Naughty Dog Level Design Test

A few weeks ago, I took a design test for a Jr. Level Design job at Naughty Dog. The test asked me to create two levels. The first level was supposed to be 3-5 minutes of cooperative combat, while the second level was supposed to consist of 6-8 minutes of combat mixed with a cooperative objective.

I had never designed and documented a level in this kind of detail before, so I wasn’t entirely satisfied with my final draft. I ended up designing the first level using Photoshop and creating a top-down map, and the second level using Maya – which I haven’t touched in 4 years. And on top of these challenges, I only had 4 hours to do it in. Download the document here.

The idea for my first level consisted of a multi-tiered combat map in the treetops. The idea behind this level was allow the player to pick their style of attack. The player could either watch the initial guards movement in the treetops and plan a stealth mode of attack, or go in guns blazing and have to face more enemies. The top-down map is below.

 

 

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

The concept for my second map was a mixture of close-quarters and higher-ground combat with a piece of movable cover to force the player to use their surroundings in a tactical manner. The end of the level consisted of a firefight with the only piece of cover being the movable treasure chest that the players must pick up halfway through the level. A single player could drag the treasure chest with both hands while the second player covered him, or both players could grab the treasure chest and have one hand free to shoot their pistol. My Maya block mesh is below.

 

 

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Level Design

Today marks my first real interview for a game design position. I will be interviewing with Naughty Dog for one of their Jr. Design positions and through the course of speaking with their Studio Coordinator, have come to a new realization.

Over the past year or two, I’ve had multiple ideas for games. I write full-fledged design documents and even begin working on many of the art assets just to be able to present my ideas when the time comes, but without a prototype, my design document is very meaningless. I’ve spent the past few years trying to convince programmer friends to help me code my games and even learn a bit of scripting myself, but I’ve still not been able to flesh out a real prototype for my elaborate ideas.

I’ve been extremely focused on the idea of game design and designing balanced character types, weapons, and environments, but have yet to be able to create these. Since my first contact with Naughty Dog, I’ve begun to see a better way to break into video game design through level design.

Creating levels and level design documents is something you can do without a ton of programming prowess. Since I am just trying to build a portfolio at the time, I need to have some solid work to show. Creating levels and documents is a great way to flex your design muscles and make some of your designs come to life without the need for too many technical skills.

After my interview, I will be focusing on level design as my main practice as I continue to work on games with my small team. I will be posting my design work here for everyone to view as I try to become a game designer.

Level Design

Today marks my first real interview for a game design position. I will be interviewing with Naughty Dog for one of their Jr. Design positions and through the course of speaking with their Studio Coordinator, have come to a new realization.

Over the past year or two, I’ve had multiple ideas for games. I write full-fledged design documents and even begin working on many of the art assets just to be able to present my ideas when the time comes, but without a prototype, my design document is very meaningless. I’ve spent the past few years trying to convince programmer friends to help me code my games and even learn a bit of scripting myself, but I’ve still not been able to flesh out a real prototype for my elaborate ideas.

I’ve been extremely focused on the idea of game design and designing balanced character types, weapons, and environments, but have yet to be able to create these. Since my first contact with Naughty Dog, I’ve begun to see a better way to break into video game design through level design.

Creating levels and level design documents is something you can do without a ton of programming prowess. Since I am just trying to build a portfolio at the time, I need to have some solid work to show. Creating levels and documents is a great way to flex your design muscles and make some of your designs come to life without the need for too many technical skills.

After my interview, I will be focusing on level design as my main practice as I continue to work on games with my small team. I will be posting my design work here for everyone to view as I try to become a game designer.

Board Game Modding

I’ve recently been trying to get more practice in game design and have been thinking about doing some board game modding. Recently, I came up with a board game mod that will fuse together the two popular games Monopoly and Uno.

Instead of dice, players will have 7 card hands which they will use to strategically move their own token. Each turn, players can play one card. The number displayed on the card will be the amount of spaces the player can move. Players can use a “skip” to skip a selected player’s turn and a “reverse” to reverse the direction that their token is travelling.

Right now, the game is just a concept and will be play-tested in the coming weeks.

BagoGames.com

After contemplating the idea of starting a gaming site for the past two years, I’ve finally done it…. sort of.┬áRecently, I found myself with some extra time, so I started writing game reviews and creating video versions of these reviews, the first of which can be seen below.

 

 

I originally intended to start my own review channel and build a site sometime in the future, but was instantly noticed by a small gaming site called BagoGames and have decided to join their ranks. Look forward to great new content from myself and the rest of the BagoGames team pretty soon!

GameGrades

After contemplating the idea of starting a gaming site for the past two years, I’ve finally done it…. sort of.┬áRecently, I found myself with some extra time, so I started writing game reviews and creating video versions of these reviews, the first of which can be seen below.

I am starting my own review channel and am going to build a site sometime in the future. Look forward to great new content from myself and the rest of the GameGrades team pretty soon!