Archive for the ‘ Tips & Tricks ’ Category

Tips & Tricks: A Guide to Job Hunting

As some of you might already know, I will be graduating from the University of Advancing Technology at the end of April. While my upcoming graduation is very exciting, it is also rather nerve-racking, since it means the job hunt has begun. This post will act as a guide for fellow game development job-seekers, based on what I have heard and read from industry professionals and my professors, as well as what I am currently doing. Keep in mind that this is my first time applying for positions as a game and/or level designer, so I’m certainly no expert. If you have any questions or additional suggestions, please leave a comment below.


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Tips & Tricks: Performance Optimization in UDK

The Unreal Development Kit is a wonderful editor for building both games and levels, but sometimes, things don’t always work as anticipated. I’ve heard numerous complaints of people who claim UDK is a terrible editor simply because it was running slow, but don’t forget that there are ways to fix this problem, so don’t just give up on the editor, especially if it could be caused by something you did! If UDK is running impossibly slow, check out these tips for optimizing the editor’s performance.


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Tips & Tricks: A Guide to Project Proposals

Whether you’re presenting in front of publishers, fellow developers, professors, or students, talking about your next big idea can be a handful. There’s a bunch of stuff you need to include, but you don’t want it to be too long or boring, so you have to find the right balance without cutting out anything important. Even determining what is important and what isn’t can be a real challenge, and you definitely don’t want to over- or underwhelm the audience. If you’ve never made a project proposal before, it may seem difficult to find a starting point, so I’ve made this guide to help you nail both the actual proposal and the presentation.


Keep reading to learn more about making your own project proposals!

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Tips & Tricks: Building Atmosphere

Building an effective atmosphere in your levels is critical in immersing the player in your world. The atmosphere should fit the given context of the world, while still maintaining believability, which can be a little tricky to pull off. In my own approach to level design, I put a huge amount of effort into building the atmosphere of the level I’m creating, and have had a few fellow students approach me recently about how I go about doing this. It certainly isn’t always an easy task to get right, but when atmosphere is done correctly, it can add depth, reality, and engagement for the player, further drawing them into your game or level.

Keep reading to learn more on how to build an appropriate atmosphere!

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Tips & Tricks: Making UDK Textures

The Unreal Development Kit is a fantastic editor that comes preloaded with static meshes, textures, materials, sounds, and more, making it that much easier to build levels. But sometimes, all of that preloaded stuff just doesn’t work for the level you want to make, which leaves you with two options: make your own stuff or download free-to-use assets. Even with the slew of awesome free assets available to you online, you still might not be able to find exactly what you want, and making your own from scratch might be a bit out of your league. When it comes to making textures and materials for UDK, however, you can use a combination of these two methods to get just the look you’re going for, saving time that can be spent further polishing the actual level.

Keep reading to learn more about making your own textures, and materials, in UDK!

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Tips & Tricks: Blocking In Levels

I’m currently working on a level in UDK, which should be of no surprise, but this time around I decided to do things a little different. All too often I find myself writing pre-production, then jumping straight into building the level, often focusing more on the aesthetic design and implementing gameplay at the end. What’s bad is that I even know that I’m going about this process all wrong, and yet, time and time again, I find myself doing the same thing. So this time, I decided to stick to a rigid process of writing the pre-production, blocking in, implementing gameplay elements, adding aesthetics and meshes, and polishing, while tweaking every step of the way. This is the typical process most level designers follow, so it’s good to get in the habit early. I’ve already discussed parts of this process in previous posts, but today I’d like to focus on the one that always seems to elude me: blocking in.

Keep reading to learn a few tips and tricks on how to block in levels!

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Tips & Tricks: Business Cards

To be honest, this post is a bit late since GDC is only a few days away, but I thought I’d post a bit about business cards. Business cards are really an industry standard, and if you don’t have any yet, you really should get to work on that. Business cards help others to remember who you are, what you do, and give examples of your work if you have a portfolio site listed. They’re part of the art of self-promotion, something that is definitely going to help you get noticed.

Keep reading to learn more on business cards in the games industry!

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Tips & Tricks: A Guide to Resumes

GDC is almost here, and like most of you, I’ve been preparing my portfolio and resume. Until today, I did not have a game design resume, but with only a year left before I graduate and the opportunities for internships upcoming, I wrote mine up and will be posting it onto my portfolio site soon. Writing resumes can be a difficult task, so I figured a guide, similar to my Guide to Portfolios, would be helpful for those in game development.

Keep reading to view the full guide to writing resumes!

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Tips & Tricks: Let’s Build a Level!

I have an assignment for my advanced level design class where we have to create a level with only three or four lights. I found this assignment to be rather enjoyable, and thought I would share exactly how I built the level. So if you’re interested in my level design process, or just curious how limited lighting can be implemented, keep reading!

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Tips & Tricks: A Guide to Portfolios

With the opportunities for GDC, E3, and summer internships fast approaching, I’ve been receiving a lot of questions about game development portfolios. I created my portfolio site in the fall of last year, and while I am far from happy with it (You are your worst critic, after all), I have received many compliments on it. As I conjure up new ideas to renovate my site, I decided to put together a guide to help other game development students create awesome portfolios.

Keep reading for the full guide to portfolios!

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