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Third Person Action-Adventure




Arrowhead Game Studios




World & Level Designer


Designing levels for a procedurally generated open world.


Early Production

My job was to work with a small level design team during early to mid production to create locations for different objective types for a memorable but highly replayable experience.


During my time at Arrowhead, I mainly worked as a level designer but as someone who like to help out the team, I also worked closely with audio and narrative disciplines to ensure that their work would be proudly shown off and complement levels.

As a level designer I worked with Stamps (which is explained in the breakdown), objectives, mission design, and asset creation. So lots of in engine level work, play testing objectives, communicating with the art team, and many many spread sheets.  

When working with narrative I ensured that the appropriate lines existed and showed up where they needed to. 

My time was sound was spent communicating the intention of the level design being implemented so their work would be what the game needed. In all my different roles I loved contributing to the team and working with others to show off their best work. 

Because I was involved earlier in production and direction was changed after my departure, unfortunately much of my work has not reached the final product so I don't have images of my exact work but I will still go into a bit of my design process in the breakdown below. 



I am a person that usually asks a fair amount of questions because I like to have a better understanding. Working on Helldivers 2 was when I learned more questions to ask when level designing

What is the objective?

  • How can I frame it?

  • How will the player get to it?

  • How can I stop the player/make it more difficult?

How difficult should the level be?

  • Do I want fortications?

  • How inviting is the location? Do I want the difficulty to be a surprise or warn the player of what they are getting into? 

  • How should the player feel when its completed?

  • Placement of cover to take out whole base - which enemies can just be gotten by?

How will the player move around the level? 

  • At which area will the player enter? 

  • Player metrics: how much spacing should be available for the player space?

  • How many enemies will be around the player?

  • How chaotic? = how much space 


How can I use the visuals to push the experience? 

  • What do the silhouettes & view from a distance feel like? 

  • What can I add to push the narrative?

  • How can I use lights to draw attention/enforce a more atmosphere?

  • Can I add set dressing to make some areas more important than others? 

How can I use the tools we have to my benefit? 

Are there tools of features that can be utilized to make what I'm doing to accomplish what I'm doing better?

Are there ways to fix/improve the process?

What team should I talk to, to gain the information I need?


The answers to these questions is what lead to my design decisions. 

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Procedural Stamp Generation - What is it? 

In Helldivers 2, the majority of the time I worked on on levels we called stamps. A stamp was basically a contained level that was meant to spawn in combination with other stamps across a planet. The number of stamps and objectives spawned were based on difficulty. The stamps would be chosen from a pool of stamps created by designers. 

This meant that each level or "stamp" needed to be highly replayable to fit multiple objectives and difficulties.

Procedural Stamp Generation - How we used it

Because this game has a high replayablity, it was important that levels didn't become recognizable enough for players to remember everything about the level on sight while also fitting without making it boring.

We tried to achieve this generic uniquness by making sure there was a consistency across all stamps with the peices we used to set them up but varying how we put them together. Large and small prefabs were invaluable. 

Player vs Enemy 

On harder difficulties it is extremely easy for the player to be overwhelmed by enemies. Therefore a lot of space is required. The issue with that was having easier difficulties being too boring.

It would add a lot of extra running which cut down on the action which controdicted the direction of the game. To get around this we would do multiple passes of each stamps authoring them multiple times for different difficulties not to mention the multiple objectives.

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The amount of work we had ahead of us means that a streamline process was inparitive. Mine was as follows:​

  • Collect assets I could use

  • Think of cool shape for the player view 

  • Place the largest assets accordingly 

  • Get a feel for if I want to continue down this shape path

  • Break level down into pieces and tackle each piece. Skip around if stuck. 

  • Set dressing 

  • Add lore if I can 

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