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BioWare's level designers don't just design levels
Editorial - posted by DarkUnderlord on Thu 29 January 2009, 01:54:22Tags: BioWare
Update on the BioWare blog: The Trials and Tribulations of Being a Level Designer. Here's a snip:
There are other trials – the tools not working or slow, the builds that break everything, the oxen that refuse, no matter what you do, to walk across the damnable swamp. (It turned out – EVENTUALLY – that the particular ox in question did not actually HAVE the walking animation I was trying to script. But how’s a poor girl to know that oxen only walk in a particular manner? No trotting for oxen, it seems.)
But the real joy of my job is that, if I wait long enough, I get to do everything, at least a little bit. Level designers are at the hub of every part of the game, and thus they get feedback on all those parts, and sometimes even get to dig in and get their hands dirty in them.
Don’t like the way a particular character looks? Back in the old days, it was just a matter of pleading with an artist until they changed it. (When I tried to get C**** to be a little prettier, the artist looked so hurt I thought perhaps he’d modeled the character on himself). But now, I can go in and make my own head to show them what I was thinking of.
And then there’s the end-run before release, where only a chosen few are even allowed access to the toolset, and all you can do is playtest for weeks on end, sending bugs and, if you’re lucky, finding bugs that only you can fix. Actually, that’s a lot of fun – you get to play with the near-completed version of the game. I think I played Jade Empire more than anyone who wasn’t QA.
Spotted @ Some Website or Another