We managed to grab ourselves a Pakistani game developer (arent they a rare breed), Mr. Muhammad Ayub. He was working at Treyarch on the Call of Duty: Black Ops III, which was released 6th, Nov 2015. Call of Duty series has sold over 175 million copies and is basically at the pinnacle of FPS genre. So, fans of the franchise and my budding game developing compatriots, pay attention cause this is a good one.
Call of Duty Black Ops III Teaser :
- On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your love for COD?
I would say around 9. I have loved Call of Duty series since Call of Duty 2 and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare sparked my interest in level design. I fell in love with the design and environments of Call of Duty 4 and got ideas and inspiration from different levels in the game.
- What do you love the most in COD games? Story, Gameplay, Multiplayer or anything else?
For me, storyline for campaign and zombies is always the most interesting. Its like waiting to find out what happened after the last episode and how characters were developed. I have spent countless hours playing multiplayer matches across all Call of Duty titles.
- How do you prefer to play COD games? With Keyboard Mouse or with a Controller?
I started playing Call of Duty when I only owned a PC, so my love for a keyboard and mouse grew over the years so much that they don’t even feel like controllers anymore. I have played a bit on consoles as well, but don’t feel the connection I feel when playing on PC. The fluidity of movement and ease of use makes me feel comfortable whenever I am playing multiplayer.
- What is your platform of choice for COD games? PC or Console?
I prefer PC over consoles because of a number of reasons. I grew up playing games on PC so that continued over the years. The other reason is the mod tools that are available exclusively to PC and I use those a lot whenever I am designing maps for Call of Duty games
- Where do you take your inspiration from while designing Maps?
Inspiration is all around you. Movies, TV or just the environment around you can give you an idea about a map. If you travel a lot, keep a camera handy to take pictures of anything you find interesting. Once you have an idea, dig deeper by collecting reference material online. Don’t limit yourself to just one kind of environment. If you see something interesting that doesn’t match the environment of your current level, save it for later. The same goes when you’re looking for design inspiration. If you see a layout of things that you feel will make an interesting path in your level, take a picture and breakdown the layout so that you can understand why the path feels like it has a good design.
- Why it is that in recent years, the maps are becoming smaller, less strategic, fast paced but simply Bonkers. Shouldn’t COD progress further, into the borders of a large Battlefield?
In my own personal opinion, Call of Duty has a very specific game play style that favors small to mid size maps because the combat is more infantry than vehicle based. There are a lot of design factors that change with the size of the map. At the moment, vehicles in Call of Duty are limited to score streaks only and introducing player controlled vehicles like Battlefield series will require a huge change in the way the maps are designed for Call of Duty.
- How does one get into level designing? What kinda career path should one take?
The role of a level designer has different responsibilities in different studios. In some studios, you are required to both script and design a level, where else in some studios you just design and build the level. Regardless, it’s always better to know as much about level design as possible.
One thing that you will need to become a successful level designer is to have an artistic eye. Understand what color theory is and how light and shadows work, and similar.
You should be able to analyze why a certain level is your favorite. This is a skill that gets better with time and practice. There are a lot of articles and books about design that you can find online that will explain the whole process in more detail.
Now days almost every game comes with level editing software. So the first step is to download the level design tools and start learning the software and procedures. The more you’ll practice, the better you will get.
- Does the environment of the company really affect the end product?
Environment impacts the mood and productivity of the team in a big way. Gaming is an industry that requires a lot of communication among teams and team members. Some designers need to be able to easily communicate with one another in person, or share their screen with a neighbor while others, like engineers, may need peace and quiet, or a room where they can talk openly without disturbing the people in surrounding rooms.
- What would be your favorite weapon of choice in the game?
Whenever I’m playing a multiplayer match, I prefer moving around all time instead of remaining to just one section of the map. And the weapon of choice for this kind of game play is shotgun; fast and deadly to use and fun to play with. Really useful when you’re planning an ambush or working your way through flanking routes.
- What problems do you face while designing levels?
The biggest challenge is the design of the level. That’s one thing that makes or breaks the level. It takes a lot of work and time to perfect a design and layout of the map. This also controls the size of the map and how it will be detailed later. The design has to be perfected before the detailing of the level begins, because changing the design later can cause cascading problems.
The next challenging thing is detailing the map. Its very important to detail the map properly to convey the mood and feeling of the environment of the map to the player. This requires a lot of research and gathering reference material.
- How long does it take for you to design one level?
On average, it takes about six months to finish one map. It includes planning, designing and detailing the entire map. Maps that are larger in size can take more time to finish. This is one of the reasons to keep the size of the map small or medium, unless you have other designers helping you on the map..
- We have heard of crunching hours in big gaming studios, how is your experience with Treyarch?
Almost every studio goes through crunch during development; it’s like part of the development process. But when you’re making games, working overtime doesn’t feel like crunching. You’re working on game! What could be better than that! The level you are making will be played by millions of people across the world!
There you have it folks, directly from the dev themselves, so time to get hyped for the next COD. Lets us know what you think in the comment section.
Author : NaNoW, Abobobilly