Jedi Challenges: Dark Side Expansion Duels icon

Jedi Challenges: Dark Side Expansion Duels

Lead Designer
Schell Games, 2018


  • As Lead Designer at Schell Games, my responsibility was designing and crafting the lightsaber duels for Jedi Challenges's Dark Side Expansion. I set the creative direction for the DLC's new mechanics and combatants - running brainstorms, writing design documents, aligning the team, setting quality standards, and managing design with the client and IP holders. In addition I built and iterated the behavior tree logic for Yoda and Luke.


  • New Takes on Old Mechanics

    To give the DLC a fresh feel (and to help players embody the role of Kylo Ren), we updated key mechanics to encourage more aggressive, powerful play. Combos now come in unique pattens and are twice as long, allowing players to "wail" on opponents. As well, new single direction critical require players to strike downwards, making them physically fight like Kylo.

  • Screenshot of the behavior tree logic.

    Behavior Trees

    Jedi Challenges uses behavior trees for implementing the combatant's AI. I implemented both Yoda and Luke's behavior trees, while overseeing the implementation of Rey by another designer. These required frequent tender loving care in order to make the combatants feel just right - whether it was difficulty level or making them move like their source characters would.

  • Character is Core

    The DLC is the first time players fight Light Side heroes, so it was important for their fights to feel distinct and true to their characters. Yoda is surprisingly nimble, so he's able to jump around and attack quickly - but a single powerful blow sends him reeling. Luke is defensive and strategic, so he's able to recover quickly from big attacks and even counterattack against players.


  • An overview of the mechanics introduced

    A big challenge was supporting new and returning players - making sure newcomers could learn the mechanics through play, while not boring returning players. Because we changed so many mechanics (and introduced totally new characters), we were able to layer in new mechanics over the course of the game.

  • A picture of a blog post from development

    For this project I ran an internal development blog for the team. This was a great way for keeping the team at large up to date and informed - giving everyone a daily peek into high and low level decisions from across the project. It was also a great way for documenting the Behavior Tree learning process - which helped new designers avoid common pitfalls.

  • A screenshot of Yoda

    Yoda's height provided a unique challenge in AR, since every other combatant is over 5 feet tall. To remedy this, the UI in the game is remapped based on the player's height. While this means the UI animations don't exactly line up for shorter players, they're still able to play through the entire game comfortably. This technique was then applied to the other DLC characters.