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Simon OCallaghan - Level Designer


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http://www.simonoc.com/

I have not posted my portfolio here before and since there is a big index thread being created I thought you need some O people :) I have had my portfolio site for some time now and probably a few people from here have seen it already. As always if anyone can think of something to improve with the layout or content, please let me know.

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I think the mix of content is confusing. Imo your site suffers from trying to be too much at once. Your "portfolio" should show off your work basically. If you want to offer a site with articles and resources for other artists/leveldesigners, keep it separate (can still be linked somehow ofcourse).

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Oh yeah, I still remember your site back from the quake3 days... Pyramid of the Magician is still my favorite q3 map of all time! needless to say that your work is fantastic, so here are some thoughts about the website itself :)

The splashscreen at the beginning is nice, the crysis screenshot keeps you interested and makes you immediately click on it to see more...that smiling monkey is also very amusing :D

The main portfolio/design part gives a good overview of all the professional/amateur work you've done. I would get rid of all the links on the right side, or even better create a separate page for them to keep things a bit more organized. Right now, they leave a kind of chaotic feeling to the portfolio section.

There's a lot of text and explanation of all your levels, which is a good thing. But maybe add some videos for them? youtube videos in portfolio sites seem to be a new trend...

Your contact information/email is really difficult to find. I almost missed it on the top bottom of your site. Normally you see it somewhere in the banner or on a separate page.

The "materials section" is great, though I would arrange the content a bit different. Like this (from top to bottom): Textures --> Env. Maps --> Photography. I think it's better to show game art first and then all the bonus stuff, especially when you have some nice textures like that to show ;)

The only thing I have to criticize about the "article section" is that it's mostly quake3 related info, some stuff for newer game engines would be awesome.

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Imo your site suffers from trying to be too much at once.

Yep a good point, but i think portfolio sites have changed their use over the years and especially after having a job in the industry. I think a portfolio site is no longer just a website to get a job, but a place to express how you design and make things. I always get good feedback at interviews about the post mortem stuff I post on my professional work. I think it is important for someone who designs stuff to show how they got to the final design. The process is usually more important than the final result to employers. Which is why my site is a hybrid of professional and personal projects because I still make stuff in my spare time and have friends who visit. I use my Linkedin as the professional portfolio thing for recruiters, not my website anymore.

that smiling monkey is also very amusing :D

The smiling monkey links to a page about me, but most people never hover over it or click it! I must admit it does not look clickable but I set it up as a surprise thing really. The right hand side of the page with lots of links is a blog index thing, I thought people would be comfortable with the layout because there are so many blogs nowadays that use that format.

Yeah video's do seem a popular thing nowadays, I need to think about this more. I have some video stuff of my latest personal projects but that is all. Going back to all my old professional games and recording video's could be tricky but something I could do easily for new stuff.

I am surprised you think my textures should be at the top of the page instead of the photos on my material tab. The textures are old, diffuse only and some are even hand drawn. I thought people would be far more interested in the photos than the textures. I really left the textures there because I get a lot of traffic to my site because of the egyptian texture links in google.

The articles are really old but my personal projects use an old engine as well. I did think about doing a section on Crysis but that is covered really well on the official site. I did write the Enemy Territory mapping manual but that is hosted with SD now. I plan to write some more articles but they will be Q3 related because I enjoy mapping for it still personally.

@neotic, yeah getting rid of the splash screen would help that but from the google stats I have on my website, most people click through to the post mortem stuff on my professional work really well. My click through page average is really high for my site but I don't want to flatten the page because I want to add more later.

@generalvivi, wow that brings back some memories. I don't remember all that street detail but I had alot of fun creating all the buildings. One of my little side map projects I had going at Raven. :)

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Imo your site suffers from trying to be too much at once.

Yep a good point, but i think portfolio sites have changed their use over the years and especially after having a job in the industry. I think a portfolio site is no longer just a website to get a job, but a place to express how you design and make things. I always get good feedback at interviews about the post mortem stuff I post on my professional work. I think it is important for someone who designs stuff to show how they got to the final design. The process is usually more important than the final result to employers. Which is why my site is a hybrid of professional and personal projects because I still make stuff in my spare time and have friends who visit. I use my Linkedin as the professional portfolio thing for recruiters, not my website anymore.

I aimed my comment at the "Materials" and "Articles" sections of your website and not so much as your personal work. I haven't worked very long in the industry, but I imagine that personal projects can still be great to have in the portfolio even after having proffessional products under your belt, as they can show off different sides of you. Post-mortems are also great to have imo for any level designer. But yes, I gave my advice based on a logic that mainly applies to people who are are looking for a first job in the industry. You are probably absolutely right that after having a job in the industry for a certain amount of time, the purpose of the portfolio will change. So I withdraw my previous comment :)

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