Help Needed for Demo Reel Creation!


Hi Everyone,

    I'm new to the forum, and I've heard this is a great resource for opinions and critiques.  Forgive me if I'm posting in the wrong section, but this was the closest match I found for what I'm inquiring about.  I graduated 3D for Production about 3 years ago and have had little luck finding a job in the industry.  One of the jobs I got actually took me in a different direction I found passion in: level design / game design.  I am quite passionate about games and see the quality in games that are missed/replaced with graphics that today's hardware can handle.  Half-Life 2 for example is completely linear, however it is designed so well, you are never bored or feel lead-by-the-hand because of the great techniques they use.

     I would really like to focus my time for the next year on designing a demo reel centered around level design, and would like to know everything I should be focusing on, not focusing on, from the ground up.  For Example:  Would an environment with lighting, geometry, and contrast without being (fully) textured, and asset-populated suffice?  Or do potential employers look for a complete level design, with enemies and game mechanics in place?

    I am really trying to find the right path for planning/following through on creating an excellent demo reel.  The tools I use (and feel very comfortable with) are 3D Studio MAX, Unity3D, After Effect, and Photoshop.  If anybody could give me some advice that could help me find my way, I would be eternally grateful.

Thanks in Advance and Best Regards,



I was told that the best thing you can do is show the full deal. You want to show what you know, but you also want to show focus on the elements you know really well, while still showing an adequate understanding of the surrounding disciplines.

It’s an interview. Basically, they want to see your understanding, and your approach to reaching specific goals. They also want to know that if told to whip-up a level, you are going to create things that allow for interaction from the other departments. Like for example, passageways for enemies to run through… can the enemies actually run through them in a realistic way? Level Design is just that… it’s design which tries to answer potential problems that could arise with pathable and impassable terrains, line-of-sight concerns, how many polys/tris are visible at one time, movement flow, etc, while trying it’s best to adequately convey a theme in an attractive way.

Show attention to believable structural detail, and to organic forms, and try to find your “wow factor” there.

If you don’t have time for some of the assets, use placeholders, but highlight what you’ve focused on, versus what’s placeholder material. You would do better to include some AI, but it can be pretty simplistic, same with “game” mechanics. If you can demonstrate interaction between the level, and the AI and/ or even the player, they’d like to see it, even in small “controlled” doses that could be heavily scripted.


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