Chessmaster, the Art of Learning

Game description

Chessmaster is a long running chess licence, that Ubisoft decided to bring to current-gen handhelds in 2007. The game partners with Josh Waitzkin, author of The Art of Learning, a book teaching chess.

Like the book, the game teaches you to play chess, with traditionnal tutorials of course, but also using some clever mini-games based on chess mechanics and focusing on single strategies in specific contexts (like forks and reveals).

The game includes an ELO ranking system, allowing a progression for the player as he takes on stronger AI opponents.

My contribution

I was an intern at the Ubisoft Sofia studio during the production of this game. I wasn’t in charge of a specific area, which probably explains my missing from the credits (that, and the fact the credits were copy-pasted from the DS version !). I still did the following :

  • Level building : Sort of. You might call it interface building. The mini-games had a lot of interface elements that needed to be positioned, and I did the positionning in Ubisoft’s proprietary editor. My biggest contribution was that I got to know the editor well enough to find the source of a bug that was messing up the layouts in the localized versions.
  • Music selection : The design team was in charge of selecting the music for the game, so we auditioned a number of tracks to try to find the right mood for the game.
  • Learning like hell : It was my first experience in a studio, and I’m glad I got to work with such talented people. The programmers and artists were great, and the design team was exceptionnal.