Centinela Design Consultancy – Level Art & Design Consulting

My name is Mateusz Piaskiewicz, I’m running LEVEL-DESIGN.org and a consulting and implementation company called Centinela.

I’m focusing my consulting work on three core pillars of Level Art & Design:

  • Principles
  • Process
  • Team Culture

Level Art & Design Principles

I believe that there’s no gap between game and level design. A great level designer should be a great game designer and should understand how design works.

These are some of the selected topics that I find really important in a daily design work:

  • Engagement – Understanding role of novelty, rewards, curiosity and uncertainty,
  • Motivation – Recognizing and designing for player behavior patterns, wants and needs,
  • Learning – Understanding player on-boarding methods,
  • Tactics – Creating spaces that cater to designed player playstyles,
  • Perception and Navigation – Understanding and creating spaces that work well with player cognitive processes,
  • Narrative – Creating with a clear message to send and story to tell,
  • Believability – Understanding the difference between real, authentic and unbelievable spaces or events,
  • Structure – Setting up clear game components,
  • Progression – Building and sustaining player engagement over time, including goals schedule, gating and non-linear progression,
  • Experience Scenarios – Spotting potential balance problems, including spots in which players need a possibility to counter-play or catch-up,
  • Consistency – Adding content that fits the tone and works according to rules,
  • Information Readability and Flow – Validating narrative logic, visual language, cues and telegraphing information, spotting dissonances,
  • Playfulness – Recognizing potential problems like busywork, space isolation or unnecessary complexity,
  • Soul – Removing that “it’s a product, not a game” taste from art and design.

Level Design Process

Ideas are great and very important but there’s also execution that can make or break your ideas. These are some of the topics that every designer should know to become a great starter and finisher:

  • Work Efficiency Improvements:
    • Preparing performance documents and stable build process improvements,
    • Build methods that allow efficient reuse of work.
  • Creative Process:
    • Design methods and good habits, including brainstorming and using “Why?” layers,
    • Understanding the core aspects of game’s success and setting up interdisciplinary, collaborative workflow,
    • Understanding design methods, including micro and macro design.
  • Concept and Production Processes:
    • Vision and direction,
    • Converting Game Design to Level Design ingredients, guidelines, terminology and metrics,
    • Production timeline, including setting up milestones, goals, scope and tasks,
    • Communication channels,
    • Bug reporting and red flags channels,
    • Process phases, including deliverables and the importance of switching production mindsets,
    • Content pipeline, including kick-offs and reviews,

Level Design Team Culture

Great games are made by great people. Great people drive great processes. These are the building blocks of a sustainable company:

  • Running a Level Design team, including:
    • Making a spot in the game development process,
    • Planning collaborative work with all involved disciplines,
  • Building a workplace with a healthy culture, including:
    • Accountability, trust and respect,
    • Design sensibilities and high work ethic,
    • Work satisfaction and goal focus,
  • Dealing with inefficiencies, including:
    • Sneak-in changes,
    • Late re-designs,
    • Lack of discipline and not sticking to plans,
  • Giving and receiving feedback, including:
    • Encouraging ambitious ideas and innovative thinking,
    • Allowing for creativity without compromising the vision,
    • Not discouraging and putting a stopping energy to passion,
    • Dealing with push-back,
  • Setting up team structure, advancement and succession plans, including:
    • Answering question “How do I become a senior designer?”
    • Defining candidate skills required for recruitment,

Services – How I can help?

Quite often I hear that there’s nothing new here or that they already know it all. But they don’t demonstrate it. And they struggle with making great levels without constant changes, stress and crunch.

Let’s meet or have a call and figure out a plan together: what kind of assistance you could use from me or if there’s area in your work where additional pair of eyes and hands can be helpful.

On-Site or Remote Training and Consultations

  • 1 on 1 ideas sounding board and growth coaching,
  • Level art and design and level production consulting,
  • General and topic-focused group workshops,
  • Work assistance,
  • Complete level art and design courses.

On-Site or Off-Site Reviews and Implementation

  • Concept design work, including design presentations, one-pagers and layout sketches,
  • Preparing template design documents, including metrics sheets and action beats,
  • Unreal Engine level art and design work, including full-time business to business work,
  • Silent reviews, design audits and focused playtesting.

Contact Me

  • What you might need from me?
  • When you have time or when do you need my help?

Let me know: mateusz.piaskiewicz@level-design.org

Follow Centinela Design Consultancy on LinkedIn

More about Mateusz Piaskiewicz

  • Working in level art and design field since 2000, working professionally in the industry since 2007, consulting since 2017,
  • Worked with 8+ Companies in North America and Europe, including:
    • Techland,
    • CD Projekt RED,
    • Flying Wild Hog,
    • Ten Square Games,
    • Treyarch (Activision),
    • Off-World Industries,
  • Helped build 20+ video games, including:
    • Various platforms: Mobile games, F2P, indie and AAA blockbusters,
    • Various genres: First Person Shooters, Third Person Action-Adventure games,
  • Multiple Game Development Schools and Conferences, including:
    • Digital Dragons 2020 – Design Speaker (Online),
    • Digital Dragons Academy – Design Speaker (Online),
    • Free2Play Academy – Design Lecturer (Akademia Free2Play) (University of Wrocław, Poland),
    • Game Dev School – Level Art and Design Lecturer (Warsaw, Poland),
    • Game Dev Fest on Polygon – Design Lecturer (Warsaw University of Technology, Poland),
    • Warsaw Film School – Level Design Lecturer (Warsaw, Poland)
    • Tk Games – Design Lecturer (Wroclaw University at Technology, Poland),
    • Digital Frontier Game Development Course – Level Design Lecturer (Warsaw, Poland).
  • Many design talks and shows