I'm Matt Champer, a UX, Level, Game, and Web Designer with over 6 years of experience spanning the game and web industries. I studied Game Art & Design at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, and started my career at Carnegie Mellon University's Entertainment Technology Center. While at the ETC, most of my time was spent building and designing educational games for kids ages 5 - 9. During most summers, I taught level design and game design courses for the National High School Game Academy, with average class sizes of 90 students. I also worked on a terrain prototype for Caterpillar using UDK, as well as a SMART table app for students with accessibility needs.
My career in UX and web design started with my love for level design. And my love for level design started with two games: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun / Firestorm. Zelda inspired me with it's vast open world that was creatively packed with varying environments and puzzle systems. Command & Conquer became an addictive base-building activity that my brother and I did for pure aesthetic reasons, and we would sometimes sit for hours attempting to generate the perfect map with it's random terrain creator.
My first foray into a professional level design tool came in college with the Unreal Editor — and then, Left 4 Dead hit the shelves. I was immediately drawn to the immense amount of original content creation capabilities in a game with fresh mechanics, and of course zombies. I spent my 2nd level design class designing and building a map using a patched-together version of Hammer, as the editting tools were yet to be released from Valve, while also teaching myself Hammer at the same time. Since then, I've done projects with Crytek's CryENGINE, taught level design classes with NeverWinter Nights Aurora Engine and even a proprietary engine built by ETC students and faculty, based off of a prototype Disney built with Panda3D and Python. It's been an exciting ride.
I believe level design and web design are cousins - very similar. Both involve building an environment that a user has to navigate in order to achieve a goal. Both involve scripting and some code to an extent, and both designers generally take all the assets and work from other team members and compile it into the final product.
My initial work with web design came from editting my portfolio website and creating project websites for the games and prototypes I worked on while at the ETC. I taught myself HTML and CSS basics to get our WordPress sites to a high quality, and then furthered this knowledge and experience working for Ohio University and Safelite. I've always been passionate about design and how the user interacts with it in a technological space. It is incredibly fulfilling to see a finished product make it into the hands of a consumer and see their delight.
Game *Titles Shipped
Years of Experience
* Titles shipped were not for sale, but are in use to some extent