be delivered to the Player as peripheral events that don’t interfere with the actual encounter.
  • Having enemies shout dialog before an encounter begins, so the Player is alerted to either the direction in which they approach or the fact they are about to engage the enemy is a nice way to help make the enemies be apart of the encounter instead of just standing around or showing up.
  • Option A) – First past writing:
    • Example: Enemy: “Fortify this position before the rebels get here!”
  • Option B) – Brief description of desired dialog:
    • Example: Player comes across an enemy defensive position. Enemies are shouting orders to one another thus giving the Player a heads up.

2.2 Establish Player Goal(s)

  • Does the Player have an objective to complete in this encounter?
    • What is it? (Understand)
    • Where is it? (Location)
    • Why do they need to complete it? (Motivation)
    • Which character will communicate to the Player? (Delivery)
  • Does the Player need to do something specific in order to solve or move past this encounter?
  • Give all or some of the instructions needed. Examples of disseminating the information:
    • Dialog from near by enemies.
    • Dialog from near by friendlies.
    • Dialog from radios sitting on tables near by.
    • Loud speakers over head.
    • Radio messages to the player from commanding officers.
    • Answering machine with a message on them.
  • Option A – First past writing:
    • Example: Gino: Grab that rocket launcher and destroy that bloody tank!
  • Option B – Brief description of desired dialog:
    • Example: Gino communicates the encounters objective to the Player.

2.3 Keep Player Updated

  • Use dialog to update the Player on critical information relevant to the encounter they are currently in:
    • When reinforcements arrive in an encounter.
      1. Where are they coming from?
      2. Enemy or Friendly?
    • If mounted machine gun positions are about to be replenished with troops.
    • Arrival of enemy or friendly vehicles.
    • Arrival of boss units.
    • If the encounter is setup to drastically change in someone’s favor, inform the Player to some degree.
  • Option A – First past writing:
    • Example: Gino: “Enemy troops! Stairs on the right!”
  • Option B – Brief description of desired dialog:
    • Example: Friendly unit shouts out the arrival of more enemies from the stair case.

2.4 Keep Player Moving Forward

  • Provide dialog after an encounter to help move the Player on to the next encounter.
  • Can use foreshadowing dialog to give the Player a hint of events to come.
  • Update the Player on their next objectives.
  • Can update the Player with major or minor story elements.
  • Non-critical dialog, sequences can also be used.
  • Option A – First past writing:
    • Example: Stuart: “Good job, Frank! The bridge is destroyed! let’s keep moving towards the warehouse!”
  • Option B – Brief description of desired dialog:
    • Example: Bridge is destroyed. Player’s next object is the warehouse.

3) Timing and Delivery

You can have the best written dialog ever but if the timing and delivery is off it wont mean a thing. Timing for communicative dialog is critical and must be taking into consideration when writing and implementing it into the encounter as it will effect how the Player will respond both emotionally and psychologically to the dialog.

4) Dialog Creation Work Flow

As far as the work flow goes for writing the encounter dialog this will of course depend on the setup you are currently working in, but ideally I believe it’s a good idea for the Level Designers them selves create the first pass dialog since they will be the most intimate with their encounters and know best what they need to communicate. More iterations can be made afterwards of course for quality but to get the ball rolling this is the easiest way. Some Level Designers might not be comfortable writing dialog, even mock up dialog, so giving them two options helps:

Option A) Level Designers write the first pass dialog them selves.

Option B) Level Designers simply give brief descriptions for each encounter of what needs to be communicated to the Player and by whom if it will be specific.

I’ve included examples for both options, A) and B), in each of the four main categories listed below.

Dialog work flow:

  1. First pass

    1. Level Design writes the first pass using the below rules.
    2. Level Design inserts their first pass mock up dialog in game via on-screen text or debug test if possible.
  2. Second pass

    1. Designated writer/designer go over the mock up dialog and correct as needed for consistency and quality.
    2. Consulting with Level Design to make sure critical information that needs to be delivered is not lost, etc. if rewrites need to happen, and they will need to happen.
  3. Third pass

    1. When dialog is final record it using mock up voices, i.e. people in the office or friends. Try and get the context as close as possible though, since even at mock up stage it will affect how people react to it.
    2. Level Design implements the mock up dialog into their encounters to start playing with timing and delivery.
  4. Final pass

    1. Everyone is happy with the dialog?
    2. Professional voice actors can now record the final dialog.
    3. Mock-up dialog samples are replaced by final dialog samples, hopefully this is a seamless transition of simply copying over the old samples with the new samples if your system allows such a thing.

5) Sentence Budget Per Encounter?

This is really up to the platform you are developing on. Just use common sense when creating your dialog and only say what you need to. Don’t worry about adding to much during the first stage as any excess dialog will be removed / corrected as needed. It’s easier to have to much dialog on paper then not enough and scrambling to write stuff up and running the risk of not being able to iterate on it.

6) That’s it!

These guidelines are of course open for interpritation but by at least doing something similar to these you should have no problem creating clear and understandable dialog for your encounters.

Remember, communicating to the Player is of the utmost importance and should never be compromised…ever!