I joined the project by the end if its preproduction phase and worked on the game for a total of 3 years. This includes the development until its Early Access release and more than one year of support with regular updates.
Being developed by a small team, I was involved in most design tasks. These are the most relevant fields in which I had a leading role.
Instead of simply tweaking values, we decided that, since weapons define every class in the game, each one should have a very distinct gameplay purpose and feeling. I have worked on many of the weapons and gear present in the game to create a combat as full of variety and meaningful choices as possible.
A part of it has been the development of a system with different types of damages and resistances. To enhance cooperation, all four classes are able to overcome every kind of combat challenge presented by the game; however, each of them is specialised on certain tasks. This makes players always feel useful and, at the same time, becomes a strategic knowledge that veterans enjoy discussing and mastering.
The process of introducing a new creature in Deep Rock Galactic would start with me defining a kind of combat interaction the game was lacking. I would design the behaviour of the enemies to later discuss with the art team and the creative director which kind of creature with that behaviour could fit our vision for the wildlife of the game.
Enemies were conceived considering what they would do to the player, the actions the players will have to perform to defeat them (with emphasis on combat feel and pace), and how they would interact with the existing enemy units.
Not having a traditional story-based campaign, progression in Deep RocK Galactic revolves around systems. I worked on the design of weapons and gear upgrades, a system that procedurally generates endless missions and quests for the players, and the balance of the economy that connects all those systems.
A significant challenge for the project has been the self-imposed constraint of not dividing the userbase by giving too much power to veteran players while still rewarding them meaningfully. We decided on a system that mostly allows the player for more options and customization over time instead of more powerful gear. This has been very well received and we believe it has contributed to the creation of a very friendly community.
Deep Rock Galactic ended up having many interconnected progression systems. I worked on the flow and the layout of the user interface. The goal was to make this systems look both readable and playful, embracing them as part of the game.
Every mission takes place in a procedurally generated fully destructible cave where no item is manually placed. For that reason, all mission types were designed to be flexible and to have goals that benefit from an always different environment. A four players cooperative game also requires objectives that are simple and, at the same time, encourage communication between teammates.