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Video Horror Society | 2022-2023

Unreal Engine 4, 4v1 Asymmetrical Action

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Role: Lead Backend Programmer

Designed and Implemented

  - Backend Server Architecture 

  - Database Administration

  - Analytics Pipeline

  - Account Management

  - Backend Tools

  - Automated Delinquency Punishments

LEARNING

I gained experience leading a small team into a live ops development environment. I also got to work more with the studio leads and managers, including prepping and participating in publisher pitches. On the technical side, I got my first experience implementing a real-money transaction system and developing MMR systems and matchmaking queue time improvements.

PROJECT OVERVIEW

A month prior to our intended early access launch date, I was promoted to Lead Backend Programmer. At most studios, this may not have constituted a lead position, but my vast responsibilities at Hellbent justified the title.

As a lead, a main goal was to bridge the communication gap we had between leadership and the technical team. I had more meetings with live ops, marketing and management, and I was involved in the interview process for new programmers. I built a small backend team to help offload some of my responsibilities.

Teens fighting and hiding from the W.A.R.T. monster.

It wasn't all meetings though. I also developed some of the most challenging and critical systems I've ever worked on. I created an order tracking system that interfaced with 3rd party storefront APIs and handled refunds, credit card fraud, and duplicate purchase compensation.

 

I also worked on our MMR system, which needed to track MMR for two factions, where one faction shared an MMR, and the other faction had character-specific MMRs. The system supported placement matches, and weighted MMRs.

LINKS

Problematic queue times would eventually necessitated the invention of the "Bounty System", a system that incentivized players to voluntarily queue as the character in their roster that would best satisfy the gaps in the matchmaking queue. The system worked by creating a heatmap of the current queue, then comparing individual players' character MMRs to the heatmap spikes and assigning virtual bonuses to their characters. The bonuses were cached for a short time on a per-player basis, to mitigate players trying to spam refresh their bounties.

Ultimately VHS did not succeed commercially, but I hold that it was not due to technical or artistic limitations. I loved the project. It was a great game and my favorite project and team I've ever worked with. If you intend to create an asymmetrical online multiplayer game, I implore you to reach out to me for advice. 

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