Sandy Petersen


Sandy Petersen is the most prolific level designer on both Doom and Doom II.

Petersen joined id Software about ten weeks before the December 1993 release of Doom and in that time created 20 levels for it (of which nine were based to some extent on early drafts by Tom Hall). He later created 17 of the levels for Doom II, and seven levels for Quake. His Lovecraftian influences also affected some of the monster design for the id games he worked on.


Carl Sanford Joslyn Petersen was born September 16, 1955 in St. Louis, Missouri. He attended University of California, Berkeley, majoring in zoology.

He is a well-known fan of H.P. Lovecraft, whose work he first encountered in a World War II Armed Services edition of The Dunwich Horror and other Weird Tales found in his father's library. In 1974, Dungeons & Dragons brought his interest to role-playing games. His interest for role-playing games and H.P. Lovecraft were fused when he co-authored the game Call of Cthulhu, published 1981.

He worked some time for MicroProse, where he is credited for work between 1989 and 1992 on the games Darklands, Hyperspeed, Lightspeed, Sid Meier's Pirates!, and Sword of the Samurai. He also made minor contributions for Civilization.

Petersen joined id Software in 1993 after being impressed by Wolfenstein 3D, and there worked on Doom, Doom II and Quake.

He left id Software for Ensemble Studios in June 1997. He has worked there as a game designer on several of their Age of Empires titles, including Rise of Rome, Age of Kings, and The Conquerors.

Petersen is a practicing member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, though he saw no conflict between his faith and with his use of Satanic themes in Doom and other games. He went on to tell John Romero during the development of Doom that "I have no problems with the demons in the game. They're just cartoons. And, anyway, they're the bad guys."[1]:144

Design style[edit]

According to Masters of Doom,

"His levels were not nearly as aesthetically pleasing as Romero's; in fact, some of the id guys thought they were downright ugly, but they were undeniably fun and fiendish."[1]:146

Credited levels[edit]


External links[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Kushner, David. Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture. Random House, 2003. pp. 144, 146
  2. "Evolution of the WAD E1 - Sandy Petersen", comment by Sandy Petersen: "Frankly I don't remember doing any part of 'Dead Simple'. Thought it was all American McGee's. If someone says I did an early version of it that American then remade I'll have to take their word for it. It was 25 years ago." Retrieved December 12, 2020.
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