Interview with RV_RyanCM
Hey RenegadeLine Community,
I sat together with Ryan, our awesome Level Designer. He is the one who created the map, which you already saw in various screenshots and even the gameplay video. It's his goal to make a balanced and fun to play map, which everyone enjoys playing. Even though you don't see him post often on the forums, he reads alot of your posts and appreciates feedback.
You have questions or want to discuss this interview? Feel free to share everything with us HERE
General Information about RV_RyanCM:
Joined RV: June 2015
Position: Level Designer
Straight up: What are the duties of a Level Designer?
Pretty much just the placement of all the 3D assets and anything else that needs to do be done on the engine side of things that’s not programming.
Ok, but I guess there is more to it than “just” placing the objects on the map?
Ah, I mean mostly it’s just placement. I’ll do other things like materials and things like that if I have to and usually that’s where my expertise gets more challenged and I have to do more research to figure out how to achieve these goals.
So, how did you get started with Level Design?
I actually went to college for simulation and game development. And I just kind of enjoyed Level Design out of all the things I got taught the most.
What were the other things you got taught?
Ehm, basic 3D modeling and animation and all that kind of stuff. We also had to take one programming class and I was terrible at that. [Laughs]
I think that’s pretty much it. Covered all the basics, even concept art.
Nice, would you say that anyone could become a Level Designer if he/she wants to?
I think anyone can, but you really do need to be passionate about it. You gotta really have a drive to do it, because it does take a lot of time.
Since you mentioned you also got various different classes in college, would you say that you need a lot of knowledge in different areas if you want to work in Level Design?
I don’t know if its 100% necessary, but it definitely helps, because the more you know about the other things in Game Design, the easier it is going to be to do Level Design, because if you know how 3D models work, which I am working with a lot, that’s really helpful, as an example.
What would you say is the best part of your job?
Right now it would just be the freedom. I get to make my own hours and ehm, you guys give me a lot of freedom in creating the maps myself, so it’s really fun.
Nice to hear. Did you work on any other projects so far and what was (or maybe is :) ) your favorite project so far?
Ehm, I only worked on a few things on college I guess, but other than that no professional games that were released or anything like that. I guess my favorite project was the last project we did in college. Where we basically had to put together a game and had to present it to people and it was like a 3D platformer puzzle type of game.
Oh, that sounds quite cool actually.
Yeah, it was a lot of fun.
And you were responsible for the level design?
I did level design in that and I think that’s probably what led me to choose level design over everything else I tried in college. It was just probably the best experience I had.
If you play video games, is it hard for you not to constantly analyze the level design of the game you are playing?
[Laughs] Yeah, I play a lot of different types of video games and that is a problem I run into sometimes, especially on my multiplayer games. Where it’s directly maps and level design, like what I’m doing right now. I find myself picking them apart and critiquing them instead of playing most of the time. [Laughs]
[Laughs]So, what are you currently working on?
Eh, right now I’m working on the materials for the landscape and the water. [Laughs]Those are sort of roadblocks for me. Placing of assets is going pretty good, though.
Ah ok. I saw that you put the dam into the map. Was it difficult to find the perfect spot for it?
It wasn’t too bad. Just have to visualize it and then start blocking it out and it was done before I knew it. I had some back and forth with Chris and some of the other guys on how it should look and be set-up, but after I got some feedback it went pretty fast.
Awesome, so what is coming next?
Hmm, ehm, I guess I probably be placing more cliff-faces and whenever the watermill is done, I think that is being worked on anyway, I guess I will be placing it in the map.
Ok, which programs are you using for you work?
For me, of course, Unreal Engine 4. Our game couldn’t work without it. [Laughs]
And I use Photoshop for basic texturing and stuff like that, if I have to do it, and for my 3D program I like to use Maya.
Is there something you really like about the current map or something you are particularly proud of?
It’s hard to pick one thing. Ehm, I guess I like the sort of flow of the map around the river, which has been really challenging to achieve, but I think it really pulls the map together nicely, having that river in the center.
Ok, why was it so challenging?
Yeah, putting the river together has been pretty challenging and I’m still working on it a good bit, to make sure it looks good before it’s over and done with.
Interesting, but for me it’s harder to understand why it’s so challenging. Seems like a normal river in the center of the map.
Yeah, you would think so, but what happens is, because it’s a winding river, you have to have a mesh that fits directly, like, around that sort of curviness and after getting a mesh that works, which I had to go back and forth with, our developer did actually develop a spline that would work with meshes, just to make that part. And after that comes the difficult task [Laughs] I am working with now, of trying to get a material that actually flows in the direction of the curviness and not just in a straight line. So there is actually a lot more going into it than it looks like.
Thanks for the explanation. :) Do you already have an idea in mind, when you start working on a new map or do you just start working and get ideas of the map while working on it?
I usually just start with trying to write down some basic ideas on paper on what type of map. And then I’ll draw some concepts on paper or in Photoshop as well and then I just start building around those, after I get some feedback from everyone based on the beginning concepts.
Ok, so you don’t just start working on the map and see where your creativity will take you?
I did that when I first joined you guys, because I was trying to, I guess, impress you and show you what I can do without any real thought going into it at first. But the test map I was working on quickly became, I don’t know, really unorganized and didn’t really have a good direction. That thing is important when you start working on a map, to have direction from the very beginning going forward.
So what was the core concept then for the current map?
It was basically having the river in between 2 landmasses and joining the 2 landmasses at different sections throughout the map.
Are you working together with someone or are you working on your own?
I go back and forth with a lot of guys on the project. I have worked with Johannes and Paul mostly so far.
And how do you like working together with these guys?
Oh yeah, they are awesome. I get a lot of feedback and they have good attitudes.
[Laughs] That’s always good to hear. I might be stereotyping now, but since you are American: Did you watch the Super Bowl?
Eh, I did, but I’m usually not too into sports and it’s like almost more about the commercials half the time than it is about the game most years. And the commercials this year kinda sucked, so that was disappointing.
Sad to hear, but you really don’t follow any sports?
Ah not really sports, I do enjoy sport entertainment like World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). Pretty big wrestling fan.
I watched it since I was a kid, as far as I can remember. And it has always been pretty good, not as good as it was back in what they called the “Attitude Era”, but it has always been pretty good.
Do you have a favorite wrestler?
It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I think if I had to go with an all-time favorite, I would probably take “The Undertaker”.
Oh, that’s one even I know.
[Laughs]He’s still around. Actually he is doing Wrestlemania this year versus the, I guess like, founder of the WWE.
Oh ok, I thought he quit wrestling like a couple years ago.
[Laughs] Yes, so it’s like Vince McMahon’s son, Shane McMahon, fighting “The Undertaker” this year at Wrestlemania just out of nowhere, but I think it will be pretty cool to watch.
Sounds cool at least.
So what things do you like to do in your free time?
I like to play a lot of videos games, of course. And I like to listen to heavy metal.
Which bands do you like to listen to?
Amon Amarth, Ensiferum, and Insomnium. Nekrogoblicon is also growing to be one of my favorites.
Since you mentioned games: What kind of games or genre do you like to play?
Eh, hard to pick like a particular genre, but I guess I like RPGs and TPS probably the most.
Obligatory “What is your favorite game” question.
Always hard to answer, but if I had to pick a favorite, it would probably be “The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim”.
Bit of a silly question, but there are basically 2 types of people in the world: People who like cats and people who like dogs. What type are you?
I actually love all animals, but if I had to choose I would go with dogs.
Why did you choose dogs?
They are more loyal and loving. Cats are cool, too, but they can be assholes sometimes. [Laughs]
We have had a lot of pets. Cats and dogs mostly. Right now we have 2 dogs, both have sort of found us, so we just had to keep them and couldn’t give them away.
What are the dogs’ names?
One is Ginger and the other is Hans.
Really?! Hans? Like the German name?
[Laughs]He is like a German breed dog, so my parents wanted to go with a German name.
What do you think is currently the best camping spot on the map? (Beware campers, we know where you are!)
Ehm, I think on one side of the map, like towards the back, there is a pretty high up place. It almost looks like a Hermits house, because it’s all by itself, a tiny house with one tree. And I think a sniper would have a pretty good vantage point from up there.
Click the images to view them in large.
That's it for this interview. Thanks for reading and we hope you enjoyed reading it as much as Ryan and I had fun producing it. If you have questions, ideas or even feedback about the map, feel free to post everything HERE
If you want to make sure Ryan doesn't miss your post, tag him with @RV_RyanCM and he will get a notification. ;)