Game Info

GENRE: Arcade Endless Runner
PLAYERS: Single Player
DOWNLOADS: Over 5 Million

Contributions Gameplay & Level Designer

Ownership of all level templates
Designed and implemented new obstacles
Creating and maintaining all Game Design Documentation
Designed and balanced the in-game economy, progression system, and meta-features
Collated post-launch analytics reports
Designed and Implemented First Time User Experience tutorial content
Coordinated and managed Localisation

My first commercial title, Superstars went through multiple overhauling iterations over the course of its development, which was approximately a year before we soft launched. My chief responsibilities involved designing all of the game’s level templates using our new endless runner framework on Unity3D.
An endless runner is a platformer game wherein the player character is constantly moving in a certain direction, content is then procedurally generated in front of the player character creating a seemingly infinite world. Due to the random and endless nature of gameplay, levels are condensed into cells or templates that can be generated at runtime. The difficulty of the game scales based on how far the player has travelled in a single playthrough or run; which is influenced by the complexity of a template’s layout and the gradually increasing movement speed of the player character.


Designing for free-to-play mobile games is approached differently to traditional games. Rational Design dictates most of the design workflow, as each session needs to be consistent; as well as user acquisition, retention, and monetisation being considered at every step.
In terms of level design this means the design process has be seen objectively, by identifying the various factors that control difficulty and the times at which we need the average player to see something new. For example the average mobile gamer is usually engaged with a game session for approximately three minutes, which means that we need to ensure that all of our KPI’s have been met before this time is over. This of course impacts how the difficulty of the game scales to increase the chance that the player will be pushed through the game loop, hitting all of the potential points of monetisation before they exit the app.

Rhythm Levels

Due to the iterative nature of mobile development, the workflow for level design has to adopt a similar approach, as levels constantly evolve throughout the entire development phase. Despite each playthrough requiring a sense of consistency in its overarching structure, the content itself has to be vary enough to encourage replayability without the game feeling overly repetitive. This is primarily achieved through creating a vast quantity of varying length level templates; that can be recycled and used at later stages of the game. Aside from the inherent challenge to design a multitude of levels, each template has to be engaging and enjoyable in order to evoke a strong cognitive flow in the player. Cognitive flow is considered the point between tedium and boredom, wherein the emotional response from the user is most positive. The way in which I try to accomplish this is through a similar balance between that of random and rhythmic gameplay. A sense of rhythm is established through the player’s input as they interpret and react to the pattern created by the obstacles within their current level template. Humans have an almost instinctive ability to recognize patterns; there’s a satisfaction in this process, a comfort in familiarity that I try to employ in the level creation process. By interspersing rhythmic elements throughout the playthrough, it juxtaposes the more frustrating chaotic templates to encourage a strong cognitive flow.

Set Pieces

Additionally I was responsible for creating a series of set piece levels, that work in conjunction with the transitions to new locations. Set pieces are often used within an endless runner to emphasize the idea that the player is moving through a world rather than being stuck on a treadmill. Set pieces often incorporate new mechanics or a twist on existing ones to create something unique. This practice also contributes towards cognitive flow in a similar way to the rhythmic level templates, as they encourage the player to engage differently.


After post launch I was responsible for managing and creating analytics reports that in turn I used to create design proposals for future updates. In addition to new content being added to the game, updates included difficulty and economy balancing as well as contributions to improve the user acquisition, retention, and monetisation. This gave me the opportunity get real time feedback from our playerbase then make informed design decisions based on this data. Once the changes had been implemented, the effects were visible within a very short amount of time. Metric driven design has had a profound impact on my perspective as a designer, as it has helped me better understand the behaviour and needs of the players.