Elite Dangerous: Odyssey

Mission Design

The bulk of my time on Elite Dangerous: Odyssey was focused on the design and development of the various missions found in game.

The goal with missions for Odyssey was to provide players with as much agency over how they complete a mission as possible. I must stress that I wouldn’t have been able to achieve as much as I have without the support of the very small missions team. They have been an absolute delight to work with.

My responsbilities on the project included:

  • Designing the flow for all missions featured in Odyssey

  • Implementation of mission flow and rules using in-house tools

  • Scripting gameplay for all missions featured at settlements, working closely with POI designer to implement similar gameplay for points of interest

  • Early on, I was able to work closely with a principal designer to get feedback on the work that I produced

  • Later, worked alongside an experienced game designer who came on to Odyssey to handle the higher-level design while I focused on implementation and iteration

  • Worked with said designer to polish and balance missions, and integrate them into the existing background simulation of Elite Dangerous

  • Collaborating with programmers and senior technical designer to see new rules and features implemented into the game

  • Work with narrative team to implement new mission rationales, details and objectives

  • Work alongside level design team and POI designer to create guidelines for use and placement of mission related interactions and items

Below are a few examples of the many missions that I was able to design.

Launch Trailer

Starport Tour

Showcases the new NPC mission providers and the new mission board

Assassination / Takedown

Assassination was my first foray into mission design for Odyssey; the initial prototype was created specifically to demonstrate my ability to work with the in-house tools.

 

The mission sees players being assigned a specific target to take down at a settlement. Players are then tasked with travelling to the settlement and locating the target. They must then eliminate the target without retreating in order to complete the mission.

 

A collection of variants for Assassination missions were also created:

 

  • Clean Assassination – complete the mission with no innocent casualties

  • Professional Assassination – take on a more challenging assassination target

  • Covert Assassination – complete the mission without triggering the target settlement’s alarm

  • Assassination at POIs wrinkle – chase the target as they flee from the target settlement to a point of interest

Reactivation and Restore

In the Reactivation mission type, players are tasked with travelling to an abandoned settlement to bring the power centre back online.

 

To be able to achieve this, players require the Maverick suit to access the Arc Cutter, a cutting tool that allows players to cut into panels to access areas while the settlement is powered down. The mission provider grants authorisation to the players so they can complete the mission legally.

 

Restore became a more involved mission type based on Reactivation. If the target settlement was in a damaged state,

the player would be tasked with venting various buildings around the settlement to extinguish fires alongside having to bring a settlement back into the online state.

 

Players can use the settlement’s terminal system to locate buildings that have internal fire alarms active.

 

In both of these missions, there is a chance that the Scavengers wrinkle will be active. Players will be informed that the target settlement is currently being raided by scavengers and that the players will be granted a bonus reward if they eliminate them.

Shutdown

The Shutdown mission type was used for the first video demonstration for Odyssey's mission gameplay.

 

In this mission, players are tasked with travelling to a settlement to shut down the settlement's power centre and retrieve the regulator inside to bring back to the mission provider. Upon triggering the disengagement of the power regulator, the settlement's alarm will trigger, alerting NPCs to the actions of the player.

 

Players have the option of disabling the settlement's alarm systems using a console hidden within the various buildings in the area.

 

Shutdown missions would also feature the Covert variant.