Designing Highly Replayable Stealth Levels for Payday 2

The Making of Murky Station: Payday 2

Payday 2 is a four player cooperative first-person shooter with RPG elements that centers around robbing banks and stealing rare loot. It was released on August 13, 2013 and has since shipped over 50 DLC packs and counting. With a thriving subreddit, it has consistently been in the top ten games played on steam. Today, I wanted to talk about my adventures designing stealth levels for Payday 2 before leaving Starbreeze in January 2018. While parts of this article are specific problems and solutions for Payday level design, I made sure to discuss them in a broader sense. The skill level of this article is for junior to mid-tier level designers, if you are a senior designer some of this article may sound familiar to you. Continue reading »

Radioactive Antlion [Source]

AI Prototype (2014)


For a while now I’ve wanted to prototype different kinds of enemy AI. In my opinion it’s good exercise for the brain and helps you stay on your toes. I’ll be using the antlion NPC from Half-Life 2 as my starting point. They’re generally pretty interesting in terms of character design and how they stand out from other AI in Half-Life 2. I’m going to stick with entities only (whatever is quicker right?). Here are my end results.

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Combine Antlion Buddy AI [Source]

Prototype (2013)


Been recently spending more time working in Source SDK now that Bioshock: Infinite is finished. I’ve been neglecting those tingles in the back of my mind that drive me to make these tiny nugget prototypes. Believe me, it wasn’t easy!┬áThe idea of a combine soldier working together with an Antlion seemed like a fun opportunity to change up the pacing of combat and tell a new story.

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Rage Mini-Game [UDK]

Sick day (2011)


This is the re-creation of a mini-game from Rage. The main objective of the game is to kill four mutants. In order to kill them you have to roll a six-sided die and get a one. The game gives you four dice to roll each turn, three turns total, so your chances are pretty decent. The premise was simple to understand and the game only required the player to bet money and press a button. Here is a video and some screenshots of the kismet I created.

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The Door Challenge [Source] Challenge (2009)


A while back I proposed a challenge for designers to rethink the “opening a door” trope and expand on the concept. I wanted this challenge to be for all designers from beginner to senior. The main theme of this experiment was innovation and expression. I gave myself a deadline of 1 day. Here are my results and notes from 2009.

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Aquarium Scene [Source]

Making of (2007)


This scene was made for a Film Noir contest. I also wanted to create a colored version for my portfolio. I worked on this scene with another designer named Jlea. The next image is his contribution to the project before he handed it off to me to finish. Continue reading »