A Week in Our Worlds – Michael Raymond-Judy

We have a pair of Raven Software interviews for todays edition of A Week in Our Worlds. First up is Elite Force level designer Michael Raymond-Judy. We talk with Michael about his work on Elite Force and his various run-ins with the law.

1)Who are you, what do you do at Raven, and how long have you done it? (that is not a sex related question!!)

My name is Michael Raymond-Judy, I’m a Senior Designer, and I’ve been working here for over 7 years.

2)Your currently working on Star Trek Voyager: Elite force, so tell me… are you a big Star Trek fan?

I’ve been a pretty serious fan of TOS (the original series) for years, I liked Next Generation for the most part, but never got into DS9 or Voyager except on an occasional basis. It’s actually been pretty interesting because of that since I know enough about Trek to know what seems right and what doesn’t, but the Voyager universe was still a pretty fun learning experience for me.

3)I’ve been hearing rumors that you moonlight as an exotic male dancer, and one of your shows involves a bottle of milk and some kind of endangered zoo animal?

My lawyer has asked me not to comment on that until after the arraignment…

4)Besides playing games and dancing for the ladies, what do you do for fun?

Read, work in my yard, read, watch TV (mostly I’m a news freak), read, play inane games with my daughter, read…

5)Tell us the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever seen someone at Raven do, you do not have to give their name.

Well, the photos of Kim Lathrop being locked into the tower at our company picnic are pretty amusing, but I wasn’t there to see it first hand. I had nothing to do with it. Nothing I say. Did I mention I like to read?

6)Besides any of the Raven titles, what games are you playing these days?

At this point I avoid touching any other games at all since all I want to do in my free time is get as far from a computer as possible. I have been playing Dinosaur Monopoly with my daughter, though…

7)From the original concept to the final compile, what kind of process do you go through when designing a level?

Well usually I start with a general outline of what is supposed to happen on the map, what the look and feel are supposed to be and how it fits into the rest of the game. I try to sketch out both a general level flow and written ideas for puzzles, encounters and dialogue (if any), then bounce ideas off other people (and check with the programmers to make sure I haven’t planned something impossible) before making a more complete level plan. Then if I have time I like to make a “rough draft” in architecture, make sure it feels right in terms of size and location of everything, and start filling in the final pieces one by one. Depending on the complexity of the map and how many problems I encounter, this usually takes between 3 and 5 weeks with today’s technology. Then the bugs start to show up 🙂

8)Of all the games you’ve ever played, what map/level do you consider to be the best?

Well, for single play I don’t know if I could pick any one map above all others. In deathmatch, I think the warehouse level from Doom was about the most fun I’ve ever had.

9)Of all the levels/maps you ever designed, which one are you most proud of?

I think I would have to say the second boss map from the original Heretic (e2m8), a loose replica of a Stonehenge-like area. It was fun to play in both single and deathmatch (for me at least) and seemed to get lots of good comments from people here at Raven too.

10)Anyone you want to give a shout out to, or do you want to tell us more about your exotic dancing?

Did I mention I like to read?

GamersEd would like to thank Michael for answering our questions and in turn we promise not to post those pictures of Michael with the zoo animal.