The Making of LifeSpark – Designer Alex Smith



Designer of LifeSpark Arena – Alex Smith

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 Alex! So, you are a designer here on LifeSpark Arena. What have you been working on for the team?

I have been a jack of all trades: quality assurance, map design, balancing, demoing for people outside the team, pretty much anything that needed doing that day, hour, or minute.

So, as a jack of all trades, how has LifeSpark pushed you to improve each of these different talents?

With only a few people on the design team, I didn’t have a safety net to do the work for me if I failed, which has been a big change from the sterile classroom environment. it was weird for people to ask me to “populate the map with the new art assets.” The first time Bryan Edelman, the Lead Designer, asked me to do that, I had no idea what any of those words meant. I just had to translate them all into English and then get it done.

Then which responsibility on LifeSpark do you enjoy most, or have you enjoyed learning the most?

I came in specializing in lore, writing, and world building. After working on the project, I have come to love diving deep into map design. At first I took the pre-designed assets and put them in square grids with little variation. Now I’m doing all kinds of cool stuff with them; changing scale, rotation, and position. I delete certain parts of the assets to make completely different pieces to work with. I’ve come to see the few assets i’m given as creatively freeing, and not confining, which means I get to flex my creative muscles in a way I didn’t expect going into it.

Sounds like you have had a great experience so far working on the team. Is there any particular one that stands out to you?

For about the first month and a half of the project, I experienced something completely new every time I came into work: demoing to industry professionals, pitching to dozens of people for 8 straight hours, populating a map, and more. I had heard of all of these things before, but had no idea what they meant in practice, and certainly had no idea what to do for any of them.

As great as all those things are, my favorite thing I have experienced so far would have to be brainstorming. Zyda, Sinjin, Bryan, Yale, Boka, you, Kaleb, Sydney, Collin – all of these people are so intelligent and so passionate about games. I love sitting around the table and trading ideas with them. One day we spent 45 minutes slaving over the minute details of UI design, something I never knew possible but absolutely loved. It was awesome.

Thanks Alex, great talking to you!

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