What is your current role, and what games have you worked on?
Currently, I am Project Director at Ion Storm on Deus Ex 2. In the past, I was Lead
Designer on Deus Ex and FireTeam. Prior to that, I was Project Director
Technosaur, a cancelled RTS. Before that, I worked as an Associate
on CyberMage. I started in QA, working as Lead Tester on System Shock.
What's lacking in level design today? What can be done to fix
I could talk about architectural complexity, poly count or artistic
but I won't; those are not my forte. I think interactivity-based gameplay
sadly lacking in most 3D games. Game environments would be cooler if
had more universal/simulated interactivity (like ice that melts when
applied, or buildings that collapse if the support pillars are destroyed).
With 3D engines becoming increasingly more sophisticated, level design
becomes more complex, which in turn becomes a time-consuming effort.
this a good or bad thing?
It's great in that it could equate to more interesting environments.
of automation are a necessary part of keeping the increase in complexity
from translating into a prohibitive rise in development cost.
Is there a particular level from any game that stands out as an excellent
example of craftsmanship? Why?
The hydroponics level from System Shock 2 because it scared the snot
me in very real, visceral ways. Lord Bafford's manor from Thief 1 because
was so over-connected and allowed me so much freedom. Hong Kong from
because it felt like such a 'deep' space.
Where do you draw inspiration from during your level creation process?
Mostly from moving paintings or photos. Places I would like to
visit--architectural marvels created by visionary people. Also, thick
atmospherics inspire me.
What new features in level editors would you implement if you were
a new editor from the ground up?
Anything that would save time. Anything that would make editor use as
intuitive as possible. A feature that would let the designer run the
world/game processes at real time in a little window.
Where do you see level design taking us in the next couple of years?
More sophistication, more interactivity, better graphics. The usual
What game are you most looking forward to?
Thief 3. Any follow-up to Pokemon Snap.