Q&A with Jeff
What is the best part about your current position?
Working alongside others on the team, combined with the creative freedom each of us has here, is by far the best part of my job. Coming up with an idea for a level and watching it evolve from nothing to a finished product is very rewarding, especially when you get to share it with others on the team.
What is the most interesting or enjoyable thing that you have gotten to do in your career?
Being lead level designer on Skyrim. While building levels and contributing to the player's experience was thrilling during Skyrim's production, the most interesting was working with the different personalities on the team. Everyone is different and figuring out how to communicate and work with each was challenging, fun, and rewarding.
How did the Guildhall prepare you for your career in gaming, and what impact has it had on your life?
Having the opportunity to communicate with students in other departments was a learning experience and one that helped me when I came to Bethesda. The team projects and how they ramp up in terms of members and schedule really prepared me for the industry. I work with others from inside and outside the level design department on a daily basis, and the experience I had at the Guildhall with the team projects gave me the experience I needed to feel comfortable in such an environment. Each game we made increased the number of students working on it. I was first paired with an artist on a side scrolling game. The next game there were seven of us from different departments, and then even more people were involved with the final game having around 16 people.
What is your favorite Guildhall memory?
I have a bunch, but my favorite was the first late night spent at the Guildhall. I looked around the room and saw everyone working hard, bouncing ideas off one another, and genuinely enjoying the time they spent together. There was something exhilarating about being in the same room with people who shared the same passion in regards to making video games.
What advice would you offer for students looking to get into gaming?
For current Guildhall students, one of the best things to do is make sure you have something on your resume that you're really proud of and, more importantly, that you did outside of class. Whether that be a cool level you put together, a piece of art you created, or a sample of code to a problem you solved. Those are the things that stand out when an employer is faced with many applications. For future students, figure out what aspect of gaming you like (code, art, design, production, etc.). Once you've done that, try and narrow it down further if you can. For example, let's say you like Art. Do you like something specific in that department? Landscaping, Animation, Special FX, Kit Design, Technical Artist, Concept, Cluttering, etc. If you're a level designer, there are a lot of free editors you can download to get your feet wet and really find out if you like to make levels.