Fallout: Miami - Fallout 4 DLC-Sized Mod

What is Fallout: Miami?

Fallout: Miami is an upcoming DLC-sized mod for Fallout 4 with an original setting, complete with its own engrossing main quest, interesting side quests and characters, including new companions. The central theme of our story is the struggle between order and freedom. The setting for this new adventure is the post-post-apocalyptic Vacation Wasteland of Miami Beach. Once a popular tourist destination, attracting rich and glamorous visitors both foreign and domestic, it now plays host to an eclectic assortment of factions and societies, each with its own culture and approach to the challenges of this new post-nuclear world. The once-great slaver kingdom of Sunshine Cove has recently come under threat by a horde of automobile-worshipping nomads calling themselves the Nuclear Patriots. While Miami’s various factions vie for control over the Vacation Wasteland, a long-forgotten remnant of the old-world slumbers beneath the waves, waiting for an opportunity to reclaim America once again.  

What Did I Work On For Fallout: Miami?

I contribute consistently to the exterior level design and content design of Fallout: Miami’s expansive DLC-sized open world. It was my job to build out both the content and environment of a variety of large sections of the vacation wasteland’s open world from random encounters, to enemy encampments, and environmental set dressing.

Level Designer
One of my primary focus while working on the project was level design. I was hired primarily to do level design on the exteriors, while also staying flexible to work on interiors when necessary. I worked on locations around the vacation wasteland of Miami, building out and fleshing out locations with set dressing, environmental storytelling elements, and loot. I worked on areas like Downtown, Farside, and some areas near Sheridan High School.

Each area in Miami has a unique visual style based on the environmental elements and factions that occupy it. Each section that I worked on I tried to stay true to the lore and style guide that were used for these sections. One unique element is that Miami never really got hit with the bombs of The Great War, so we were careful not to create elements that would indicate that. Any skeletons should have a reason for being there. Instead of bomb craters many large environmental changes like that were focused around natural disasters like mudslide, tsunamis and washouts.

Content Designer
My other focus on Fallout: Miami was content design or more specifically level design adjacent content like random encounters, quest locations, and dungeons. I worked on building out encounters and dungeons related to the exterior and interior environments that I was working on. Designing enemy camps visually, but also setting up the leveled spawns for the encounters players will face when arriving.

In addition to designing and implementing these pockets of content, it was my job to communicate and collaborate with other team members and do research using our documentation to ensure that the encounters and dungeons being created fit with both the narrative and open world that we’ve created. Each region has different rules for which enemies could be used for random encounters, and enemy camps, so that we could create a cohesive set of territories for the various factions that occupy the vacation wasteland.

What Did I Learn from Fallout: Miami?

  1. AUTONOMY AND COLLABORATION – The Fallout Miami Team is fairly large and comprised of a large amount of talents and specialties. The leads work hard to manage what work needs to get done. In addition with volunteer projects like this one there is often a lot of independence in what you work on and how you approach it. Even at Raven Software my team was smaller, I communicated with other teams from other departments like Art, and Lighting, but the team I worked with directly was only six people including myself. With a project like Fallout: Miami my team is myself and its my job to communicate and collaborate with the other designers, artists, writers, etc. This is experience is allowed me to really hone my skills in communicating with multiple different people and disciplines in order to get the proper information and work done, so that I can do my job effectively and efficiently.
  2. REMOTE WORKFLOW – Unlike many other smaller modding project Miami needed to be organized in order to develop such a large project effectively with a constantly changing team. Because of this a variety of tools have been setup to create proper pipelines for both documentation, collaboration, and submitting changes. We used tools like Kanban Boards (for tasks), Discord (for communication), GIT (for changes), and a Confluence like Wiki (for documentation). I learned to use these tools quite quickly and they helped further hone my skills for adapting to a variety of remote working environments.
  3. TECHNICAL ROAD BLOCKS – During the development of Fallout: Miami, the Fallout 4 Next-Gen Update was released. This caused a wide variety of technical issues and obstacles that needed to be overcome, so development could continue while the issues were fixed. This allowed me the unique opportunity to work on an in-development engine basically, as I had to work around the technical limitations that were set until that was fixed. These kind of technical road blocks are a lot more common when building a game rather than modding it, so I found the experience quite informative as a designer.

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