Highlights

  • Kinect Sport Rivals was one of the launch window titles for the Xbox One consoles. It was a collection of motion controlled mini-games that utilised the titular Kinect camera.
  • Worked alongside Rare on both the soccer and shooting elements of the game. We worked remotely for the majority of the time, but also spent periods working directly with the Rare team at their studios.
  • We worked in small teams, with each team developing a different sport mini-game. For both soccer and shooting I was the senior designer on those sports during my time on the product.
  • Included demoing prototypes of the gameplay to industry leaders including Phil Harrison.

Overview

After a period of working on announced projects, I moved on to Kinect Sports Rivals, working directly with Rare. I worked on both football and shooting elements of the game. During the project, I acted as the senior designer for the respective teams. These teams were generally small scale with four coders and a small team of artists. As part if our collaboration, we also worked indirectly with the production, audio and art teams at Rare.

Football

Most of my time working on the football section of the game was spent implementing the kicking motion controls. This was an incredibly difficult task as kicking is often a very fast and precise motion which uses a large amount of the body (foot, hips etc.). Players often kicked so wildly that their legs moved out of the range of the camera. This functionality went through a large number of reviews and revisions, including demoing to both the head or Rare and Microsoft executive Phil Harrison.

I was also responsible for building the levels in Maya, and we went through many different prototypes before ending up with the final mechanics. These levels involved placing both allied and enemy characters in Maya and moving them along splines. These basic movements were made to replicate the kind of set piece scenarios you would find in real football.

Shooting

After working on the football section of the game I moved on to shooting. I was the senior designer, this time leading a small team of designers to create levels for the target shooting section of the game. Working directly under Rare’s creative director Gregg Mayles we designed types of special targets that moved around an arena in various patterns. We then created these waves as animations in Maya before spending time tweaking the patterns and the target values. Towards the end of the project we undertook a series of focus testing to see how members of the public responded to the game.

Working on Kinect Sports Rivals was my first experience of delegating to small teams, I really enjoyed the extra responsibility that came with the role and working in small dedicated teams.