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  1. Yeah, that's what I was worried about. I just hate seeing us release stuff that really lacks in polish or quality compaired to previously released stuff that had a lot of time spent into those departments. I wouldn't be so concerned with the idea of helping out, if it wasn't for the fact that I've been doing that almost entirely for the duration of my time with the project - finishing up abandoned ideas, remaking broken or unfinished stuff from old team members who are no longer on the team, polsihing work from other people, etc. We now are at a point where we have a very high map saturation and all with varying levels of quality, since almost all of our regular mappers currently are good at producing maps but maybe not so good at polish/detail/finishing them. When we have 6-8 maps in development, starting a new map project feels pointless to me when there's a lot of work to be done on exsisting projects to get them up to snuff. I feel like for my own personal benefit (even though the team member inside of me hates this) is to just take a break/distance myself from the mod and work on my own non-mod related projects, perhaps for different games and engines. Doesn't help I'm halfway distracted with a scripting/game design project I've been working on for Skyrim, which is totally un-related to level desgin
  2. This is a thread about portfolio development, so I apologize if this is in the wrong section. Anyways, I work on a mod that has a good chunk of mappers involved with it. I've taken a small haiatus because of school and moving, but like the idea of getting back on board. The issue is, we have a lot of different maps in development, and a good chunk of maps already completed. It's to the point where the mod doesn't really *need* one more person creating all new map content for the mod at this very moment, but perhaps sometime later in the mod's lifespan would be good. The quality of the maps being produced for the moment vary in quality, either due to mapper preferences, what the mapper who is making it is particularly good at, and just how much is done with the map. So right now, the team member inside of me is really liking the idea of jumping on board to bring up some quality control, detailing, and polish on these projects to really make them shine on release. However, I feel like such things aren't really "displayable" in a portfolio, especially since I've been doing a lot of that type of stuff on this project since I started with them - only one or two maps, both very early in the dev cycle (and as such, a little old/outdated) are completely of my own origin, idea, and creation. I'm worried that, portfolio wise, I'll be wasting my time doing detailing and polishing other people's projects, as I'll have to awkwardly explain that this cool map I am showing was mostly made by someone else, but a good chunk of the polish and detail work was by myself. I feel like it'll just make my portfolio seem weak. But at the same time, I know we don't really need a great new map idea right now with all the stuff we have in production, but the maps being worked on could really use some solid TLC to bring them closer to release ready. And all the big map ideas I have would work better for future game modes or ideas anyways. Any input on this? I know in a real studio most level designers or artists are "sectioned off" anyways to focus on a particular aspect in a level, but I feel like it would appear that I am not broad enough in my skillset to people looking at my portfolio to have a bunch of work in there that is mostly polished-up/detail-pass'd versions of other people's work - because that's what I've been mostly doing on the project so far. It's a side effect of me believing in a very high quality bar of the mod, while also being aware that most of the level designers that help out all pretty much only want to work on their own projects, and/or tend to lack the time/effort into solid, cohesive, detail work on their levels (but really good ideas and execution other than that). Even though I KNOW I can (and have) done everything that goes into making a level all on my own. Any thoughts?
  3. Yeah don't worry! I totally get you there heh. My resume I made up for a class in Buisness writing looked similar. It's not a bad idea in-general to list part time jobs on a resume and such I think, but for a creative field, I get the feeling that it's best to avoid resume padding such as that if you can. The best route IMO would be to have a shorter, but impactful resume - and if you want it to look fuller, then keep working on stuff that'll make it look stronger and fuller Employers will care more about what actually impactful stuff you have done, that is relevant for the career/job you are applying for, than part time jobs (unless the job is relevant to the position). This is why it's always a good idea to give out resumes and cover letters that are tailor made for the company you are applying for, so you can target the exact things they might be looking for. It's good though to have a broad introduction and thurough experience with all aspects of game design, because it is VERY useful to be knowledgeable in all aspects of the trade, but specilized in one area. You're more flexible (which is valuble), you can more easily solve problems related to your levels (which is valuble), and you can generally be more indepedant, or helpful for other people working on other aspects (which is valuble). Good idea with the contests. It's a great way to get involved and seriously polish up your work, especially if you win something! I first made the jump into serious 3D level design stuff with the ICMC contest for Crysis back in 2007-2008 or so, and that did wonders for building "creative confidence" (being comfortable getting into a workflow and actually getting dream ideas in my head done). It also helped that I won a processor from it, so that was neat From there I joined a dream-mod team I wanted to be on, and still contribute here and there to this day (mostly to touch up other's work, advice, etc). That helped a lot not only with my actual skills as a designer, but also working in a long-term project enviornment. I know it might seem like you need to get a job ASAP, but personally I feel there's a lot of value in choosing to do your dream job right now in your free time, outside any odd-jobs you might be working for cash At least that's how I look at it. I'm 4 years in at uni after this spring, and still have 2 or so years of uni left.. I feel like that in time I'll be comfortable enough with myself to want to work in a professional enviornment. Or, I might gain the confidence to not want a professional environment and choose to go indie. I'd have a lot more pressure to get a professional job ASAP though if I had a lot of debt to worry about.. I'm lucky enough to have opened the right doors (as well as working my whole time during school) to be able to generally afford it myself outright so far.
  4. Ran fine for me, on a tablet even! I wouldn't be too concerned about that The layout and the format is pretty good, it was nice to navigate through. As far as your portfolio itself goes, I feel like there needs to be some more stuff stuff going on there level-design wise, but its a good start. You've got a nice handful of projects on display that show the bredth of your skill right now (which is good), but there wasn't too much in there I felt that showed how deep you can go. A lot of this likely has to do with the learning enviornment and time scedule class-projects provide. My advice would be to keep on building your portfolio and start some projects (either UDK/indie or mod related, depending on where you want to see yourself) you can spend a good chunk of TLC on, that really shows just how far your skills go Your resume could also do without stuff like a detailed part-time-job analysis. I can't imagine most creative professionals would see such things as resume-worthy, but I don't see the harm in mentioning you've been working various jobs to show that you have work-experience in general. Its just that reading your line on you were a baker at Tim Hortons allowing you to be creative within given boundaries, seems a little forced I'd put more focus, and more highlight for nice skills such as that, into your actual projects. Also, I question the relevance of stating your personal interests on your resume, especially stuff like going to Wild Wings for fun. It just isn't relevant for the kind of thing a resume should represent IMO - your personality/what drives you/interests and other misc things that describe who you are as an individual, are things I imagine professionals like to fish for in the interview process. Overall though, its a great looking and functioning portfolio and a nice foundation Keep up working on it!
  5. I'm so glad to see this kind of game really work out sales wise I finished it last night, it was pretty awesome. I didn't go in having high expectations from a gameplay perspective or a "quality-game-hours-spent-per-dollar" perspective, so I knew what to expect. I loved the caves from a visual standpoint, it reminds me of my caving adventures I've done in my past except much more beautiful. The final section was really impactful though atmosphere and story wise. Loved it. I just hope most of the people who bought DE knew what they were getting into, and followed a similar mindset that I took to it. In that, paying to support interesting experiments, while also getting the chance to experience art-gallery levels of art direction in a game. From a gameplay perspective I can't say it was worth $10, but it was worth that "investment" for my previously mentioned points. I'd just hate for it to get all sorts of hate because of what it isn't, for the price. Certainly justifiable complaints but it's not why people like us are interested in this anyways EDIT: Also, I wanted to say how much I got massive Myst vibes from this. I've always wanted a game with the same level of atmosphere and "visual fidelity" of Myst to happen in an actual free-moving game world
  6. Honestly it's pretty childish to disreguard a critical opinion because it doesn't happen to match your own expectations. Everything said in that Dtoid review is valid, and because it happened to cause the reviewer to grossly dislike DE, he reviewed it negatively based on his opinion of it. Yes, you could argue that he didn't "get the point" of DE. Which makes sense. You could also argue that the review is too attached to default steriotypes of what games are, and as such reviewed DE based on those stereotypes instead of what it actually is. However a lot of his criticisms (if you actually read the review) don't come off to me as just some guy who's looking to get hits ona website (face it, why would he - nobody outside of modding and HL2 circles even knows DE exists). A lot of what he says does have merit, in reguards to the storytelling not being too effective, the best parts of the game were not explored or taken advantage of (player exploration or interactvity), etc. I can totally empathize with the reviewer's focus on how DE doesn't really take what it did and commit to what it tries to do, and as such the end result feels shallow for the price. Did he not "get" DE? Probably. It doesn't mean his criticisms are unfounded however, even if people like us see DE more as a masterpiece in artisitc/atmosphere design, and as such will be much more likely to enjoy it as a whole. The reviewer went into it with no expectations, and walked out with what he had written down, and there isn't anything wrong with that, even if his rationalization is flawed and how he approached the game while he was playing it.
  7. What's not to like? It looks and works very well. I love the little GDC button on the top right. Wish I could go I really like how you have everything arranged on one page, and when you "get to the end" there's the nice suppliementary information about yourself. Clicking to expand projects is a great idea versus just taking you to another page. Some comments though: 1. Browsing on my android tablet. Everything functions quite well, but I noticed the image gallery was very hard to navigate on the tiny buttons you had in the corners. I had to zoom in very far for them to be large enough to interact with like a normal button. Perhaps boosting their size a little bit would work, or having an easy to read alternate way to naviage between pictures? Aside from that, everything worked flawlessly. 2. Might be a good idea to have some kind of non-intrusive (design wise) table of contents, instead of having to scroll through the list to just get to "personal work" and "thesises", which are slightly harder to distinguish at a glance compaired to the previous. I don't think you really need to categorize professional/personal/bio/etc beyond what you've done, but it could be helpful from simply a convience/curiosity standpoint to have a table of contents that jumps srtaight to where on the page you have your personal work, or your bio/resume/misc information. Especially the last part. Its never a bad idea for there be an easy way to see or jump to contact information as soon as a page is loaded Granted this is not a major issue now, but if/when you decide to add more and more to your portfolio it could become a navigation issue for anyone who might want to look at your portfolio for something specific versus a general overview.
  8. I can't wait for this, even if it is short. I always love being sucked into places and any game that was designed to value exploration in mind. Afterall, why else would I be on these forums if I didn't like that Has anyone played call of the fireflies for crysis? Very similar vibes - pure exploration and puzzle gameplay with a high emphisis on developing atmosphere. I've alway wanted to make maps/mods like that
  9. How have I not contributed to this thread yet?! Skyrim is one of Bethesda's best world design efforts to date, and they are masters of that usually. Even if I thought Morrowind had a more interesting art direction, and its gameplay style introduced the world much better IMO
  10. I remember for the MOTY2009 awards, for MW:LL we were sure that we'd lose to Black Mesa, who said they would release in 2009, in that trailer that swept the nation. We barely made it in time for 2009 (december 26th release date), barely hit the cutoff point. Now its 2012... still no Black Mesa
  11. I'm not worried about F2P model. I'm actually excited about it. One of PS1's biggest issues after launch was keeping people coming in and playing to actually take advantage of thier 200 player battles. F2P will solve this entirely. They have already comfirmed that they will be doing an Eve-style approach to level ups. In other words, you select a skill, specilization, etc that you want to earn, and after X number of real-time hours/days (even if you don't play) you'll unlock it. You can speed this up by playing the game of course, though. I think they've also confirmed some cosmetic items. We can assume from the two above bits of info that: 1. Cosmetic items = $$$ 2. You could probably insta-unlock specilizations and such by paying, instead of waiting. AKA the same F2P model that Farmville uses. I don't see anything wrong with this. Everyones on a level playing field, it just so happens to mean that the dude who pays simply gets the shiny stuff/skills faster, while the guy who doesn't follows a more standard curve to the "formula". It means you can be high ranking and top of the leaderboards without paying a dime, and I don't see anything wrong with that. Especailly since a guy who just buys all his specilizations and skills will be less experienced compaired to the guy who got them normally anyways. So I don't think balance will be an issue.
  12. I think it's really helping me "survive" uni by taking subjects that can be relateable to game/level/evniornment design, but not be about them. That way I can still be inspired by what I do for school, but at the same time I don't feel like I can't learn anything - because I learn stuff all the time in my classes! And being mostly "self-taught" as far as level design skill goes, if I feel like something is lacking in that area it's purely my fault and not a teacher's fault or a waste of my money
  13. Haha I loved that podcast Great interview between two (out of a handful) of my favorite creative minds out there at the moment.
  14. How old are you? You probably have plenty of years to go, even if you don't have a degree, to develop your skills. Even if you have no degree, an employer will ALWAYS take notice of the following: 1. Age. Frankly, someone who is 30 has more "life" experience and "maturity" than a fresh-out-of-school graduate who is 18-22 years old. I'm only 21 and I know that I'll probably be a different person when I am older compared to who I am now . If you are older, you tend to be more relable, and accountable and "wiser" with your day-to-day life than someone who is younger. 2. A good portfolio that shows development over many years. Pretty obvious why here. Development is good - it will show progress and how one evolves, which means (and I could be talking out of my ass here) the employer can trust that you will be able to learn/progress while you are with them as well. 3. If you've completed and worked on several organized long-term projects. This is the big thing that can effectively "replace" a degree if you are dedicated enough. Lead or be apart of several mod teams, and actually release your work. Try do design indie games, or find your passions (freelance or not) within your skills, and do anything that stimulates them to accomplish projects (personal or public). A degree is mostly useful because it shows you have long term dedication, and that you are a well-rounded individual. So if you can't get one at the moment, PROVE that you can do the above through the work you accomplish on your own time. It might take you 10 years to complete various projects to be noticable by an employer, or it might not. Either way, it's a win-win: you'll be doing what you love, and you'll be building "credibility" among yourself. If you can sell yourself as a master of your craft (they say it takes 10,000 hours, or about 5-10 years to be considered a "master" of something), then that will get you a job over anybody who applies that isn't also a "master", even if they have the degree. Degree's are just tools. You can get where you want personally and job-wise without them, if you have the right tool to take its place as well.
  15. I've never trusted game design "schools" or "courses" for the same reasons you listed - often they give you tons of debt, and teach you nothing. The real secrets and meat of a good portfolio in level design are all things that can only happen outside of class. You are fooling yourself if you think you can develop a great portfolio through a game design school/degree alone. It just won't happen. The only exception to this depends on what you want to do. For example, Digipen is great for their game programming and game theory stuff. You won't develop a great art portfolio there alone. But you will make a nice senior game design project that professionals generally approve of, and have a solid knowledge of game design in of itself (not speciically environmental or level design though, it's better from the perspective of an engineering/programmer perspective). There are certain art colleges that offer great aniimation/3D modelling departments. Often they won't have a focus on game design, but obviously being able to create 3D artwork is extremely useful of a skill to "prove" you have if you want to go that route. However, the "good" stuff requires you to move out of state to attend. They will also easily set you back $100k in debt - something I would never reccomend anyone get themselves involved with if they know what is good for their wellbeing later in life (unless you start out with a great finicial footing, therefore you know the debt won't rule your life). This is a beauty in level/game design though - its a profession where your portfolio speaks higher degrees than your actual degree. You don't technically need a college degree to get a job at many studios actually, and you sure as hell don't need one if you're an indie. However, it is EXTREMELY reccomended, just from the standpoint of two things: 1. It gets you past HR, so people actually GET to see your (hopefully good) portfolio 2. It shows you can accomplish long term goals. So what degree should you do? Ideally something you are interested in, that balances the design/3D work you'll enjoy doing at home. For me, I've not graduated yet but here's my plan: 1. I've already accomplished step one of my plan. I've got an associates degree in visual communications (graphic design) from a local community college, which personally is known to be pretty decent (NASAD accredited and all that jazz). I'm proud of the work I've done there, even if the design isn't related to game design. You can learn a lot from other "schools" of art/design that will only enrich your level design knowledge. A lot of things I've learned from my design classes are directly appreciable to the level design work I purue on my own time, such as the importance of having continuity, the power of line and type, how certain styles and deliver different messages, and how to create an "experience" for the user using visuals alone. Community college can only get you an associates, but it is EXCELLENT because it is so cheap to attend, and will (for most places) let you skip ahead two years or so when you start going for your batchellors. I was able to totally pay off my schooling as I signed up each quarter thanks to my part time job, and I've graduated from there with no debt to my name. 2. Step two for me is to continue my education to get a bachellors at the local university. They do not have a design department there, but they do have a fine arts department, which accepts design transfers from the above mentioned community college. I'm planning on spending the next 2-3 years getting my BFA. What I hope to learn is the wealth of experiences the university allows (i.e. first time I've ever been out west was this past winter break, thanks in part to my university hosting such a trip), and enrich my knowledge in Fine Arts so I can apply it to my level design work. There are a lot of things that are extremely important to creating impactful art that are directly related to design, such as composition, color, etc. This university is extremely affordable to me, because not only is it cheap for being a state school, but I get an 80% discount because my dad works here. That in addition to a pell grant if I attend full time, means I get $200 every quarter I have school. So far, still debt free, and I'm still paying my own bills I realize I am lucky in this reguard though. If my dad wasn't working here, I'd probably have to take out a small loan every quarter - but even then, my debt at the end of it all would be only about $5000 or so, especially since my community college schooling took up a nice brunt of the traditional university costs. 3. While I've been doing all this, of course, I pursue my career passions. While I can appreicate and enjoy doing traditional art, what I ususally end up doing when its my time to be creative outside of class is spend time in the level design and game design spectrums. I can usually get more done too on break periods, whcih I treat as if its my job to do level design But I don't forget to enjoy myself too I pretty much always priortize level design work over my school work, which I know is bad. But I'm doing school because of the supplimental knowledge, not because I want to be a charcoal drawing master. And I make sure to never make my grades really drop. I'm not an A student, closer to a B- student - but only because that "A" work I want to show in my design passions at home, rather than focusing all my time on the artwork And I know the goal is to get a degree through all this too. I'm not saying its good to get "bad" grades or skip work, because it isn't. I'm not perfect. This is why I am in school. Currently though, if I have a homework assignment that requires 10 hours of work outside of class I feel won't benefit me instead of doing design, while also having a minor impact to my grades, I might make the unwise descision to skip it Basically, build your portfolio outside of class and find things to study that can suppliment your design knowledge. I'm hoping a BFA and VisCom associates degree with a certificate in Desktop Publishing will sound nice enough at an HR department to get the CEO of X studio to personally look at my portfolio
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