I Am Alive (2)

During the summer of 2008, I did a second internship at Darkworks as a Level Designer and as a Technical Level Designer on the production of « I Am Alive »: I hold these two posts throughout the internship.

Level Designer

I was in charge of designing and building the tutorial level of the game. The objective was to explain the core mechanics and system mechanics.

This involved:

- designing and building the level layout while working closely with the Lead Level Designer and the Creative Director

- designing gameplay tutorials around core gameplay and system mechanics

- implementing graphics assets and working closely with several graphists

- iterating on design based on playtesting observation and feedback

- bug-testing and fixing

Technical Level Designer

When developing several features, level designers face many technical problems. As a Level Designer Technical, I was in charge of resolving them in order to make sure that their situations work.

This involved:

- following the making of several maps to ensure they perform as required

- helping level designers with both creative and technical solutions

- producing required documentation about specific editor functionalities for level designers

- working closely with the rest of the team (game designer, programmer …) when adding new functionalities to the editor

- completing specific level building missions (streaming, save, special events using Kismet …)

- bug-testing and fixing

Learning

During this internship, I learnt how to design a good tutorial level by explaining the rules of a game without losing the player’s attention. Moreover, I had much more freedom than in my previous internship because, this time, it wasn’t just making patterns but a complete level.

This project was aimed at a large audience so I was able to understand how to make a level more accessible. It’s very important to balance the level and to design it for each type of players by giving multiple possibilities. Therefore, this level allowed me to manage a difficulty curve between levels while working with others level designers.

As a Technical Level Designer, I improved my technical skills on the Unreal Engine 3, as well as my capacity to communicate with other development team members. This position made me realize that technic must be really mastered during production.

Finally, I picked up several tips to improve the flow of the map (for example, using objects to control the point of focus).