Team Spotlight: Jason

Team Spotlight: Jason

Jason the World Designer. He lives where you play.

Mark Jessup

Tell us about your role and what a typical day looks like.

When I tell people my job title, they’re usually taken aback by how grandiose it sounds. World Designer! Designer of worlds. But what does it mean and what do I do?

At its base level, World Design sits somewhere between Art and Design. We translate Design’s ideas and concepts and provide new spaces for them to play.

We also work closely with World Art to ensure that what we’re creating fits within their specifications and ultimately looks good. We create block outs and place assets, scatter vegetation, and make sure the World plays well with AI and Combat. We try to handle as much of the metrics and spatial requirements as possible so Art can art and Design can design.

What’s one of your proudest accomplishments at the studio so far?

Procedurally generating a forest! It’s always magical when the numbers and graphs you’ve been tuning become something tangible.

Procedural vegetation is a whole team effort, World Design is just the last stop on the train, we’re the ones who click “go” and see what pops out.

What do you love most about the World Design team?

Our team is small, but our knowledge is diverse. If we can, we will.

What team always has your back?

This question is hard because there isn’t a single team; it’s all of them. If I had to pick one, I’d say Tech Art, along with Tools. By their combined powers, they create our tools and fix any workflow issues we have. Also, I have to mention World Art because World Design and World Art work so closely together, we’re pretty much the same team. In fact, we combine to form World Construction much like Voltron becomes, well, Voltron.

What advice would you give someone looking to pursue a career in your field?

For me, World Design is the perfect intersection of my interests. Take classes that interest you and talk to interesting people, because the better you know yourself the better you’ll know what you want to do.

For this job specifically, some 3D skills are nice but not essential for starting out as we mainly work with block outs and aren’t creating final assets. Spend some time designing and creating a level for your favorite game. Draw maps, gather reference, plan out spaces, test, test, test and document the whole process. The easier it is to see your workflow and thought process the easier it is to convince people to hire you.

Why did you decide to work at Monolith?

I’ve actually worked at Monolith twice, and the reason I came back was the people. It’s the best game studio I’ve worked at. What’s exciting is I see some familiar faces and many new ones. Monolith has evolved and I’m glad to be back for this next chapter!

What do you see as a core value of our studio?

Inclusion. While not every idea can make it into the game, we make a great effort of making sure everyone’s voice is heard. As a studio we’re trying to be more diverse, and diversity of thought is part of that goal.

What’s one of your favorite stories from your time at the studio?

The most impactful was our last game day. Coming into the office to play board games and hang out with coworkers I hadn’t seen in well over a year, and some of whom I was meeting for the first time in person. I thought I’d drop in, say hello, maybe play a game or two. I ended up staying for 12 hours!

What’s a hopeful trend you see happening in the games industry?

Diversity. Greater diversity of team members and thought processes, of voice and direction. And greater diversity of genres.

I feel like we’re entering a golden age of games where the barrier to entry is the lowest it’s ever been. There are so many games out there made by so many different people from all over the world. There are games where all you do is write nice notes to people. Games where you’re not only exploring a house but also exploring yourself and what it means to be you. Games that help ease pain. And some games that make you feel pain because you relate to them so much.

It’s a wonderous time to be a gamer, and we’re all gamers, don’t let anyone take that from you.

What are you looking forward to working on at Monolith?

The Wonder Woman game and everything she represents. A sense of empowerment, kindness, and acceptance. Seeing the fan’s reactions to the announcement has been incredible. Wonder Woman means so much to so many and I feel grateful to be working on her game debut!

If you weren’t in Game Dev, what else would you be doing?

Something creative in a physical medium, like woodworking. To be able to make a nice table or cabinet, getting my hands dirty and my body moving. Write a book or design a board game. Could also learn a trade skill like building small houses or making canoes. Creating art would be the ultimate.

Basically, I like to learn and try new things!

Thank you, Jason!

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