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Jordan Smith

Publish Date:

10 Apr 2021

Today here at 3Bit, we wanted to talk about something a little bit different. This article is for anybody who is working or wants to work in the video game industry, whether you are breaking into the world as an indie developer, working in a well-established team, or are looking to take your first steps into the world of videogame creation.  Today we are talking about not one, but two incredible new books by Max Pears, a veteran in level design who has worked for many great names, including CD Projekt Red and Ubisoft Max has worked on many great games, including Cyberpunk 2077 Division. The Books Titled Let's Design: Combat and Let's Design exploration are the perfect companion piece not just to level designers but to anybody involved in creating video games, whether you are working on your first project or 100th.

About the author-

Yorkshire born Max Pears is a man who knows what he's talking about in the gaming industry, with eight years of experience working for companies big and small within the Indie and AAA communities. Max is highly passionate about games and level design and has found himself working on some great titles, including CD Projekt Red's (Max's current employer)Cyberpunk 2077, along with many other outstanding titles and personal projects. Before working with CD Projekt Red on Cyberpunk, Max worked with Ubisoft. He worked on Technical Level Design and Level design for Ubisoft in the fantastic shooter title The Division. Max's Let's Design books are not the only time this industry veteran has dipped into helping others learn the industry either. He also creates podcasts that are regularly broadcast on Spotify and Apple with a core focus on level design and the industry.

What is the Let's Design Series?

Max's experience in the gaming world has had some awe-inspiring results when looking from the outside, and has such has driven him to share his accumulated knowledge from within the industry and publish it into what is currently two books, his first, Let's Design: Combat, and his most recent, which was released last week, Let's Design: Exploration. Max's Let's Design books offer all the information you could ever need to make your game immersive, fun and replayable through valuable hints and tips. Each book is divided into three chapters and covers various topics that give you easy to understand explanations. Each of these books is written with you, the creator at heart, as Max gives you his take on what makes an incredible video game and as Max takes us on this journey through his knowledge of game design, he also references excellent examples of where games have used particular methods in the past, to enhance the player experience, some of which are even plucked from great projects Max has worked on such as The Division. One great example of Max referencing the video game world comes from his latest publication, Let's Design: Exploration, where Max references the bomb timer sequence in the opening sequence of Final Fantasy VII with the excerpt below.

"A great example of a literal timer would be in Final Fantasy VII, where the player can even experiment with an element of choice, choosing the risk vs reward of exploring your level before the time runs out."

Many of the topics covered in each of these books also come with fantastic illustrations, further adding to how the process can work. These fun yet enlightening illustrations add another layer of understanding, making the book easy enough to be understood by anybody, no matter their experience within the industry. As somebody who has had next to no experience in area design, let alone in level design, I have found myself learning a lot from each of these books. With their easy to digest segments, handy illustrations and spot-on references from across the industry, Let's Design: Combat and Let's Design: Exploration are a must-have for anybody in the industry, whether they are working on a whole game or just a small arena that will be used throughout the game. Let's Design: Combat and Let's Design: Exploration are both available to buy now, and you can pick up your digital copy here for £15, or if, like me, you prefer a physical copy to sit by your desk as you work, you can pick up Let's Design: Combat for £26.56 and Let's Design: Exploration for £27.99 here.

Other Works by Max Pears

Besides working in the industry as an incredible level designer and published author Max is also known for his podcasts, called Level Design Lobby. Along with special guests, Max discusses video game designs and level design. Max has recently joined on Level Design Lobby by Ubisoft narrative designer Inari and Indie Developer Chris Totten. As a supplement to Level Design Lobby, you can pick up a series of pamphlets covering three useful topics for developers and those looking to get into the industry alike. The three topics currently available in pamphlet form are Stealth for Level Design, Level Design Tips, and Breaking Into The Industry. The pamphlets can be picked up along with Max's books here for £3. If you want to check out Level Design Lobby for yourself, check out the podcast on Spotify here or Itunes here.

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