Level Designer

Shortly after I joined the EA Redwood Shores studio, I was asked to help out the Godfather team with the interior spaces.  The layouts were mostly created already, but still needed all of the gameplay markup (and there was a lot of it to do!)  I was in charge of about one third of the venues in the game. We used Renderware Studio for gameplay creation, which provided me with my first exposure to a visual scripting editor.

Venue Design

Each venue needed a markup pass for the AI to work properly and make the place feel alive.  Spawn points for workers and customers are placed as well as Nav points to allow pathing around the environment.  I'd also place destructible objects like bottles around and place necessary collectibles in back room locations.

Combat had some additional markup needs since business owners had particular weaknesses.  Additionally, I needed to place cover points for AI to use and hiding spots for scared civilians as well as making sure weapons were accessible.

There were lots of venues around the various cities and we found a way to reuse the base layout of them.  I'd do a general layout of all gameplay content in one version of the venue and then we used the "Location Template Tool" to paste it into the necessary locations in the city.  Then I'd be able to go into the individual locations and make any local changes that were necessary.

Most venues also were a front for a Racket in the back which needed to be set up as a separate gameplay space with it's own businessman to extort.

The venues had to be ready to support gameplay types like Hit Contracts and Favors.  Some used the owner of the Front or Racket, but sometimes there was a need for a special mission giver.

This video shows some of the venues that I worked on...I even managed to get my son in the game as the owner of The Full Moon at 6:20.

Next: Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath

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