The People

Mirek S

Level Designer

Joining us from the great Polish city of London comes Mirek. Mirek is a map-making mapmaker, with a particular interest in making maps. Handy, that. Mirek has a habit of roughing out his maps as 1:1 scale landscapes before taking aerial photos and satellite imagery and refining them in Radiant. Mirek lives to map. We have to physically restrain him from painting the word 'caulk' over our office walls. He calls it duty, but our cleaners call it overtime, then we call it 'Cartographiti' and we're pretty excited about that.

The Splash Damage offices are much the merrier for the all-day staccato tattoo of Mirek's tap dancing clogs and lusty shouts of 'Snap to grid! Snap to grid!' We try to, but we need time, and there is no time, THE ANTS ARE ALREADY HERE! Mirek's interests include making things oblong and coating them in a coat of coats. He is made from four inch hawser-laid cable and runs off AA batteries. There's a converter kit that lets him run off solar energy but that won't help us much, stuck in this barrel. Mirek is dog-coloured with massive bronze wings made of soap and smells faintly of Tuesdays. His ramparts are Cyclopean, with a raised piloti and cartouche. The overall effect, however, is Doric.

Things You Were Too Afraid To Ask...

Every once in a while, we interrogate one of our own and put their answers up for all the world to see. Read on to find out more about what Mirek does, how he ended up at Splash Damage, and more.

What do you do at Splash Damage?

I build levels.

Why did you want to work in the games industry and how did you get started? Do you have any tips for people wanting to break in?

I decided to turn a hobby into a profession. A lot of level designers seem to have started this way. I made some maps for Medal of Honor Allied Assault and Call of Duty, which were well received by the community. After a while, I had enough stuff to put together a nice portfolio and I started applying for a job.

I also had another incentive. I was working outdoors as a landscaper at the time and I discovered that the phrase “rain or shine” is terribly misleading when it comes to England because it implies a 50:50 ratio in occurrence of sunny and rainy days while in order to be accurate, the phrase should read: “Rain, rain, rain or shine”. Getting a cushy office job suddenly became very appealing.

Why did you join Splash Damage?

By chance, I guess. I didn't actually know they existed until I started looking for a job in the games industry. I googled “London”+”level designer job”+”FPS” and this magic formula revealed that such a studio not only existed, but was also looking for level designers so I decided to send in my resume.

What are the best and worst parts of your job?

The worst part is when I rush to the breakout room in the morning after a long and tiring journey to work, only to discover there’s no red bull in the fridge. Best part is definitely getting a pay rise or a bonus.

Of all the things you worked on for Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars, what are you most proud of?

While working on ETQW, we had to deal with variety of tasks such as doing research, designing layouts, sculpting terrains, building and detailing geometry, making texture sheets, texturing and lighting, setting up entities, painting masks, dealing with bots and bug fixing, bug fixing, bug fixing… While some of them were fun and rewarding on their own, a few others were boring, tedious and frustrating. And yet the whole experience left us with this weird feeling of satisfaction, similar to what contestants of bizarre TV shows must feel after eating maggots or sticking their heads into the cage full of rats. We were able to cope with a lot of stuff and that’s pretty rewarding.

What was your first gaming experience?

It must have been some game I played on an arcade machine in the early eighties, since there were not too many computers in Poland at the time. It was probably Pac-Man, but I’m not entirely sure.

What types of games do you like, and what's your favorite game of all time?

I favor FPSs as I find them the most immersive, but I don’t mind playing a good strategy game or RPG. I’m generally pretty hard to impress, but Half Life 2 blew me away when it was released and it remains my number one.

What do you enjoy doing when you're not at work?

When I’m back home in the Tatra Mountains, I like to ski and going on mountain walks. It doesn’t happen very often, though, so in the meantime I read a lot and play the guitar.

What's the meaning behind your nickname?

Draska is the rough surface on a matchbox that you use to light a match.