[Portfolio] Shawn Sieben Level Designer


Oy, another portfolio thread. I am going for level design/designer position, but I fill in wherever needed and more than likely work on the art side. Can do programming, but just don't dig it as much.

Recently got all my shit updated and to my wanting, was wondering what you mates think.

Mainly presentation and such like that is what I'm griping on right now. I have more projects/stuff to add on there soon, but waiting on completion to that.

Known errors:
-anyone using IE (working on it)
-shadow box is wonky every once in awhile
-load times, although my testing isn't really worth a shit considering I basically am on dial up.



  • StJoris
    Hey man, it looks pretty cool simple organisation that works ok.
    Tiny crit: I really don't like the fades, it looks a bit 90'ies webdesign.
    I like the levels and the work you've done, point. But, here's the catch, it looks a bit dated to be honest. Now I'm not working that actively in the industry atm so I might not be 100% on this, but if you are aiming for designer, personally I would like to see more of the design process and your design decisions.
    Why not employ diagrams? Sure it would be in retro-perspective, so it serves more a representative purpose here.

  • jaball
    MN eh? would you be a student of brown?

    I graduate next week, just curious

    Anyway, I just wanted to say that the site looks good but the levels look better. I am not a huge fan of the top down view of your level for the first shot that the viewer sees. and when you click on an image I dont like seeing the wall of text staring at me.

    With that being said, I love that you are explaining your level and not just letting the pics do the talking. I also agree with StJoris, you could explain how you set everything up a little better.

    Now the tech does look dated but I would assume thats becuase its UT2004. Take some time (and money) and get your self set up with UT3. It seems pretty standard now.

    As i said before I am fresh out of college and you can take my advice and do whatever with it. But your level designs are cool and look pretty fun! and thats all that really matters
  • sicsided
    Thanks for the reply. Yeah the fades were just alittle flare I added in, although I did like older website designs, I will probably change it soon. As for the maps, yes they are dated (UT2004). I do have a link on page of the CTF-SkyCrash to my design blog showing the progression of the map from alpha-gold, but do you think it needs to be pronounced more? Thanks for that picture though, that looks like an awesome way to show things and has given me some ideas.

    Thank you for the reply, and yes. I'm quite sure we have met at one point or another although I'm not sure. I have seen your work though. I graduated this past June. The top down view was mainly to show the layout, but do you think a 'beauty shot' would be better? I ask because I like designing layouts/how the level flows and think its by best strength to show. Smaller font perhaps for the text?
    As for the tech, yeah its UT2004 (brown college, am I right?) but I also don't see the point in UT3 right now cause no one plays the damn game. But I am working on TF2 and L4D (and L4D2 soon) maps, just have to get updates into the blog.
    I appreciate any comments from any level mate, as long as they are helpful. Hope last quarter is going good for you.
  • dlx
    The site presents itself more like an art portfolio, but I doubt visitors will bother to click through many of the images once they realize it's UT2004 art.

    I would definitely create some diagrams to show how the level design works. Show the intended flow, choke points, pickups, sniper spots, etc. and add some brief notes explaining your choices. A couple of images from the actual maps would be fine. Ideally, your map images should correspond to something important in the design. Consider dressing up your diagrams, maybe like the SOCOM maps by Generator Studios. Just make sure they are easy to read.

    If you have time, do a few new map designs. You don't have to actually build them all. Show that you can design more than UT maps too. Design a Left4Dead map or a linear COD-style story level.

    Don't count on anybody going to your blog either. If you want potential employers to see your design skills, you'll have to put it front and center on the first pages they see. You have some good insights on there, like eliminating the sniper spot on the sky walk. Find a creative way to work that kind of commentary into the presentation of the map.
  • Ott
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    Ott polycounter lvl 12
    Anyone who has studied Epic and modularity will immediately be able to see how closely you laid out your map to the one contained in this Epic white paper:


    Imitation is the best form of flattery, but be careful how much of your "design" is this close to someone else's.

    And FYI, the ability to lay down some basic BSP and make a CTF map isn't exactly the road to landing a job as a designer. What can you do differently? What encounter can you script that hasn't been done before? What is the WOW factor about your design? Right now this is hobby/mod work.

    More modern Engines such as UE3 have Kismet and other tools to assist you with things like this. In all the games in all the studios, there are very very few designers whose only focus is making Multiplayer death-match and CTF. You are MUCH more likely to be responsible for single-player content, which means you should hone in on your "encounter-designing" if you are serious about landing a design position.
  • achillesian
    some videos wouldnt hurt to show off the maps, gameplay and/or flybys
  • sicsided
    @dlx thanks for the reply
    I'll look up those SOCOM maps thank you, and yeah I felt the same way about the blog. Found it easiest to get information out quickly through that API though, I'll have to change or integrate it better.

    @Ott thanks for the reply
    Yeah, I started created the map originally going with all custom content in mind. It was to be a high in the sky between buildings, but then I reorganized as I scheduled it out to be 3 months and wouldn't have time to make all the content or any for that. I was playing UT2004 when I came across BR-Skyline. My layout is quite different from it, but yes I did take quite a few assets from it, trying to make my own look from it. Thanks for the info on the single player stuff though, looking into as I type this.

    @achillesian Thank you, and yeah am definitely getting videos of all this up.
  • Slybones
    I agree with what's been said here.

    If you have a computer that can run Unreal 3 Ed, then you owe it to yourself to go pick it up and start making maps in it. This industry is all about keeping up with the latest and greatest, so starting a generation behind is just shooting yourself in the foot. Not to say there isn't stuff to be learned from the previous gen, but as far as portfolio goes you need to have work that stays competitive with the latest trends and stays competitive with other people out there.

    Think of it from a hiring manager's perspective. If your studio is using Unreal 3 engine and you have two portfolios sitting in front of you, one with Unreal 3 maps and one with Unreal 2k4 maps, which one is going to stand out to you?

    It's also hard to measure the merits of the map based off of the shots. 2D paper layouts / diagrams explaining your thought process and your understanding of flow, player pathing, combat spaces vs. travel spaces, etc. would be very helpful. Also, some videos of game play might help since a lot of people don't even have 2k4 installed anymore and therefore won't bother downloading the map.

    Another thing, on your documentation section, I would suggest changing the wording of "Concept Pitches" to "Concept Documentation" or "Game Design Documents." The word pitch might steer people away from reading it for legal reasons.

    I'll PM you some portfolio sites of some of the best level designers I know and have worked with. I think that will help get you started and give you an idea of what you should be shooting for.

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