Twenty-seven years ago I saw the first light of day. In my early days I spent a good deal amount of time being creative; drawing and glueing all over the place. Over the years I developed a questionably healthy interest and curiosity towards computers, with video games in particular. I was always wondering how they were made, and spent more time in level editors than playing the actual games. That curiosity turned me into what I am today, a creative professional yet still eager to learn more tricks of the trade.
In 2011 I received my bachelor's degree Game Design & Development (with honours) at the HKU University of the Arts Utrecht. That was just the start as I had to keep improving myself as the industry moved forward. A very welcome challenge! After graduating I worked for several years as (level) designer at Dutch game studio Two Tribes. In 2014 I joined Sticky Studios as level designer.
I've learnt many things along the way, gathered new insights and different perspectives. New engines, new tools, met new people, improved my scripting abilities. In my spare time I sometimes work on personal projects, varying from commercial projects to small hobby projects - either way I'm always learning.
GAME & LEVEL DESIGNER
..and particle wizard.
Game DesignLevel Design
For this Lara Croft GO-inspired turn-based puzzle game I had to go back to my level design roots; puzzles. It was important to come up with mechcanics that could interact with each other and serve multiple purposes, to maximize puzzle potential. When designing the levels itself, I always went for a unique narrative or catch. And with that narrative and setting in mind, decorating the levels with assets and turning it into a real environment went smooth as butter!
All layouts of the four major locations in the game were designed by me. They were roughly based on scenes in the movie, which required me to research film locations and set photos. The player had to be able to traverse the world in a circular fashion, so tying the locations together coherently was a must - ergo a lot of sketching, planning and testing. Included in my contribution are the initial design of spawnpoint placement and creating particle effects such as smoke and fire.
For Gods of Egypt: Secrets of the Lost Kingdom I designed waves of gameplay and constructed parts of the world with building blocks made by the artists. This was an iterative process, with every pass being more detailed; starting from big chunks to ending with decoration with small props such as vases and foliage. I was also responsible for atmospheric effects, think water splashes, dust, clouds, etc.
Level DesignVFX3D Art
I've designed over 50 level segments for Stage Rush: Imagine Dragons. It was also the first project where I contributed in 3D art and texturing, mostly in the form of props and obstacles. This made me less dependant on the art team who already had a busy time modeling the rest of the world and characters.
For the second installment of The Maze Runner we had yet another world to turn into a hazardous obstacle run. Organic landscapes with curves, bends and hills set these environments apart from the previous title. I've designed well over 150 level segments for this game, while making sure every single one of them had a unique catch and feel. I was closesly involved in the design and development of obstacles.
Game DesignLevel Design2D Art
Pazuru is a personal project and game based on the concept of my other game, Ichi. I teamed up with a programmer as this was my first time developing a game for Nintendo 3DS. I was responsible for all game design, art and the 75 brain-twisting levels. This project has been a great learning experience - communication was key as I had never met my fellow Pazuru developer in real life. The game came out in both digital and retail format.
I wrote this homebrew version of Flappy Bird in C for Game Boy Advance, still one of my favourite handhelds! The reason I included this project is because I like playing around with both hardware and code in my spare time. I always challenge myself to make these projects extremely accurate, which is part of the fun. Being involved in homebrew development has been a great learning experience so far.
A homebrew demo of Duet for Game Boy Advance. Unfortunately I never finished/released it, as the creators of the original game voiced their concerns about people being able to run the ROM file on emulators for free on platforms such as the PlayStation Vita.
This was one of the first projects I worked on at Sticky Studios. Even though I was fresh in, I pulled no punches and designed a 600+ meter long battlefield. It was divided in three segments with varying degrees of destruction and chaos. Spawnpoint-, checkpoint- and landmark placement was a key element in the gameplay.
Game DesignLevel Design2D Art
Toki Tori 2 is a puzzle adventure game in which you explore a lush forest island inhabited by strange creatures. You have to whistle and stomp to influence their behavior and solve puzzles that way. In the early stages of the 18-month project I worked on level prototypes and scripting enemies. Later I was responsible for the level fore- and backgrounds. Creating unique, living and breathing environments with shoebox diorama-like technology was loads of fun! Think forests, hot lava caves and even a 90s disco. Also created a few tilesets and several 2D assets.
CodeGame DesignLevel Design2D Art
Ichi is a one button puzzle game I designed from start to finish (my graduation project). I love puzzle games and coming up with clever levels felt great. Initially I released the game with 15 levels and a one button user interface as a freeware game in September 2011.
In 2012 I teamed up with Stolen Couch games, we ported the game to various platforms and added a level editor and social features. I created over 50 new levels and did additional game design. It was my first commercial game outside of work and therefore a great learning experience. The game has been downloaded over a million times.
Level Design2D Art
At Two Tribes I worked on their platform puzzle game called Toki Tori. Because there were a lot of levels already present in the game by the time I joined in, I had to think outside the box to design original levels. I came up with around 30 and about half of them were specially tailored for the PlayStation 3 version. It included an "Easy Mode" for younger players which required me to take a different approach to designing fun levels. Other duties included the creation of 2D assets such as UI graphics.
In 2009 I got a chance to work on the official Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs game (iPhone and iPad). It's a platform puzzle game in which you play as Scrat, the saber-toothed squirrel known from the movie. I was responsible for 15 of the 30 levels. Because of a tight deadline I had to combine the limited amount of game mechanics in a wide variety of ways. I put my brain to work exploring the possibilities which resulted in diverse puzzles suited for all ages.