jonsova at

(757) 284-4218

 About me

Hi there, and thanks for your interest in my work! My name is Jon Sova and I’m a designer at Red 5 Studios. I have a passion for bringing exciting concepts to life and pushing myself to grow as a designer in the process. I believe one of the coolest things a person can do, in any field, is to confront a personal weakness and come out stronger for it on the other side.

Almost everything I’ve done creatively in life has involved an audience. I’m a classically trained pianist and have been lucky enough to have my music played by the Four Seasons at the Walden School in New Hampshire. I lived in Japan for four years – one year as a student and three as a school teacher. The opportunity to create dozens of games and classroom activities was incredibly valuable, because whether a mechanic was successful or bombed, kids are quick and (very) honest in letting you know. I’ve also long had a passion for story telling and creative writing, and have been working on a fiction novel for a number of years.


Résumé : Please choose a format to download






Level Design: BSP construction, terrain editing, actor placement, lighting, AI, Unreal Matinee, dialog writing, quest design, agile scrum, cross-discipline communication and teamwork

Scripting/Programming: Lua, Unreal Kismet, Hammer I/O Scripting, Papyrus (Skyrim), C#

Tools: Unreal Editor (UDK), Source SDK, Corona SDK (Lua based), Creation Kit (Skyrim), Torque X, Adobe Photoshop CS5, 3DS Max, Google Sketchup, Microsoft Office, Audacity, Garage Band, Tortoise SVN

Additional Skills: Level and Game Design Documentation, Japanese language, music composition


“Good Neighbors”                     Level Designer – solo project                Development Time: Eight Weeks
Gears of War single-player level

 Constructed a derelict corporate research structure over the ocean for the player to infiltrate
 Made extensive use of skeletal meshes actors via scripted events and Matinee sequences to foster a horror aesthetic where the player feels hounded
 Created custom assets in 3DS Max and Photoshop (turbine fan and exterior signs) to use in-game


“The Haunted Keep”                  Level Designer – solo project                Development Time: Four Weeks
Unreal Tournament 3 deathmatch level

Created a 16-player multiplayer death match level set in a futuristic vampire stronghold where players fight for the right to become the “monster master” of the keep
Created a 3D coffin (in 3DS Max and Photoshop) which opens when the moon reaches its highest point to reveal several powerups
 Built an idyllic European-style village for the skybox entirely from BSP


“A New Prospekt”                      Level Designer – solo project                Development Time: Six Weeks
Half Life 2 Single Player Level

 Created a context sensitive squad command system with two specialist NPCs
 Rapidly researched engine’s capabilities and ways to push its limits through scripting on my first level with Source SDK, a prison rescue mission
 Scripted custom HUD component for tracking how many NPCs the player is protecting are still alive

Fallen Kingdom                       Game Designer / Programmer – team of 2                                      Development Time: Four Months
Turn Based Strategy game for iOS devices

 Authored 50% of game design and documentation, including UI and balance, for a game for iOS devices
 Solely designed and implemented timed action sequences via the Lua programming language
 As part of my master’s thesis, researched the viability of minigames (as opposed to pure chance) as a mechanic for improving player character performance in a turn-based strategy game with touchscreen controls
 Implemented in-game user interface and menu system for player character squad management


Rite of Elements               Level Designer / Sound Designer – team of 15               Development Time: Six Months
Third-person puzzle/adventure game (UDK)

 Solely designed and authored level design documentation for the game’s second level, an underground aqueduct system with water-based puzzles
 Composed six original songs for the score in Apple’s Garage Band; recorded and edited over a hundred lines of dialog; imported/edited/created sound effects for entire game
 Built and scripted two of the level’s puzzles in Kismet and Matinee


Operative 99                       Lead Level Designer – team of 5                                     Development Time: Eight Weeks
First-person shooter (UDK)

 Scripted all enemy encounters via Kismet
 Constructed BSP geometry and skybox for main level
 Extensive work in sound cue editor to create sound effects for a helicopter, the “boss” of the game


Maxceed Co. Ltd. / Yokohama, Japan Public Schools                            August 2008 – April 2010
English Teacher

Worked with Japanese public school teachers to design lesson plans
Created fun, original classroom activities that encouraged student participation
Taught English lessons to students at three elementary schools and two junior high schools
Presented piano duet concerts with Japanese faculty



The Guildhall at SMU                           January 2011 – December 2012
Plano, TX

Master of Interactive Technology, specialization in Level Design
Wrote Thesis; “Adapting Console Mechanics for Mobile Audiences: Timed Action Sequences on Touch Screen Devices”
GPA: 3.9


Purdue University                                 August 2003 – July 2007
West Lafayette, IN

Bachelor of Arts in Japanese Language, Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies
Study abroad at Tsukuba University (Japan), August 2005 – June 2006
GPA: 3.6


Creative Writing Sample: A few pages from my work