Warhammer 40,000: battle sister

On this VR project at Pixel Toys, I led the level design team and co-led story development. As the Lead Level Designer, my duties included:

  • Line managing other level designers.
  • Interviewing design candidates.
  • Approving team workload and scheduling.
  • Mentoring junior designers.
  • Oversaw and guided high level environment and mission designs.
  • Reviewing and giving detailed feedback to other level designers on a regular basis.
  • Defining gameplay metrics for both player interactions and environmental dimensions.
  • As an integral part of the game’s leadership team, I was involved with publisher and licence holder meetings, as well as working with the game director to give feedback to the external writer.
  • Working with other department leads to define the game’s scope, vision and feel.
  • Help guide the studio (and in particular the level design team) through the beginning of the COVID pandemic, including a shift to work from home and helping team members deal with the stress and isolation of lockdown.
  • Make decisions about scope changes due to the challenges of COVID.
  • Towards the end of development I also worked with the rest of the team leadership to develop and deliver pitches for other projects to publishers.

I also designed and implemented several levels myself, including all gameplay elements (puzzles, environmental interactions, combat encounters etc.).

The idea behind this mission was to start the game with an impressive spectacle, before allowing the player to learn the main gameplay mechanics in a relatively controlled area, hence the choice to begin the game looking onto a wide open battlefield foreshadowing the player’s path through the level, before forcing the player into the more narrow confines of a series of trenches where they could get to grips with the combat.

Time range: 02:10 – 14:00

After the intensity of the ‘start with a bang’ nature of Chapter One, this mission was intended to give the player some breathing room, as well as showing larger-scale environments to wow the player in VR. After this, we wanted the player to be able to experience some backstory and scene setting in peace, before ramping the action up again with combat.

Time range: 13:45 – 34:18

This is the final playable chapter of the game, and introduces an entirely new enemy type (as well as featuring the final boss). The idea was to use a mix of vast spaces to make the player feel small; inexorable but slow enemies to increase the feeling of threat, and then increasingly tighter spaces to increase the feeling of claustrophobia before finally opening the environment out once more, to allow the player a short breath of relief before the final boss fight.

Time range: 02:37:50 – End