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Lead Level Designer Needed for New Action IP


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Level Designer

Black Box Studio is hiring for a new intellectual property. We’re looking for level designers with action game experience.

Company Info

Electronic Arts Black Box captures the top four floors of a high-rise on Vancouver’s downtown waterfront. EAX is 70,000 square feet of panoramic views of the city, harbour, and mountains! Piercing through the centre of the building is a 35 foot bamboo tree enclosed in glass by a stair case that connects all four floors, adding a touch of serenity to work. The studio is well equipped with multiple sound studios, game trial theaters, disco lounge, cafeteria, arcade, DJ booth, gym, company store and outdoor balcony complete with fireplace and barbeque. Enjoy all that the downtown core has to offer all the while working on one of EA’s most successful franchises NEED FOR SPEED!!

Role Overview

Working from the overall game design documentation, the EA Level Designer designs a portion of the game usually referred to as a ‘level’, specifying in detail all the possible actions and gameplay events that take place within that level. The Level Designer is also responsible for designing the level environment, including locations and general layout of the spaces within the level, as well as contributing thoughts about visuals (e.g., lighting, textures, and forms), the characters and objects involved, and specific behaviors associated with the characters and objects.

The Level Designer sketches ideas on paper or with 2D drawing software. They must imagine the gameplay experience by putting themselves in the position of the player and mapping out all the possibilities. They need to think about the logic and flow of events and actions, the conditions that need to be met for certain things to happen, the challenges the player will encounter, and the gameplay that occurs as a result. The ideas are then worked out in 3D and tested in the game engine, which in turn results in further ideas.

The Level Designer develops the gameplay for the level, which includes the challenges that the characters face and the actions they must take to overcome them. The level setting and environment helps to define those challenges by presenting obstacles, places to hide, tests of skill, and other elements to explore and interact with. Consulting with the programmers and artists, the Level Designer draws up a detailed inventory of level ‘assets’ (all the objects and programming requirements needed to make the level run in the game in its final form).

Level Designers play a very important role in game development, creating memorable environments and gameplay elements to satisfy an increasingly sophisticated and widening games audience. They need to be inventive and understand the design factors that contribute to an entertaining and absorbing gameplay experience.

What skills does EA look for?

There is no set route into this job, but it is rarely an entry level role. Industry experience is a definite advantage and candidates typically have a college degree. Degree subjects vary, but might include design, engineering, and/or software development.

Level Designers need an understanding of the conventions of game playing and also an awareness of the target market. They usually need to be able to use industry standard 3D modeling packages, such as 3D Studio Max or Maya, and may also be called upon to learn and use game world editing tools developed by studios in-house.

The ability to sketch ideas on paper and model in 3D is also useful. Although complete fluency in programming languages such as C++ is not a requirement for the role, competency in programming principles and in higher level scripting languages is highly desirable. Many Level Designers are enthusiastic gamers, and may have ‘modding’ experience, which involves creating their own levels of published games using software toolkits provided as part of these games.

A Level Designer might progress into the role from various junior positions in the industry. For example, they might have worked as a tester in a Quality Assurance department to gain useful experience and an overview of the development process, access to software and tools, and insight into different development jobs. In addition, because game development is such a collaborative process, Level Designers must be able to work both independently and as part of a team, and they must be able to both accept and give direction.

Please forward your resume in a Word document with portfolio link to apugh@ea.com. Those candidates selected to interview will be contacted. To check out other opportunities at EA Studios Worldwide go to http://www.jobs.ea.com!

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