Dead West is combination of the action-RPG, top-down shooter, and tower defense genres and is set in a horrifying version of the Old West. It was built over the course of 8 months by a team of interdisciplinary students at the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy. The game puts the player into the shoes of Jack Dixon, famed gunslinger, who must save his wagon train from certain death from a relentless zombie horde.


I was part of the design team of Dead West. I worked on combat design, level design and development, game mechanic design, systems design, AI design, and event scripting.

During design sessions, I worked with other designers to:

  • Develop the game system, which included designing the RPG-based attributes/statistics used in the underlying game calculations. This also involved designing skill trees with multiple paths allowing the player to upgrade their character's abilities as they see fit.
  • Develop the core game mechanics, which included the design and development of combat, special abilities, items and gear, and defense options for the player to defend against the enemy.
  • Design and develop levels, which includes level planning, level building, and event scripting,  
  • Determine AI behaviors for the three main enemy types.

I was also responsible for:

  • Event scripting in LUA for the first level of the game. This included dialogue, quests, tutorials, enemy encounter zones, and camera work.
  • Developing a procedural equipment generation tool in Python. This tool was used to make all of the games items within set attribute parameters.
  • Game balance and adjustment to ensure a fun experience.