For their retail game, Descent 3, developer Outrage, Inc outsourced the design and programming of the level editor. My friend Chris Ledwith landed the contract. (For more information about my interactions and relationship with Chris, you can follow that link to his entry in my VIP List.)
In June 1999, Chris brought me on as his lead beta tester. There were only half a dozen total testers, all hand picked, including Anthony Galica and Joe Brown. Only those who had produced many levels for Descent 1 and 2 were selected. Chris would send us the builds as he worked on them, and we would hunt for bugs, request new capabilities, and verify when functions were working smoothly.
Outrage had tools in-house, but these were less user friendly and not suitable for end users (players). There may also have been copyright issues with distributing those tools, so a proprietary program had to be concocted.
D3edit is a powerful tool. I produced over thirty levels with it in just over a year. Learning to use it is no small feat, though. I had to put a lot of work into it, and I already had a head start from having figured out how to create levels for Descent 1 and 2 with much more primitive tools.
When I found that I enjoyed the work, both of the testing process and the level development, I began to contemplate pursuit of a career in game development.
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