Finding New Suns With...
Twin Suns Corp is a new world-class global video game studio developing action games for console and PC.
We believe that great people make great games.
In our "Finding New Suns with..." series, we showcase some of our Trailblazers whose journeys, passion and energy bring our games to life and into the hands of gamers all around the globe.
Rosie Katz, Principal Level Designer, Twin Suns Trailblazer
Tell us a little about your journey in Level Design
As a kid I played a lot of Super Nintendo and was deeply engrossed in all things Mario and Zelda but never thought working on video games would end up being my career. I was always encouraged to do art and write short stories and for a long time I thought I’d be a comic book artist. In high school I had passions for both film and music and thought I might go into video game audio and/or 2d animation, specifically for film; which led me to attending Cogswell Polytechnical College (now University of Silicon Valley) and graduating in 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Video Imaging with a concentration in Character Animation.
Although music has remained a hobby, I decided my last semester in college to go into games. At the time when I was finishing up college, the game industry was emerging and was a great way for me to make a career for myself and stay close to home in the San Francisco Bay Area, California.
Upon graduating I began working as a Tools Tester (QA), testing Maya plug-ins and proprietary software tools used to create game content at Electronic Arts. During my time in QA I helped out as an environment artist making 3d art assets for Tiger Woods PGA Tour ‘07 for a short time as well as continuing my QA responsibilities. Eventually, Dead Space adopted the tool I had been testing as their level design and art content creation tool. I had the great opportunity of joining their team as an associate level designer, learning the ropes while also helping them with their new tool. I joined them when they were still a small team working on their V-Slice and stayed with them through to completion. From that point forward I found my future career in level design and systems scripting.
Since then, I’ve also worked on Godfather 2, Dead Space 2, Call of Duty MW3, Call of Duty BlackOps 2, Call of Duty AW, Call of Duty Vanguard, and now at Twin Suns Corp! During Dead Space 2 I also met my husband and we have two cute kids. After my first son was born, I took a year off and I decided to go back to work part time teaching Game Design and Game Production at my alma mater. I also mentor students and love sharing my experience and history to help inspire and motivate others entering the game design industry.
So what exactly do you do at Twin Suns Corp?
I focus on making fun layouts for players to navigate in. I also try to create a good foundation for art to build on (and make beautiful) while also creating spaces that allow the player to have fun using the game mechanics.
What gets you the most excited about Twin Suns Corp?
The values, work-life balance, and people give me the most excitement in my day-to-day working at Twin Suns, but how those things will come out in the game is what excites me the most. I feel like everyone here wants to serve each other and be the best they can be for each other and it's so refreshing to be a part of that type of positive environment and to see the creativity that comes out of this type of space where we are safe to explore ideas.
If you could pick a superpower, what would it be?
Time travel! I don't want to see myself or anyone I know though, I would just love to be able to experience another time period with all my senses and learn from it!
Any advice to others looking to break into Level Design and also traits you look for in a Level Designer?
The types of things I look for are: Good communication - Being able to communicate with team mates, and also with players through the level layout and placements of objects is a great quality. I also look for Flexibility and the ability to change course if something isn't working out the way we want it to. Lastly I look for someone with good problem solving skills - Having the confidence to ask questions and be able to better identify the root of a problem is also really important so that the best solutions can be found.