The Making of LifeSpark Arena – Lead Designer Bryan Edelman

Shaun Slade - Level Design

Lead Designer on LifeSpark Arena – Bryan Edelman

The making of LifeSpark is meant to highlight the team working hard to make this game every day, and get to know about their back story, development practices, interests, and hobbies.

Hey Bryan! Why don’t we start by telling everyone what you do on LifeSpark Arena?

Hey Dominic, I am Lead Designer on LifeSpark Arena. I am here to make sure that we make a really awesome game! I help collaborate among the multiple teams – engineering, art, design and production to make sure that the design portion of the game (Map design, skills design, different attacks, etc.) are being executed properly.

This also includes some catch-all stuff, for instance making sure that the lighting system meets certain tone goals, and that art assets are placed properly within the map to convey a particular message.

What kind of message, for example?

If we are making lanes with the map then those art assets should help to accentuate those lanes as a playable environment. So basically it is a multi-faceted role, working with a lot of talented people. Somehow I also find time to sleep.

Out of all those myriad responsibilities, what would you say you enjoy handling the most?

Well the thing that got me into LifeSpark Arena, and what I still hearken back to is Co-opetition. It being the joint balance of cooperation and competition. It is the lifeblood of LifeSpark Arena. At the end of the day we didn’t just want to make a League of Legends clone, or Heroes of Order and Chaos, both excellent games, but we wanted to make something unique and Co-opetition gives us the opportunity to do so. We feel that the IOS market deserves those mid to hardcore games that aren’t the same as everything else. I’m very passionate about the subject of Co-opetition and I thoroughly enjoy designing for it.

So Bryan, you are very passionate about being original and not copying into the fold. How do you work that into your design philosophy?

It is difficult! That is a part of leading a large team. You have thirty to forty people contributing to the game, and it can be hard. That innovation comes by taking the familiar and extending it just enough so that it is understandable and useable, and that there is actually information to be gained from it. We could go far outside the bounds of what we do but the other team members won’t know how to deal with it, because there wouldn’t be anything to benchmark against. We balance all that by mixing the old and the new to get something unexpected, something innovative, something we are excited for our team to handle.

Finally, if people had to take one thing from the design of LifeSpark Arena, what would it be?

I think it would definitely be Co-opetition. How you can compete or cooperate with your opponents depending on the point of the game. You never quite know if you can go by them or work with them. The analogous experience is in Team Fortress 2! The spy is one of the most interesting characters to me in that game because if you know that a spy has infiltrated your team, then you don’t really know who to trust. You might not want to get close to this heavy that’s following you – that’s a little weird, right? – and it’s a balancing act of trust. That’s what we want to bring through with Co-opetition in LifeSpark Arena.

Thanks Bryan, always a pleasure.

There will be team updates coming every week, with interviews from team members coming up as well. Stay tuned to our Facebook page and Twitter handle to follow LifeSpark Arena and not miss any of the content.

– Dominic