Instagram Photos


Dishonored Pro-tips

Dishonored has been an amazing project to work on. Raphael and I have a huge appreciation for all my teammates, the people at Bethesda, and all the players who have poured their passion into our work. Here are some quick points that we believe will enhance the experience of playing the game.

* You can change difficulty whenever you want. If the game is too hard (or too easy), switch difficulty levels. Difficulty setting changes enemy damage, enemy visual perceptiveness, and player-character potion effectiveness.

* You can turn off almost every part of the HUD UI, including goal markers. If you’re a minimalist, experiment with that.

* Look up! Go vertical when you can, along ledges, rooftops, pipes, etc. You can often sneak past an encounter that way or find an alternate entry or path.

* Don’t forget to lean! If your body is behind something like a wall, you can lean out to peak ahead. We abstract that so that your body stays hidden.

* Our stealth model is mostly based on enemy view cones and occlusion. Darkness matters at a significant distance, making you more hidden. Up close, the enemies facing and field of vision matters most. (Stay behind them or behind something that blocks their view.)

* If you’re playing on the Xbox 360, install the game to the hard drive!

* For PC, you can map your powers, weapons and gadgets to a series of # hotkeys.

* On console, don’t forget that you can map D-pad hotkeys for 4 weapons, powers or gadgets.

* Try playing the game with stealth. Sneaking, playing nonlethally, or even ghosting the missions adds even more tension and drama to situations.

* Eavesdrop on unaware enemies to absorb more background information related to the world and the events unfolding around you. Sometimes eavesdropping updates your objectives. (Similarly, listen to street speaker announcements and read posted signs.)

* If you use combat, don’t forget to block and counter-attack while an enemy is off-balance.

* Often characters have followup lines if you hang out and listen to them (or click on them further). You’ll absorb more about the world this way.

* Notes and books also add a lot of background info on the world and events.

* Set your brightness so the blacks are really black. The game looks dramatically better.

* Don’t forget to assign your bone charms. Review them periodically.

* If you like the experience, consider replaying with different powers and a different approach. During a second play-through you will know more about the world and discover new areas.

The team at Arkane is really thrilled about Dishonored and we hope that players enjoy it. Raph and I – along with everyone else who worked on the game – appreciate all the recent attention and we’re looking forward to hearing stories and seeing YouTube videos created by everyone ranging from methodical explorers and stealth players to crazy speed-runners using their supernatural powers to blaze through second or third play-throughs. Take care and have fun.

Insert Credit

It’s disturbing to be credited for games made by others, especially friends.

I recently saw my name attached to Bioshock 2, a game I greatly admire and played the hell out of, but on which I did not collaborate. Some of my friends inside Arkane and at 2K did, including Arkane’s Christophe Carrier and my friend and ex-roommate Jordan Thomas, creative director of Bio2.

Periodically, someone credits me with Thief, which I love, but did not work on. (I’m mentioned in special thanks for Thief 3, probably.) I think some people confuse me and Randy Smith; same last name, we worked together in the same roles at Ion Storm (Austin), we co-delivered a speech at GDC, and we’re both smoking’ hot (okay, well, he is at least).

The nature of the Internet, as a medium that excels at post-modern remixing of concepts, is probably the root cause of this problem; someone gets it close, but is off, then a bunch of people repeat the mistake, sometimes making it worse.

So here are my credits and the official bio I use for conferences and educational events:

Dishonored, Co-creative Director
KarmaStar (iOS), Designer/Producer
Blacksite, Studio Creative Director
Invisible War, Creative Director
Deus Ex, Lead Designer
FireTeam, Lead Designer
Technosaur (cancelled RTS), Creative Director/Producer
Cybermage, Associate Producer
Ultima VIII (CD re-release), Associate Producer
System Shock, Lead Tester
Super Wing Commander, Tester

Harvey Smith is a game designer who has been working in games professionally since 1993. Currently, he is co-creative director at Arkane Studios on Dishonored, working alongside Raphael Colantonio. In 2009, Smith released the iPhone game KarmaStar. From 2004 to 2007, he served as studio creative director for Midway Austin, managing the design department, starting three projects and shipping Blacksite during that time. He worked at Ion Storm’s Austin office from 1998 to 2004, acting as creative director of Deus Ex: Invisible War and lead designer on the award-winning Deus Ex, winning the 2000 BAFTA and many other awards. Prior to Ion Storm, Smith worked at Multitude, an Internet startup in San Mateo, CA. There he was lead designer of FireTeam, an innovative tactical squad game that was one of the earliest video games to feature voice-communications between players. He started his career at the pivotal game company Origin Systems, working as an associate producer on Cybermage and Ultima VIII, lead tester on System Shock and a play-tester on Super Wing Commander. He has written about numerous game design subjects and has spoken at the Game Developers’ Conference, MiGS, SxSW, E3, QuakeCon and other conferences. In 2005, he won the Game Design Challenge at GDC for his entry, Peacebomb! Smith has served on Advisory Boards for the SxSW Screenburn Festival and the Game Developers’ Choice Awards. In addition to working with Arkane Studios, he is currently pursuing an MFA with Savannah College of Art and Design, and has recently completed a novel, his third unpublished book, which he describes as a collision of Southern Gothic and Silicon Valley.