Fast forward to middle school, I had recently purchased the complete set of Unreal including their modding tools. This adventure lasted 2 hours as I got frustrated with the tool set. Ironically 10 years later I'm back using Unreal. Looking online I found that Halflife had also released their tools. Toying around, I created a number of failed attempts at levels for Counter Strike, Halflife DM, Team Fortress: Classic, and many other failed mods. I found myself interested in online communities of like minded individuals, helping found a highly successful Halflife based community Mapcore.com. I created contacts during these years that would defy time and end up being my future co-workers.
During High school I had created a number of successful amateur maps. One level was even included as an official map for the Firearms mod for Halflife. I was then 'hired' onto a amateur Single Player mod creating levels for Andrew Weldon. This mod was sadly doomed to fail, as all of the talented individuals were being hired up by professional game studios. Through this experience I learned valuable lessons about how to create single player experiences, technical know how, and how to work successfully on a team. While the mod was never released to the public, the work earned me a scholarship at Savannah College of Art and Design.
During college I worked hard to widen my skill base. I kept up on my knowledge of level design, while also learning how to create 3d models and textures. It became clear that to set myself apart from all my class mates, I had to go above and beyond in my school work and maintain personal design projects. I graduated college with Suma Cum Lade and my major's Outstanding Academic Achievement award. I kept up with my contacts in the industry, as well as making some new ones.
Prior to graduating I interviewed and was hired by Raven Software in Madison, Wisconsin. I was hired on as a level designer working with a small team developing a new IP with the Unreal 3 engine. I worked developing test maps that proved everything from combat, puzzles, to gameplay features. During its development I was promoted to Assistant Design Lead responsible for my current level design duties, as well as ensuring builds were built for milestones and helping oversee the level designers on the project. Regrettably as time went by at Raven, I found myself interested in more design-centric studios. I interviewed with Gearbox and instantly fell in love with their studio and employees.
In the future I look forward to participating in game design conferences, growing my skill set. Until then, this blog will help document my growth personally as a designer. I'll post about everything from what I learn as an employee, observations from games I play, and discoveries I find in my free time. I hope you enjoy the journey.