Lead Level Designer
About Splash Damage
Come join us!
We founded Splash Damage with a mission to create lifelong friendships for our players and our employees by building the world’s most engaging multiplayer experiences with world-leading partners. Our teams have just celebrated the launch of Gears Tactics and we’re currently working on several exciting unannounced titles.
Our people always come first, and we acted swiftly to ensure that we moved all our employees to a work from home model during the COVID-19 outbreak in the UK, and this will continue for the foreseeable future. With our first-class virtual onboarding programme, we’re able to get you up and running remotely during this time and we’re maintaining our relaxed and welcoming culture with digital social events, daily company communications and much more. With the relaxing of travel and quarantine restrictions in the UK, we are now relocating new team members from outside the UK to London prior to starting their employment with us. This gives new Splashers the opportunity to establish a home in the local area, before joining their teams in working remotely until such time as we return to the studio. We will continue to monitor the situation in line with government advice, and look forward to having all of our amazing staff back into the studio as soon as it is safe to do so.
We're advocates for work-life balance and offer flexible working arrangements to suit individual needs and a comprehensive benefits package which focuses on family and mental well-being. Together with this we’ve been running a formal Equality, Diversity and Inclusion programme for nearly two years and are committed to increasing diversity across our studio.
As Splash Damage’s Lead Level Designer, you will be responsible for the level design of an entire product, driving end to end implementation across the team. You will establish and direct the vision for the levels, defining quality targets and ensuring the department are equipped to build epic, memorable, stunning maps.
You will realise and communicate the game vision throughout the studio, ensuring alignment across all disciplines. You will possess excellent written and verbal communication skills, and create and maintain level related documentation, ensuring all level content and processes are documented thoroughly. You will spend time with each team member, face-to-face, ensuring they understand the vision and level design, are fully engaged and “bought-in” to their work.
You will work closely with designers, programmers and artists to create and maintain fun, playable levels they can be proud of. You will drive frequent feedback sessions to gather feedback for you and your team and strive to provide constructive feedback to the wider team. You will collect and analyse playtest data and iterate on layouts accordingly in collaboration with environment and technical artists.
You will have a thorough understanding of the core gameplay mechanics and how the levels will deliver / showcase those mechanics, understand the project goals, and target demographic.
You will be expected to have a clear understanding of the technical constraints of the game engine, the capabilities and workflow of the game editor and level design pipeline and contribute ideas to help improve them.
You will maintain a focus on the gameplay aspects of the maps and ensure that focus is shared by the Level Design team and respected by the Environment Art team.
You will be expected to present your vision for the levels and your work to the team, upper management and the wider company at various stages and be happy to accept positive critique from all sources.
You will pro-actively work with the other level designers to share knowledge, review content and ensure consistency both on the immediate team and across the studio.
You will manage, mentor & coach Senior, Junior & Level Designers. You will verify task estimates provided by junior staff and in turn work with your lead to give your own accurate estimates for work as well as logging work in management software. You will provide input to Production / Management on project schedules throughout development to prioritise tasks / workload for the developers responsible for their assigned feature-set, in alignment with the product vision. You will articulate the impact of changes to the level design to the developers on your team.
You will be expected to regularly monitor the bug database and fix issues in a timely fashion to maintain stability and ensure that your team’s levels remain playable at all times. You will define and implement feature optimisations and tuning plans demonstrating a strong understanding of metrics and development restrictions; you will own the tuning for accountable features or levels.
Where necessary you will regularly and effectively communicate with any external partners or publishers; managing those relationships, presenting the creative achievements of the team, negotiating feature / change requests. You will communicate outwards to press, communities and fans in various formats from live appearances to pre-recorded interviews to forum engagement acting as both an evangelist and representative of the product and as an ambassador for Splash Damage.
Essential Skills and Experience
- A passion for making and playing games
- A deep understanding of all aspects of level design with mastery in many areas including; visual language, architectural composition, sign-posting, combat and encounter design, flow, game balance, delivery / support of game mechanics, on-boarding, difficulty tuning and pacing.
- Extensive experience working in a senior/lead position and 2 shipped AAA current gen (PS4 / XBOX ONE) console or PC title that featured a multiplayer component, worked on from beginning to end
- Leadership experience, including the running of running a multi-person design team; person-management, mentoring, line-management
- Fierce attention to detail
- The ability to work collaboratively with other disciplines and experience of being a key part of a leadership group
- The ability to work independently without close supervision
- Experience in creating first or third person shooters
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills
- A passion for environment design and architectural concepts
- Experience of level-building using 3D level editing tools (Unreal 4, UnrealEd, Hammer, Radiant, etc.)
- Experience of prototyping maps and gameplay mechanics using UE4, UE3, Unity, or similar
- Experience writing high quality and thorough design documentation including diagram and flow-chart creation
- Experience with source-control applications (SVN, Perforce, AlienBrain, etc.)
- Experience in multiplayer level design
- Strong problem-solving skills including lateral thinking
- Deep player empathy
Preferred Skills and Experience
- Presentation skills and experience with PowerPoint
- Unreal 4 Blueprints, Flow Graph, or other visual scripting software
- Knowledge of gameplay event scripting and entity setup
- Experience with UnrealEd/UDK and Kismet
- Traditional art skills
- Experience with 3DSMax, Maya, or other professional 3D modelling software
- Experience with Adobe Photoshop or similar
- Experience with scripting or programming language
- Experience with wiki-based design documentation
- Undergraduate degree in Video Game Design, Computer Science, Marketing, Entertainment or a form of technical training
- Experience of being the flag-bearer / champion for a product including giving presentations to press and at conferences / events
- Experience running the live phase of a game as a service, including using telemetry / metrics to inform design and content decisions
Splash Damage is an equal opportunity employer. We believe our teams create better work when they have a range of perspectives to draw from, and we are committed to creating an inclusive working environment that celebrates diversity.