Tanya X. Short, Game Designer
HomeThe Secret WorldAge of ConanDungeons of Fayte (& other indies)Stand-alone LevelsWhat Else?Follow me on Twitter?Connect on LinkedIn
Quake: InfatuationQuake: Math CorpsThe Elder Scrolls: Oblivion


The images you see below are the product of intense bursts of study in different editors. A few months of Unreal, a few months of Radiant, a few months of Hammer/Source... I enjoyed toying with each in turn, figuring out what each had to offer me as a designer of worlds and experiences.

Unreal had the best variety of meshes and textures (and easiest to pick up), Radiant was the most pure fun to build and decorate levels in (curves!), and Hammer had the most powerful scripting and A.I. And as an RPG-focused game player, playing with the world and characters of Oblivion was extra-exciting!

Everything here was created in 2007 to 2008 as I earned my Master's degree in Level Design from the Guildhall at SMU.


Quake 4: Infatuation

I created "Infatuation" by myself over 3 months. I created this level entirely by myself, including environment design, A.I. scripting, and even some custom GUIs. It involves a gladiator being wooed by another strogg, and his frustrations. Eventually you persuade him to meet with Juliet, only for them to meet a tragic end together. Naturally.

I spent some time designing the level before putting anything in Radiant, as I wanted the pacing, the space, and the narrative to inform each other.

"Infatuation" was not quite the heady dating simulation I initially concepted, but nonetheless, the gladiator nicknamed "Romeo" manages to express some personality through his violent responses. I scripted a unique sequence for the player to witness as he reads Juliet's love letter.

"Infatuation" is the project in which I fell in love with Radiant's BSP and curve editing, as well as its in-editor light rendering. Designing environments and levels in Radiant is pure joy.

Quake 4: Math Corps

I created "Math Corps" in just one intense week. I based the design on Math Blasters, enticing math learning in exchange for violence as a reward. Most teachers would probably disapprove.

"Math Corps" offers increasingly difficult math problems, proceeding from simple addition up through subtraction, multiplication, and eventually simple algebra (depicted here). You must shoot the strogg with the correct answer to proceed and increase your score.

Scripting this in a week was super-fun-times! At least I got to take a break now and then to also make custom GUI and do some environment design.

Oblivion: House Talenn

"Noble Intentions" - a 2-month Elder Scrolls Construction Set (Oblivion) project I created entirely on my own. It situates the new "House Talenn" into Leyawiin. The Count of Leyawiin employs you as his spy to infiltrate and find out what's really going on.

Over the course of the mission, you find so many skeletons in the Talenn closet it's hard to know which ones the Count wants to hear about!


"Noble Intentions" includes Talenn Manor and servant shack/garden. It boasts a quest with 40+ stages in this editor, two quests with alternate endings/solutions, and quests with steps that can be completed in any order.

And... an ancestral G-G-G-GHOST! But don't worry, kids, he's mostly just disappointed with how his progeny have carried on.

Various Unreal Levels

"Whitebox" - a project in which I transformed a whitebox/greybox into an eye-catching and finished product, including balanced powerup spawns and lines of sight.

"Capture the Flag" - a level design for a symmetrical CTF map, in which I experienced iteration for the first time. The first draft of the map resulted in long, boring matches, as the flag was much too defensible. I added another route into the flag rooms and altered the weapon selection accordingly.

"Sonic the Hedgehog" - a special thanks to Sega for "lending" me screenshots of Sonic for this Deathmatch level, complete with mutator for appropriate jump-heights, music and ring-collecting sound effects!

"Sandbox DM17" - I took the original design of the classic Quake 3 level DM17 and made it slightly more newbie-friendly.

I created all-new assets (including the dumptruck pictured) to support ground travel, though the "platforms" of the shovel and toys were still the desired sniping points. Quake 3 purists and sniper-elites would probably enjoy my design less; I found it less frustrating.