Olivia M. (She/Her)
Associate Experience Designer
In your own words, tell us a little bit about your role and what you do here at the studio.
I’m an Associate Experience Designer here at ILMxLAB! I’m part of the design team that creates our immersive experiences. A lot of what I do is in the realm of level design and world building, which includes working alongside other disciplines throughout the whole process.
What led to your passion in wanting to work in this field and study game design in college?
I’ve been a big fan of immersive entertainment (primarily video games) since I was young and was always interested in how these experiences were created. As cheesy as it sounds, I’ve always enjoyed “escaping” reality and exploring new worlds. As I grew older, I wanted to help make those awesome experiences that I enjoyed so much from a young age.
How does designing for real-time immersive experiences differ from designing for more traditional experiences that you’d play through 2D screens?
You have to be super conscious about how the player will take in everything. Experiences in VR and AR are way more involved from a player standpoint, so when you’re in the design process, there’s a lot to consider about how the player will move and interact within the 3D space.
While we call your specialization Experience Designer as storytelling is at the forefront for all of our experiences, a lot of the industry might also refer to the team as game or level designers. Do you feel there is a big difference between these titles, or are they similar?
From how I see it, level design is a subset of experience design. Being an experience designer at ILMxLAB, I definitely take on the responsibility of designing the flow of each “level,” but on the other hand, I have to keep in mind what the player is feeling and experiencing as far as the story goes. We ultimately want the player to feel like they’re a meaningful part of the story.
Now that you’ve been at the studio for about a year, do you have a favorite project or accomplishment that you’ve worked on?
Although I can’t say any details, I’m most proud of the work I’ve done on one of our current projects. I can’t wait to share more when it’s ready to be announced!
What’s your favorite part about being at the studio? Is there anything in particular that makes you excited to work each week?
I love working alongside a diverse and talented team! Everyone has their specialization, and it’s so awesome to see everyone’s workflow and process. Each week I learn something new!
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever gotten?
I’ve received some great career advice so it’s hard to pick just one. What’s stuck with me the most is how important it is to stay connected to people you meet along your career journey. When I studied game design in college, connecting with my professors and classmates really pushed me to succeed in my career. Surround yourself with people with similar ambitions and goals as you, you can learn a lot from one another!
For someone interested in a similar career, is there a program or class that you’d recommend taking, or a skill they should learn?
I definitely recommend downloading a game engine (Unity and Unreal have free versions) and exploring! YouTube is a great resource and I know a lot of folks who have built their own mini-games from scratch following YouTube tutorials alone. Don’t be afraid to just go for it!
What’s your favorite Star Wars movie or TV show?
What do you like to do on your days off?
On my days off I usually play games, go hang at the park with friends, or catch a concert
What’s your favorite movie genre?
Where’s your favorite place you’ve traveled to?
If you can meet any character in AR, who would it be?
Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle