Goldeneye 007 for the N64 was one of the staples of my childhood. I spent countless hours playing with friends, it was one of the first shooters that I got hooked on. It's not much to look at now but back then it was revolutionary.
Goldeneye: Source was created in 2005 with the goal of recreating the classic game for the new era. I was extremely excited about the project, and read up about it everywhere I could. Eventually, I grew tired of the wait. I wanted it to be developed faster. I decided to learn how to create levels in the Source Engine for the sole purpose of joining the team. A month or so later I finished up my first level, applied for the team, and was accepted.
Even though my early work was rough, they saw potential in me. Soon I was tasked with creating my first official level for the project, Archives. Designing and detailing a map that is up to par with expectations is hard work, even in 2006. It took a year or so of developing the map off and on to get it into a good state. I learned a lot about level flow, lighting, and optimization in the process. My hard work paid off when half of archives shipped in alpha 1.1, and the full map shipped in beta 3.
After completing Archives, I was eager to start on my next level, but I wanted a smaller project. I looked at the available choices and began work on Temple Classic. The project allowed for two types of levels: the completely redesigned and detailed levels like Archives, and a classic version of each level that has the same dimensions and visuals as the classic game. The work was a lot more straight-forward in the classic maps, so I booted up the original and counted tiles on the ground in order to get the exact floor plan. After a simple layout and lighting adjustments, I had a finished level.
After Temple Classic, I was ready for another ambitious level and began work on Aztec. Aztec is a large map with many iconic areas, and took a great deal of time to get into a state that I was happy with. I grabbed inspiration from both the game and the Moonraker movie. After two years of on and off development it was shipped in beta 4.
After finishing up Aztec, I realized that I had lost the passion I previously had for level design. I was programming side projects at the time, and found myself more drawn toward that side of game development. It was at this point in 2009 that I stopped working on my levels. I soon retired from the team to pursue programming oriented projects.
During my time spent on the team, I finished three official levels and had another two on their way to being completed. The work was tiring and took a long time but there is a certain feeling that you get when you make something that you enjoy, and that others enjoy. That feeling kept me going for quite a while. Working with the Goldeneye: Source team has taught me a lot of valuable information about game development, it showed me all of the different things that come together when creating a modern game.
In 2016, I was looking for people to help beta test one of my games and invited a bunch of Goldeneye: Source developers. They helped out regularly with testing, and I felt that I should return the favor. I was also intrigued to see how far it had come since I left, and so I joined the beta testing team. After seeing a multitude of problems with how bots behave, I was soon tinkering with them. I overhauled their behavior to prevent them from getting stuck, standing still, using the wrong weapon, and not knowing where any items are. While the bots are far from ideal, the difference is night and day. As a result, I stumbled my way back on to the team and began helping out with programming tasks. The new bots shipped in version 5.